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If you spend any time on LinkedIn, you find a lot of content about ChatGPT and other tools built on large language models. Some people use ChatGPT to write their content in part or in whole. A few months ago, I sent a summary of a presentation I will deliver soon. The host of the program asked if he could rewrite the summary and I gave him permission to edit it.

With a quick glance at the first sentence, it was clear that ChatGPT had written the new summary. When I asked my host if he had used the tool, he sent back one word: “Busted.”

People also use AI to write cold emails and content for LinkedIn and other platforms. AI is bit of a parlor trick. It works by guessing the next word. It is a good research partner, but as a writer, it is boring and repetitive.

When you sit across from your prospective client, you may have information acquired by using artificial intelligence, and it may help you prepare for a meeting. But your contact will judge you on your actual intelligence, your ability to help them improve their results, deal with a challenge, solve a problem, or take advantage of an opportunity.

How Your Crutches Weaken You

There is nothing wrong with using the technologies and tools available to you unless you become dependent on them. As you take shortcuts, you grow weaker. Instead of reading your strategic target’s annual report to look for ways you can align with their initiatives, you ask artificial intelligence to provide you with a summary. The summary is fine, but it means you didn’t read the chairperson’s letter to the investors.

When I was in law school, I read every case assigned. I knew I would never have the time to read them later, so I read each case and took careful notes. There were plenty of books you could buy to get a table of contents and an explanation of the cases, the rules, and the exceptions. Instead of cheating the process of learning, I made my own version by writing down the cases and the rules. I made it a tick list by writing the number elements. (The tick list was popular with my study group.)

If you don’t do the work yourself, you will not have an advantage over your competitors. Shortcuts and hacks weaken those that use them. Too few of us want to do the reading. Effective salespeople must know things their prospective clients don’t. Your IQ may be part of your actual intelligence, but equally important is the research you conduct to prepare for a meeting.

Amateurs try to hack their way to success, while professionals do the work. Over the last couple of months, I have recommended an important book. My friends who are professionals have read or listened to the book, raving about it. Others complain about the length (17 hours on audiobook). I believe that those who read the book have information disparity when they meet with their clients.

Write It Yourself

When artificial intelligence writes something, who owns the copyright? Some suggest that it belongs to the owner of the AI that generated it, but this isn’t yet established. This poses a risk to those who try to pass off AI text as their own. Aside from the potential legal issues, consider your embarrassment if you use AI-generated text that a bot has provided to several people. For the sake of clarity, some people believe there should be a watermark on AI-sourced text when it is published.

Writing requires several things of the writer. First, and foremost, it requires the person to have read. Reading is a prerequisite to writing and always will be. Those who don’t read will not write well. The more you read, the better. Writing requires you to think and organize your ideas, beliefs, and experiences. Artificial intelligence in large language models is a sort of parlor trick, it can guess a sensible next word, but not the best word.

Write your communications yourself. ChatGPT can provide you with information, but it can’t improve your functional intelligence. In a profession built on communication, effectiveness comes from conversations. As selling grows more complex and the environment becomes more disruptive, knowing too little results in an inability to create value for your prospective clients. Your communication skills are critical for sales effectiveness.

Business Acumen and the Heart of Being One-Up

Salespeople who don’t read don’t always have the business acumen they need to create value for their clients. The reason leaders surround themselves with trusted advisors is because it allows them to offload some of their responsibility to people who can focus on certain things more deeply.

It's difficult to have effective talk tracks when you lack interest in business or are unaware of the zeitgeist and the stories of the day. The person who can help decision-makers stay up to speed has a tremendous strategic advantage by being a trusted advisor. When you can see around corners, you become more important to your contacts because you keep them aware of what’s coming and help them make changes before they are harmed or miss an opportunity.

The concept of being One-Up is that you have knowledge and experience that your contacts don’t. It also provides an advantage over One-Down salespeople who do minimal reading, researching, and writing. In order to educate your clients, you must first educate yourself.

See Elite Sales Strategies: A Guide to Being One-Up, Creating Value, and Becoming Truly Consultative for more on how to be One-Up.

The future of sales will be marked by sales professionals who are also experts on the challenges and opportunities that are necessary to address to improve client results. Build your actual intelligence to improve your effectiveness in sales.

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Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 13, 2023

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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