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Want to Get The Most Out of AI? Start Treating AI Like Your Human Employees

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Want to Get The Most Out of AI? Start Treating AI Like Your Human Employees

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Our new AI tools and copilots have made some royal blunders. They’ve doled out bad advice with supreme confidence, they’ve gotten talked into shady deals, they’ve made things weird and turned incredibly rude. Slip-ups are rare, of course, but when they happen the internet goes to town. We love to dismiss a wayward AI.

But that’s a huge mistake.

The impulse is, in part, a result of being threatened by AI. But I think it also exposes a profound misunderstanding: We still think of AI agents as machines that aren’t capable of real growth and improvement the way that human employees are. So, we mock their mistakes — and point out their faults as though they were Roombas trapped in a corner.

In truth, however, we’ve reached a major inflection point. Today’s AI agents aren’t static. They can grow and learn if we take the time to coach them. What’s more, every company already has the power to coach AI agents themselves.

You don’t need a PhD in machine learning. In fact, I’ve met hundreds of AI agent managers who’ve never written a line of code. What they do know is how people work and how humans are managed best. And they understand that those principles now apply to AI agents, too.

Related: Entrepreneurs Are Rushing to Use AI. Here Are 8 Questions You Should Ask First.

The golden rule of managing people (and AI)

The best managers know that human error is a constant, necessary part of human learning. For an employee to truly realize their potential, they need to be given the freedom to push boundaries, experiment and even fail. Expecting a new employee to never falter isn’t simply unrealistic — it’s also unproductive. Great managers know that messing up and growth go hand in hand.

Meanwhile, exceptional managers know that it isn’t always the employee who needs to be corrected, either. It’s often the manager’s method of onboarding, training or providing feedback that needs adjustment. Large companies lose tens of millions of dollars because employees misunderstand policies or processes. However, high-performing managers don’t automatically point the finger; instead, they use those errors as a jumping-off point for introspection and improvement.

The same principles now apply when working with AI agents. They don’t arrive as finished products. Rather (just like humans), they need onboarding and a chance to learn about their new jobs. They need feedback. They need mentoring. In short, managers are discovering that AI agents need the same kind of grace that is already given to human employees.

Seizing on AI’s “teachable moments”

Say you work at a bank and you’re onboarding an AI customer service agent. You’ve uploaded to the agent every document that your human employees use to learn about company policy and procedures (those were read and digested in moments.) Company blogs and changing product details can all be tapped into the AI, too, by simply providing relevant URLs.

Then, once the AI agent is ready to start working with customers, it finally has a chance to make its first mistake. And you have a chance to make it better.

An explanation about how to open a new checking account, for instance, might be too long-winded for customers looking for a quick answer. This isn’t a fatal flaw. It’s a teachable moment. Giving direct feedback — “shorter responses, please” — translates to instant, visible improvement.

Every reaction from the agent can be shaped and crafted, with benefits that add up quickly over time. I’ve seen managers who invest time in coaching their AI employees turn an eager “intern” into a seasoned pro in a matter of months.

The real perspective shift here comes down to recognizing these agents for what they are: Fallible but eager employees, raring to learn if we give them a chance.

What’s gained by coaching AI past its mistakes

The benefits of this mind shift are manifold. In customer service, the enormous amount of time and money spent training human agents typically leads to limited returns. Industry-wide, we lose nearly half of those hires every year. It’s a sieve, with company resources flowing down the drain.

By contrast, AI agents aren’t going anywhere. Every ounce of effort poured into an AI agent’s training goes on producing returns in perpetuity. What’s more, those returns rapidly scale — a VP at Wealthsimple, a leading online investment platform, recently estimated that her AI Agent delivered the productivity of ten full-time human agents. That, by the way, allows those humans to focus on concierge experiences that are more complex and still require the human touch.

We already know that the quality management of humans is directly correlated to a higher market cap. Quality management of AI agents promises an even more positive effect. AI agents never forget and never leave, allowing management efforts to be scaled and shared.

But the upside extends beyond capable AI agents. Because AI needs human management and feedback in order to succeed, it doesn’t end up just taking jobs — but creating new, and often better, ones. I’ve seen how frontline customer service workers have taken on roles managing AI, giving them a renewed sense of ownership in the company.

Indeed, managers who learn to coach AI agents are making themselves indispensable. They’ve learned to use a tool that can boost productivity in every other department in their company.

Related: You Can Fear It and Still Use It — Why Are So Many American Workers Shy About AI?

A future where we’re all managers

Nor is this change limited to a select few roles. From here on out, just about everybody is going to be an AI manager. We’ll all have AI agents working for us, upping our productivity. And that means this mind-shift I’m describing — thinking about AI agents as teachable, ever-evolving co-workers — will be discussed far beyond the C-suite.

As a new paradigm sets in, agents will become precisely as intelligent as we, collectively, bother to make them.

It starts by extending to AI agents the same courtesy that we extend to humans — understanding that everybody (and every bot) makes mistakes. Then, we do what great managers have always done: coach, train and remove obstacles. They are learning machines, after all, just waiting for the next lesson that lets them leap forward again. And that’s where we come in.

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Barbara Corcoran Says All Good Leaders Have This 1 Quality

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Barbara Corcoran Says All Good Leaders Have This 1 Quality

Corcoran Group founder and “Shark Tank” star Barbara Corcoran knows how to run a tight ship — but she also knows when to relinquish control.

The 75-year-old real estate pioneer and entrepreneur took to Instagram on Wednesday to share advice on hiring and delegating.

Related: Barbara Corcoran: All ‘Really Successful Entrepreneurs’ Do This

First, she says, embrace your inner “control freak” — it’s part of the job.

“Anybody who’s a good boss, I’ve learned, is a control freak. It just comes with the territory, and control freaks have a heck of a hard time delegating,” Corcoran explained. “They’re the last people who want to give away what they do so perfectly.”

Corcoran says in order for your business to grow, though, it’s important to find someone who can do the job 80% as well as you can. If you find a candidate who can do that, invest in them to “build your business and move it ahead.”

Corcoran said she goes through a three-question litmus test before hiring someone to create a strong pool of employees.

Related: Barbara Corcoran Issues Statement, Warning on NAR Settlement

“I ask myself, ‘Are they happy? Do they work hard? Are they talented people in one regard or another?’ And if they are, I hire them, and I delegate something to them that’s above their pay grade, above their talent pool, so they have to reach and show me how good they are, and that’s how you develop talent,” she said.

“It’s not just a matter of delegating, it’s a matter of developing talent, and then delegating to the talent,” she added.

Corcoran’s net worth is an estimated $400 million.



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Beware of These Risky Sales Tactics That Are Doomed to Fail or Backfire

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Beware of These Risky Sales Tactics That Are Doomed to Fail or Backfire

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

True story: Recently, my daughter was at a major brand car dealership with her boyfriend, intending to purchase a pre-owned car. Note I made up the numbers for the sake of my daughter’s financial privacy, but the takeaways are still the same.

The dealership asked for, let’s say, $26,000 “all in” for the car, but my daughter had already decided that $20,000 was the most she would pay. There was a lot of ground to cover to actually make a deal happen. After some discussion, the salesperson did his best, dropping the price to $25,000. But that still left a big gap, so he told her, “Let me go check with my manager and see if he has any ideas.”

After five minutes, the salesperson and his manager entered the room together. The manager explained that at $25,000, this was a great price; it was already well below their MSRP, and the deal was “very thin” as it was for him. He then used the famous line, “Okay, here’s what I’m going to do to get you into this car today.” The manager pulled out a piece of paper with revised numbers that showed his price now at $23,995. He explained to my daughter that this was the absolute best possible price. He was “all in;” this was his “best offer,” and he told her to take it or leave it. For the grand finale — keeping in mind that this is a 100% true story — the manager took out a big red ink stamp and smacked it down on the paper. The stamp read “FINAL” in bold red ink. $23,995. FINAL.

My daughter responded, “Thanks, but I’m sorry; it looks like it’s not going to work out.” Without hesitation, he immediately blurted out, “How about $22,500?”

When my daughter told me the story, I had a wonderful laugh. After the big show, the manager held his price for a full six seconds. And the idea of the red final stamp just made the story even better. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized there’s actually quite a lot to unpack here regarding sales tactics, psychology and effectiveness.

Related: 3 Unconventional Sales Tactics That Will Close More Deals

I’m not in the car business, and I’ve never sold cars, but I can see some familiar sales tactics (and mistakes) playing out here:

Playing the waiting game

All this went down after my daughter had spent hours on the lot. It was getting late in the day on a Saturday, and the manager knew she was hoping to get it done. At some level, the manager was wearing her down and playing out the clock, playing the “waiting game.” It didn’t work in this case, but often, this notion of using time as a weapon can be very effective. Utilizing time as a strategic element in the negotiation process can be effective, but it must be used carefully and respectfully. Pushing too hard on time constraints can backfire.

Closing the deal by changing the sales lineup

When the salesperson reached his personal negotiation line or felt he would lose her, he brought in his manager. In addition to adding some time to the clock, this step created a new opportunity for a new dynamic. The dealership never really wants a potential buyer to walk out the door, so if one person doesn’t get the job done, it’s always worth trying someone else. Involving a manager or company administrator in the negotiation process can create new dynamics and opportunities for closing a deal.

Proposing your best and final offer

Although I laughed hysterically when I heard about the red stamp, I soon realized it was actually a smart move. Once upon a time, I’m guessing some sales and marketing people sat in a room, and someone said, “I have an idea — let’s make a red stamp that says final and use that during negotiations.” Everyone probably laughed, and they would have said, “No, I’m serious!” And then everyone thought about it and agreed, as funny of an idea as it was, it actually made sense. It’s one thing to tell someone something verbally, but when it’s “official” and in red ink on paper, it’s human nature to believe it and take it as indisputable. Using psychological sales tactics to create a Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) effect, such as a “Final Offer” stamp, can be effective in conveying seriousness and finality, but you have to honor your word, or you will likely lose credibility.

All the tactics I outlined above were smart, but here’s where I think the dealership dropped the ball:

Trying a shutdown move too soon

The manager came in cold, and rather than take some time (again, time is on their side) to talk about the value, create some alignment, and build some rapport, he went straight for the kill. That tactic may work, but I felt it was too aggressive. He would have been better off discussing the pain points and goals concerning the product, coming up with some extra incentives, etc. Understanding the customer’s needs, discussing the product’s value and building rapport and trust can be crucial in successful sales.

Related: How to Master Your Sales Success — Why Every Answer and Rejection Matters

Putting an out-of-reach offer on the table

The manager decided to go for the close in a fairly aggressive way. In some cases, that tactic makes sense. But he played it all wrong with the numbers. He knew they were a full $5,000 or 20% off, and he decided to put it all on the line at $23,995. Obviously, given how fast he dropped another thousand, he had plenty more room. If he was going for the hard close and “FINAL” offer, he should have made it more compelling. By putting on the big show and then immediately dropping his price, he completely lost credibility and lowered the odds of closing. In this case, he lost my daughter’s trust and the sale. In negotiation, it’s important to understand the other party’s budget and limits before making an offer. Being aware of their constraints will increase the likelihood of closing a deal.

Saying your offer is “final” when it’s not

If you offer something of value at a good price and tell them it’s “final” (which I personally don’t recommend as a sales tactic), then stand by it and mean it. Your word has to mean something. Once he realized his “final” price was not going to work, rather than lower it, he could have thrown in some additional valuable incentive, perhaps some amount of free service or some kind of special financing. If a “final offer” is presented, standing by it as your final word is essential. If adjustments are needed, they should include additional incentives or value to maintain trust and credibility.

Sales is an art, no doubt about that. A great salesperson builds a relationship, asks questions and listens, understands the client’s pain points, is honest and transparent, and operates with integrity. Of course, strategies, techniques, incentives, and a lot of human emotion and psychology are at play, but all of them can happen successfully without losing your credibility.

So, the overall moral of my story? Choose wisely before using the big red stamp!

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Why Morgan Stanley Analysts Doubled Apple iPhone Predictions

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Why Morgan Stanley Analysts Doubled Apple iPhone Predictions

Apple entered the AI game last month with Apple Intelligence, a suite of new features designed to bring AI straight to iPhone, iPad, and Mac screens. Apple’s AI has a catch though: it only works on the newest iPhones and it could be the reason why millions of iPhone users with older models seriously think about upgrading, say Morgan Stanley analysts.

Morgan Stanley analysts named Apple a top-pick stock on Monday, after which Apple shares jumped to an all-time high, per Bloomberg. Apple Intelligence is a “clear catalyst” for iPhone upgrades and will enable Apple to sell nearly half a billion iPhones in the next two years, analyst Eric Woodring stated.

Apple Intelligence is expected to come out this fall for the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max — older iPhones will not have access to Apple’s AI. The update offers AI-generated emojis, a smarter Siri, and direct access to ChatGPT, though some anticipated Siri AI upgrades may arrive next year.

Related: Apple Is Expanding What The iPhone Can Do. Here’s What’s Changing Right Away.

“We believe that there is record level of pent-up demand entering the iPhone 16 cycle later this year,” Woodring noted, adding that Apple Intelligence delivers “unique-to-the-Apple-ecosystem” value.

Morgan Stanley previously forecasted that Apple would sell around 230 million iPhones in the same time frame, making the new prediction more than double the previous one.

Apple is also uniquely positioned to be the AI “base camp” for its customers, “just as it has done for digital content (iPod) and social media (iPhone),” wrote Morgan Stanley analyst Ananda Baruah.

Apple CEO Tim Cook waves to customers before they enter Apple’s 5th Avenue store. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Other analysts at different firms have made similar predictions. Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives told Reuters in June that more than 15% of existing iPhone users could buy the new iPhone Apple is expected to release this fall.

Related: Apple Labels These 3 Iconic Products ‘Vintage,’ and Soon-to-Be ‘Obsolete’

Ives estimated that 270 million iPhone users have not bought a new model in the past four years.

More than half of Apple’s overall revenue in the second quarter of 2024 came from iPhones; Apple has the majority of the market share for smartphones in the U.S.

At the time of writing, Apple was the largest company in the world with a $3.584 trillion market cap. Microsoft, Nvidia, Google, and Amazon followed.

Related: Warren Buffett Had to Work From His iPhone After Telephone Lines Went Down at Berkshire Hathaway: ‘I’m Glad We Didn’t Sell All of Our Apple’

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