The secret is out, a once niche and regional industry of direct sales has lifted itself into the spotlight across a multitude of services. In 2022 you would have to look far and wide to find an individual who has not had someone knock on their door, or been approached by someone about doing summer sales. The industry is thriving and taking the companies who adapted to it to stages of growth that are hard to replicate with traditional marketing. Whether it be Pest Control, Solar, Security, Meat, Text Books, etc... The summer sales industry is a modern-day gold rush for company expansion and growth.
All that being said though, the glitz and glamour, and sometimes unethical practices of the industry can give it a bad reputation. Many times when college students are given an opportunity to learn about the industry they are turned off by the “too good to be true” complex some companies and hiring managers can portray. It’s often a mixture of fancy cars, trips, and over promised income, mixed with a cult-like representation of their companies.
While the money can be appealing to college students drowning in student debt and born into a showboat social media culture, I am here to talk about the real benefits of such a thriving industry. These benefits are split into two main categories that I have seen the most improvement in not only myself but also the members I've had the honor of working with throughout my organization.
The Under-taught Art of Sales in Higher Education
Throughout my career in sales and coaching, something that has become clear to me is the demand for capable and educated sales professionals. The motor of almost every for-profit business, at the end of the day, is sales. In many industries in the corporate world, an entry-level job either requires sales experience or is essentially a sales position. In fact, according to the Sales Education Foundation, 50% of college graduates, 60% of business majors, and 88% of marketing majors hold their entry-level role in a sales position. It is a craft that businesses know their employees must be well versed in; even if an individual is not in direct contact with customers, clients, vendors, or third parties they are still participating in situations that require strong interpersonal skills in the workplace.
So that begs the question if sales and interpersonal skills are so important in today’s business world, why is the subject not taught more prominently in higher education? According to memoryBlue, a Sales Development Consulting Firm: as of 2018, only 120 colleges and universities in the United States offer a major in sales. With over 4000 colleges and universities nationwide, only 3% of them offer a concentrated education in sales.
This is where Summer Sales programs come into play and benefit thousands of students nationwide. Although programs throughout the country have no relation to higher education outside of internship credit and school partnerships, Summer Sales programs are designed to allow students to have an off-the-book practical sales major experience. Tangible sales numbers coupled with skills and experience, help craft a unique and powerful resume for young professionals entering the workforce.
Becoming a Mental Warrior
Bottom Line: Summer Sales is Hard. It is meant to push you out of your comfort zone, expose you to non-stop rejection, and challenge your emotional intelligence every single day. After it’s all said and done, those newfound skills and challenges from that tumultuous grind are what you benefit from the most from summer sales.
Outside of military service and organized sports, opportunities designed to build mental toughness by forced adaptation and everyday functioning in a stretch zone are few and far between for young adults. As rough as this sounds, once one understands the dynamics of your own comfort and stretch zones, a plan to advance one's mental fortitude can become visible and achievable.
Building the muscle of the mind, in essence, is much like building the practical muscles of the body. You can go into the gym every day and lift the same weight, at the same rep count, over and over, but your body and those conditions will put an eventual cap on your muscle growth. To build muscle or endurance, one must up the weight, amount of reps, or time spent exercising over time. What you are doing here is taking your body out of its comfort zone; by tearing down muscle fibers through legitimate effort, you will be rewarded with new muscle growth.
Now let's look at this from a cerebral perspective: every time you get rejected, rejection gets easier. Every time you talk to a stranger on a sales call, the conversation gets easier. Every time you go the extra mile to get one last sale for the day, working above and beyond gets easier. As much as it might feel like your brain, ego and confidence are being torn, remember that this is genetically how human beings level up.
Summer Sales has been a life-changing experience not only for me but for hundreds of others I have seen complete a program. If you have the opportunity to work with a company that offers a summer sales program, I would strongly recommend taking the challenge.
The skills and friends you gain will carry over into your everyday life, and give you a better perspective of your future and the business world. If you are committed to a Summer Sales program, come prepared and hungry - drop your pride and ego and be coachable, but more importantly have fun with it!