FOBO & How To Beat It

ꜰᴏʙᴏ; the fear of being obsolete.

The current infestation in the workplace sprouting from ꜰᴏᴍᴏ.

This appears coined in the light of the recent explosion into the worker psyche of AI. Yet applies equally to any tech-driven threat to the little piece of commerce that we've managed to carve out for ourselves.

'Twas ever thus, you might shrug in one sense.

From the technology of writing, through the telephone, to the computer-age marvels of hardware and software, there's been plenty of scope to diminish the lot of salesperson. Squeezing out those long in post, changing the nature of those entering anew.

Do customers ever truly benefit?

At times like this, there's plenty of missteps to cite from our sector's past.

The 'Laptop Larrys' desk-ridden and chained by their crm. The e-auctions which decimated both vendor profits and purchaser returns alike. The social media selling quelling true innovation and proactive problem solving.

Automation need not be fought for the sake of it. There are always areas where the removal of human lag or bottleneck can benefit. Yet think where our Sales knowledge is paramount.

Many studies knock the present so-called LLMs of AI (chief among them right now, ChatGPT) having found 'most people' only use it six times. This, it is put forward, is because at first, use is breakthrough-ly beguiling. Yet pretty soon anyone considering themselves an SME (Subject Matter Expert) feels hopes crashing down with a bang when they ask the bot about their own personal area of expertise. Answers returned mainly horrifying, misleading nonsense.

I also think of the great tech upheaval lately of video meetings.

I lament to report that I encounter many a sales operation still approaching these as they did at the start of the decade. With neither interest, adaptation nor planning for how to make the most of the potentially game-changing medium.

Don't let that malady afflict your ambitions.

Two distinct types of inoculation against the onrushing danger seem suggested today.

Whether getting super-cosy with and moulding around the new wave before it gets the better of you. Or strengthening what makes you unique and valuable that code could never replace.

That can be quite the startling choice there.

For instance, if the former is more you then, say, how can you make obsolete those parts of your job that drain time, without degrading prospect experience? If the latter sits more snugly for you, then what is it you know, do or create that your prospects truly value, after all we are constantly told by the researchers that those awarded contracts overwhelmingly win because they genuinely demonstrate a deep understanding of where the buyer was and what they best needed. What chance a bot can do that better than you anytime soon?

If you can take bits from both parts of those options, crucially in a way your prospects appreciate, then you're likely to have - what the product life cyclers' term - an extension strategy to ward off obsolescence.

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