Kaela Kreysa – Doing my personal best

Kaela Kreysa – University of Maryland

Kaela Kreysa sold more in a first summer than all but one student in the history of Southwestern. (He had three more weeks than she did!)

I decided to sell books right after my older sister, Katie, finished her second summer in California. She had just had an awesome summer and flew me out to drive across the country with her back to Maryland, stopping in Nashville to close out her account. When she first talked about selling books a year and a half earlier, I thought it was about the weirdest thing someone could do during their summer in college. I didn’t get it and thought she was strange. It was when my family went to her awards ceremony after her first summer that I started to understand what the whole selling books thing was really about and why she was so excited about it. I remember listening to everyone get up and talk and I saw how motivated, driven, alive and purposeful they all were. I remember the way their sales managers spoke about each of them and thought those were people I wanted to be like and people I wanted to be around.

When I was in Nashville with Katie, I decided that I would sell the following summer. My sales manager, Lester, suggested that since I was the first to sign up I should just go ahead and finish first in the company. I thought that was a great idea. I loved a good challenge and had never sold anything, but had done well at everything else I’d done up to this point. I did a lot of summer prep the Spring before I went out and at the suggestion of one of the older managers, decided to study for the Southwestern Advantage program almost as if I was taking a class for it. I wrote and rewrote the sales talk, read articles on selling and motivation, and called people who had done well before to pick their brains. I attended as many meetings on campus with other students going out to sell as I could. I decided that since the company had been around so long, I should probably just trust everything I was taught; they knew better than I did about selling books.

After my first day out I remember being excited and partly relieved. I had just worked about as hard as I probably could have, over 14 hours, and saw over 40 people. I remember thinking that it was definitely exhausting, but really all I had to do was exactly what I had been taught. I sold the very first house I knocked on that day and remember walking out thinking, all I did was say the sales talk confidently and happily, there is no trick to this. I worked as hard as I could my first 3 weeks out there in O’Fallon, Missouri,  deciding to learn as much as I could by working the numbers and getting a lot of practice. I loved working so much I stayed out some nights past 10:00! Some people thought I was crazy, but I found I met the coolest families at night. If they were open minded enough to talk to me after 9, they usually bought. And sometimes made me dinner! My sales manager would go on to say that I got so much practice and did so well these weeks not because I was a great salesperson, but because the amount of families that didn’t buy from me was more than the total of how many some kids even saw at all!

Over the summer I made it my goal to be the hardest worker in the company. I decided to work the most hours, see the most people, sit down with the most people. If I could be the best at controlling all of the things I possibly could and have a completely trusting attitude then I would be doing my personal best, I thought. And if I was doing my personal best, it was just as good as anyone else’s whether it was their first summer or their 5th. Week after week, money and “units” aside, I strove to sit down with as many moms as I could. I also decided to believe that everything that happened to me was exactly what was supposed to be happening. That there was some greater plan at work and all I really had to do was put myself in front of people.  If I did all of the tasks I was supposed to, Life would help me to succeed. If someone didn’t buy, I decided to leave them in a good mood and hurry to the next house because surely there was a sale waiting to be made there. This focus on work and controlling the controllables made the job pretty simple. (Not easy, but simple.) It took off all the pressure from me and allowed me to enjoy the people I met and the process I was going through.

Looking back on that summer I learned so much about myself and life. I learned that people are truly good and kindhearted. That parents will do almost anything for their kids if they think it will benefit them and make them happy. I learned to have confidence in myself and the importance of always doing my best. I learned that doing my personal best is more important to me than competing with someone else. I grew mentally, emotionally, and mostly spiritually. I met some incredible people and had an extremely challenging rewarding experience. I ended up finishing as the #1 first year in the company that summer and made over $30,000 in 11 weeks.

It was definitely the best thing I could have done as a freshman in college and so good I decided to sell for 3 more years. Because of the experience I have met some of my very best friends, taken some awesome trips, gained invaluable life experience, and grown as a person! It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it.


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