College interns are great. They are aggressive
in their learning, they want to please a potential future employer, and they
generally bring a sense of enthusiasm into the workplace. The downside,
however, is that they’re already headed in a specific career direction. How can
we influence a future generation of sales people?
Being in a position to mentor young
adults does not have to start with college interns. Oftentimes high school
students are assigned class projects to “job shadow” and these opportunities
can be a launch pad for some to explore careers in sales. These bright students
are seeking opportunities to learn about a company, a career path, or a certain
industry. They are open minded and want to learn. They want to be challenged.
They want their preconceived ideas about sales to be flipped upside down. They just
don’t know it yet.
I recently hosted a young lady, a
soon-to-be high school senior, at my office for two days. Her parents are
friends, mom being a doctor and dad an attorney. Her parents have instilled
in her their own desire for learning. She is smart and personable. But, she has
already stated that she does not have an interest in following her parents
career choices. So, what about sales?
When Ann Marie first talked with me she
had a notion that professional sales was more like retail or automotive. She
lacked the understanding that sales took place in a variety of verticals from
pharmaceutical to finance to technology. When I received a thank you note, she
highlighted a few points that she learned: sales requires constant continuing
education; sales requires professional character and a positive demeanor; sales
is not easy.
Having an opportunity to be influential on
a young adult while guiding them toward a career in sales is rewarding. I had a
few individuals do this for me, keeping me from law school many years ago, and I am extremely grateful to this day. When asked to be a mentor or to have someone shadow you,