So, it’s that time of year. Bring in the interns and show them what they’ll never do or see again in the real world when they get their first job! I’m only half-joking. Most internships I hear about today (and I hear about a lot – I’ve got two sons in college!) aren’t coming close to teaching young adults what it’s like to really work a job in your company.
If I was Chief of HR for the country, like I got to make all the HR decisions and make rules and stuff (wouldn’t that be a fun job!) – Chief Justice of HR! I would force every kid who ever did an internship to first do a sales internship with whichever company they decided to do an internship with. Great, you want to be in HR, or an Accountant, or an Engineer, or a Developer, etc., first, you need to go out on the road or sit on the phone with Jerry, he works in sales for our company.
Too often I see entry-level grads come into organizations with this strange sense of how the world works based on what it is they do in their chosen profession. Do you want to know how to really impact your chosen profession? Go find out how the sausage is made! The ‘sausage’ in most organizations is sales.
Want to find out how to save the organization money as an Engineer or Accountant, you better understand your customer and what and how they’re buying? Want to be a great designer or developer? Sales will teach you what your priorities should be. Want to find out how to impact employee development and career growth? Go find out how hard it is to sell $1 of your product your company sells every day.
This isn’t some plan to get everyone in the world to think sales is hard and you should pity them. Sales are hard. Great sales pros also make a ton of money. No one usually feels bad for sales. This is truly about getting the new grads coming into your organization to have a better perspective about what’s really important.
If we don’t sell our stuff, you can’t ride down the slide into the lobby on your way to hot yoga.
So, no matter what you do in the organization. You should know how to sell. Well, Tim, I’m going to be a nurse. Hospitals don’t sell, we save lives. Congratulations on becoming a nurse, it’s such a great profession, you’re a moron. Every organization sells. Hospitals compete against other hospitals for high-margin health care business. Nonprofits compete for donations and grant dollars. Churches compete for your soul!
Every organization is selling something, and you should know what it is you’re selling and how it’s sold.
We do a disservice to new grads when we make them think that their profession is only about the skills they’re learning for some title they’ll one day have after graduation. Your profession, every profession, is about ensuring crap gets sold.