Are you ready to take your sales skills to the next level? Discover new business development positions and increase your income by gaining new knowledge and strategies in any role you have? The Professional Sales Academy can help you get there.

The Professional Sales Academy was created to accommodate busy sales professionals and meet them where they are to help them grow. Courses are currently taught by Suzanne Siegle, Dean of the School of Business Administration for Concordia University Ann Arbor, and Jonathan Bahr, Director of Enrollment Services for Concordia University Ann Arbor.

We sat down with Suzanne to get a sneak peek into the Sales Academy and find out what students should expect and how they will benefit from it.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your background related to sales and how did you get involved with Concordia University?

I have three main areas of sales experience in my background. During college, I worked in direct commissioned sales where I had the opportunity to learn from strong mentors and sales professionals in both the tactics and psychology of direct sales. During, and after, law school, I studied and worked in small business law, real estate law, and estate planning. I learned a great deal about building relationships with clients to build a long-term client portfolio, resulting in growing firm business.

Currently, I work with startup companies and coach entrepreneurship at Concordia University. My work is both academic and administration. We have a strong position in our marketplace–Christian liberal arts education–that can fill the market need for creative problem solvers, enthusiastic innovators, and persistent doers who are not afraid to persevere in their endeavors.

What are three of the biggest benefits of the professional sales academy and why?

First, it’s approach and purpose. We believe every individual has the ability to make an impact and solve big world problems. Whether a person is launching a startup or working with an established organization, understanding the value and benefit of professional sales is critical to success. Our focus is on genuine and ethical relationship building. We want to help remove the angst or uneasiness with working in sales, which often comes when people worry about a commission structure. This academy equips people with the skills and attitude necessary to succeed in any commission-based business, and even in a salaried professional role where results are measured.

Second, we focus on the success mindset and how this can impact results. We spend time looking at what successful sales professionals do and how they think; what sets them apart and how we can model this thinking so that mind, body, and spirit can resonate with us and our university’s mission.

Third, I would say we deliver tangible and tactical takeaways that can be immediately applied and directly measured. At the end of the day, the goal is to generate more leads and close more prospects. Having the right outlook, mindset, and skills are pivotal to success.

Who should enroll in the academy?

Everyone! Everyone who is serious, and that is just it: you have to be serious about wanting to be successful, to achieve, and increase business and life potentials. Individuals who want to step up their sales performance and engage in continuous professional development. We all need continuing education and motivation, an increase in lead generation and sales revenue, and to learn how to develop effective strategies that work with your personality and industry.

Can you sum up in a sentence or two how this academy will help put students in the right mindset for success?

Sure! Students will first of all have to come open and teachable to do that for themselves. What we will do then is share with them the science behind winning mindsets, examples of how this can be done, how this works, and measurable ways to develop, equip, train, and cultivate this mindset.

What makes Concordia University’s professional sales academy unique?

I think the academy is unique in two ways. First, it is unique because our mission is unique. We seek to equip young men and women in mind, body, and spirit to serve Christ in the Church and in the world. We focus on a higher purpose for business and for our lives. We are unique in that we are mission-driven, yet market-minded, and therefore are able to view the world of professional sales through the lens of the Christian businessperson by being ethical and successful at the same time.

Second, this is built in a way that is easy to do and apply right away! It is not built as a credit or degree program that takes a deep dive into any single area. Rather, it focuses on the important outcomes and objectives that are critical to growing a business and increasing sales success. In this way, it is very workable and fits the schedule of busy professionals.

What is the most important takeaway of this academy?

The most important takeaway is that you determine your own success. There is no ceiling for those who are open, teachable, and willing to embrace a growth mindset by working hard and producing results. Anyone can do this, and everyone has experience with sales in their lives–they just may not realize they have some of the skills already!

Is there anything else you would like to add about the professional sales academy?

Sales is a results-driven industry. At the end of the day, value and impact are measured by the results delivered. We are looking for folks who want to learn and grow, who are serious about building and growing their businesses, and who are open to learn, change, and adapt.

The academy currently consists of two courses: “Developing a Winning Mindset and Plan for Prosperity” and “Winning Strategies for Getting Results.” You have the option to pick which learning engagements to take. However, if you complete them all you will earn the “Sales Innovator” digital badge. Digital badges like these hold their value better than certificates because they are linked electronically to Concordia and you accrue as many as you want to customize your learning experience and credentials.


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