Dear {First Name}, you are truly valued to us here at wearenotautomated.com so please buy our stuff.

Automation – using technology to reduce human involvement in processes to improve efficiency and output. The word has been around since the late 1940s when it was attributed to Henry Ford. However, the concept of using machines and technology to do a task better than a human can arguably be associated with the invention of the wheel over 5000 years ago.

Nowadays, automation is everywhere and we need to accept that’s how it will be forevermore because, in plenty of cases, life is better off as a result. One version of automation that I, and many others, find very hard to accept is within the Sales world where it is being regularly abused by users (yes, I purposefully chose that word because of its connotation with addiction to something horrible) in their woefully misguided efforts to find needles in haystacks i.e., people who are called {First Name}.

I understand, and endorse, the use of automation in various sales and marketing processes: order processing confirmations, marketing on new product launches, customer surveys, pre-and post-meeting notes and contract renewal notices for example. However, when it comes down to the process of engaging with a target client in my efforts to be allowed to engage further, I cannot bring myself to outsource that to automation.

‘People buy from people’ is a well-known adage which, in the main, I agree with – as a people person, my ability to build quick rapport with people and then, over time, deep relationships have consistently proven to be a winning strategy for me. However, I do recognise, as I’ve been that person too, that it’s not always the case and people will often prioritise what the product or service delivers over the likeability of the people delivering it especially when it solves a crucial problem for the customer. So, is that the argument for using automation to build a network and generate business opportunities? As the concept of a ‘relationship’ continues to evolve driven by the omnipresence of social media, maybe the forward thinkers can see a future where, ‘People buy from machines pretending to be people which everyone knows is the case, but they don’t care anymore because they’ll never actually have to engage with people like the old days.’

Whether that’s how the future looks or not, automation in this way is already working for some otherwise there wouldn’t be so much of it flying around – I know how much I get bombarded with it regularly and I’m just me out on my little inflatable kayak sailing around the world…. backwards and regularly into the wind. Those who know me know I’m a big fan of the timeless classic, How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie and that I regularly quote from it so, true to form, here I go again…

Become genuinely interested in other people’ and, ‘make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.’

Two key principles which have stood me in great stead throughout my life and I’ve even coined my version of the first principle: ‘To be interesting, you first have to be interested’. It’s because I believe in these with such passion that, for me, I cannot embrace using automation to replace the manual, lengthy, frustrating yet overwhelmingly enjoyable process of building relationships with the right people. I’m no dinosaur and, in the main, I welcome change and learning new ways to achieve results but, this time, I’m sticking with my Mega Drive and the rest of you can keep your Xboxes.

What do you think {First Name}? I’d love to hear from you and your colleagues at {Company Name}. Maybe we can grab a drink and have a chat about {Topic}?