Students at the Orlando competition, from left to right, are Olivia Royce, Hannah Selberg, Leisel Kreiner, Antwan Foreman, Michael Hadja, Marissa Rajasakara, Keryne Locher and Emmi Esker.
HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 18, 2017 – Three students in High Point University’s Professional Selling Club – Mandy Engelman, Olivia Royce and Emmi Esker – recently scored high remarks at two national collegiate sales competitions in New Jersey and Florida.
At William Paterson University’s National Sales Competition in Wayne, New Jersey, Engelman placed first in the Speed Selling Category. At the International Collegiate Sales Competition in Orlando, Florida, Royce placed third in the Speed Selling Category; and Esker scored high remarks in the Role Play Competition at the Florida event.
Larry Quinn, chair of the Department of Marketing and Sales, director of the Professional Selling Program and assistant professor of marketing, notes that with 4,500 colleges and universities nationwide, HPU is one of only a few that offer a comprehensive professional sales degree program. Each year, the Professional Selling Club participates in two fall competitions and one spring competition – an important aspect of sales education.
“When we agree to enter the competitive sales arena, there’s a difference in how much we and the students care,” Quinn says. “They work harder, they learn deeper and develop more. Students return from the sales competitions as emerging professionals with confidence to tackle the next challenge in life.”
Engelman, a junior strategic communication major and a sales minor from Pinehurst, North Carolina, explains that at both competitions in the Speed Selling Category, students are tasked with the question, “tell me about yourself.” Each competitor has two minutes to answer the question, which is judged by five top selling executives.
“My answer to the question ‘tell me about yourself’ did not follow the normal guidelines,” says Engelman, who, with guidance from Quinn, crafted a winning two-minute drill that showcased her passions, personality and accolades. “I took a risk and it paid off.”
Out of 60 competitors at the New Jersey competition, Engelman placed first – an award that HPU has never won.
Royce, a sophomore majoring in sales with a minor in French from Syracuse, New York, placed third out of 140 competitors in the Speed Selling category at the Florida competition.
Only in her second year of college, Royce was very aware of the fact that she had less professional experience than juniors and seniors who were competing.
“The two-minute drill often showcases internship experience,” says Royce, who serves as the executive vice president of the Professional Selling Club. “I was somewhat intimidated by the seniors who have already ‘increased sales by 20 percent’ during their summer internships.”
Like Engelman, Royce trusted her coach, Randy Moser, assistant professor of the practice of marketing and assistant director of the Professional Selling Program. Moser encouraged her to pull from past experiences and to be authentic for her two-minute drill.
“By no means did I have the most experience or the most impressive resume, but I was able to be myself,” Royce adds. “A genuinely crafted and honest two-minute drill, spoken from the heart – not from a script – goes a long way.”
Esker, a junior majoring in sales and statistics from Cleveland, Ohio, who serves as the president of the Professional Selling Club, also participated in the Florida event and placed 12th out of 250 students in the Role Play Competition.
“The Role Play Competition includes four rounds – ‘Needs identification,’ ‘presentation of the product,’ ‘meeting with the decision maker’ and ‘closing the sale,’” Esker explains. “Essentially, the role play category judges a student’s ability to complete all steps of the selling process. I was up against 250 students from prestigious universities all around the country, and was fortunate enough to place in the top 20!”
Esker adds how important competitions like these are not only to a student’s resume, but provides a competition edge for them when they enter the job market.
“Achievements earned at competitions can provide proof of outstanding skills and further distinguish them from their classmates and competitors,” Esker says. “Also, the relationships formed through networking at the competition will put students at an advantage when applying for higher studies or competing in the job market.”
Esker adds that sales competitions offer a chance for students to showcase their skills, gain substantial selling experience, analyze the outcomes of the selling process and uncover personal aptitude.
“In all honesty, the best part is that the competitions also encourage students to network with major companies to form internship and full time job opportunities,” Esker adds. “As president of the Professional Selling Club, I’ve seen dozens of students return from these competitions with job offers from major sales companies – which greatly benefits our university as a whole.”