Some sell hamburgers, some sell knives; working for Vector Marketing is not your typical high school job

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Coppell High School senior Corey Sparrow and CHS alumnus David Jackson participate in “phone time” under assistant manager in training, Zach Hull’s instruction. During phone time, sales representatives make calls in order to set up demonstrations to show the product Cutco. Photo by Alex Dalton.

 

By Sloane Samberson
Managing Editor
@SloaneSamberson

 

For Coppell High School seniors Corey Sparrow, Tristan Maher and Nicolas Brigis, going to work looks a lot different than when a student goes to their “typical” high school job.

 

No aprons, roller skates, name tags or visors. Rather, button down shirts, ties, a set of high-quality knives and in hand, a blue binder labeled with the word: “Cutco”.

 

Vector Marketing is a single-level direct sales company that sells Cutco Cutlery. Cutco, which is based out of Olean, N.Y., is the largest manufacturer of kitchen cutlery in the United States.

 

What attracts students to work with Vector Marketing is the flexible schedule, weekly pay and gaining sales experience. According to the Vector Marketing website, 85 percent of sales representatives are students.

 

Like any job, potential employees have to go through an interviewing process, but what differs at Vector Marketing is that potential sales representatives have to go through an intense training program.

 

“In the training program [sales representatives] receive extensive training on goal setting, time management, selling, personal development and communication skills,” Lewisville, Mid-Cities and Sherman senior district manager Michael Dobson said. “Reps go through the same training that marking classes do at universities like Purdue and Illinois State. The goal of training is to develop skills for life while learning how to sell Cutco.”

 

For Maher, Vector Marketing found him, rather than him finding Vector Marketing.

 

“I was recommended for the job by someone I went to school with when I went to [New Tech [email protected]],” Maher said. “To be honest, I was not attracted to the job, even during the interview and training, I thought it was super weird, but I also thought there could be valuable lessons learned. I went in with the mindset of trying it out for two weeks, now five months later I am so glad I stayed with it.”

 

As far as day to day job activity, representatives prospect a market: anybody who is married, over 30-years-old and owns a home. They role play and use a script on how to contact people through phone calls or text messages to see if they would be interested in seeing a demonstration.

 

“On the actual appointment they would demonstrate and explain the Cutco products, starting with creating a need, developing credibility, explaining features and benefits, then dropping down or closing a sale,” Dobson said. “We call this ‘shopping with a customer’ once they are interested.”

 

Sales representatives are in charge of their own schedule; this means that they can work as much as they want or as little as they want.

 

“Working for Vector Marketing is unlike a normal high school job because you aren’t paid a minimum wage salary per hour, you are paid for how much and how hard you work which makes you more motivated to work,” Sparrow said.

 

With that being so, sales representatives make a lot more money than if they worked a minimum wage job. For each demo completed representatives make a $15 base pay. If a representative makes a sale, they can make 10, 15, 20, 25 and up to 30 percent off of how much they sell.

 

“When I worked at a golf course, if I made $400 in two weeks, I thought that was so much money,” Maher said. “But over the summer, if I made that in a week with Vector Marketing, I was bummed.”

 

The students gain many skills while working at Vector Marketing. Sales representatives develop communication, business, networking, goal setting and time management skills.

 

“With the development of these skills I have pushed myself in every way and have redefined what I am capable of and what I want to do in life,” Brigis said. “Before working with Vector Marketing I didn’t know where I wanted to go to college, or what I wanted to do once I found a college. Now I know I want to go to UNT Denton for a six year masters in BCIS/Business.”

 

For Dobson, who has been a district manager for nearly 10 years, has seen Vector Marketing change hundreds of kids’ lives due to the real world skills they gain.

“It is not peer based motivation, it’s more positive success speaking, how can we help influence these kids lives, how can we make them better,” Dobson said. “It’s not a boss-employee mentality rather a partner mentality. The more we help them grow as a person, the more they are going to sell on accident just because the product Cutco sells itself.”