WSU Pullman to offer professional sales certificate program

Three faculty members hired to teach classes; more than 30 percent of students enter sales after graduating

The professional sales certificate program consists of five classes but usually takes around 2 years to complete.

OLIVIA WOLF | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

The professional sales certificate program consists of five classes but usually takes around 2 years to complete.

SAYDEE PHOTHIVONGSA, Evergreen reporter

The WSU Professional Sales Program will expand to Pullman this fall from the Vancouver campus.

During the program, students learn sales skills and management, said Ron Pimentel, Professional Sales Program director and Carson College of Business scholarly associate professor.

The program started at the Vancouver campus about 16 years ago. The Sales Education Foundation consistently ranks the program among other top universities in the country for professional sales education, he said. 

“We get them to be performance ready so when they’re hired, they just need to learn the product information about the company they’ll be representing,” Pimentel said.  

The program consists of five classes but usually takes around 2 years to complete, he said. 

The Carson College of Business hired Professors Kevin Chase, Bitty Balducci and Alec Pappas to teach sales classes at the Pullman campus. Each addition brings enthusiasm and experience to the program, he said. 

It is exciting to have the resources and faculty necessary to bring this program to Pullman, Balducci said. 

The program is open to any major and can be beneficial no matter what students’ plans are after graduation, Chase said. 

“One of the interesting things I think a lot of people don’t realize is that 30 to 50 percent of all majors within the university will end up in sales as their first job,” he said. 

The program also focuses on interpersonal communication skills which are applicable to nearly every job a student may have, Chase said. 

“Our goal is to expose [students] to the sales profession and hopefully break down some of the misconceptions that exist. A lot of students, when they think of sales, think of things like the used car salesman,” Balducci said, “but that is not the type of sales that we are training students to engage in upon graduation.” 

Many sales jobs revolve around solution creation. This involves relationship building and working with clients to find the optimal solution to a problem or need. The program focuses a lot on this, she said.

Since sales jobs are commission-based, a person’s income is never capped by a salary, Balducci said. 

“It’s very much a profession where you are rewarded for your efforts … you will get the fruits of your labor, if you will,” she said. 

There is a need for employees with sales backgrounds nationwide, and having the skills this program provides can help set students apart from their competitors, Balducci said.