Theory and application are closely linked in the sales semester at Turku UAS
Our sales semester and the courses at Turku University of Applied Sciences are slowly coming to an end. We wanted to use today’s blog post to give a short insight into our studies at Turku UAS, but especially into the courses of Timo Holopainen, our professor in Technical Sales Skills and Sales Workshop, which are both the heart of the Sales Semester. Furthermore, we will also have a look at the Sales Game and the Sales Management. To make things short, we can highly recommend this module to all students interested in Sales, but also to other students that are eager to learn, and here’s why:
Technical Sales Skills – the theoretical basics
In Technical Sales Skills, students are taught what counts in sales in an informative, highly interactive and exciting way, regardless of their existing knowledge. Topics such as the sales process, sales meetings, key account management or culture types are the content of the lectures. But also, exciting excursion hours we an introduction to personality types or stories from Timo’s sales career offer every student an important source of inspiration and learning for a career in any field, not only sales. Even though some of the models were already known from previous semesters, we were always amazed at how Timo really puts these theories into practice and gives us even more important knowledge about them.
Every lesson there is a so-called learning check, which makes the students revise the lecture material, often in an active way. Interactions, discussion and conversations are things that never stay away from the lectures. You study with each other rather than just by reading slides. This also adds to the character of the whole course and in an era of home alone online study, Timo Holopainen’s courses are a welcome change. Almost in every lesson, every single student contributed something. A self-evaluation at the beginning, a mid-term feedback and a main feedback at the end of the course made continuous improvement possible.
Sales Workshop – theory is followed by practice
In terms of knowledge transfer, the Sales Workshop is hardly behind the Technical Sales Skills course, but in terms of interactivity it exceeds it even. The knowledge gained from other courses was applied here. It is precisely this important complement to theory that makes the Sales Semester so unique. Important knowledge is imparted in many courses. But often the practical side of this knowledge falls by the wayside. Thanks to Timo’s years of successful practical experience, he really manages to give every student added value with his theory and, above all, practical lessons. Often, we were given a case, where it was about selling a product or service in imaginary sales meetings. Sometimes, the aim of the practice was also to arrange a follow-up meeting or to negotiate the price in the final phase of the sale.
After a given preparation and discussion time, we carried out the role games in teams. Each role play had a seller, buyer and observer. As a seller, you had to sell the product as good as possible, and the buyer could shape his profile and act from the other perspective. Since the focus was on improvement, constructive feedback was always given to the seller. Each student had many opportunities to better themselves in practice and we got professional support if needed.
Also, projects, like this one, the blog creation, were part of the Sales Workshop. All students were assigned to different projects and were able to work on something that had real application and was also useful for people outside the course. This made the motivation to work on the projects even bigger.
Sales Methods and Tools – alias Sales Game
In the Sales Game, we are taught to introduce the players (students) into the world of sales by competing against other teams. The teams will be given their own service or product at the start of the competition. The idea of the game is to practice sales, manage your budget by executing sales activities and other administrative tasks. We as a group, or we describe ourselves as a company, performed as a software provider for all-in-one solutions. We were able to sell our service to other companies during the game. Throughout the game you had to develop a business plan, an advertisement and an annual report. Thanks to Jaana who was supporting us with information material, motivational speeches and slide shows during the game. In general, we could say that the Sales Game is a great way to experience a totally different kind of lecture.
In the Sales Management, we could learn a lot about leading performance, organizing sales functions and sales channels, manager performance, objectives and target setting. The highlight of this course was to watch the movie “Unorganized manager” and wrote down afterwards what all goes wrong and why with the manger. Thanks, Jouko for teaching elements from the Sales Management aspect.
To conclude, we have really enjoyed the inspiring sales courses and are still enjoying them a lot. Even in times of social distancing, the course brings you important social contacts and thus also a little comfort during this time. Despite being now almost at the end of our studies, very few of all our many courses so far have been as interactive and alternate as the Sales Semester courses. We feel well prepared for the Sales Competition and it will be an eventful conclusion. With this goal in mind the whole semester we have been able to draw a lot of motivation from it. After all the changes last year and the impact on studying, it’s good to have some interactive and exciting courses, like the ones in the sales semester.
Authors: Herwig Heinrich Karl Stephan, Florian Tomke, Gsell Baptiste, Kluftinger Tim (exchange students at Turku UAS)