A recent paper in Business and Professional Communication Quarterly shows the role that stories play in the success of applicants in the job search process. Stories can help students describe past work and educational experiences in a memorable way that conveys their knowledge and skills.
Among the many things I try to accomplish with each class is creating environments and opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in real world contexts. These environments provide fertile ground for students to translate their classroom experience in rich and compelling ways with storytelling when they start interviewing for jobs.
For example, in my sport sales class, students make 200 sales calls to prospects that purchased tickets to at least one game online last season for the Indianapolis Indians. The video below shows Braxton Bragg closing a sale on his first day in the sales center.
To close the sale, Braxton:
- quickly developed trust and rapport with someone he didn’t know
- asked questions to understand someone’s needs
- presented value to a customer
- overcame objections
- asked for the sale
- explained the benefits of a product/service
- celebrated accomplishments with teammates
- participated in a positive sales culture
Brandon now has a compelling story to tell when asked behavioral interview questions like:
- Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something you had never done before.
- Describe a situation where you needed to persuade someone to see things your way.
- Describe a time when you had to sell an idea to your coworkers or group?
- Tell me about a time you had to get out of your comfort zone.
It is our job as faculty to help students translate the experiences in the classroom to storytelling in the job interview setting. Creating storytelling opportunities is just one of the many benefits of adding a sport sales class to the curriculum. With 36% of the jobs listed on Teamwork Online in sales, it is somewhat surprising that only 22% of undergraduate sport management programs in the United States offer a course to teach students how to sell.