We all know that A.I. is gaining popularity. We may have noticed artificial intelligence tools appearing in the programs that we use to sell and create content. But that doesn’t mean we know how to apply those tools to our direct sales businesses—or even whether we should. This week on the Modern Direct Seller Podcast, we were joined by Kerry Bennink, who dove deep into the A.I. rabbit hole and is here to share her perspective on this evolving technology, from tips and tricks to potential pitfalls. If you’re looking to dip your toe into the A.I. world, or just want to know how it might affect sellers and customers, this is for you!
Time based notes:
- 2:15 Is A.I. a fad?
- 5:41 What are A.I. tools?
- 8:23 A.I. in direct sales
- 17:11 Are there risks to A.I.?
- 20:11 How to get started with A.I.
- 26:04 Kerry’s favorite office supply
Using Artificial Intelligence Wisely with Kerry Bennink
We all know that A.I. is gaining popularity. We may have noticed artificial intelligence tools appearing in the programs that we use to sell and create content. But that doesn’t mean we know how to apply those tools to our direct sales businesses—or even whether we should. This week on the Modern Direct Seller Podcast, we were joined by Kerry Bennink, who dove deep into the A.I. rabbit hole and is here to share her perspective on this evolving technology, from tips and tricks to potential pitfalls.
Kerry is one of my biz besties. She has been in direct sales for over six years. She’s earned trips; she’s spoke on stages. She has a corporate background before, you know, kiddos came along and everything changed. And, she has also been a member of Academy VIP for a while now. So, this isn’t your first rodeo.
The two of us have spent a lot of time talking about the future of direct sales and how the industry is shifting, and she has gone down quite a rabbit hole of research around A.I. So, we’ve just been talking a lot about how direct sellers can use artificial intelligence, or A.I., to really support their business.
And, before we get into all the details, I just have to ask: Is this something we should be paying attention to? Is this, like, another shiny object? Another fad? Is it a distraction to our business? Or, is this really something that we need to just embrace?
First of all, yes, I’ve totally geeked out, fallen absolutely in love with this tool, and I don’t think I could do my business without it. Now, I’m really excited to share this tool with your audience, so, when you asked if a direct seller or just a human being should be paying attention to this tool, and the answer is absolutely. 1,000,000%. This is not going to go away. The capabilities have already improved since its inception, like, not that long ago. And, you’re just going to start seeing it more and more, and you probably already are seeing it in some of your existing tools.
So, I first started hearing about artificial intelligence tools from my hubby. He’s a scientist who works in the computer science aspect, and so he reads all things techie, And, I was like, “Oh, how cute that he’s getting excited about these capabilities! How cute!” But then, as you all are probably already seeing, A.I. tools started showing up in existing programs that I use in my business. Like, there’s an aspect of A.I. in Project Broadcast. There’s a huge tool that exists in Canva. And, I started playing around with it, and I was like, “Holy cow!” Like, “How handy is this?”
ChatGPT kept showing up in conversations and news stories, too. So, I got curious, and I went down a rabbit hole, as Becky said, and started reading about it, started using it, and the more that I’ve used it, I’ve just been more amazed at the capabilities. So, I’m going to talk mostly about ChatGPT right now, because it’s free—right now as up spring of 2023—and free is in all of our budgets.
So, you might be asking, “What are A.I. tools, like ChatGPT?” They are computer programs that were fed millions and millions and millions of documents. And, it learns through natural language processing. Natural learning processing has already been around for years, and you may not even realize it. You’ve got Alexa, Siri… I mean, when you’re chatting with a customer service program, like a chat bot, that is actually related to ChatGPT and artificial intelligence technology. So, this has been around for a while; it’s just not been available to the general public.
And, you’re probably thinking, “Well, what makes this different from a web search/Google search?” The difference is, you can ask it specific questions, give it specific commands, how you would like it presented, versus clicking on a topic and having to click through multiple web pages and connect the dots. It connects the dots for you.
I love that you mentioned that, because I’ve had the same thought, like, “Well, why would I go to ChatGPT and ask this question, when I could just Google it?” Like, that’s how we’re used to getting information that we don’t know the answer to; we go and we Google it. So, I love how you just shared that if you Google something, you’re going to get a big list of possible answers, versus when you put a prompt into a tool like ChatGPT, it’s essentially just giving you one response. It’s taking the best of the best and saving that data and putting it together in something that is pretty coherent and understandable.
Exactly. It just fills in the blanks for you. You don’t have to dig through a bunch of data and websites that don’t apply. And, so far, everything that I’ve put in there has been spot on with the response.
So, as we are thinking about direct sales… Direct sellers are always looking for tools in their toolkit to work smarter, not harder, yet many of us also have a little bit of “shiny object syndrome.” It’s easy to kind of get wrapped up in this whole world of A.I. and kind of forget even why we started using it. So, what kinds of things can direct sellers use A.I. for? How is it applicable?
First of all, we always want to—always, always, always—make sure that we are focusing on income producing activities. And, it’s really easy to see the shiny object and be like, “This is going to solve all my problems!” But, you still need to focus on your income-producing activities, your 3 + 3 + 3s, your ABCs, every day. That is where you need to focus your time.
However, the first thing I discovered about how ChatGPT would work in my business was social media content. Say you’re going in to batch post for the month or for the week. And, you’re like, “Oh gosh, I’m just stuck. I’m tired. I’m brain dead.” So, I work for Pampered Chef. I can ask the tool, “Create social media content for my Pampered Chef business for the next seven days.” Boom. It’s going to spit it out.
But, you can be even more specific. And, the more specific you are, the better it is. So, I could say, “Create social media content about Mother’s Day for foodies.” I did that. And, it’s actually in my VIP Group right now. I used the inspiration from what it spit out to create content for the week. Like, you can even do it for social media prompts and captions. So, if I have a picture of brunch for Mom, I can ask it, “Creative prompts for my Mother’s Day quiche, and make it engaging, and include hashtags.”
And, if you don’t get the outcome you want the first time it gives you the data, you can continue to give it other prompts. Like, say, “Okay, well, make that friendlier. Make it more conversational. Break it down to one sentence instead of five paragraphs.”
So, another way to use this is about blogging. If you’re stuck on, “What am I going to blog about?” Tell ChatGPT, “Give me some blog prompts for X, Y, or Z. Give me some blog prompts about life behind a direct sales business.” And, it’ll give you topics that you can blog about.
Another super exciting way to use it is proofreading and improving on what you’ve already written. So, say you’ve written said blog post? Cut and paste the text in there and say, “Proofread this text,” colon, and then paste it, and it’s going to proofread it for you. Or, let’s say you want to say something, and you type it in, and you’re like, “That just doesn’t sound right.” You can say, “Rephrase.” And then, it’ll give you suggestions on how you can rephrase it.
So, I think there’s a couple things that I’ve heard you share, and I just want to make sure that I’m wrapping my head around it. So, One, A.I. can be a great way to brainstorm and to generate ideas to kind of get your wheels turning. Two, it can actually create that content for you in really great format, with nice grammar, and it’s well-written. And then, Three, we can think about it as a way to proofread or improve something that we’ve already written. And, we can do that across lots of channels, whether that’s social, or blog posts, or emails we’re writing, or quizzes that we’re creating.
So, I have to ask: Are there any risks? Are there any pitfalls? Is there anything that we should be looking out for or aware of as we’re incorporating A.I. into our direct sales biz?
So, the answer is a big “yes.” But, I would tell people not to be afraid because of those potential pitfalls. Just practice. The biggest rule of being in any kind of business, or dealing with people, or just being alive, is just be a good human, so use the tools wisely to that end.
Even though you can copy and paste from this tool, it’s really not wise to use it that way. What the computer generates is not your content. It is not your voice. It is not your creativity. It needs to be you. Take what the computer generates as inspiration.
I was reminded of the quote from Thomas Edison: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” And so, you still have to perspire; you still have to do the work. You might have had a shortcut to that 1% of inspiration, but you still have 99% of the work to do.
I love that you said that. I do think that there are lots of shortcuts to work smarter, not harder. But, like, I use a million exclamation points in everything I do. Like, I have to proofread my emails to remove exclamation points, because I’m like, “Well, I’m coming off a little bit crazy here.” But, if you’re not an exclamation point person, and you’re copying my messages and you’re using them as your own, it raises a red flag for your customers. So, I think A.I. is just another great example of how you can take ideas, you can take templates, you can take things and put them into your own voice, and infuse your own personal brand in what you’re sharing with your audience.
So, I’m sure we have lots of readers thinking, “This sounds kind of amazing. I might have resisted, or maybe I played around with A.I. a little bit, but I’m not really sure where to start.” So, what are your recommendations for somebody right now thinking, “Okay, this is something that I want to give a try in my business”?
My first piece of advice if you want to get started is “Just jump in.” Just start learning. ChatGPT has unlimited prompts, currently for free. If you have Canva, you can use the Magic Write tool—and there are tutorials within Canva to do that. So, you might already have these tools at your fingertips and just not know it. So, just start using it, and figure out how it can help you in your business and where you show up for your customers and what content you’re providing them.
Be specific. Tell the program what you want it to do. And, that might require a little thinking on your part. For example, provide it with a specific audience. Like, I’m with Pampered Chef. My audience is foodies. So, “foodie moms” is my audience. If you’re in skincare, it could be “women over the age of 25 who are into skin wellness.” Don’t be afraid to boss it around.
Be patient as you’re learning the new tool, and be patient with the tool itself, because it’s also learning as you learn. ChatGPT can sometimes be glitchy and slow, but it’s free, so be patient with it, and use it as inspiration.
And don’t forget: This is not an “easy” button. Just like when your upline sends you a message to send out, people know when it’s a copy-and-paste. Your consumers have gotten savvy over the years. And, they’re going to know when a computer generated something versus when you did so.
For more of Kerry’s artificial intelligence tips and tricks, check out the freebie that she helped us compile at ModernDirectSeller.com/AI! It’s packed with content generating prompts that you can use with ChatGPT—or any other A.I. tool—to practice ways in which A.I. can support your business.
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