It’s a lesson that served her well at UNC Greensboro, where Robinson was an active student, serving as an orientation leader, a campus tour guide, a marketing assistant with dining services, and a member of the North Carolina Sales Institute. The institute, based in the Bryan School, offers sales training for students and professionals, helping them to develop their skills while also meeting companies’ needs for well-trained sales talent.
The Bryan School and NCSI helped Robinson build her resume, practice job interviews, work on sales pitches, and even connect with prospective employers. This was instrumental in helping her secure an internship and later a job, she says.
“I tell parents of prospective students: ‘If your child doesn’t graduate with a job, they didn’t go to class,’” Robinson says. “It’s all right there. The Bryan School makes it very easy to graduate with employment.”
Robinson’s career trajectory began in a sales class when she heard about a new internship offered by TPx. At first, Robinson wasn’t sure she wanted to work at an IT company, but when she heard that the summer job would be in Orlando and housing was provided, she took the next step. Her role was to review databases, build lists of leads, and then cold-call businesspeople to see if they’d commit to attending a meeting to learn more about the services TPx could offer.
I tell parents of prospective students: ‘If your child doesn’t graduate with a job, they didn’t go to class.’ It’s all right there. The Bryan School makes it very easy to graduate with employment.”
During her first month, she was able to set up eight meetings with potential customers, while other interns were booking 20 or more. But a mentor at TPx told her to keep a positive attitude, be confident in her abilities, and remember that each “No” would get her closer to a “Yes.”
She tried to bring a personal touch to each call, making a connection or sharing a joke. In the second month, she outsold the entire sales floor, including her mentor, lining up 42 people who were willing to have that second meeting.
“Aliyah has drive, a great work ethic, and she just kept going,” said Sara MacSween, a lecturer in marketing at the Bryan School and the faculty advisor for the NC Sales Institute. “I’ve been so impressed with her persistence in this role – it’s a very challenging one, but she’s pursued it and worked hard at it.”
MacSween had also coached Robinson and another UNCG alumna when they were two of 300 selected for a National Collegiate Sales Competition at Kennesaw State University. “I was so proud of them,” MacSween says. “Companies across the US go to this one event to recruit sales professionals. They worked that room and made connections.”
Ultimately, Robinson hopes to transition into marketing, and she believes sales has given her a good start. “The biggest takeaway is that your pitch can be perfect, but someone may still tell you ‘No,’” she says. “You just keep your confidence, pick up that phone, get that ‘No’ and then dial the next number for that ‘Yes.’”