What recruits and employees should know about summer sales

A salesperson for Alterra talks with a client about pest control services. (Courtesy Alterra)
A salesperson for Alterra talks with a client about pest control services. (Courtesy Alterra)

The current presence of summer sales recruiters in Provo causes BYU students to consider braving the rejection accompanying an industry that promises financial freedom and stability.

BYU students need to be aware of summer sales recruiting red flags, contracts and how relationship statuses affect sales performance.

Recruiting red flags and what to look for

When deciding which company to work for, prospective salespeople must look for certain signs to increase chances of success and avoid not being paid in full.

For Tyson Guthrie of Pocatello, Idaho, the summer sales recruiting process was tricky to navigate for the first-time salesman.

“Know your skill level. Conduct a self-evaluation,” said Guthrie, 24, studying professional sales at LDS Business College, of the need to face the question of whether or not someone has sales ability. “Recruiters will make you out to be more than you really are.”

Jason Burton, a business major from Idaho Falls, Idaho, pointed out that some recruiters will present people with possibilities rather than hard data.

“They say numbers that don’t make any sense,” Burton said of recruiters sharing sales numbers of representatives. “Look for transparency. A red flag is they don’t back up what they’re saying with facts.”

Being too pushy and making personal jabs is a common warning sign in Burton’s experience as he prepares to sell for his second summer.

“They showed me all the sincerity in the world; then when they found that I was looking at other companies, they made personal jabs,” Burton said of going through a typical negotiation process with various companies. “They told me I had no substance in my decision making.”

Flashiness and colorful incentives can be another red flag for some, according to Matt Alexander of Powell, Wyo.

“The most flashy companies are the ones who pay the least,” said Alexander, 23, who is looking at selling for his third summer. “Avoid the big parties. The solid companies are not going to give you free things.”

Contracts, contracts, contracts

Legally binding agreements can be a prospective sales representatives best friend or worst enemy simply because he or she has signed it.

“Make sure you know the contract,” Alexander said, who has sold pest control for two summers, of the technicalities a summer sales contract may present. “Know the contingencies.”

A lack of understanding of a contract could be the difference between a few hundred dollars and tens of thousands of dollars for some.

Guthrie, who sold garbage service contracts on the East Coast for three summers, said that prospectives sales reps need to be aware they pay expenses, like gas and rent, out of their own pockets.

“They can lose $500 to a couple thousand. I believe that is the salesman’s fault,” Burton said of understanding technical details.

Prospective sales representatives must do their due diligence before fully committing.

“If a sales rep feels he got shafted, it’s a little on both sides. If that person took the contract seriously, they could’ve avoided it,” Burton added.

Understanding what a contract entails also includes how long a sales rep is expected to sell for, whether it be one month or four.

“Know how long you are going to stay,” said Alexander, a business management major. “Leaving a day early could cause you to forfeit your backend check. It leaves the rep to feel like they’re screwed.”

Alexander added that four months is longer than it sounds and that it’s best to never sell more than three months.

Single, dating, married and why status matters

For single sales representatives, a selling season will be an entirely different experience from that of representatives in a relationship.

“It was easy for me to focus because I didn’t have to make a lot of money for myself,” Guthrie said of his first season on the doors as a single man. “I didn’t have another mouth to feed.”

Sales success while in a dating relationship often comes down to the security and strength of the relationship, according to Shayla Robins, 21, who is preparing for her third summer on the doors.

“I was dating someone the first summer I went out and sold,” said Robins, an economics major from Logan. “If you’re in a secure relationship, you have positive support.”

Guthrie, who got married following his first summer, noted that his drive to succeed on the doors was different from when he was single.

“You have a different kind of motivation. Paying for two educations. Buying a car,” Guthrie said. “You change from selfish to selfless, but the job is the same.”

Making the change from dating to married comes with its perks, like coming home to your spouse and having a nice meal waiting for you, Robins added.

“I wouldn’t recommend a married man going out unless he did it when he was single and knows he can be good at it,” Guthrie said. “You have more to lose when you’re married.”

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