CULLOWHEE – The College of Business at Western Carolina University paused to thank three major donors to its new center for professional selling and marketing, unveiling rooms named in honor of the contributors during an open house Saturday, Oct. 9.
Leroy Kauffman, dean of the College of Business, led a tour of the facility that included rooms named in recognition of the contributions of Wachovia Bank, the Sherwin-Williams Co., and O’Brien and Deborah Brooks.
“Without the significant gifts from these business leaders, and without the support of our College of Business advisory board, faculty and alumni, our students would not have the opportunities to learn real-world business communication and business-to-business selling skills in such a first-class facility,” Kauffman said.
Located in the federally funded Center for Applied Technology, the facility is designed to enhance Western’s instruction in sales and marketing techniques through a state-of-the-art calling center, video conferencing and other hands-on practical applications for students majoring in business.
As part of the open house, Julie Johnson, associate professor of marketing, demonstrated the capabilities of the facility’s customer contact room, a sophisticated computerized calling center that utilizes Voice over IP technology.
“We want to teach our students how to prospect for clients, build rapport with various members of the buying center, and ultimately talk with decision-makers in order to identify customer needs,” said Johnson. Beginning in November, Western students in a consultative selling class will be working with Cintas, a manufacturer and promoter of corporate identity uniform programs, as well as one of Fortune Magazine’s “Most Admired Companies.” Students will get real business-to-business sales experience through cold calling, lead generation, and customer satisfaction phone calls, Johnson said.