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Sales Schooling: The Birth of a Salesman

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With the recent economic trend toward service in America, salespeople are suddenly in high demand, and many businesses are even paying for their sales teams to go back to school to brush up on sales techniques and strategies.

Also, many mid-life career changers are choosing careers in sales because of the relative stability of the profession. For example, since salespeople earn most of their income from commission, experts in sales can do fairly well for themselves even when the economy isn't strong.

From bestsellers to interactive seminars, from brick-and-mortar schools to online programs, the options for sales training are endless. Whether you're interested in a short seminar, a flexible online program, a two-year associate's degree, or a four-year bachelor's degree, there is a sales training program for you.

A quick Google search for "sales training" yields listing upon listing of various training seminars that can be purchased on DVD or CD, and most of the trainers promise immediate results or your money back.

Patricia Fripp is one such trainer. An award-winning sales trainer, she once said, "You don't close a sale; you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term successful enterprise."

Offering a sales training course aimed at improving people skills in order to form lasting personal relationships, Fripp is hired by companies to come in and train their sales teams. In addition, she speaks at numerous public events throughout the year.

Another well-known organization specializing in sales training seminars is Max Sacks International (MSI). With offices in Washington and Minnesota as well as abroad, MSI is one of the leaders in sales training.

"Max Sacks International is a successful sales and marketing training and consulting firm," a statement on the firm's website reads. "We provide practical, high-quality, state-of-the-art programs, products, and services that are dedicated to developing skills, enhancing performance, and providing ongoing reinforcement to individuals and their companies."

The company, which serves more than 3,000 clients, focuses on developing each individual's potential for the good of both the client and the business.

However, if you're looking for something a little more intensive than a seminar but more flexible than full-time university enrollment, there are plenty of excellent online sales courses to choose from offered by colleges and universities such as DeVry University, Westwood College Online, and Rasmussen College.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, DeVry University offers students bachelor's degrees in business administration/sales and marketing. The program focuses on teaching the fundamentals of communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills through case studies, group projects, Internet-related projects, and other exercises.

Westwood College Online, whose faculty is comprised of both teachers and business leaders, offers a bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis on marketing and sales. Students learn about the latest developments in sales and business by studying e-commerce, market research, and the behavior of consumers.

Westwood is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology and prepares students for careers in sales, distribution, advertising, retailing, and other related fields.

Yet another online option is Rasmussen College. Rasmussen, which has been in existence for more than 100 years, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and offers an Associate of Applied Science in Business Management/Sales and Marketing. The program focuses on training students to become good leaders and managers. Topics of study include planning, organizing, leading, and directing. Students take classes on management, business communications, marketing, and other sales-related topics.

However, if online education isn't for you, there are several universities with top-rate sales and marketing programs, including Baylor University, St. Joseph's University, and Western Carolina University. According to U.S. News, these three schools are the best for students aspiring to positions in sales.

Baylor, a private university founded in 1845, has an undergraduate population of 11,580 and a faculty-to-student ratio of 1:16. Marketing majors at Baylor receive Bachelor of Business Administration degrees with concentrations in marketing. Students are required to take courses in consumer behavior, marketing research, marketing analysis, and decision-making, in addition to three marketing electives.

St. Joseph's University has an undergraduate student body of 14,848 and a professor-to-student ratio of 1:18. The university prides itself on taking an innovative approach to marketing that includes "education in the theory and practice of marketing" as well as opportunities to specialize in certain areas.

Western Carolina University, a public college, makes it possible for students to engage in one-on-one interactions with faculty by maintaining a relatively small undergraduate population of 6,785. Offering a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, the university's course schedule lists classes on sales, advertising, promotion, retail management, marketing research, and more.

For those of you who simply want to keep abreast of new sales techniques, you should also consider joining your local library. Once you are a member, you can check out books, books on tape, and DVD seminars dealing with sales. Additionally, if there is a community college near your home, it may be beneficial to keep an eye on the marketing courses being offered and enroll in a night or weekend course every once in a while when you learn of one that interests you.
On the net:Patricia Fripp

DeVry University

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