From economic theory to quantitative analysis and enterprise information development, business programs cover everything except selling. Whether due to oversight or other reasons, schools and colleges tend to omit Sales 101 as a core curriculum requirement. This is ironic, since new entrants into the work force often begin their careers in sales and many in mid-career often choose sales as a transitional point to other professional opportunities. Most importantly, selling is the lifeline and backbone of every company from fledgling start-up to Fortune 500.
The academic world, however, is slowly beginning to recognize the vital role of sales in a dynamic global market according to Rob Jolles, the founder of Jolles Associates, Inc. "The University of Houston now incorporates the topic of sales into its business administration marketing program," he mentioned. Although Rob himself graduated with a business degree from the University of Maryland, "Students were not given classroom instruction in sales."
For now, until academia completely revamps its business curriculum to be at parity with the core sales needs of industry, Jolles Associates, Inc., through comprehensive, in-depth and innovative training solutions, immerses companies and career professionals into the art and science of effective sales.
In case the mention of sales brings to mind the character of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" or the hapless real estate sales team of David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross," Rob Jolles demonstrates, through factual case presentations and contemporary training strategies, that effective selling is far from the stereotypical high pressure tactics that stir consumer wariness.
"People don't want to be 'accused' of selling," Rob emphasized. "The issue is why we must sell, because the most compassionate thing we can do is persuade people to change. Overcoming a customer's fear of change is a key hurdle for those engaged in sales. The ability to bring customer concerns to the table and to interactively exchange ideas helps promote trust and confidence on both sides."
"The whole idea of working through the moral implications of influence, separating it from manipulation and then building a repeatable, predictable process to change someone's mind has implications for all," Rob pointed out.
Through the Jolles training programs, participants learn to build trust, to develop a genuine sense of urgency, opening tactics, closing tactics, decision cycles, decision points, objection handling and more. But the most frequently asked question is, "How do we learn these things?" To this Rob's answer is, "Yes, I teach process behaviors. But these are taught with small group exercises, role-playing, mental agility® exercises designed to speed up the ability to find words and questions, case studies and actual simulations. Finally, students of these programs leave with implementation benchmarks and exercises to make sure what has been taught actually sticks."
Jolles Associates, Inc. has a prominent clientele of Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies such as Toyota, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, AT&T, Bank of America, Smith Barney and many others that can fill several corporate rosters. Jolles Associates also works with Harvard University, American University, the University of Houston and other well-known institutions of higher learning.
Professionals from other disciplines such as acupuncture, veterinary medicine and alternative health care often enroll in Jolles training programs. "It's amazing to see the number of alternative healthcare providers who attend these seminars," Rob commented. "Alternative healthcare givers are working through the patient's fear of change from conventional medical practices, which sometimes have little effect on various ailments. Rather than preach what they can do to relieve pain, they ask questions and listen to the patient's description of his/her condition."
Since Rob's father was a salesman, one might ascertain that Rob inherited his father's aptitude for selling. But aptitude makes up only a fraction of Rob's overall talent. He is also endowed with a natural gift for communicating, mentoring and teaching combined with an extraordinary level of motivation. "My father was a definite influence," he affirmed. "But I myself was also captivated by the thrill of the hunt – to be able to successfully pitch a product and snare a sale."
Rob became a record setting salesman for New York Life and Xerox Corp. At Xerox, his peers and superiors recognized his talent for teaching. "The company enrolled me in a program for trainers," he related. "That's when I discovered, and resurrected, a training process Xerox had not exercised for years." Rob expanded the process, refining and introducing many improvements. This led to becoming the director of sales training for Xerox and eventually to the founding of his own training and consulting organization, Jolles Associates, Inc.
So what is the secret or formula behind the success of Jolles Associates sales training? "Customer centered selling," Rob replied. "You must place the customer at the center before you can make a sale."
Which boils down to a simple solution: good customer service brings customer sales.