How to Survive in Business: Why Sales Skills are Needed

How often do you admit that you’re in sales? The fact is that no one wants to be sold, therefore, it is not all that popular to be in “sales.”

Popular or not, selling skills are critical to growing a business, increasing profitability, and ultimately thriving! However, it is apparently so shunned as a discipline that it isn’t even taught where we get much of our initial business training – at universities. Some schools offer a class or two in sales, but the real true selling skills are expected to be inherent or discovered on your own. It is no wonder job positions that require sales have incredibly high turnover. It is also no wonder many small businesses fail. If the sales don’t come quick enough failure is inevitable.

Extensive education, practicing of the craft, and research would help improve sales skills. If you are enrolling into college and would like to get some useful skills for your entry into the work world -a focused education in sales is a no-brainer.

Students can receive a PhD in all sorts of obscure disciplines (like a PhD in Area Studies?), but a skill that every business owner and professional needs to some degree in order to survive and thrive in business is not found anywhere. Why is there no doctorate degree in sales?

Harvard Business Review ran an article sharing some statistics about sales education (“Teaching Sales,” by Suzanne Fogel, David Hoffmeister, Richard Rocco, and Daniel P. Strunk). The article noted that most MBA programs offer no sales-related courses at all, and those that do offer only a single course in sales management. The article also shared that there are progressive schools, like DePaul University, that opened a Center for Sales Leadership (where the article’s authors work) housed in the Business School under the Department of Marketing. The program is thankfully becoming more popular with 700 students enrolling each quarter into the Center’s sales education courses.

But, sales will long be the ugly discipline until business leaders support it and universities recognize the need. Sales is not about convincing others to do things they want, but sharing benefits of products and services with those who have a need and inspiring them to take action.

For those of us long out of college, when was the last time you took a sales course, read a book on sales, or seriously focused on the acquisition of new clients using improved methods? Maybe it’s time we lead the way and request education from our acclaimed educational institutions!

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