6 reasons why you are finding it so hard to sell Chatbots
Selling chatbots or indeed anything new, comes with some hefty challenges. It can be frustrating and damn right painful when you see a vision of the future and are passionate about something you believe will revolutionise the way businesses and customers converse digitally, yet the business owners and decision makers just don’t get it or want it.
Save yourself lots of heartache and soul-searching by better understanding the decision makers point of view. They are unlikely to be approaching the idea of Chatbots from anywhere near resembling your position. It’s also likely that you are selling this evolving technology from a position of knowledge. You have done your due diligence and understand it thoroughly – hopefully. Will you find customers with a similar level of knowledge? Unlikely at this stage. It’s also highly likely that you reside in the “innovator” category. Do you really expect your potential customer to be in the same mindset?
Let’s explore this further….
ONE – They don’t know the technology exists yet
Many in the Chatbot community forget that businesses are focused on growing, the day-to-day operations and making sure they can pay their employees and bills. The next “new shiny thing” is often not where they are focused. You might argue that it should be, but this is real-life and the reality for many business owners.
TWO – They know what Chatbots are, but are yet to see a business use
It’s hard to avoid all the talk of Chatbots. When you hear talk of Chatbots on BBC Radio 4 here in the UK, you know it’s starting along the path to wider adoption. Not quite “early adopter” stage, but close. For our international friends, BBC Radio 4 is aimed at a more discerning and older age group. Their conversation centred around Margot the Winebot from Lidl.
We are in the very early throws of this new technology and as of yet, we don’t have that killer chatbot. We’ve seen this before too – remember the beginning of Apps. I remember getting the first iPhone, there were no real killer apps, but when they arrived they world went App crazy.
THREE – They are watching and waiting
For a variety of reasons, many business decision makers need time to absorb more information about such a nascent technology before it becomes important enough to talk to a bot-creator about. The “early adopter” or “lighthouse customer” is just a small percentage of the complete well of potential customers.
Although they are massively important in the early days of any product, service or technology, they become less so down the line when you need to appeal to the broader “early and late majorities”.
Remember, most people are not neophiliacs
The “early majority” and “late majority” will become a huge chunk of your customer base. They cannot be forcibly made to adopt your new approach, product or service. They require more proof that it can deliver what it promises and they are much more risk-averse than our early adopters.
FOUR – They simply don’t like the technology
Anyone out there selling Chatbots would have already come up against people who, for a number of reasons, some valid and many not, hate the idea of Chatbots or software driven conversations.
I recently experienced this with someone who delivered councilling services. Her distaste for the technology was palpable, although I doubt she actually knew what it was. Face flushed and baring her teeth her words were,
“you can’t build a personal relationship with a computer and our clients would hate that”
“It’s something we would never do”
I do remember local businesses saying the same about social media a decade ago. Guess what, they use it now. I didn’t have the time or energy to explain how Chatbots could be used very lightly to simply assess a client’s needs through 2-3 questions and signpost them to the relevant support. Oh well – moving on.
Although I was tempted to email an article I read recently.
FIVE – They don’t have stakeholder buy-in
Anyone who has worked in “corporate world” will know the challenges associated with influencing a group of none technical decision makers that they should be adopting a new technology. It’s well documented from the early days of email when board members and senior business leaders kicked back hard against it.
This is even more challenging if the technology is in the “early adopter” stage. Your sales contact may well be as excited as you, but if they can’t sell it to their stakeholders, it isn’t happening.
SIX – They don’t have “time” to look at it
This is a perceived reality for many, like it or not. I would argue that what they are really saying is “this is not important enough for me to worry about yet”. Time is a strange concept because we all know we should spend more time on our family, friends and health but we often have an internal battle because we don’t think we are achieving the right balance. Don’t spend your valuable time trying to convert a sale here. Keep doing what you do and check in again in a few months, perhaps the time will be right then.
It’s far too easy to get bogged down in trying to sell chatbots to the wrong people at the worng time. Make your pitch, measure the reaction, move on or move forward. It’s no more complicated than that.
Interested in other articles on Chatbots? Try some of these for size.
Also published on Medium.