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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The Sales Leadership Program participates in competitions to gain real-world experience

Silvers said consultative sales is based around the consumers’ needs rather than the sellers. 
Members of the Sales Leadership Program who participate in competitions. Photo curtesy of The Sales and Leadership program.

The Sales Leadership program at Marquette seeks to develop skills in a type of sales called “consultative selling.”

“It’s all focused on that relationship building. And we see that with our students as well,” Jonathon Silvers, the industry relationship manager for the Center for Professional Selling in the program, said. “Sales, to us, is a relationship that’s long lasting.” 

Silvers said consultative sales is based around the consumers’ needs rather than the sellers. 

“We have to be the difference, we have to be about helping others,” Alexander Milovic, founding director of the sales program and its current assistant director, said. “We ask: ‘How do we develop ethical sales? How do we develop ethical people?’ That’s where this program, and our exercises, come in.” 

This year, some students are offered chances to compete for the program. The Sales Competition Team, a group of four to five students, travel to competitions to work with other universities and companies to get real-world experience selling. 

In early October, the Sales Competition Team participated in a competition hosted by UW-Eau Claire. In these competitions Jessica Ogilvie, director of the program, and Milovic said students are working individually and in teams to develop real sales pitches. They then deliver these pitches to judges who work within the industry.

“The competitions themselves are usually either role-plays, simulated sales meetings or connecting with someone over a cup of coffee and learning more about their company,” Ogilvie said. 

Ogilvie and Milovic said that, in these competitions and roleplays, they emphasize identifying and meeting customer needs and desires. Students are encouraged to spend a large portion of their allotted time on question-asking and building a connection. 

Max Sawyer, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, said being a part of the program has been a great way to meet other people in his field and advance in his career.

“Joining the club was career changing, realizing my passion for sales. I’ve built so many new skills and experiences, including my first sales competition this fall,” Sawyer said.

Silvers was a part of the Sales Leadership Program when he was an undergraduate at Marquette, now he’s graduated and working with the program. He said although he received offers from other companies, he decided to work in the program because he saw the value and opportunity in it.

Silvers said sales is not just something for the College of Business Administration, but for all schools and students at Marquette. Members from any college are welcome to join and participate in events put on by the organization. 

“We like to say sales is everywhere. Whether trying to sell an idea within the firm or selling yourself. I think the Sales Leadership program is where that starts,” Silvers said. 

As for the future, Silvers spoke on growing the opportunities within other colleges for specific sales-related events. He said internally, both the instructors and the executive board of the program are searching for ways to create tailor-made events for sales outside of the business school. 

“Our next big move is trying to find more specific programming outside our college,” Ogilvie said. “We’re building some more tracks for engineering students, arts and sciences students, and medical students. We’ve got some new partners that are doing really cool stuff. So, we’re going to have a very innovative spring semester.” 

This story was written by Allan Fox. He can be reached at [email protected].

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