May 6

My AI Avatar Experiment: A Wake-Up Call for Sales

Face-Off: AI Avatar vs. Real Julie 

As an experiment, I recently dove into the current world of AI by creating an avatar of myself. As a former actor and presentation coach, I was curious to see how my digital twin would measure up to the real deal. What followed was a fascinating experiment that shed light on the battle between humans and AI Avatars in sales.

At first glance, you too may find the visual resemblance striking. However, the facade of similarity quickly crumbled for me, overshadowed by the glaring differences and the limitations of AI in mimicking often nuanced human communication.

Here's what stood out during my experiment:

  1. Personality Drain: Despite my best efforts to infuse it with energy and charisma, the AI drained all the personality out of me and left behind an anemic version. So much of sales and communication is based on energy, it’s hard to imagine this would motivate anyone to react positively. 
  2. Awkward Phrasing and Gestures: Like a bad actor trying to wing it, my ai avatar was partial to odd phrasing and poorly timed pauses. It even conjured up its own vocabulary when faced with unfamiliar words! Seeing my hands and lips move out of synch with my words reminded me of watching those old Godzilla movies where the dubbing doesn’t match up.

A WAKE-UP CALL FOR SALES

Despite its shortcomings, the near viability of readily available AI should be a wakeup call for all sellers and sales leaders.

In an era where AI technology is advancing at breakneck speed, sales teams must prepare for the reality that will be competing not only with other human beings but also with increasingly sophisticated digital avatars. The question then becomes: 

Will sellers surpass the best AI avatars in terms of providing connection, value and impact, or will they become obsolete in the eyes of buyers?

The majority of sellers are not currently operating at their highest potential on video. Blame it on bad habits, bad advice, or an “We checked that box with a virtual selling 101 class 4 years ago,” and you have a salesforce ripe for an AI takeover.

You may laugh at my AI avatar’s wooden affect, but many sellers today lack the ability to convey warmth, empathy, and enthusiasm through video. They come across as robotic or disinterested, undermining their credibility and impact with customers and prospects.

Many sellers too struggle to build trust and rapport on video due to unique virtual challenges, like customers being off camera, or passive remote audiences. Problems that their AI replacements will easily handle.

All this adds up to losing the potential human advantage sellers have when it comes to establishing meaningful connections and building trust with clients and prospects. 

A CASE FOR WHAT IS POSSIBLE 

In a recent Case Study I completed with a Fortune 1000 sales team, they were able to improve their virtual communication and influence by an average of 65%! This included metrics, such as virtual credibility, influence, confidence and engagement. (Request Case Study Here). Sellers went from being avatar-like second-best versions of themselves, to fully engaged, present, credible human beings whose value could not easily be replaced by AI.

Win the AI vs Human Battle for Trust:

The introduction of avatars into sales requires all sellers and leaders to take a good objective look at their virtual communication and relationship-building skills. Sellers who introduce doubt into a prospect’s mind (is it real or is it AI?) or appear stiff, insincere, or engage in behaviors that crush their credibility, erode the trust and transparency that builds trust with humans . One way to know is through Virtual Assessments that measure the nuanced qualities of virtual communications that impact trust and influence. (Request information on our Virtual Assessments here)

Ultimately, sellers who are able to effectively communicate and build trusted relationships on video will be better positioned to succeed in an increasingly digital sales landscape. By embracing new virtual communication skills and operating at their highest potential, sellers can distance themselves from AI through their ability to connect with clients, convey value, and ultimately drive sales success.

For me, it’s bye-bye AI Julie! But everyone will have to decide for themselves, and their team: Are you willing to let the Avatars outshine you? 


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