AI only works when it enhances the human touch


I receive countless auto-generated emails every week from salespeople wanting to ‘connect’ with me and my company. That’s no way to do business. It’s impersonal, cold, and frankly bland.  

They’re missing a trick. The art of dealmaking is all about meaning and personal connections. It’s part of the human desire to build valuable, mutually beneficial, relationships. If we don’t realise the power of human connection, we’ll miss out on bu­­siness opportunities through ineffective use of AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Bard.

AI will change how we work, but over-reliance will reduce our effectiveness.

It’s widely accepted that AI will alter the way we work but agencies will always need to sell their services. Securing business is a science and an artform, honed through dedicated practice and training. Successful selling has much to do with personal relationships, interaction and understanding.

People may think auto-generated outreach is efficient, but is it really? You can send thousands of emails and in-mails at once but the impact can be massively reduced when what you’re sending is wooden and impersonal.

In the race to average, everyone loses.

Let humans and machines play to their respective strengths.

Don’t think for a second that I yearn to return to the pre-AI dark ages. Correctly used, AI can have a transformative impact on how we do business – especially when it comes to research. AI can help you build a character profile for your contact and develop a 360° understanding of their company. Machine learning can be vital when making sure you’re fully briefed from the first point of contact to the pitch.

In a previous Waypoint Partners article, Martin Ward expertly outlined how agencies can effectively use AI. AI is superior when making predictions and providing a range of information instantly, but humans are far better at making decisions and personal connection.

AI does not spell the end of the human touch. It simply means that what we do best will become more valuable and appreciated. We’ll increasingly see businesses looking for agency support because they need something more than the AI tools that everyone already has readily available. Middle of the road, AI-generated outreach sends entirely the wrong message.

Agencies are often hired for their ability to stand out from the crowd. We separate ourselves from the people we’re looking to connect with if we hide behind robots.

Selling is not easy. It’s nerve-wracking for many. But with practice and expert guidance, anyone can secure business better than a robot.

Connections matter. People matter. AI should be used to enhance the human touch, not diminish it. 

Post by David Kean

Chair at Catalyst

David Kean is the author of three international bestselling books, the most recent of which, Catalyst, was published in 2021 and which gives its name to the consulting group he co-founded. The group works with companies to catalyse business growth and David was described by British Airways’ Business Life magazine as “the best pitch coach around”. He specialises in speeding up performance improvement for individuals and leadership teams and has been coaching, lecturing and running workshops around the world for the last 15 years.

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