My STEP Signature Project was a ten week sales internship with Impact Networking in Los Angeles, California. Impact is a Chicago-based business automation software company and I worked in their first office on the west coast. My daily responsibilities included walking in cold to dozens of businesses to gain new business, setting first appointments, and cold calling prospects.
This project allowed me to experience the real, working, adult world and everything that comes with it. It completely widened my perspective for the way of the world and how the business world works. It made me realize you really have to be able to differentiate yourself from others if you want any chance at achieving substantial success. Do more than average, come early, stay late, and be the best possible version of yourself you can be.
Walking in cold to dozens of businesses conditioned me to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. I chose this internship across the country because I wanted to completely leave my comfort zone and try out living in the city that fascinated me the most as a child. Additionally, my daily tasks had me out pitching people I didn’t know every day. When I started out, I was scared to walk into any door. I didn’t know what to expect and would immediately begin overthinking. By the end of my internship, I was able to go through a whole building confidently and make a game of it. I would alter my talk tack, experiment with different methods, and try and make people laugh. I was excited to go to work every day because it was work with a purpose. Every single day was an opportunity to get better, take more risks, alter your plans, and set the next big appointment.
One of my most memorable experiences from my internship was an appointment that I got to sit in on. The client that the sales rep and I were meeting with pointed at me and said, “I remember you walking in here and you seemed very nice. I’ve had other vendors calling me but because we spoke briefly in person and I liked you, I want to give you guys a chance.” The client actually kept the card I dropped off and called us a month later, which is extremely rare in sales. The meeting went very well and this account will likely turn into a six-figure deal. Knowing that the good impression I left on someone could translate into a massive deal is a great feeling.
The relationships I built with my sales manager and the sales reps really helped shift my perspective and strengthen my skills. These guys were very straight forward and never sugar-coated anything, which is vital for achieving results. They encouraged me to just go for it, to create crazier goals, and to push myself every day. Their shared thought-process was, “what is the worst possible scenario?” Most of the time, that worst case scenario was someone just telling you to leave, then you were onto the next door. My team pushed me, helped me, and each rep gave different pointers for success. Because of them, my confidence has been boosted, my people skills have improved, and I’m now able to better place myself in the shoes of others.
Impact put on a competition between all the interns across all seven branches. There were sixteen of us, and every week our number of phone calls, cold calls, and set appointments were tracked. Every Monday, the list would come out with everyone’s numbers and the top intern. At first, I didn’t like this because I just wanted to focus on myself. However, as the weeks went on, this motivated me to push harder and served as a reminder as to what is possible for someone else in my position. Sure enough, my standings by the end of the summer were considerably higher than I ever thought they would be in the beginning.
This internship in Los Angeles has been the most transformative learning experience of my life. It showed me exactly how hard I need to work to achieve my dreams and goals. Los Angeles is full of heavy-hitting entrepreneurs and businesspeople, and I was able to connect and learn from some of the best in my time there. This experience threw me out of my comfort zone each and every day, which this led to unbelievable growth. My people skills have improved, my confidence has been boosted, and my desire to learn the sales game has never been stronger. This experience has assured that Los Angeles is the place for me, and sales is the career that is going to allow me to build the skills necessary to create the success I want to have for myself.