“To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business and your business in your heart.” Thomas J. Watson.
I have great news. Fantastic, elating, gratifying news! If you recall in my last update, the prospecting game was proving to be more difficult than I had anticipated. Taking Mr. Watson’s advice about the necessity of doubling my failure rate to increase my success (also included in the last update, so make sure you check it out!), I went forth this week to send out more emails than I care to count. After experimenting with a variety of subject lines, content, and tones, I found that what worked best for me was being true to my voice. With the slightest touch of humor, I was able to appeal to my prospects and book a couple of meetings!
These emails will, of course, be constantly evolving and I will continue to search for the most effective way to reach out. I still have much to learn about finding the right people and getting in front of them, but I feel much more uplifted and ready to keep trekking on. My heart is in the business and I have been thoroughly enjoying it.
One last note about prospecting: I had come across a few phone numbers during my searching and decided to give these prospects a call. With the help of my host manager (who, have I mentioned, is the absolute best?), we practiced a few scenarios before picking up the phone. I was able to get one administrative assistant on the phone and she was not too interested in helping me reach my end goal. We’ve spoken twice now, and I have a feeling we’re going to become best buddies over the course of the summer, because I intend to continue to call until I get through.
My quest to continue to meet IBMers from all over the business continued this week with the encouragement of the Software Client Leader (SCL) on my team, Kristin, who is the most helpful mentor. I was able to meet with a Market Development Advisor to learn about how he and his team uncover insights that are valuable to sales people (I’m sure these insights are great for all areas of IBM, but, no matter what, everything in my mind is positioned in relation to sales). I also met with a SaaS and Cloud leader in what was originally scheduled to be a quick introductory meeting, but ended up being a whole morning mentoring/getting to know each other session. I have been so happy to find that IBMers are constantly willing to help and are continually interested in learning more about one another.
A new experience I had this week was going to Churchill’s, the pub across the street from the office, that is fondly referred to as “Conference Room C.” I met with two IBMers for lunch to discuss a project that has been considered for a while and is really getting started this summer. It looks like it will make use of my blogging/web interest, so I am very excited. I’ll keep you posted on how it progresses!
Another first for this week was getting to go to a client site. I went down to American Express in the financial district. Not only did I get myself there without any subway mistakes, but I was supremely happy to be right on the water (fun fact: at school I did crew and was a coxswain, who is the person who steers the boat and gives the commands, so I have a special place in my heart for the water). Kristin coordinated a lunch with someone in corporate planning from American Express and her intern. It was interesting to learn how different intern programs are structured and to meet people in other industries.
The most impressive part of the afternoon by far was the level of security. I had to have my photo taken for an id, which is what the picture on this post is from. I know when you saw the picture you were probably thinking, "Wow, Alyssa has finally been discovered as a model and is writing this post to tell us that she is jetting off to Milan for her first cover shoot." Alas, that New York City dream moment has yet to occur. After getting my badge, going through a metal detector, and checking in with a guard (while American Express employees scan their fingerprints), I was allowed to head on up in the tower. It was a massive place, with many elevators and spectacular views; well worth the trip downtown.
After the progress this week, I am feeling ready to take on what the next month holds (I can't believe the internship has already been going on for a month!). Week 5 has a lot of cool things on the calendar, including going to Astor Place (read: Watson's home) and attending my first MLB game, so be sure to check back!