The University of Northern Iowa College of Business has a long tradition of exceptional preparation of sales professionals, and the newly established UNI Center for Professional Sales Excellence extends that impact on current students and offers comparable value to businesses across Iowa.  Featuring a dedicated space for sales development activities, student internship opportunities, and recruiting events, the UNI Sales Center will allow students to build skills, earn badges and certificates that showcase their professional sales capabilities, and build relationships with potential employers. 

“Employers are always happier to hire students who are ready to hit the ground running,” said Dale Cyphert, head of the marketing and entrepreneurship department, which is launching this initiative. “An important piece of the College of Business’s  mission involves identifying areas where we already do a really great job of preparing students and making sure that they are able to prove their value to prospective employers.”

A new UNI Center for Professional Sales Excellence will partner with Advance Iowa, one of the business support programs of UNI’s Center for Business Growth and Innovation, to offer the business college’s sales and sales management expertise to businesses and business communities across Iowa’s 99 counties.  Tapping university faculty expertise as well as the Advance Iowa’s unique expertise in pairing owners with trusted business advisors, the Center will provide resources for businesses who need to enhance the professionalism and effectiveness of their own sales and sales management efforts. 

The UNI Sales Center will promote professional standards of ethical sales conduct, promote proven best practices, and ensure that UNI continues to offer a Professional Sales curriculum: one that develops graduates with a firm grasp on current industry practices who can hit the ground running, contributing immediately to the companies lucky enough to hire them.  “Every company has its own product information and internal processes,” explains Marty Hansen, Sales Center Director, “but when new salespeople already understand the importance of building relationships and the critical tactics of superior communication, their training time can be dramatically reduced.” 

A vital function of the Center involves partnerships with the business community. The Center will serve as a sales professionalism resource for businesses throughout the state, offering access to well-qualified entry-level sales staff as well as resources to foster the professional development of a company’s existing sales and sales management teams.  Paul Kinghorn, Director of the Center for Business Growth and Innovation said, “Many Iowa businesses struggle with their sales processes and personnel needs.  The partnership between these two centers means not only that these companies now have better access to qualified entry-level salespeople, but also to training and support services for their existing sales specialists and managers and access to the resources needed to develop and manage professional sales organizations.”

The UNI Center for Professional Sales Excellence has been in the dreaming and planning stage for many years, reflecting the vision of Dr. Steven B. Corbin who led the professional sales program at UNI from 1975 to 2013, when he retired as Head of the Marketing Department.  The final phase began with the appointment of an Advisory Board of key supporters from the professional sales community last year, and the UNI Center for Professional Sales Excellence will offer its first workshops this summer.  

For more information regarding July and August workshops, visit the UNI Center for Professional Sales Excellence website or contact the director, Marty Hansen, at  (319) 273-2630.