The Application of Real-time Avatars in Business School Sales Training

Professional selling, despite its often negative perception in academia, is a fundamental part of business and revenue generation. While the technologies employed by sales practitioners have changed radically in the last few decades the fundamental skills remain much the same and the manner in which universities teach this crucial skill to business students has scarcely evolved since spice merchants traveled the Silk Road. We might speculate that wine merchants tutored their young apprentices in the art of closing a deal in Constantinople much the same as a software vendor coaches hers in closing the deal in a Manhattan high rise. The traditional approach to teaching sales in business schools has been some variation of role-playing, most often with other students, resulting in what is, at best, a poor approximation of the real world. At Saint Leo University, we are breaking new ground in the use of technology-based, situation-specific avatars to simulate a real-world selling experience. This paper offers both academic and practitioner perspectives on this emerging technology and its application in the classroom. This technology has the potential to be extended to other professional development and career preparation courses throughout our universities.

Experiential, Business, Sales, Marketing, Avatars

Technologies in Learning

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

  • John Lax
    • Assistant Professor, Marketing, Saint Leo University, United States FL, United States