Travis Lopes – Asbury University
I was a freshman at Asbury University in the spring of 2005 when my friend Simbarashe Kagoro from Zimbabwe told me about his summer job selling books with Southwestern Advantage. I remember hearing about the travel, the experience, and the money and thinking “hmm well if Simba can do it, and he doesn’t even speak English that well, (he had an accent) then I definitely can!” I was selected right before spring break and did little to prepare for the summer. In fact I missed a lot of the team meetings and didn’t memorize my sales talk until the drive down to Nashville for our one-week training period at the beginning of the internship.
I would sorely regret this lack of preparation during my first week on the “bookfield.” I remember my first day, getting dropped off by my student manager in the rain, and just wandering around all day knocking on doors. It was really tough. I had 3 strong sales (with money down) my first week (we worked four days instead of six due to the drive out from Nashville to San Francisco). My total profit for my first week? A whopping $55!
I remember coming to the first Sunday meeting and almost yelling at my student manager: “Simba! What the heck?!? I am putting in 14+ hours and getting 35+ contacts each day, why isn’t this working?!” I remember thinking I had been lied to before the summer, thinking it was all a scam, and resenting my managers for placing me in what I thought was an “unworkable” sales locality.
The next week, my organizational leader Stevie Brown came to my territory and I followed him. I remember thinking before the day “hehe, wait until he sees my sales locality… he’s in for a surprise.” Instead, he went out and I watched him have 8 customers in my territory (double my previous week)! He taught me a lesson I will never forget. He told me that the results didn’t matter, and that no sales locality was “unworkable.” He said all that mattered was putting in the work with a positive attitude, and God would take care of the rest. So that’s what I started doing. The rest of the first three weeks, or “practice weeks” was slow going, but I steadily improved.
Finally, in my last month of the summer internship, I started having some consistent big weeks and ended up being one of the top 100 first years in the company that year. My best week I made over $2,100 in profit. To me this was unbelievable, considering how I had started the Southwestern internship! I am so glad for the lesson I learned: To do my dead level best, and let God take care of all the rest. I now take this into every area of my life.