Published January 20, 1998
Volume 6, Number 1

Remembering the "L" Word the Key to Success in Sales, Says University of Phoenix Executive Jack Schroeder

Jack Schroeder
Jack Schroeder of the University of Phoenix looks over some
promotional materials for their latest offerings.

The key to sales? Simple, says Jack Schroeder, corporate account manager for the University of Phoenix. 

"I refer to the 'L' word, and that word is 'listen,'" he says. "Listening is an art—it's the other part of communication."

With over 30 years of sales and marketing behind him, Schroeder has done lots of listening. He brings with him to his job at the University of Phoenix the experience of working with two Fortune 500 companies and over 15 years running his own independent sales company, Capistrano Marketing. 

As corporate account manager, Schroeder serves as liaison between the university's campuses from Santa Rosa to Monterey and the hundreds of corporations in the area. In addition to its many degree programs, the university offers dozens of other courses, including certificate programs, workshops, custom training programs, and continuing education courses. 

"We're addressing the needs of the corporations," explains Schroeder. "A corporation will come to us with a need for a project or seminar done in a specific area, and we can generally supply that need. If we can't find an instructor in our system, we go to an outside agency and ask them to facilitate." 

As in most successful companies, the emphasis is on customer service. "That's really the biggest difference that you have, is the service you give somebody," he says. 

"I got a call recently from our Bakersfield campus and they want a course on selling techniques for people in the post office," he illustrates. "I'll do a needs assessment, find out exactly what they want, and give them a proposal. If it works well, we'll contact every other postal representative in Northern California to tell them about it."

This awareness of the customer's needs leads to the constant introduction of new courses and workshops. For instance, the university is teaming with the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce to offer an ISO 9000 certifi cation program beginning in April. To meet local demand, the program is specifically designed to assist small and medium sized companies in the implementation of ISO 9000. 

To Schroeder, however, listening, is the key to it all. "We actually have a course on that, learning how to listen," he adds. "We don't sell it a whole lot, because we can't get people to listen to the course description." 


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