UMSL Business Blog

Who Needs Selling Skills? Everyone! New UMSL Course on Personal Selling

By Patricia Knight

Hi UMSL Students! Do you want to learn more about selling skills to assist in your future career pursuits?  UMSL Business offers a course to develop selling skills. MTKG 3751: Professional Selling Skills (note: course name will change to Personal Selling in Fall 2019) has been helping UMSL students (business and non-business) gain insights into the selling process since Fall 2018. Professor Rick Davis (30 years’ experience in sales and sales management roles) sets the following goals for students:

Learn the 6-Step, Business-to-Business Sales Process

Professor Davis recommends that students obtain two books for his course:  1) “To Sell Is Human” by Daniel Pink and 2) “Selling ASAP: Art, Science, Agility, Performance” by Eli Jones, Larry Chonko, Fern Jones and Carl Stevens.  The two books offer insights into professional selling and outline the customer-focused selling process. You get to download all of the class notes (PPT) on your computer to review the information before taking quizzes and tests for this course. You also get to work with your peers in group activities that relate to what you’ll be learning in this course.

Learn from Industry Professionals (Guest Speakers)

Professor Davis invites industry professionals to speak to the class various topics. The guest speakers also discuss their path to a sales career, provide career advice and give insights to students that help during their time at UMSL and after graduation. Professor Davis lets the students discuss what they learned from the guest speakers in discussion boards.

Create a Sales Presentation

You will learn to create a sales presentation as a sales representative for a consumer products company…you can select any product that you like.  It can be any item that you like to buy in the store, like a beer product, sports gear, food brand, etc. You will need to select the store that sells your favorite product and do some research on the buyer. You also have to research company facts, product features and understand the key benefits and differences between your product and competitive products. Professor Davis also chooses a product for himself and uses examples to help take students through the sales presentation development process.  You will present your product to the class, but don’t be nervous!  The class is really low key and helps improve your public speaking skills.

Improve Your Selling Skills via Role-Play Simulations

Students perform several role-plays during the semester.  He picks pairs of students to perform role-plays using their selected products, with one student playing the role of the sales representative and the other acting as the buyer. The role-play exercises help with interpersonal skills and the student’s understanding of the selling process:  step-by-step.

I learned a lot about selling in this course during the Spring 2019 semester as a Marketing student. Professor Davis is very helpful with his students and takes the time to meet with them outside of class if they need additional assistance.  Prerequisite requirements are pretty straight-forward:  Either take MTKG 3700: Basic Marketing as a prerequisite or send Professor Davis an email ( with your interest in the class.  We had both business and non-business majors in the class this Spring 2019 semester…it made for a more diverse class!

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