Advice from Generation Z: Learn to Sell

Written by Gabrielle Schwartz

Gabby Schwartz is a senior at the University of Florida pursuing a Master of Accounting degree. She is a Sales Development Intern at The Selling Factory, and enjoys learning and growing from all this internship has to offer and her studies at UF.

Photo by Austin Daniels

As an Accounting Major at the University of Florida, math, numbers, and sitting behind a computer screen for hours on end is what feels comfortable to me. I have completed two internships with a Big Four Accounting Firm and before starting them, I was under the naive, stereotypical assumption that most accountants were “nerdy” bookworms who lacked certain social skills deemed crucial to selling. 

Upon completion of both summer internships, I can confidently say that sales are a vital part of a successful career in the accounting field. My dad always told me that no matter what career you end up pursuing, I will ALWAYS have to sell myself. Whether it’s going through the interview process, proposing a new strategy to the superiors, or leading a new project, selling myself, my brand, and unique ideas will always be essential skills to possess. With all of this in mind, I was determined to find an internship related to sales services before graduating and becoming a full-time employee with an accounting firm that doesn’t prioritize teaching sales strategies. 

I found an internship with a sales outsourcing company that equips its outsourced sales teams with cold calling, lead generation strategies, inside sales, and appointment settings. This company fit all the criteria for what I was looking for in an internship designed for college students. After interning as a sales development representative (SDR) for seven months, two of the most important lessons I have learned that will translate to the accounting profession and guide me moving forward are 1. Being okay with rejection, and 2. Listening to people as they love to talk about themselves.

How to Face Rejection

Something that I definitely struggled with before the internship was dealing with rejection. Whether or not pursuing a career in sales, rejection is something everyone deals with throughout life. I now understand that people say no much more frequently than they say yes. 

When I first joined the outsourced sales team, being rejected was a huge blow to my ego. I thought I was doing something wrong and wasn’t understanding why I kept hearing no’s and rarely heard yes’s. What I finally started to realize was that when someone told me no, they weren’t actually saying no to me. They’re saying no to the idea, the proposal, what my company has to offer. Although this rejection will never feel “good”, understanding that it is nothing personal is a major step in accepting and learning from rejection. 

Experiencing rejection has also been a teaching lesson on how to let things go. Once an individual learns how to handle rejection by letting it go and moving forward, he or she is in the right mentality to persevere through both failure and success. Another small but crucial detail I learned along the way is that we are human, and human beings have bad days. Being able to move past rude and unnecessary hostility with responses will aid oneself in staying focused on the overall end goal. I was once told that the best way to improve is to fail. 

In SDR sales, improving means being able to take the no’s and learn from them in order to turn them into yes’s. This translates to accounting in the same way. As an accounting intern, I dealt with countless superiors and oftentimes, my ideas and work would get rejected. It was extremely disheartening and prevented me from sharing my thoughts in the future. However, because of TSF, I will now use this rejection to my advantage and work harder to earn the acceptance of those around me.

How to Listen More than Talk 

Another lesson in successful selling that I find essential to thriving in the accounting profession is to get the potential buyer or client to talk more than I do. Listening is a skill that many people lack, despite it being one of the best ways to build trust. One can learn a lot about someone’s wants and needs by listening to them, which can aid in the direction of making sales opportunities. 

From the outside, people often forget that there is much more to accounting than just computing numbers. Accounting requires sales strategies in order to convince clients to work with you, build relationships with them, and maintain these relationships from year to year. It all starts with the first conversation with a potential client, so make sure to listen rather than to talk. The goal is to make their lives easier and provide a solution to the problem they are facing. 

By listening more than talking, one will learn how to ask the right questions at the right time. This allows the prospect to open up and feel comfortable doing business with the sales development representative, while simultaneously proving to the client of the SDR’s ability to fix their problem. Although it will probably be a while before I am given the responsibility of selling my accounting team to a potential new client, I learned how to use lead generation tactics to win over clients and bring new business into the firm.       

Whatever career one chooses to pursue, I can guarantee that working in sales services will contribute to his or her success. After interning for two accounting firms, I knew that although it seems like a career requiring little social interaction, accounting is very reliant upon keen sales strategies. From working as a sales development representative, I have gained fundamental skills that will no doubt stay with me forever. Understanding how to accept rejection and listening more than talking has been so critical and will continue to guide me moving forward. 


Victoria Zamitalo

Campaign Manager

Victoria received a BA in History and Economics from the University of Florida in May 2023. She is a driven sales professional with over 5 years combined experience in customer service, consumer relations and outbound sales, and is deeply passionate about fostering close relationships between consumers and sellers. She aims to train the next generation of sales professionals in not only the tricks of the trade, but also interpersonal skills that make sales the exciting and ever-changing industry that it is.

Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.

Kira Grieve

Senior Campaign Manager

Kira graduated from the University of Florida and received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hopes to visit all of the National Parks one day!

Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.

Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.

Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.

Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.

Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.

Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!

Josiah Blakemore

Growth Manager

Josiah has over 10 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!

Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.

Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.

Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.