My friend, who’s in commercial real estate, could not
have been more frustrated.
“I spend my entire day dealing with the prospective
clients,” he said. “Suddenly, two
or three months go by and I find myself in the office with absolutely no
pipeline, which means I have to get on the phone and make calls.”
“You don’t have an inside sales team prospecting for
you?” I asked.
Management thinks it’s our
job to prospect.”
“Well, why not bring in some college interns? They’re looking for hands-on experience
and credits and you don’t have to pay them. It’s a win win situation.”
This is an ideal time for sales managers to ramp up
on prospecting and increase productivity.
School’s out, and, in an economy where many college graduates will
struggle to find employment, what better time for employers to say, “Don’t
drive your parents crazy sitting at home.
Be productive. Come work
for us and gain valuable experience.”?
The upside is enormous. Most college students are computer savvy, and it’s highly
unlikely that they don’t know the programs you’re using at work. In fact, they may know the programs
better than you do. Another big
plus is that they can navigate the internet like nobody’s business (they’ve
grown up on it!) which is one of the keys to successful prospecting. In short, college interns will save you
time and money. The process for
learning how to prospect is relatively short as well. Here’s what to consider when hiring and training interns.
Hire interns who are extremely upbeat (drama majors
are a good fit) and are fearless when it comes to cold calling. A shy and diffident intern won’t cut
it, not when it comes to sales.
Are they hungry? Are they
genuinely curious about your business?
These are questions you’ll need to ask as well.
Keep the mission simple. Whether they’re calling companies to find key decision
makers or using the internet, don’t bog them down with too much
information. Have Q & A and
Criteria sheets prepared for them so they’re comfortable with the process.
Create a friendly environment. Remember these are college kids so keep
it on the light side and tell them to enjoy themselves. Make yourself readily available to answer
their questions. Offer incentives
Ask them for their opinions on what’s working and
what’s not. An outsider’s view can
be very beneficial in helping improve the workplace. Just because they’re young and inexperience doesn’t mean
they don’t have good ideas. Don’t
blow this opportunity. Ask.
your salespeople are too busy to drum up new business because they’re chasing
down decision makers, then it’s time to bring in the young guns, because down
the road, in the not so distant future, you may hire them. From young guns to top guns, it can
very well happen.