27/02/2020 The magazine by Communication Science students of the UvA

The Lessons of a Mercurius Sales Committee Member

Have you ever wondered what the Sales Committee of the study association Mercurius exactly does? Margarete gives you an insight into the useful skills she has developed as part of the committee.

Have you ever wondered what the Sales Committee of the study association Mercurius actually does? Then this is the chance to get all the insights you need to know.

The sales committee is a part of the student association Mercurius and consists of one board member and several active members of the student association. Together they try to get acquisitions for Mercurius. This entails that they try to get different deals with companies. There are two types of agreements: a) Either Mercurius provides a service to companies, and they pay for it or b) the companies provide Mercurius with gadgets and discounts for study trips and conventions. All with the primary goal to provide Mercurius members with the best deals and opportunities to make their life a little easier.

Working progress

To land collaborations with companies, the committee has to contact companies regularly. They communicate through emails or directly call firms to get in touch with them. Often, they never get a reply. As one member honestly describes it: “It is a very frustrating task, but teaches a lot about how the real world is working without actually being part of the real world.”

So, if they do not get a reply, they reattempt until they hopefully hear back from the company.

The R-Word is not so scary

The one lesson active members of the committee learn consistently: they get used to rejection. Rejection is part of asking for something. So, every time an email comes back and states that the company is not interested in a collaboration, they learn from it. Improvement is a good answer to rejection. The members never give up and persist contacting. They try and improve their way of reaching out to companies. “We learn a lot being in touch with companies. We learn so many skills from being part of the sales committee, which we might need in the future.”


No committee or firm in the world operates without teamwork. Consequently, the weekly meetings help each member to get an overview of everyone’s work. It is an exchange of ideas and an excellent way to get inspiration for new ways to contact companies in the future. “Although everyone works individually, it is great to be in a team. Every time I struggle, it is nice to get a new perspective and creatively solve a problem.”

Organization is key

To not lose the overview of current conversations and communications, a comprehensive system is necessary. Therefore, every member is aware of who is contacting who. This starts by having a list of all possible collaborations and ends at a complex email system to which each member has access to. It is not only an organization within the team but also requires the organizational skills of each member. When is it best to contact a company? When should they call and when is it better to write an email?

What the team has noticed in the last three months: Smaller companies are better to contact via phone, and the best time to call is in the morning. Employers might still be motivated for the day ahead and not yet looking forward to going home at the end of the day. All these insights help to make the work of the committee as successful as possible and to land as many deals as possible.

Skills not offered in classes

“Working for the committee means to develop skills besides university” – skills that are not obtained during university education. Future employees often require practical skills such as contacting different firms, so being part of the sales committee provides you with skills needed in the future. So, being part of the sales committee of Mercurius is not only fun but offers lastings skills and lessons.

The committee is always on the look for people, and in case you want to be part of the highly motivated team, have a look here.


Cover: John Schnobrich



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