A winning sales pitch

La Salle’s Center for Sales Excellence is in elite company nationally, and the only one of its kind in the Philadelphia region.

professor advising students in sales lab

Ask impending college graduates about a key concern within their education and a familiar reply might be shared: “Am I ready to take the next step?”

The Center for Sales Excellence plays a critical role in easing the nerves and doubts of upcoming graduates who are set to make the transition from an educational environment into the real world. Simply, the Sales Center, as it is known colloquially, is a launching pad into a sales career.

Based in the Department of Marketing at La Salle University’s School of Business, and under the direction of assistant professor of marketing Mike DiPietro, MBA ’92, the Center for Sales Excellence promotes real-world work experience by engaging students in internships and ensuring students earn their certifications in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, including Salesforce.com Sales Management. Students participate in internal and external competitions to facilitate the growth of individual sales skills.

The Sales Center’s facilities are designed to test students in widespread settings and mold them into well-rounded sales professionals. The use of technology enables students to familiarize themselves with tools in the field and watch recordings of their sales pitches while receiving coaching from the dedicated faculty and fellow students. Meanwhile, three role-play rooms of different size enable students to apply their knowledge and craft in the varied settings they will encounter in the professional world.

In 2019, the Sales Education Foundation distinguished La Salle as one of its top universities for professional sales education. The Center for Sales Excellence, located in Founders’ Hall, also proudly maintains sponsorships with corporate partners Sprint, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, Paychex, and Orkin.

“The Center for Sales Excellence aligns with the mission of La Salle University, as it is a locus for applied learning,” said MarySheila E. McDonald, J.D., dean of the School of Business. “Through teaching, research, and professional outreach, our students develop key sales competencies, and in an increasingly competitive global economy, we are giving students the opportunity to achieve a certification that sets them apart from many peers. I have been impressed by the transformative effect sales competitions, curriculum, and engagement with industry professionals has had on our students.”

The Sales Center’s facilities are designed to test students in widespread settings and mold them into well-rounded sales professionals. The use of technology enables students
to familiarize themselves with tools in the field and watch recordings of their sales pitches while receiving coaching from the dedicated faculty and fellow students. Meanwhile, three role-play rooms of different size enable students to apply their knowledge and craft in the varied settings they will encounter in the professional world.

“The Center for Sales Excellence prepares you in several ways for true work in the sales field,” said Dan Ehrlich, a member of the Class of 2021. “First and foremost, the internal sales competitions that are held at La Salle give you a taste for what it is like in a real selling situation. The Center for Sales Excellence also provides an amazing foundation for students who want to pursue a career in sales. (The) professors do a fantastic job at preparing students for a career in sales.”

Through sales competitions, La Salle students not only get a taste for a sales setting, but also benefit from engaging in a pressure-filled atmosphere. More than 70 students compete annually in internal sales competitions, with 20 students earning the opportunity to represent La Salle and compete against students from other universities.

These competitions offer students a glimpse of how specific sales situations can be approached and handled in different ways. Prizes are offered to the highest finishers in the competitions, including financial rewards and internship opportunities.

Added DiPietro: “Our sales students understand and have first-hand experience in the role that sales plays in a business- to-business environment. Employers have told us that La Salle sales students are better prepared for the workforce, understand the requirements of the job faster, and deliver results earlier than their peers who have not gone through the certification program or study sales as an undergraduate.”