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Using AI to Improve Your Small Business Sales

AI Transforming Prospects into Clients: Is It Magic … or Good Sense?

10 years ago the topic of Artificial Intelligence was still more science-fiction than reality. Even though most people would think of AI as involving intelligent robots performing a wide range of everyday tasks for most humans (and walking among us -think of the film I, Robot, for example), it is and has always been far more encompassing and integrated than most people might ever have realized.

Artificial Intelligence surrounds almost every aspect of life already, from devices that respond to your commands to play music at home, search for the best restaurant in town, or even give you directions to a new destination.

In business, AI is a powerful asset.

It’s important not to underestimate or undervalue the impact Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ‘augmented reality’ (AR) technology can have on small to medium-sized businesses. Large corporations already integrate these technologies into their day-to-day operations and utilize them to improve their reputation, brand recognition, and even customer engagement.

Augmented reality can be utilized in such a way as to help enhance the customer experience by putting control in their hands using mobile apps, 3-D technology, and other enhancements. For example, customers looking for a new type of shoe could shop virtually using a mobile app that allows them to see exactly what the shoe would look like with their particular wardrobe, foot size, and style.

By integrating AR technology, companies can provide a completely unique experience that doesn’t require customers to come to a retail store or be physically present. This expands the customer base far beyond wherever the retail outlet happens to be located.

Artificial intelligence can also improve lead generation and relationships.

Imagine AI as one of the best sales assistants imaginable. This artificial intelligence can collect and analyze data far more quickly than a regular business owner or manager in real time. This AI could sift through the client list or leads that have signed up for a particular email list, determine their viability, categorize them, and even remind you when it’s time for a follow-up or a phone call.

By incorporating artificial intelligence through lead generation and management, a business can more narrowly focus their time on those individuals who may be deemed far more interested naturally and more likely to become customers. This type of technology can also remind you when it’s time to take a specific action.

There are artificial intelligence assistants that can predict which leads are more likely to generate sales than those that are the typical “lookie-loos.”

Another benefit to AI for modern businesses is helping company owners and management stay on top of specific anomalies that could, for example, indicate a slowdown in sales. Most of the time unexpected downturns are already well underway by the time enough data is analyzed to take action. By then, it becomes increasingly difficult to either slow down or stop the slide and turn things around. AI can help monitor these trends and provide options that could stem the losses in the coming weeks and possibly even months.

What makes a satisfied customer?

This is, arguably, one of the most pressing issues for most companies around the world: ensuring their customers are satisfied. It’s one thing to generate leads and turn them into paying customers, but it’s another thing for them to become regular customers, or repeat clients.

Satisfaction is one of the pivotal components of long-term health and growth for any business, small or large. Without customer satisfaction, word-of-mouth marketing diminishes, repeat customers vaporize, and suddenly the burden on spending more for marketing efforts increases.

Artificial intelligence can be used to more effectively gauge customer satisfaction through surveys, follow-up questions, and even special discount offers. Sure, all of these can be integrated in a pre-formatted system, but with AI at the helm, it can more effectively determine which methods would be best suited for a wide range of customers.

The most effective businesses around the world have been turning to AI powered applications that are not only improving sales, but are helping them manage their relationships with clients and customers in a more positive and proactive method.

What about marketing endeavors?

Augmented reality (AR) can also help businesses improve their marketing strategies, and we’re not talking about waiting several months to decide if a particular strategy is working. These strategies can be measured and implemented in real time.

Clothing manufacturers, for example, are using AR to provide customers an opportunity to virtually try on outfits before they buy, using advanced apps that give them a true sense of whether something is going to fit and how it will look on their body shape and style.

Instagram, for example, allows people to add a hashtag sticker feature to various images. These can be used to promote a specific product, which could include a book or some other item. By incorporating these specific hashtags on various images, it creates a new marketing opportunity.

Remember to start out slow.

AI and AR can certainly feel overwhelming for those who have no prior direct experience with them, which is why it’s important for businesses of any size to think small at first. By starting out small, picking one or two specific details to focus on and perhaps one artificial intelligence or augmented reality app or system, your business could begin dipping its toes into the AI and AR world without shaking the ground beneath your feet.

Even the smallest inclination and effort to move toward AI and AR can lead to modest gains which, in time, can translate into big advantages, especially over the competition that may still be stuck in the 20th century.

There are millions of prospective customers out there for almost every business model and reaching them in an effective way can become more complicated as time marches on. Utilizing artificial intelligence to help monitor connections, analyze data, and build better relationships can improve a company’s bottom line.

Remember, Artificial Intelligence is the type of technology that will learn and grow just like you might, only at a much faster rate.

 

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