The adage goes, "Nothing happens until somebody sells." I'm first to stand in line and get behind the notion. After spending the last 22 years at MarketStar, a firm that is solely based on the service of selling something to someone, I know that sales creates the movement and energy in our economy.
A few weeks ago I accepted the role to serve as the executive director of the Alan E. Hall Sales Center at Weber State University. You may not be aware, but WSU has one of the few four-year degrees entirely focused on the subject of sales. Each year the Professional Sales Department at WSU graduates some 150 students who have applied knowledge and expertise to take into the workforce.
There are seven fulltime faculty members teaching everything from Sales Methodology and Sales Presentations, to Sales Personalities and Profiles. Founded nearly 30 years ago, the WSU Professional Sales Department is recognized as one of the top sales programs in the country and many universities are now adding similar programs to meet the demand for dynamic sales professionals.
MarketStar, as well as many local and national firms, have hired thousands of these students over the years to join their teams. I'm a proud graduate of the program along with my three younger brothers as well as a sister-in-law and brother-in-law.
So why should you care, you may ask? I'm here to tell you that sales skills, regardless of what profession you have chosen, are imperative. Think about it from this standpoint ... most of our professional lives are built around selling an idea, a premise, a tangible, or intangible product or solution. Any career choice will require you to sell ideas, change, innovation, and even yourself to make something happen. A physician persuades his patient on the value of adopting a healthy lifestyle; universities sell the value of advanced education and future employment to their students; and politicians sell their constituents on their platform or initiatives. Every walk of life, every industry, every engagement has some level of selling involved.
Whether you identify yourself as a salesperson or not, the reality is you're selling every day. We start learning the art of sales, persuasion and influence at the earliest stages in life. How many of you sold your parents on driving the car, staying out beyond your curfew, or asking for a few extra dollars? Selling is happening in every relationship you have, personal or professional.
Over the weeks and months to come I hope to get you thinking about how you are in the business of sales. You have customers who have needs. Why does your solution best meet their objectives and why will they choose you? How do you influence others to adopt your ideas and goals? How do you sell yourself while job seeking, or getting a raise or the promotion you're after?
It would seem that some are naturally gifted with a silver tongue or have the innate ability to close the deal. For many of us, sales skills need to be honed and developed through years of experience and trial and error.
The Sales Center at Weber State is opening its doors to business and sales professionals from every walk of life. Already joining us are the Utah Jazz, England Logistics, MarketStar, GoEngineer, PluralSight, Northwestern Mutual, and the Ken Blanchard Companies. Come learn more about what we're up to and how you can be engaged with WSU Professional Sales students, faculty and industry leaders. Nothing happens until somebody sells; consider this the first pitch to becoming better at the art and science of sales.
Aaron Hall is executive director at the Weber State University Alan E. Hall Sales Center and is a faculty member in the Professional Sales Department.