Editor's note: Intern Spotlight is a Ball State Daily News series profiling Ball State students and their summer internships. If you have any suggestions as to who we should feature next, send an email to email@example.com. Matt Dowell is an employee with the McKinley Avenue Agency, which sells ads for The Daily News.
While some might consider salespersons to be aggressive, only looking to turn a quick buck, for one Ball State professional selling major “sales is one hundred percent a communication thing.”
Matt Dowell, going into his senior year, is currently interning with Dell Technologies in its Global Compute and Client Services (GCCS) department in Austin, Texas.
At his internship he works on a team that deals with the enterprise side of things — like selling servers to other tech companies like Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! And the client side of things — selling computer hardware to the company’s many clients. He will also be working on a project involving data analysis and going through sales and finance numbers before giving a presentation at the end of the internship.
“The biggest difference for me would be the scale,” Dowell said, contrasting the contracts signed working for McKinley Avenue Agency and his internship with a professional corporation — the former’s worth being a few thousand dollars and the latter, hundreds of millions of dollars.
“[It] kind of puts in perspective for me how much money really is out there,” Dowell said. “So, it’s very interesting to see where it’s going to take me and the things I’m going to learn and take back and put in McKinley Avenue.”
He said there were two kinds of sales: transactional — in which you are pressured to buy a product right then and there without fully understanding what you’re getting into, and relationship building — where you’re building a long-term relationship with the customer; not only selling them something, but providing them with a solution to their problem.
“Relationship building can be easier than transactional if you do it right — if you’re actually looking to help them out instead of just getting paid,” said Dowell, who previously interned with Comcast’s Xfinity doing door-to-door sales and marketing events at Walmart.
At Dell, the clients being large corporation need to keep up with the innovation and technology, and Dell’s products are able to build on the efficiency of the company that’s buying the product, he said.
“We’re not going out there; we’re not digging down their throat,” Dowell said. “They need these things and we’re providing them with solutions to their technology problems, whatever it is.”
For Dowell, the the of salesperson you are, “really depends on who you are as a person.”
“I wasn’t a transactional kind of salesperson to go out there and like pressure down the throat,” he said. “I found those points that they actually did not like about their old provider and got them to switch base on their own decision making.”
Dowell said he prefers being ethical in his sales approach instead of pressuring customers to buy a product. He said he prefers “having that conversation” and making sure “the client is one hundred percent on board” — some things he built on working at McKinley Avenue.
“A lot of the times when sales happens, it’s mostly just the conversation you’re having,” he said. “You’re asking questions on what works for them, what doesn’t work for them. You’re asking them open-ended questions so they can kind of give you a longer response. And while they’re giving the response, you should be thinking of solutions in your head while you’re talking.”
Dell decided to look into hiring new people apart from hiring from the inside because of the growth they’ve experienced over the past two to three years, said Greg Forbes, senior director at Dell’s Americas Inside Sales.
“A big piece of that is hiring from the universities and so, when we look at some of the internships — [they’re] just a great way to kind of prepare high potential candidates for those roles,” Forbes said. “For us the internship is a great way to kind of give people just some inside to our business — kind of show them what a day in the life is like and then also help prepare them for some of those roles that we have.”
With sales having changed along with changes in technology and the ease of working remotely, Forbes said another reason they want to work closely with colleges is because “that’s the next wave of the workforce.”
“We’re really interested in a way, what motivates them; what are some of the things that they really care about,” he said.
Over the course of his summer internship, Dowell will also get some one-on-one time with the executives and higher ups in Dell’s sales department.
“I’ll get to pick their brains on what they do, how they got there, some advice they give me on what I could do to be successful in that role,” he said. “Just hearing their experiences and going through the process — it’s going to be a wonderful time.”
Considering Dell’s thousands of customers and its global presence, Forbes said Dowell has done “an outstanding job” of learning about the business, one Forbes said was “pretty complex at a very high level.”
“We couldn’t be more proud to have Matt on the team and definitely looking forward to having him here for the next couple of months,” he said.