November 19, 2013
Sales Team takes top honors at FSU International Collegiate Sales Competition; Keiser earns first place finish
l to r: Jerry Kollross, faculty coach; Callie Johnson; Arianne Thompson; Kelsey Keiser; Jake Hagglund
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Sales Team scored a doubleheader at the 2013 Florida State University International Collegiate Sales Competition (ICSC), November 8–10 in Tallahassee, FL.
Kelsey Keiser, a senior professional sales marketing major from Prairie Du Sac, WI, took first in the competition placing ahead of students from 39 universities located across the United States. The UW-Eau Claire team, which included fellow competitor Jacob Hagglund (Sr., Neillsville, WI), and alternates Callie Johnson (Sr., Spooner, WI) and Arianne Thompson (Sr., River Falls, WI), also took top honors. Jerry Kollross is the coach for the UW-Eau Claire Sales Team.
“To win a major competition felt absolutely incredible,” said Keiser. “I feel so blessed to be given such an incredible opportunity and to be a part of such a top notch sales program.”
2013 FSU Results
Individual: 1st: UW-Eau Claire; 2nd: Texas State; 3rd: Baylor; 4th: Florida State.
Team: 1st: UW-Eau Claire; 2nd: Baylor; 3rd: tie: Texas State and Bloomsbury College.
For her first place finish, Keiser won a trophy, $2,500 cash award and a $1,000 suit from Tom James. The UW-Eau Claire team will have its name engraved on a traveling trophy.
Participating at the ICSC in addition to UW-Eau Claire were teams from such powerhouse sales programs as Ball State, Baylor, Central Michigan, Georgia State, Illinois State, Indiana University, Kansas State, Kennesaw State, Texas State, and the University of Central Florida.
“I was really proud of the way our students handled themselves while going up against larger big name schools,” said Kollross. “They never doubted their training and skills or that they could come out on top. Hard work and determination really does pay off.”
The FSU sales competition used a tournament-style series of role plays with four elimination rounds. Students sold Tom James apparel in a business to consumer scenario (rounds 1 and 2) and a business to business scenario (rounds 3 and 4). Because the ICSC only allows two student competitors per university, Keiser and Hagglund earned the right to compete as a result of their standings in the Blugold Sales Challenge. » Learn more. As alternates, Johnson and Thompson assisted the team as student coaches who helped develop strategy, served as buyers during role plays, and offered feedback on presentations.
UW-Eau Claire students started practicing for the ICSC in mid October. They met with Kollross twice a week for two hours each session. From the first practice role play on campus to the final sales scenario at the ICSC, it was a team effort.
“The first few meetings we spent writing our team goals and breaking the case down step by step,” said Keiser. “Then we played 'the next logical question', Jerry’s favorite game, and began role playing.”
The team practiced different scenarios rather than scripting out what they should say. They did research; Hagglund traveled to Minneapolis to do a ride-a-long with a Tom James sales representative to learn more about their sales process. Students also videotaped their role plays so they could critique them as a team.
Finishing first at the ICSC was an emotional experience for Keiser.
“It was an amazing feeling to be in a room with 80 competitors and have my name called,” said Keiser. “I am so thankful for my wonderful teammates—Arianne Thompson, Callie Johnson and Jake Hagglund--and my coach, Jerry Kollross, who knows how to inspire and prepare his students for competitions. Success like we had at the ICSC proves that there really is something special at UW-Eau Claire.”
More about sales competitions from Kelsey Keiser
“To students hesitant to participate in competitions like the ICSC: I was in your same position only one year ago!
A common theme for our weekend at ICSC was 'life begins at the end of your comfort zone' meaning that the times when you take the most risks and put yourself out there will be the most important, valuable and memorable times of your college career. You will only better yourself by exceeding your comfort level.
Participating in a sales competition was one of the best decisions I have made in college so far. From my first sales competition last year at a PSE regional competition to the win at ICSC I have grown so much personally and professionally. By competing in events like these I have learned exactly what my full potential is. I also now know what career I want after graduation. I would have never figured that out without these competitions.”