Intern musings: learning the hustle at a fast-growing startup
Coming into the job the first day at SleekFlow as Business Development and Sales intern, I didn’t have many expectations about the job responsibilities that I would have to take up. I thought I was probably going to make some phone calls, enter some data onto excel, and do what I thought was the “typical work” of an intern.
However, I was wrong. On the first day, I jumped right into business, helping the team generate quotes, contact clients, and qualify leads. Within a week, my boss was assigning me back to back meetings and calls with clients all across the board. The challenging aspect wasn’t talking about our product, but to answer the different questions of the clients. As I was still learning about our own product there were many aspects of our product that I didn’t fully comprehend. However, I gave it my all to fit into the role of a product specialist so that the client would have confidence in our product and ultimately purchase it. That was certainly out of my expectations.
Now, however, I see those first few days and weeks as a blessing. While I was onboarding myself onto SleekFlow, I was onboarding our customers onto SleekFlow too. Those first few weeks definitely taught me the most as I learned about our own company through speaking with clients and answering their questions. With practically zero sales knowledge, I learned from scratch sales techniques and how to “think in the customer’s shoes”. What stood out to me is that it really isn’t about me or our own product, instead, it is about the client and their needs. They don’t need nor want to know everything about our product, all they need to know is how certain aspects of our product can solve their problems. At the end of each day, after talking with clients and discussing internally with our sales team, it taught me many interpersonal skills that I believe will become very useful in my future career.
Interning at a start-up may not sound as appealing compared to big corporate companies for your CV, but if you truly want to learn about the different aspects of the business world, then interning at a start-up is definitely the way to go. Working in a growing company definitely has its benefits as it doesn’t delegate work to interns that force us into a small corner, instead, it encourages us to try and experience as much as possible as we receive work from different departments of the company. Apart from doing sales pitches and answering customer queries, I also contributed a blog piece on helping companies Go Autopilot and created user guides.
In the 2.5 months at SleekFlow, I felt like I was able to “get my skin in the game” and learn about the different aspects thanks to the patience, support and guidance of the SleekFlow team.