Marketing class gives students real world experience

Whitney Allen

Experience is a crucial qualification when it comes to finding a job after graduation. Executive-in-Residence Chris Derry has gone the extra mile to ensure that his students are obtaining the experience they need. 

Derry teaches in the Marketing and Sales Department. His course, Practical Applications in Selling, not only teaches students how to be persuasive in sales but also gives them a real world experience. Students in Derry’s class spend time outside of class at a local call center selling Culligan water products. 

Louisville junior, Natalie Koppel, was a student in Derry’s class last semester. 

“The course taught me that there is far more to professional selling than the stereotypical car salesman,” Koppel said.

In the classroom Derry teaches students how to successfully sell products in a way that is fulfilling for both the consumer and the salesperson by first building trust with the consumer, then establishing and meeting the customer’s needs. 

Students then apply these concepts when calling potential customers. If a student successfully convinces a business to agree to a two-week free trial of Culligan, that student gets paid.

Upon reading the current textbook for this course last summer, Derry changed his course.

“I realized that my challenge was not trying to convert students into sales people but to teach them how to persuade in their everyday life,” Derry said.

Sales aren’t something that just applies to those in marketing or business. In fact, of all the students that have jobs within 12 months after graduation, half of them are in sales. 

“I’ve had the opportunity to use the skills I’m learning in the classroom and apply them to real situations,” Koppel said. 

“Role-playing scenarios, learning how to sell a real product, and being pushed out of my comfort zone are things I wouldn’t have gained in a normal classroom setting.”

This upcoming weekend Derry’s students will be working a Culligan sales booth at the Home Expo 2014 at the Sloan Center.