New Coursera Specialization on the Art of Sales

The ability to sell is a necessity in today’s world. Whether it’s standing out in a crowd, selling yourself to a new employer, or winning new customers; selling is something we do every day, and we should be really good at it!

On June 4, 2018, Northwestern will answer that call by launching its latest Coursera Specialization—The Art of Sales: Mastering the Selling Process. Developed by Craig Wortmann, Clinical Professor at the Kellogg School of Management and CEO of Sales Engine Inc., the four-course sequence aims to make learners as efficient and effective in selling as possible. Students will be transformed through a series of lectures, discussions, and exercises designed to push them up and out of their comfort zone.

“I've been learning a lot around sales and selling and the emotions we go through in selling over the years and I really wanted to get these lessons learned out into the world so more people can get make tactical use of the skills and discipline. I just think that's incredibly important,” said Wortmann of the course development.

“We all sell,” he continued. “Let's say you're part of a company and you would never identify yourself with the word sales. You are still going into meetings and presenting ideas, strategies, or ways of doing things. Presenting to people is a form of selling. We often just call it ‘presentation skills’ or ‘communication skills’ or ‘negotiation skills.’ Those all fall under the bucket of selling because you need to influence an outcome—you need to influence, persuade, and convince people. Those are selling motions.”

Addressing the universal need for these skills, Wortmann concluded, “I hesitate to say everybody should take this course, but in one sense, that is the answer because if you're a mom or a dad, if you're getting your first job or your 15th job, if you're in a company large or small, you're switching careers, you're interviewing, trying to launch a business; those are all places that require you to be good at selling. The courses distill the critical knowledge, skill and discipline to be a great salesperson.”  

A Four-Course Sequence

Each course in the specialization can be taken as a stand-alone class, but it is recommended that they are taken in order to build on the learnings from the previous course. Learning outcomes include:

Course 1: Prepare to Stand Out

4 Weeks, 5-7 hours per week:

  • Talk about yourself and your business and get into and out of sales conversations efficiently and effectively
  • Discuss the knowledge, skills, and disciplines necessary to show up, stand out, and break through in any situation
  • Create a personal goal to reach by the end of the specialization

Course 2: Now Make Contact!

5 Weeks, 5-7 hours per week:

  • Run high-impact meetings that create complete separation between you and everyone else your customer comes into contact with
  • Anticipate and handle sales objections
  • Tell powerful stories
  • Give and receive performance feedback

Course 3: Let's Fall In Love

3 Weeks, 5-7 hours per week:

  • Give great presentations with dashing style and self-confidence
  • Ask the closing question and don’t be afraid
  • Develop your brand and go above and beyond for your clients

Capstone Project

The Specialization concludes with a capstone project where learners will create several sales-necessary tools that are essential to becoming a high-performer in sales. Collectively, each tool makes up a part of the Sales Toolkit, a living document to guide you through each and every step of the sales process for your efforts beyond the class.


Enroll today to join the first cohort!

Northwestern students, faculty, and staff: don't forget you can take the specialization at no cost. Please follow these special instructions to enroll.