Creating Startup Universities

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Teach courses in how to sell so grads, startups and entrepreneurs can successfully acquire paying customers

Colleges do not teach the very pragmatic skill universally needed - how to sell. Why not?

That's not marketing BTW, that's going out and knowing how to use the sales process to acquire paying customers B2B, B2C. And no, retail is not the selling I am referring to. Its also knowing How to Acquire Paying Customers online w/o competition via target audience specific social media groups & discussions.

Why has this critical business skill been ignored in college offerings? Enough theory and analysis, lets teach folks how to go out and grow business so they can survive and thrive. For ideas see:

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  • Wallace Weiss, Marketing Faculty, Central Michigan University commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Personal selling is an element that can be utilized as component of the promotional mix in effective marketing. Personal selling is best utilized to sell complex or high cost products or services, because personal selling is also a high cost expense. In today's marketing world social media performs well to build customer relationships, the focus of the "marketing concept," and at a much lower cost than either personal selling or conventional advertising. Additionally, even basic marketing courses teach that unless a potential customer has the ability to buy, then they should not be an element of a target market. Yet too many organizations today still do not perform the necessary market research to effectively identify their true target market. While I do agree that universities and colleges, even today, do not offer nearly enough sales training programs, an effective marketing principles course can enable students to understand the benefits of effective marketing research and how to best identify and "sell" a potential customer a product or service. Selling is NOT talking someone into buying, but rather knowing how to ask the right questions to understand a potential customers needs and then providing a product or service that BEST fulfills that need. Sometimes that is even explaining that the product or service will not fulfill a customers real needs.

  • Phyllis B. Siegel commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I strongly agree that colleges need to teach skills ...especially "how to sell."

    Phyllis B. Siegel
    The Accidental Inventor

  • Neil Licht commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I see what you mean re model.

    Its the type of target market-customer and the differing skills needed for each type of sale. Its very different re consumer v B2B in longevity and in steps to the sale.
    That part is a process and that's where the course goes.

    The basics of a good how to sell are about a way of appproaching the sales process. In the biusiness world, the test is a successful sale, its value v the time it took to make the sale and frankly, once done, how to work with the account so what was sold is understood and deployed. The after sale is also important re keeping the customer.

    Yes, there is quite a difference between a consumer product sell and a non-consumer sell.
    In either case, Understanding
    -- how to relate what you have to a genuine need, problem or issues that the target person/audience has
    -- test if you have a prospect with need before you start to sell or present,
    -- quallifying immediately the ability to spend is
    -- who else must be involved in reviewing and approving the sale and how to gain them as advocates
    -- will the person-prospect spend their cash v other areas of need

    That it is always an upfront "test" that a sales person should do before selling. Knowing the process that can get to a yes and a PO if all that is in place is critical.

    Thats the basics, thats what a sales course is and should be about.

    Learning a way of thinking and how to apply 2 axioms in consumer or non consumer selling is a core course constant if you want to create a sale. It is the core of the process of selling:

    1. “People and Target audiences” do things for their reason’s not yours
    Find out what matters to them, what they worry about,

    ---Understand their priorities, values, what they spend for, why
    ---Retool your messaging specifically by audience so it connects with those unique issues and addresses them.

    You will then be able to clearly relate and connect

    2. Imagine a sign on a person’s forehead that says “ so what! ”

    ---Understand their priorities, values, what they spend for and why
    ---Retool specific approaches to address those values.

    You will then be able to start a process, carry it forward, connect at every level of decision making and the pople who will be involved in making that decision and, for their reasons, not yours, gain support for the sale and ultimately, the PO for it.

    Thats what a sales course is about and what it enables its students to do.

    It applies to selling a "product/solution" to a potential customer, it applies to advocating and idea in a within your own company, it applies to managing in a way that gets buy-in and implementation by a department and its people. It applies to leadership.

    In other words, its a must for a business degree and should be added to every business major path as a required course.

    Neil Licht

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The Sales Dept. is often discounted, but as close to owning a business as one can get without actually owning the business. In fact, Sales offers benefits the owner may not have. The Salesperson may receive greater compensation than the owner/investor, all without risk, other than losing the job.

    Applied Industrial Psychology sources best investment of resources, be it time, engineering, studies and etc. One size does not fit all. Therefore, a productive vacuum Sales Person may be far beyond the comfort zone when negotiating with a fortune 500 CEO. Both examples fit a specific personality.

    However, need for a similar, if not identical, comprehensible job description remains, no different than a business model is required for short term/long term business success.

  • Neil Licht commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    RE- annomous-why annonomous?
    Please take off the Academic hat for a moment and consider the Pragmatic Skills Education objectives for your students

    Did you click the link and see how a sales process actually works successfully?

    Its not industrial psychology, its simple- How to sell. Its knowing that people do things for their reasons not yours, understanding that, uncovering theose reasons and then making th connection between what you sell and what your prospect really cares about as a solution. Of course theres a lot more re approach and getting to a funded PO but thats another topic- The sales course itself and whats in it.

    Sales is a people to people skill and yes, it actually has disciplined rules, tools and steps that can make for a great real world usable course.

    I know that because I've taught sales to thousands. I've run sales and channel development, training, hiring and change management initiatives and divisions for 30 years.

    Re my credentials for commenting:

    I have been a college level teacher and I have run national training divisions in business so I'm not an "outsider" on whats needed to make college level education valid and frankly, worth the cost.I've also done a lot of hiring and am sadly disappointed with the college grads wanting to join as sales folks yet they have never been taught th fundamentals of selling.

    I'll say it again, its not marketing but a marketing "thinking process" is part of how to sell.

    Selling is making the real connection between what marketing thinks is its markets, reaching them and then getting what the company delivers actually purchased. That is completely absent in college studies and again, I ask WHY????.

    Stop trying to turn sale straining into a complex academic subject re a psychology type course. Its not. In fact, its one of the most powerful life skills anyone can acquire. Please, its not the world of academetions, its the world of experienced sales pros. Put us on the faculty, adjunct or otherwise and make your degree practical, not just theorhetical. a usable one for your graduates.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Neil, I support your comments. However, before, during and after providing a solution, a model is required. A on-line model is little different than a General Business model, even a field Representative model. All three require a Job Description, to be served by a person (s) with an appropriate Industrial Psychology profile. Otherwise, a square peg is often forced to fit in a round hole. ( a square peg in a round hole may work for some period of time, but sooner or later, the solution will self destruct)

    The study/implementation of applied Industrial Psychology starts well before higher education learning. Under study employees/business's, most often, die on the vine because third party influence motivated the wrong path for the skill set of those involved.

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