Students Praise Benefits of National, Regional Sales Competitions
By Matt Follese, Jordan Hauke, James Paulus, Brad Wiechmann
A major part of growth for professional sales people to gain experience in the field, especially presenting themselves in front of people. The Great Northwoods Sales Warm-up, a regional sales competition held by the College of Business, is one step in the right direction for a business major working toward finding a career in professional sales. The Warm-Up serves as a precursor to the National Collegiate Sales Competition at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia.
To participate, students must either be a marketing major or minor. Before the Warm-Up, students compete in a prelimary round for one of 12 spots on the UW-Eau Claire team. This year, 20 students competed for a spot, including Jason Wilson, one of the top four finishers at the Warm-Up. Wilson who went on to represent UW-Eau Claire at the National Collegiate Sales Competition, said having it helped him prepare for the national competition.
“It really helped me prepare for what the competition was going to be like and where I needed help or more information,” he said.
The National Collegiate Sales Competition provides a setting for competitors to sharpen their sales skills and meet with corporate sponsors. In turn, sponsors of the NCSC have the opportunity to sample top talent from the most prominent professional sales programs in North America.
“I became more confident in myself, and speaking with employers and people I hadn’t met before.” said Hjordi Danielson who was also part of the team. “Other benefits include having one on one advice from great companies and the chance to network with them.”
Faculty coach LaNette Flunker added that, “there are nine companies on campus recruiting [our students] because of it. It also has helped build overall relationships with recruiters.”
Danielson agreed, “Competing in the National Sales Competition really sets our students apart from other schools. The COB has made a lot of contacts from new companies because UW-Eau Claire has been so successful at the competition. Employers are looking for universities that set themselves apart and for students who are involved in atypical activities that illustrate what that student would be like in a real business setting.”
With these benefits comes a very large time commitment. Wilson said he estimated that he spent countless hours preparing himself for competition.
“ [I spent] five Fridays for around three to four hours working on it," he said. " [I then spent] another 30 to 40 hours meeting with people in the industry.”
Both Danielson and Wilson said the nice part about this experience is that they get one credit toward their degrees for participating in the National Collegiate Sales Competition.
In addition, both students highly recommend this experience to their peers.
Wilson added, “I would recommend that people pick up a marketing minor just so they can take part in these competitions.”
From left to right: Matt Follese is a senior marketing major from Minnetonka, Min; Jordan Hauke is a senior marketing major from Franklin, Wis; James Paulus is a senior information systems major form Little Canada, Min; Brad Wiechmann is a senior accounting major from Austin, Min. They wrote this article for their advanced business communication course.