Sales class offers real life experience

Raquel Tuohy

UW Oshkosh students who have taken the nine credit sales class consisting of Fundamentals of Sales, Advanced Sales Tops and Sales Management have said it prepares them for their annual sales competition and real life. This class is taught by Bryan Lilly, a marketing professor within the business department. “Our sales emphasis is nine credits and comprises three co-requisite classes: Marketing 331, 335 and 338,” Lilly said. “They are taken as a block from 8-11:20 a.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday, all in one semester.” According to Lilly, the class is open to not only students pursuing a business major, but all undergraduates who have at least 60 credits and a 2.5 GPA, like communication major Yasmin Maghsadi. “This is a really good class for broad majors,” Maghsadi said. “During interviews I can always come back to this class [to use what I learned.]” Lilly said the first five weeks of the class involve a lot of concept materials, and from there it shifts to hands-on exercises. Nathan Kowalczyk, a student in the class, said he enjoys the experiential aspect of the class. “I like the class’s hands-on exercises and Bryan [Lilly’s] weird style; it works,” Kowalczyk said. Michael Mergener, elaborates on Lilly’s unorthodox teaching style. “Lilly is very meticulous and picky,” Mergener says. “I hate his bell that he rings when we use filler words [like um and uh.]” UWO student Jonathan Farr said the class has a unique structure. “This class is set up like a job, so he holds you to everything,” Farr said. “Participation breaks down into three categories. Lilly grades it like a job, which sets us up, but we can use some sick days.” Everything taught in this class can be used in the National Collegiate Sales Competition, which is held in early April and includes 60 colleges from around the country. Lilly said the competition involves the student posing as a seller and the judges posing as buyers. “Students are given materials in advance about the meeting: lots of product information about what they are selling, some information about the buyer, etc,” Lilly said. According to Lilly, students in his class can participate in NCSC by volunteering and the benefits include feedback, confidence and networking. “You get actual professionals coaching you; that type of feedback is really helpful,” Lilly said. “Practicing in a venue like this gives students a leg up and connections with professionals that can be very valuable in many ways.” Lilly said aside from the competition, there is a sales oriented job fair with lots of national companies that view these students as attractive hires. Overall, Lilly said he hopes his class strives to help students understand and prepare for the sales industry. “Sales comes in different flavors,” Lilly said. “Our UWO sales program is oriented to professional sales, typically with business customers or for very complex products. The typical sales position involves a lot of problem solving; you must work to understand that customer’s need, and then develop tailor-made solutions.”