Even though it may be enjoyable, learning is not a spectator sport. Your students should be doing more than listening to lectures.
For an effective learning experience, students need opportunities to apply the principles they’re learning in the classroom, just as they would in the real world.
However, packing these components into a course, especially an online course, is difficult and time-consuming. So, how do you accomplish this in an asynchronous environment? Here are three ways you can revolutionize your next introduction to selling course with Stukent®!
1. Create Structure and Engage Students Online
Since the start of the pandemic, online courses have been in high demand as students enjoy the flexibility and convenience of pursuing their education from home. While online programs continue to expand, some students are still adapting to this mode of learning … especially in the realm of professional selling.
A study titled, “Suddenly Online: A National Survey of Undergraduates During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” examined the satisfaction levels and challenges faced by undergraduates who transferred to online learning in 2020. It revealed that 57% of students felt that maintaining interest in the course material was worse in the online format, 65% reported having fewer opportunities to collaborate with peers, and 42% experienced difficulties in staying motivated. The study theorized that lack of organization or technical difficulties were a factor in this drop in engagement and motivation.
Over the past few years, new developments have made the online education experience better for students. However, making sure your online students are absorbing concepts can feel arduous. And if you aren’t seeing your students two to three times a week in a physical classroom, it can be a challenge to get them engaged and excited about the material.
You can’t force every student to open their laptop and read their textbook, but the ones who want to become top sellers will commit to the learning process. Why not make it easier for them? One way to ensure student success is to set them up with resources that are simple to use, while still encouraging them to apply important concepts. This doesn’t have to be hard; it can be fun for students! And if it’s fun, they are more likely to engage with your course.
First of all, case studies are a great way to get students interested in your subject. They provide students with real-life sales scenarios to analyze and discuss. This enables them to understand how sales strategies are applied in various situations and fosters critical thinking.
You can also foster a collaborative learning environment by encouraging students to interact with one another in online discussion forums, group projects, or peer evaluations. Collaborative activities promote engagement and active learning.
Thirdly, Stukent’s “Professional Selling” courseware offers a platform that is easy to use so your students don’t give up trying to get into their homework. The text is straightforward, breaks down complex concepts, and provides real-world examples. Assignments are carefully designed to resonate with students, making the learning process enjoyable and meaningful. In these assignments, students will identify successful seller habits, learn negotiation tactics, and investigate how to build rapport.
“We want students to hit the ground running when they get their first job,” said B.J. Allen, an award-winning professor of marketing at Brigham Young University and coauthor of the “Professional Selling” courseware. “We want them to learn things they’re going to do their very first week … our goal was to shrink the onboarding process by about three months.”
Another compelling feature of the courseware is the inclusion of 48 Expert Sessions from sales professionals. These video sessions are available on demand from industry experts such as James Sukhan, Ember’s Chief Revenue Officer, or Larry Long Jr., LLJR Enterprises’ Chief Energy Officer. These professionals offer valuable insights and perspectives, expose students to diverse experiences, and share cutting-edge sales strategies.
2. Encourage Students to Learn by Doing
Aristotle once said, “For what one has to learn to do, we learn by doing.”
According to the report, “The State of the Student 2022” by academic publisher Wiley, more than 80% of students want their education to involve real-world experiences.
Students expect that your course will prepare them for life after school. Aside from the principles, they want to know what the day-to-day might look like in their future role.
Educators can encourage students to practice real-world work by incorporating scenarios or role-playing exercises into their lessons. Students might also enjoy case studies with real examples, guest speakers who are industry experts, and team projects.
If you’re teaching in an online modality, here are three methods you can incorporate into your course to engage your professional selling students:
- Role-playing Exercises: Include role-playing scenarios in which students can practice their selling skills and participate in simulated sales encounters. This allows them to apply their knowledge in a practical setting and receive feedback.
- Virtual Sales Competitions: Organize virtual sales competitions or challenges in which students compete in sales scenarios. This adds excitement, encourages active participation, and allows students to put their skills to the test.
- Virtual Networking Events: Organize virtual networking events where students can connect with professionals in the sales industry. This allows them to expand their network, gain insights from experts, and create potential career opportunities.
However, these activities still take time to create and grade, and they are much easier for in-person or synchronous setups where you can pair students up and guide the exercise. Students may find role-playing awkward as it is, and finding someone to practice with virtually can be difficult for online students.
You may need to get creative with your activities to ensure your online sales students have the same interactions they would within a role-playing customer scenario. To make this process easier, Stukent has created an opportunity for you to give students an engaging learning experience within a simulated internship, which we call a Simternship™.
Stukent’s Professional Selling Simternship immerses students in the role of a business development representative at DataLocker, a data management software solution.
This hands-on experience prepares students to analyze data, select value propositions for potential customers, and assist coworkers with sales-related tasks. Students also practice customer interactions with product pitch scripts and two real-time discovery calls.
“That’s what I love about this sim,” said Donald Kelly, a top-performing sales professional, 2022 Salesforce Influencer of the Year, and coauthor of the courseware. “It’s closest to us getting them jobs in sales by giving them opportunities to interact and to practice.”
The Professional Selling Simternship and courseware emphasize the development of customer relationship skills, as we recognize their importance in the modern business world. Through interactive exercises and real-world scenarios, students are encouraged to apply and refine these skills, preparing them for success in their future careers.
3. Assess Student Progress and Save Time
Time is valuable, and building professional selling skills can consume a lot of it.
If you have your students turn in videos of pitches or role-plays, you might spend most of your time watching and grading videos to provide valuable feedback for your students.
The Professional Selling Simternship makes this easy: Students are able to interact with each other in the simulation by providing peer reviews on pitches. All of the interactions in the simulation are auto-graded, saving you hours of time.
Since Stukent’s Simternship can be easily integrated, your students’ grades will sync seamlessly with the grade book in your school’s LMS, keeping you current with your students’ progress.
“I’m going to let you in on a little secret: One thing that’s so great about this courseware combined with the sim (in the classroom that I teach), is that the students feel like they got a hands-on experience,” B.J. said. “And I grade almost nothing. That’s what I love about the Stukent platform.”
As online education grows, the interest in online professional selling courses will, too. Stukent has developed multiple selling bundles, including our Advanced Selling Bundle, which takes students beyond basic selling techniques, strategies, and psychology, helping them build valuable skills they can apply to careers in sales and marketing.
If you teach your next introductory sales course using the Professional Selling Bundle, your students will go confidently into the workforce knowing they have the skills needed to be successful sellers.
At Stukent, we’re here to help educators help students help the world. If you want to stay current, check out our cutting-edge courseware and Simternships by visiting our website.