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Consultant Al Simon Explains How Peachtree Corners Businesses Can Leverage AI



Al Simon has a message for businesses: if you’re not using AI, you’re as far behind technology as using candlelight instead of electricity.
Sales consultant Al Simon // Photos by Tracey Rice

Al Simon has a simple message for business owners: if you’re not using AI, you’re about as far behind technology as if you’re using candlelight instead of electricity.

This was the core message of his talk at the January Peachtree Corners Business Association’s After-Hours Speaker Series. As a consultant for sales management with Sandler by Neuberger, Simon focuses on small to medium businesses with sales teams of 35 members or less and revenues up to $200 million.

He works with management teams and trains salespeople to improve sales revenue, gross profit margins, and other business metrics.

“Overall, it helps people thrive in their sales and sales management roles,” he said.

His topic, artificial intelligence for selling, involves teaching managers how to use AI to gather and interpret data. A simple Google search uses artificial intelligence, he said, but he also teaches salespeople how to use that information to improve their skills and processes.

Boosting sales enablement

Simon explained that AI could be used for pre-call planning. It’s not difficult to prompt a generative AI program to give you what you need.

A sample query for ChatGPT could be: “I’m a sales rep in the plastics manufacturing industry, and my prospect is an injection molding manufacturer. What are the three best questions I can ask their plant manager?

He emphasized that when prompting the AI, it’s vital to include the role you’re playing, the role of the people you’ll be meeting with and the challenge at hand.

“A prompt that has those components in it will be very effective in terms of coming back with three specific questions to ask,” he said. “It’s pretty cool.”

The biggest advantage of using AI is saving time, he said.

Even though the pre-call planning questioning strategies are important for sales reps, they should also gather information that they can use based on the prospect organization itself.

“I did one for a client of mine, a nonprofit, and … I asked the prompter how this organization can get revenue?” Simon said. “I got a great response —five or six bullet points on exactly how they get the revenue stream.”

He explained that the information is available in other ways, but by using AI, you can save the time it would take to weed through hundreds of pages of documents and reference materials.

“It’s a great way to quickly and efficiently and in a usable way get pretty complex information,” he said. “Back in the day, I hated searching through all those public documents trying to find information.”

Sales management uses for AI

On the sales management or even executive leadership side, Simon said there are many tools that gather metrics and interpret data. He mentioned a platform called Gong that uncovers what’s happening in customer conversations so revenue teams can do more of what’s working and set themselves apart from the competition.

“It analyzes a sales call by looking at how many questions you asked, how much talking you did and how much talking the client did,” said Simon. “You then start to build a database of your sales calls. You’ll be able to see trends.”

The manager can then help the employee ask enough questions or ask the right questions that are important to the sales call.

“Those kinds of things come out of a tool like that,” he said.

He also recommends utilizing a platform that measures close rates for salespeople.

“How often you win deals when you’re not talking to the main decision maker is important data,” he said. “If you’ve got someone who is consistently not calling high enough, so they’re always presenting proposals to a recommender who then has to take the proposal to their boss, it will decrease your close rate.”

Management can review the data and give the salesperson tips on connecting with people higher in the company.

At the end of the day, Simon said those who embrace AI technology will have a leg up on the competition because they are saving time and making better use of resources.

“The whole reason for these management tools is to coach the reps to be more effective,” said Simon.

One of the most valuable investments a business has is in its people, and making them better – even incrementally – can have a significant impact on business, he added. Even if the business is so small that the owner is the primary salesperson, there’s a lot to learn from AI.

Arlinda Smith Broady is part of the Boomerang Generation of Blacks that moved back to the South after their ancestors moved North. With approximately three decades of journalism experience (she doesn't look it), she's worked in tiny, minority-based newsrooms to major metropolitans. At every endeavor she brings professionalism, passion, pluck, and the desire to spread the news to the people.

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Taste of Peachtree Corners: PCBA Showcases Local Restaurants



Over the past 12 years, the PCBA has awarded 19 scholarships and donated more than $156,000+ back to the Peachtree Corners community.
Photos by Anna del Villar

The Taste of Peachtree Corners has been in the works for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic put many key events on hold for the Peachtree Corners Business Association (PCBA).

But luckily this year, the dedicated staff of volunteers successfully executed a memorable event and introduced a lot of local business owners to their neighboring restaurants and caterers.

As I walked up to the Community Chest Room at Peachtree Corners City Hall on June 27, there was a line outside the door. I later found out that over 100 people had registered to attend the event. I got checked in quickly and was faced with a “passport” of 10 Peachtree Corners restaurants serving everything from high-end bakery items to good old-fashioned barbecue, and modern twists on seafood and American cuisines.

Let’s talk about the food

The idea was to visit all 10 restaurants and collect stars while trying samples and small plates. My first stop was Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, and they had my favorite – homemade chips and queso. The queso was smoky and mildly spicy with a great depth of flavor. What a great start. Next up was Chopt. Creative Salad Co. I had never heard of this restaurant before, but they blew me away with a perfect amuse-bouche of cherry tomato, pesto, mozzarella, and olive oil. These guys understand simple and fresh Mediterranean flavors.

The folks from Marlow’s Tavern were also on-site serving shrimp and grits with jalapeno, spinach and tomato beurre blanc. This is definitely the style of elevated food I’ve come to expect from Marlow’s. And as a nice touch, they prepared a refreshing blueberry cocktail.

Another familiar face was set up on the other side of the room. J.R.’s Log House Restaurant served southern favorites like pulled pork sliders, baked beans and mac n’ cheese. I couldn’t pass this one up. The pulled pork was tender, tangy and saucy. Exactly what I want from a barbecue. Lazy Dog’s table really impressed me with its presentation. The tuna cup with rice, avocado and chili with chips on the side, was a real stunner.

Moe’s Southwest Grill was also on-site handing out tasty tequila lime chicken with rice, avocado, and black beans. This super hearty and comforting entrée was followed by a seafood course from PECHE Modern Coastal. Crab cakes with a croissant pinwheel, roasted garlic and lemon aioli and arugula were on the menu and the flavor combinations were simply fantastic.

PECHE’s sister restaurant STAGE Kitchen & Bar was next door offering a tuna and salmon tostada with avocado, eel sauce, spicy mayo, and cilantro. This was easily one of my favorite bites of the night. The tostada was crunchy and light with clean and bright flavors. No kidding, I could probably eat this every day for lunch.

I moved on the Smoke’s Family Catering and owner Phillip Smoke had whipped up enough barbecue to feed an army.  I had the pleasure of trying the smoked chicken with potato salad and it was the perfect pairing. Last but not least: dessert. I capped off the evening with a beautiful chocolate ganache-filled croissant with perfect lamination and flaky texture.

The inspiration behind the event

With a (very) full stomach, I caught up with PCBA President Lisa Proctor to talk about the event.

“We knew that COVID was really hard on a lot of our restaurants to get people back in,” said Proctor. “We wanted to do it in June because we wanted to celebrate our military. Everybody remembers them maybe on Memorial Day or different things, but June is the 80th anniversary of D-Day.”

“The military is always close to our heart,” she added. “We’re also very proud of our restaurants. They all have gone above and beyond.”

Tonight, the PCBA was honoring the Armed Forces and its brave veterans while bestowing two donation checks to very worthy causes.

The first check for $500 went to Folds of Honor. Since 2007, Folds of Honor has provided life-changing scholarships to the spouses and children of America’s fallen or disabled military. And now, their mission expands to the families of America’s first responders.

The second check for $500 was given to Light Up the Corners, a 501(c)(3) volunteer organization with an annual glowing, flashing, blinking, shining, nighttime running party and fundraiser in one.  All proceeds from the event go to benefit less fortunate children and families in the Peachtree Corners community who are struggling by giving them the chance to participate in life-enhancing programs and activities at the Fowler YMCA.

Over the past 12 years, the PCBA has awarded 19 scholarships and donated more than $156,000+ back to the Peachtree Corners community.

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Local Resident Opens AtWork Location in Peachtree Corners



AtWork, one of nation’s leading staffing franchises, has opened its third Metro Atlanta location in Peachtree Corners, Georgia at 6185 Buford Highway, Suite E-100.

AtWork Peachtree Corners is locally-owned by Kamal Bhatia, an immigrant from India with decades of experience in hospitality and as the Senior Vice President of Operations of Atlanta-based Action Bartending School.

AtWork, one of nation’s leading staffing franchises, has opened its third Metro Atlanta location in Peachtree Corners.
Kamal Bhatia

“There is an incredible need for AtWork’s services in Peachtree Corners,” said Bhatia. “Since migrating here in 1996, I’ve witnessed Atlanta evolve and sprout new communities north of the city, including my own. Peachtree Corners has become a hub for thriving businesses, and my goal with this location is to be a key resource between companies and job seekers to support the continued growth of our local economy.”

Bhatia’s son and daughter will assist him in the business.

“This is an opportunity to create a legacy company to ensure our community is supported for generations to come,” he said.

For more than three decades, AtWork’s mission has been to connect people with jobs and jobs with people. With more than 100 locations nationwide, AtWork puts nearly 40,000 individuals to work each year in administrative, light-industrial, accounting and finance, hospitality, IT and management-level positions at some of the nation’s largest and most recognizable companies.

“We’re proud to open our doors in Peachtree Corners and provide a common place for both job seekers and growing businesses to turn for staffing solutions,” said Jason Leverant, President and COO of AtWork.

“AtWork will serve as a key resource to help employees thrive, businesses prosper and communities flourish. Kamal is the perfect partner to champion our mission and be a servant leader in her local community,” he added.

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Business and Birdies: PCBA to Host PGA Tour Championship Exec.



Alex Urban, Executive Director of the TOUR Championship in Atlanta

Don’t miss your chance to connect and learn at the Peachtree Corners Business Association‘s (PCBA) After Hours Speaker Series. Mark your calendars for Thursday, July 25 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and head to the Hilton Atlanta Northeast (5993 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092).

This event features guest speaker Alex Urban, Executive Director of the TOUR Championship in Atlanta. Urban brings more than just golf expertise to the table. He is a graduate of Clemson and UGA with a background in communications and marketing, and he’s passionate about using his skills for social good.

His talk, “Stewarding to Serve: How Leaders Can Leverage Resources for Community Impact,” promises valuable insights for current or aspiring business leaders.

Plus, the PCBA will be presenting a donation to Paint Gwinnett Pink, a local breast cancer charity making a real difference.

Ticket prices range from $25 for early bird members to $40 for guests.

Register today to secure your spot!

And click here for more PCBA news.

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