IBM Summit Program: Weeks 5&6 | Alyssa J Freitas: IBM Summit Program: Weeks 5&6

August 2, 2017

IBM Summit Program: Weeks 5&6

Check out weeks 1&2 and 3&4 too!

You know that nervous and uncertain feeling you get when you are about to do something and you’re not entirely sure how it’s going to turn out? Where you’re simultaneously excited and wishing that you could see into the future so you would know for sure that it would turn out ok. That’s exactly how I felt over the weekend leading up to my first experience in Global Sales School (GSS). As you’ll remember from the previous post, my stream of summits headed off to Chicago (more accurately Schaumburg, but that doesn’t sound nearly as glamorous) for our first dive into role playing.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! It's been over a week in the IBM Summit sales program and things are heating up
The week started out with a smooth arrival to ORD, where I was reunited the awesome summits I met at orientation a month ago. It was fantastic to all get together again and hear about what they have been up to at their home offices. During our first day, we learned about our individual communication styles and how we can best adapt to others in various circumstances. Not surprisingly, my style was characterized by excitement (pretty sure that’s the word I use most to describe my state of being when people ask how I am) and being fast paced, which as you can imagine are both good and challenging traits. Through discussions and exercises we all learned how to play to our strengths and address areas of improvement.

Another aspect of the first day was working with our team to design and build a replica of a bridge (please note I am not saying which bridge we were meant to replicate because it ended up looking nothing like it anyway, but we still learned about team work!). This is Cory, one of my wonderful team members, who specifically requested a shout out and is getting one better with this photograph. We had such a blast with this project and I appreciate how my team is always laughing and having fun. I firmly believe that enjoying what you are doing (at least for a good portion of the time) is integral to success, and this team knows how to do just that.

The rest of the week was dedicated to role plays and I was on cloud nine! It is the perfect combination of preparation and improvisation, and took me back to my college days (is it too soon to start saying things like “my college days” when I have only been out of school for a few months? Probably). We began with a partner and had to jointly present two fictional opportunities that we were going to be pursuing with clients. My partner is a tech seller and was so helpful as I was learning the key selling points of the solutions (thanks, Dan!), and we worked well together to communicate what we were intending to do with our clients to our manager. The feedback we received was helpful and I was excited to go into my next call later that afternoon.

For all of the following calls, we were observed not only by the sales advisor we were role playing with but also by three of our peers. After one person role played we moved on to another room with a different sales advisor to allow us to experience a variety of opinions and advice. I was slightly disappointed with the grade I received after my first call, and used it as motivation to improve for my successive calls. Ultimately, I took the advice of my many advisors and combined it with my own style to become better throughout the week.

Like many of my fellow summits, we were all motivated to get the highest marks and would ask one another how we did. At one point someone said, “It seems to me a better question than ‘how did you do?’ is ‘what did you learn?’” This short statement helped me to reframe how I was viewing the experience and better focus on the learning component rather than my score (although the competitor in me was never fully silent). It was a completely fantastic week and I appreciate all the feedback and advice that the experienced sellers shared with us.

One of my favorite parts of the Summit Program is the people I get to spend all of my time with. Everyone is engaging and interesting and kind. One night we went out for Korean barbecue and our lead sales facilitator ran among our tables making sure that everyone had enough to eat and that we were enjoying our experience. The encouragement and support and challenge is exactly what we all need to continually improve.

Side note: I can always seem to get to my destination via air travel with no trouble, it’s coming back that’s the problem. This has been such a prevalent issue that my fun fact while I was at GSS was that I took a solo Disney trip when I was delayed for not one, not two, but THREE days in Florida. It should have been apparent that I was messing with the fates when I used that as my “fun fact” because I ended up being delayed yet again when I was coming home from Chicago. A word to the wise: try and avoid any return flights that I am on because you are guaranteed to have trouble. End of side note.

This past week I reconnected with a few more people from last summer, which was wonderful, plus I got to meet up with a mentor outside of IBM here in the city after a lot of back and forth on our calendars. I also began to dive into the next GSS case with my team and we’re looking forward to continuing our work together. Another goal has been to continue my in-territory experience by assisting sellers and sitting in on planning sessions, so I have been engaged there as well. With a summit happy hour and delicious lunches this week, I have nothing but good things to report from the island of Manhattan. Happy weekend, everyone!

-AJF
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