On Bauer Business Focus — A conversation about how the Sales Excellence Institute at UH Bauer are shaping future sales leaders with Andrew Schneider, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.
As the Sales Excellence Institute at the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business celebrates its 15th anniversary, the need to train a sales force that can develop integrated, customized solutions for companies is more important than ever.
Michael Ahearne, who is executive director of SEI, visited Bauer Business Focus recently to discuss the unique sales program at UH Bauer and what’s on the horizon for the institute.
Widely regarded as the nation’s leading sales program, students from the Program for Excellence in Selling (the academic arm of SEI) reinforced that title last month with a first place victory at the National Collegiate Sales Competition (See related story).
“Over the last 10 years, we’ve consistently placed in the top 10, but two of the last 10 years, we’ve actually been overall champion, and this year, we were, which was a huge victory for us,” Ahearne said.
The students who are successful in the program go on to become alumni who are top producers in their companies, he added. During the “Week of Sellebrations” planned in May for its anniversary, SEI will recognize some of these leaders with the first 15 inductees into its Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.
As the program has grown and expanded into both undergraduate and graduate education as well as executive training, an emphasis has been placed on teaching students to think about more diverse ways to form the relationships that are critical to sales.
“(We’ve seen companies) moving from pure print media to a lot of electronic and digital media services, trying to expand their market opportunities and get salespeople who are more effective at making those alliances and developing customized solutions for companies,” Ahearne said.
Being resilient even in the face of hearing “no” is critical for success in sales, he added, noting that his previous experience in professional sports as a baseball player for the Montreal Expos taught him this skill early on.
“In athletics, you’re going to face adversity, you’re going to face times when you lose, you’re defeated and you have to come back and try to be effective and that’s why I think you see a lot of people who are effective at athletics coming in and being good salespeople too.”
Click here to hear the full interview.