“Don’t use AI to help you do more until you are actually good at doing anything.” – Chris McNeill in today’s Tip 1591
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from a close facsimile of Chris McNeill. Chris is a long-time contributor to the Sales Success Community, he has a decade of experience selling and leading teams and is an intentional individual contributor who loves working with technical solutions and complex buyers. Here it is:
Chris McNeill: Howdy Sales Success Community. William Zinsser, in his popular book on writing well, says that you must first learn how to communicate effectively before using tools that can increase how much you write. Zinsser pointed out that while word processors, which were new technology at the time, could help good writers improve, they could also make poor writers even worse. His argument is that you need to have basic skills first before using tools. Essentially, a tool is only as good as the person using it. This idea is even more important today with many new AI writing tools. These tools, especially in areas like sales and marketing that rely a lot on communication, can greatly help or hurt users depending on their skill. They can help those who understand how to communicate well but can also compound the mistakes of those who lack those basic skills.
For example, AI that generates marketing emails can dramatically increase how many and how often emails are sent. A skilled marketer who understands their audience and how to connect with them can use AI to send many personalized, impactful emails that get high response rates. However, a less skilled marketer using generic, unengaging language will only amplify their ineffectiveness by sending many more bad emails that turn off recipients.
I’m sure we have all been on the receiving end of this or have seen the LinkedIn posts from people that are. In sales, this principle also applies. AI tools that can automatically generate sales pitches, manage customer relationships, and analyze interactions may appear useful. But in the hands of a salesperson who lacks empathy, communication skills, and an understanding of their customer’s needs, these tools will only scale poor behavior. Effective selling requires making genuine human connections, not just having more interactions.
So for those in sales looking to leverage AI, focus first on honing your craft. Learn how to build trust, understand motivations, and add value for your clients. With this foundation in place, AI can then be used to augment your best skills, not amplify your worst ones. The key takeaway is this. Ai amplifies abilities for better or worse. You must have the necessary skills and knowledge first before using AI. Technology can never replace skill and knowledge. It can only improve or worsen their effects. So that’s today’s tip. Don’t use AI to help you do more until you are actually good at doing anything.