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November 6, 2008

Students from Nine Midwestern Universities to Compete In Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up

Forty-eight students from marketing programs at nine Midwestern colleges and universities will gather at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Nov. 13-15 for the second annual Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up, a regional sales competition hosted by UW-Eau Claire's Department of Management and Marketing.

The event is designed to increase student interest in sales as a profession, according to Bob Erffmeyer, professor of marketing and competition director. Students will hone their selling skills, network with sales professionals and recruiters, and meet other students who share their interest in sales. The event will also give students an opportunity to “warm-up” for the National Collegiate Sales Competition which is held every spring at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga.

Schools participating in the UW-Eau Claire event include Aurora University (Aurora, Ill.) Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.), Bemidji State University (Bemidji, Minn.), The College of St. Catherine (St. Paul, Minn.), Minnesota State University Mankato, St. Cloud State University (St. Cloud, Minn.), University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, Iowa), UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout.

All contestants at the Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up will deliver two 20-minute sales presentations — one for a Hormel product, the other for a Cintas service — to an individual buyer. Sales calls will be evaluated by a panel of sales professionals who will view presentations via cablecast at a remote location. Students will receive their evaluation sheets, a CD of their presentations, and a half-hour debriefing session with one of the sales professionals who evaluated their performance.

Erffmeyer said UW-Eau Claire has held a fall warm-up event for its own students for a number of years, but last year was the first time the College of Business organized the competition as a regional event with other schools.

"The opportunity to compete against students from other great sales programs and the addition of cash prizes really took our competition to the next level,” said Erffmeyer.

Individual prizes at The Warm-Up include $1,500 for best overall salesperson, sponsored by SUPERVALU; $1,000 for first runner-up, sponsored by Huntsinger Companies; and $750 for second runner-up, sponsored by Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.

New this year is the school champion award. The highest scoring individual from each university will receive $150 and a trophy, sponsored by Aflac and Wells Fargo Financial. (Best overall, first and second runners up will be excluded from these awards.)

When students aren’t competing, they will attend professional development workshops on such topics as professional attire, networking, and strategies for building a client base. Workshops are lead by business professionals from Aflac, Enterprise, Liberty Mutual, and UW-Eau Claire Student Professional Development Program. Sponsors will also be available to meet with students during the career fair on Friday and Saturday of the competition to discuss internships and career opportunities.

Other events being planned include a Thursday night opener and reception; the Friday night Liberty Mutual Fun Night dinner and Enterprise Rent-A-Car Entertainment Night, featuring hypnotist Tommy Dare, and the Saturday night Cintas and Hormel Foods celebration banquet.

Cintas and Hormel Foods are major sponsors of the Great Northwoods Sales Warm-up. Other sponsors are Aflac, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Huebsch Services, Huntsinger Companies, Larson Companies Hotel Group, Liberty Mutual, Leinenkugel Brewing Co., M & I Bank, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network-Bohannon Group, Sun Life Financial, SUPERVALU and Well Fargo Financial. These sponsoring companies provide the judges for the competition.

For more information and a complete schedule of events taking place in both Schneider Hall and Davies Center, visit www.uwec.edu/cob/sales or contact Meredith Wolf, special events coordinator, UW-Eau Claire College of Business, at (715) 836-3543 or wolfm@uwec.edu

- Source: University News Bureau