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College of Business Holds Inaugural Sales Competition

April 21, 2021

The College of Business wrapped up its first Sales Competition on April 19, with a total of 26 students participating. Winning students took home cash prizes totaling $2,250 thanks to the generous support of Aflac.

Students were divided into teams of two with a buyer and a seller. Prior to the competition, teams had the chance to choose a product or service and rehearse their sales pitches. 

For the competition, students acted out the sales scenario, with the seller making sure to cover the major sales principles outlined in the judging criteria. The students were observed by six judges, including Brandon Daw, Regional Sales Coordinator at Aflac; Dave Reichelt, Regional Sales Manager for PMA USA; Dezuara Ruiz, District Manager at ADP; Don Zebe, Vice President at Colliers International; and College of Business Dean, Dr. Shane Hunt.  

“[The event] went really well,” said Marketing Professor John Ney, who managed the competition. “Learning these sales skills is so important as everyone sells, even doctors and lawyers.”

The first-place team consisted of students Sophie Shelton and Challis Hobbs, who sold pest control and won $1,000. The second-place team of $500 was Eric Staten and Josh Pearson, selling hand warmers. Third place and $250 went to Jeremiah Schilz and Stanton Latimer selling pest control. The best buyer award, with a $500 prize, went to Sindi Banda. Other products included in the competition were solar panels, quail, plumbing services, the Idaho State Honors Program and vacation packages to Beliz.

Shelton, a junior majoring in business management and marketing played the buyer in the team that took first place. Shelton dressed up as an overwhelmed house wife answering the door wearing pajamas, a robe and cleaning gloves.

“Throughout this experience, I learned that we can push ourselves to do difficult things,” she said. “We had prepared and practiced but I was terrified before walking into the room. We put our heads down and pushed through because we wanted to succeed.”

Hobbs, who played the seller in the team said they only scripted their pitch enough to cover the points outlined in the judging criteria. 

“We started with outlining the sales presentation making sure it had the essentials; introduction, interviewing/problem identification, presentation, gaining commitment and overcoming objections,” said Hobbs, a Master of Business Administration student who currently works full-time in a sales role. “A good rule of thumb [we followed was] if it’s boring for you to do, it’s going to be boring for them to watch, so we made it fun!”

Hobbs said he learned how important it is to help identify a problem with the buyer that can be solved with the product, as well as how powerful a good story can be. 

Overall, students felt the experience was very rewarding. 

“Besides sharpening the saw and improving my sales skills a ton, connecting with the judges, John Ney, Shane Hunt and classmates was the most rewarding,” Hobbs said. “They really opened my eyes to the earning potential, amazing lifestyle and the need companies have for professional sales people.”  

“This competition has definitely pushed me to consider a career in sales,” said Shelton. “I am currently in a sales role for work and it has been one of the most difficult yet most rewarding things I have done. I didn’t think I would ever be able to do something like this so to be able to succeed in this way has really shown me that we can do anything we put our minds to.”

Both students agreed that they would participate in the competition again explaining that having good mentors and coaching from John Ney, Shane Hunt and the judges made a huge difference.

The Sales Competition will become an annual event for the College of Business and is open to any major in the University. Ney hopes that the competition will open up new opportunities for students outside of business and marketing to develop their skills in sales. Ney explained that although sales is often thought of as door-to-door work, it is actually a skill that is involved in every job and even personal life.



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