Developing a relationship with a major construction company to convince them to consider your company’s security systems for their next development. Listening to the challenges of a busy medical practice that wants to cut paperwork to add time to see more patients. Helping the owner of a regional tire company decide on an upgraded plant maintenance agreement.
These are real-life case study assignments for students in the Virtanza Professional Sales Training, Certification, and Job Placement Program. They’ll get valuable information from their “customers” through this needs assessment, then develop tailor-made sales solutions for them.
And there’s a bonus: The sales skills these students are learning in the course of their Virtanza sales education will help them be successful in any career they choose.
Yes, it’s a salesperson’s job to listen to a story and develop a solution that gains the customer’s commitment. But this business of finding out what someone else needs and responding to it is also a fact of life. Understanding and addressing others’ needs is vital to living and working well with people.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Wendy Connick offers a list of communication skills for sales on The Balance Careers. Four of these are life skills that encourage success anyplace. They are success factors for anyone, sales professional or not, to get to know others:
- Drawing people out (collecting information, encouraging people to talk, making people feel comfortable talking and sharing information with you);
- Speaking effectively with strangers (making an instant connection, building rapport);
- Making small talk (being able to chat comfortably with people, using casual conversation to develop rapport); and
- Communicating with co-workers (being collaborative, getting along with people who have widely varying personalities, managing conflicts effectively).
Additional communication skills that are part of the Virtanza curriculum, such as making a presentation and negotiating, are also transferable to other jobs and life activities — from being a team captain to serving as a club president.
“The Virtanza curriculum is designed around sales, but the skills we teach are building blocks for success in any role,” says Debbie Holzkamp, CEO and founder of this unique career education offering. “We pay special attention to probing about needs, then developing smart solutions and presenting these ideas in verbal and written proposals.
“Being able to organize your thoughts and articulate them in writing and in front of others is a competitive advantage in any profession.”
YOUR DIGITAL PROFILE
Perhaps the foremost of all life skills is the ability to build relationships. Communication and listening skills are vital to building relationships. But there’s more to it than that. To build relationships on platforms like LinkedIn, you must tell your own story, making it compelling and persuasive.
From a career perspective, it’s being genuine as you work to expand your network of contacts, in person and online. It’s demonstrating respect by being punctual and meeting commitments. From a sales perspective, it’s about encouraging others to trust you, which leads to having a network of contacts willing to endorse you by reputation.
College students and adult learners now have the opportunity to gain life skills and sales career education with Virtanza. The program is now partnering with colleges and universities to offer its ACE Credit-credentialed course as part of business and communication majors. It can also be offered to adult learners for continuing education credits.
Virtanza is a unique opportunity to learn valuable skills and help you start a new story — about yourself, your life and career.