Bauer Business Focus

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Michael Ahearne | April 2, 2010

Published on April 1, 2010

Sales Excellence Institute executive director Michael Ahearne talks about the benefits of a background in sales.

On Bauer Business Focus – A conversation on the importance of knowing how to sell with Ed Mayberry, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM

The University of Houston’s C. T. Bauer College of Business was among the first colleges to start a degree program focused on sales – the Sales Excellence Institute. Since then it’s been followed by big names like Harvard University and MIT. Every business major is required to take at least an introductory class on sales.

For many it’s an eye-opening experience. Michael Ahearne, a professor and the executive director of the institute, said they often don’t realize:

  • More than half of all business school graduates start out in jobs that require selling. Companies “value it like crazy” because sales are the lifeblood of their business and it requires newcomers to really learn what the company does and what its customers want and expect.
  • It’s often not just a one-on-one game. Selling big-dollar equipment in the oil business can require convincing 25 people or more, and can take years.
  • Delivering on promises is a big part of the package. Good sales people are also skilled at knowing what the company can do, and who to convince when the promises are a stretch.
  • Top sales people focus on customer service. Re-purchases are a big source of business so keeping old customers happy pays dividends.
  • There are hunters and there are farmers. Within the field there are different styles of selling, which can reflect a person’s personality. Some are best at hunting down new customers. Others excel at serving existing accounts, anticipating their needs and providing solutions.

Click here to hear the full Bauer Business Focus interview.

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