Going into my summer internship I did not realize that sales would be a large component of my work. When I discovered this, I immediately feared the worst; that I had signed up to be a glorified telemarketer for the summer. Luckily those fears were put to bed quickly. Nonetheless, I was expected to dedicate about an hour or two a day to forging relationships with prospective clients. Oftentimes we would send cards in the mail to people my boss had worked with inviting them to a dinner or coffee club. We would discuss events happening in the market and help clarify confusing topics. I loved these events. Greece, China, Oil; there were so many stories in the news that people wanted to talk about. My boss would always begin by explaining that news stations oftentimes emphasize whatever angle will get the most views and in return raise money from advertising. At these meetings there was an opportunity to get information about the world economy without it being diluted by ulterior motives.
Unfortunately, seats would not magically fill themselves with people. After an invitation was sent out to a prospect, it was my duty to follow up and persuade them to attend our events. This horrified me from day one. So many thoughts would flood through my head before each call or visit. “I’m not worthy to bother these people.” “No one is going to listen to me.” I started to mentally defeat myself before each contact. Eventually it got to the point where I would dread these sessions. I knew that I could excel at every other part of my internship, but would be enormously dissatisfied if my sales work wound up being a big failure. I began watching videos, reading articles, and talking to people about my uncertainties and fears. The more I did this, the more perspective I got on things.
The best advice I was given was that this feeling of horror I felt before each contact was like working out a muscle. If I kept on talking to people and forced myself to fake a good attitude, one day it would be seamless. I began perfecting my contacts. I would naturally make inflections where they were warranted. I would shrug off failure and embarrassment as if they were nothing. My success level began to rise dramatically. Eventually, it became a game. I would try to figure out how someone ticks and what was the best way to get them intrigued within the first 10 seconds of talking to them. What began as a black mark on my summer internship had become one of the more rewarding aspects.
With things winding down for the summer I’m really proud of myself for overcoming my fear of sales. If I’m being completely honest with myself, I feel certain that a career that heavily involves sales would not be for me. That being said, I think this experience will prove to be priceless wherever I wind up. The tough thing about sales is a person goes into each conversation with a high chance of failure. I didn’t realize it until this summer, but most of my endeavors are relatively certain to turn out the way I want them to. I feel certain I’ll pass my exams, graduate college, and get a job after school. While I’m very lucky to be able to say this, I’ve learned that only pursuing things that I’m relatively certain of severely limits my possibilities in life.
Whether it’s passing up a job I don’t think I’ll get or avoiding a girl I think is out of my league, I could be missing the most crucial moment of my life because I’m afraid of “no.” One thing I will not miss after this summer is the relentless phone calls and door knocks that I’ve grown accustomed to. That being said, I will hold with me the lesson I learned. The best things in life may come from something uncertain; all you have to do is ask.