Sales companies set up in Utah to recruit students, returned missionaries

Courtney Olsen sells in Texas. Most summer sales companies send their representatives out of state to sell products door to door. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Olsen)

Summer sales is a popular job for students in Utah, as sales companies like to recruit both college students and returned missionaries.

Andrew Cates is currently selling in Iowa as an employee for Gen Marketing.

“It’s just an amazing opportunity that you just can’t find anywhere else,” Cates said.

According to him, sales is an ideal fit for students no matter stage of life they are in.

“I don’t know a job that you can just come off your mission or in between school that you can make tens of thousands, up to like hundreds of thousands of dollars just in such a short period of time,” he said.

Cates appreciates how sales is a good “stepping stone” for people who want to be entrepreneurs, start businesses or simply save money.

Cates, along with other representatives, have said that sales companies set up their headquarters in Utah college towns with the purpose of recruiting the young adult community.

Previous summer salesman Alexander Reese worked for Moxie Pest Control for three summers in a row.

“(The companies) chose Provo specifically because there’s so many returned missionaries, and RMs are a target for people that do summer sales,” Reese said.

Megan Smith, a BYU nursing student and former Gen Marketing sales representative, said hearing about summer sales outside of Utah is rare.

“I haven’t really heard of anyone doing it. But I also think it’s not advertised as much,” Smith said. According to Smith, summer sales recruiters advertise more in Utah than other states specifically to target returned missionaries.

Reese said experiences on his mission gave him confidence that would later be beneficial to his sales career. 

“If I hadn’t gone on a mission, I don’t think I would have done summer sales,” Reese said.

According to Cates, summer sales is a naturally good fit for returned missionaries as it mirrors some aspects of a mission, such as working hard, talking to people every day and sometimes experiencing rejection. Reese said rejection is the number one reason why a person might not finish out a summer. 

Both former and current representatives said rejection is just one of the several difficult aspects to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to spend the summer selling door to door.

“I do not regret doing sales … however, I did not realize how hard it was going to be when I first got myself into it,” Reese said. “You’re knocking day in and day out every single day … at least eight hours a day, if not longer.”

Reese also cautions against being recruited by a company that is not committed to your success.

Aitana Risher and her husband Luke pose for a picture before starting their work day. The couple sells Radix Solar in California. (Photo courtesy of Aitana Risher)

“A lot of managers will go out there and try to recruit people … because the managers are going to make money off of that person no matter what, no matter how good or bad they do,” Reese said. “So you have to be very mindful of the person that is recruiting you … make sure they’re not just in it for the money.”

According to Aitana Risher, a BYU psychology student and summer saleswoman in California, finding a company you trust is the most important thing to do about when considering becoming a sales representative.

After a stressful and difficult experience last summer, Risher and her husband decided to prioritize looking for a company they were sure about. According to the couple, the best way to find a trustworthy company is to talk to unbiased friends with experience, rather than speaking to recruiters. 

“We talked to like five or six different companies that our friends recommended because we have lots of friends who have done solar too,” Risher said. “We decided on this one and we’ve been super happy.”

She and her husband work for Radix Solar and are satisfied with the company culture, goals and motto. 

According to Risher, the solar company partners with OnWatch, a nonprofit that provides free training to spot and prevent sex trafficking. She says Radix encourages its employees to complete the training and certification.

“It’s so we can be aware and if we see something, while we’re knocking door to door in neighborhoods, we can say something,” Risher said.

Risher feels good about working for a company that is invested in the success and well-being of their team, as well as the experience of their customers.

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