By Madison Farrar, Contributing Writer
On Feb. 22-24, Asbury will take a team of aspiring salesmen to the University of Toledo Invitational Sales Competition. Open to the entire student body, hopefuls for the team must compete in a qualifying competition this Oct. 30 through Nov. 3.
Five students, two competitors and three alternates, will have the opportunity to participate in short role plays in which they will be asked to sell a product to a business professional acting as a customer. Winners of the competition will receive cash prizes, and all students participating will connect with business representatives interested in discussing internships and career positions.
During the competition, competitors will attempt to sell a product made by the 3M company. They will be trained on the features and benefits of the product so they can be prepared to effectively pitch the sale. The role play begins with a time for small talk to create rapport with the customer followed by a transition into the agenda by presenting the product, asking for the sale and then handling an objection.
While this is Asbury’s first time being invited to this competition, Dr. George Allen, Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Howard Dayton School of Business, brought a team to a similar competition in 2015. He also hopes to be invited to a larger national competition in the spring to allow for more students to participate.
“Any of the four majors that are under the school of business should particularly be interested, but students in all majors would benefit from the competition. Even those that are not in a job that is specifically about sales will still have the task of trying to sell ideas and techniques,” Allen said.
Noting that one in every nine workers is in sales, Allen believes that learning about sales is important for many different career fields.
“If you understand selling as being about helping people solve problems and improving their situation through a product or a service that you offer, you can see how any career can involve selling,” he said.
The team is looking for freshman, sophomore or junior students that have a strong ability to communicate one-on-one. People interested should be willing to learn and follow a specific process and skilled in being adaptable and thinking on their feet.
When asked why Asbury students should be interested in this competition, Allen said, “It’s a great opportunity to further communication skills, explore possible career options in sales and to represent Asbury University and the Lord at this competition.”