Home Articles Should the art of selling be taught in schools and universities?

Should the art of selling be taught in schools and universities?


University, with its seemingly endless array of subjects, is an exciting prospect for many folks. Endless, that is, with the exception of a degree in selling.

Everybody lives by selling something. Whether you work in a sandwich shop, for a large corporation, are self-employed, or even unemployed, everybody has to sell their skills, their product or a service at some point.

Many non-salespeople have to sell as part of their roles and can find the prospect daunting. This is due to the fact that, as with universities, companies often neglect to provide sales coaching for their staff.

With sales results so important for businesses, it’s interesting that we don’t place more emphasis on how to be an effective salesperson.

The changing face of sales

The sales profession is becoming increasingly complex, with the focus shifting from product selling to strategic relationships.

Online sales and marketing is also making its presence felt, and business people now have to juggle multiple tools as part of the selling process.

Given all this, it’s high time budding and experienced professionals alike had the opportunity to comprehensively study sales.

Rebranding sales

Although selling strategies have been around for years, sales people are often poorly regarded and misunderstood.

In some organisations selling is considered a dirty word. Many people finishing university are discouraged from selling, unaware that even if they don’t become a salesperson, they’re likely to sell in some capacity or another for the rest of their lives.

Better equipped salespeople will ultimately benefit customers, clients, and your business’ bottom line.

Buying into sales education

Currently in Australia there are topics or short courses on selling at a smattering of local universities. However, they’re not comprehensive and don’t cover every aspect of selling that a skilled professional needs to know.

There are certainly no degrees in selling in Australia. Meanwhile, at last count there were 42 universities in the US with graduate and undergraduate sales courses on their curriculum.

While it’s true that knowing how to sell effectively doesn’t happen until you’re out on the field, being well trained in the science of selling and its many variables would help people to hit the ground running.

Would you have benefited from studying sales? Barrett Research is currently running a survey on this topic and we would appreciate your views.

Sue Barrett is a sales expert, business speaker, adviser, sales facilitator and entrepreneur and founded Barrett Consulting to provide expert sales consulting, sales training, sales coaching and assessments. Visit www.barrett.com.au