Marketing students are wasting little time in capitalizing on a generous Cornerstone Partner Gift to the Clemson University College of Business.
The Clemson Professional Sales Club is in business after recently having its charter approved by the university. A six-member leadership team led by junior marketing majors Alexis Hale and Bailey Whetter has begun recruiting members, planned two club meetings in April, and scheduled a full slate of professional development opportunities for the fall semester.
The Sales Club was made possible by a generous gift from Dan ’72 and Nancy Garrison, who recently committed $2.5 million to the College of Business building currently under construction, and to establish the Sales Innovation Program at Clemson. In addition to funding for additional resources and a state-of-the-art sales lab in the new building, it will provide development opportunities, like the Sales Club, for students seeking careers in sales.
The Sales Innovation Program is one of eight Signature Programs that will leverage the strengths of the College of Business’ traditional majors. The resulting core competencies will differentiate Clemson business education from its higher-education counterparts.
“The Garrisons’ generosity is going to benefit students in many ways and help put Clemson on the map as a national destination for excellence in sales education, research and executive education,” said Ryan Mullins, associate professor of marketing who will the lead the Sales Innovation Program. “Our students are already taking advantage of part of this gift by organizing the Sales Club. It will be one of many development opportunities made possible by the Garrisons.”
About 50 members attended the Sales Club’s inaugural meeting April 9, where Mullins briefed students on what the Sales Innovation Program will entail, and the potential impact it will have on them and the College of Business.
“Professor Mullins wanted the Sales Club to be for students, by students,” Alexis said. “Bailey and I decided to organize the club now so in the fall, students could begin benefiting from its development opportunities.”
The two began the process of creating a club charter and assembled a leadership team comprised of marketing majors Madison Hartsock, Taylor Rabon, Connor Butterfield and Connor Davis.
“The faculty seems really excited about the club and have given us some class time to drum up interest in the Sales Club,” added Bailey. “The club isn’t restricted to marketing or business majors. Eventually, we’ll cast a wider net, but right now we’re concentrating on getting the word out to marketing majors.”
Bailey and Alexis have a second meeting planned April 23, 6:30 p.m., in Sirrine 382, where a panel of faculty with experience in business sales will share their knowledge, followed by a question and answer session. But the club’s ambitious agenda extends well beyond this semester.
“In the fall, we have development workshops planned at 6:30 p.m., every other Tuesday. The topics will touch on basic skills like interviewing and how to handle rejection,” Alexis said. “We also plan to engage alumni sales professionals from Atlanta, Charlotte and Greenville as guest speakers.”
Among development opportunities planned are internal sales competition teams. “For instance, a company would present our teams with a real-world case study that they’ve encountered, then teams of students would compete against their peers at Clemson in developing strategies to sell a product or idea,” Bailey added.
Eventually, the pair would like to see the Sales Club sponsor a Sales Career Fair, similar to other College of Business fairs, but with a focus on inviting companies wanting to hire sales students.
Alexis and Bailey believe the Sales Club is one of the key pieces of the Sales Innovation Program that will help Clemson become nationally recognized as a sales education hub.
“The energy and enthusiasm exhibited by Bailey and Alexis is reflective of our students’ appetite for professional development opportunities,” Mullins said. “The Sales Club is the tip of the Sales Innovation Program iceberg. It will be an additional learning tool for our students while also providing engagement with industry. That and other program components will attract sales-oriented students, high-caliber faculty and increase the College of Business’ relevancy to industry partners.”
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