A recent edition of my Marquette University alumni magazine had an article on a new mandatory Business School course, Business Day 1 (something I wish they had when I was in school). Every business school freshman takes this class, which exposes them to accounting, finance, managerial economics, human recourses, marketing, supply chain management, and IT.
The course culminates with a “signature curricular component,” an advanced business simulation. The simulation includes hiring, pricing, sourcing, marketing, and ethical scenarios (being a Jesuit institution ethics classes were always on everybody’s course list).
Like most universities, Marquette has a strong entrepreneurial program and this introductory class sounds great for budding entrepreneurs. As most of you reading this know, most business owners are strong in some areas and not-so-strong in others. In fact, they often have very limited skills outside of their core areas (core strengths being a huge component of why they’re good owners/entrepreneurs). A class like this will probably prevent many lessons learned from experience.
However, there’s one learning area missing, and that’s sales. I’ve maintained for years universities should require students to take a Sales 101 class. To give them a basic understanding of what sales and business communication really is (solving a problem) as well as to dispel myths about sales (no, all sales is not like an old used car lot, i.e. sell anything to anyone, just make a sale).
My first “real” job out of college had me buying services. I didn’t understand too much about sales. Although I must have been decent at it as I had my own painting business through college and grad school and I was the one doing all the customer relations and bidding. I feel class on basic sales would have tremendously accelerated my learning and career.
“People respond well to those that are sure of what they want.” Anna Wintour