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Students exemplify sales best practices at OHIO Sales Cup

Monday, February 22 2016 12:00am

On Saturday, Feb. 20, 15 competitors and 20 judges and corporate partners gathered for the 5th Annual OHIO Sales Cup, sponsored by SalesFuel. It was the largest—and the closest—OHIO Sales Cup yet. Dave Baxter, ’17 won by merely 1/10 of a point.

By Brianna Wilson

The OHIO Sales Cup competition started with 15, 20-minute role-play sales calls, where Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre Advisory Board members acted as clients while Schey students played the role of salespeople. Prior to the competition, students conducted research and built product presentations to prepare for the exercise, which closely resembles real-world sales experiences. During the competition, they attempted to sell an app and service solution developed by ADP, a payroll and time management company that is a long-time sponsor of the National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC).

Four students repeated the exercise in a final round, to determine who would represent the Schey in the NCSC event.  

“The finalists were all really effective in sales fundamentals,” said Elizabeth Cole, ’17. “They listened to the company’s problems, and truly wanted to help solve them.”

What else did they do well? They adopted best practices in sales, such as:

1. Building rapport.

Whether it was asking about the client’s weekend plans, mentioning the weather, or asking about their family, each and every finalist started with pleasantries to build rapport.

2. Following the sales process.

There was a consistent flow to each sale: The sales person introduced him/herself and developed rapport, proposed an agenda, and offered a recap of their most recent meeting. They then introduced a proposed solution (selling the ADP service and app), entertained questions, and asked if the client would like to get started today. 

3. Practicing reflective listening.

In other words, the finalists listened to the client, and confirmed that they understood the information correctly. This allows salespeople to better understand their client’s problem, and therefore, to present a solution that has the best chance of solving problems and providing value.

4. Demonstrating an appreciation for the client’s time.

Whether it was asking if 20 minutes still sounded doable for the clients’ schedules, specifically saying, “I know your time is valuable”, or quantifying how much time the client would save by using their product, every single finalist made sure note appreciation for the client’s time often.

5. Closing the sale.

You can’t make a sale if you don’t ask—especially if you only have 20 minutes to get a signature on the dotted line. All of Saturday’s finalists made a final recommendation to close the sale, and three out of four of them were in time, though there were two close calls, with less than three seconds to spare.

Congratulations to the winner, Dave Baxter, who will represent Ohio University at the National Collegiate Sales Competition, April 1-4, at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia.

“Our winners showed a tremendous amount of dedication to approaching customers as strategic business allies to present product and service solutions that align with customer goals,” said Jessica Ogilvie, sales team coach, assistant professor of marketing, and director of research and academics, Schey Sales Centre. “We are extremely proud of them.”

Winners

First place: Dave Baxter, ‘17

Second place: Greg Scott, ‘16

Third place: Stephenson Swan, ‘16

Fourth place: Andre Whiteleather, ‘17

Fifth place: Adam Moses, ‘19

Sixth place: Mike Balboa, ‘16

“The Schey Sales Center would like to extend a special thanks to the volunteers and to generous sponsor, SalesFuel,” said Ogilvie. “None of this would have been possible without them.”