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Baylor Student Places 5th in National Professional Selling Competition

March 21, 2012

By Devin Etzold

The Baylor professional sales team competed in the 2012 annual National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC) hosted by Kennesaw State University on March 2-5. The team placed fifth overall out of the 65 universities from across the United States and Canada. Two Baylor seniors, Gui Julio and Hannah Kroening, both finished in the top fourth of the competition that included 129 of the nation's top undergraduate students.

Baylor's Professional Selling Program offers students a guaranteed paid internship and has a track record of 100 percent job placement for graduates. The Center for Professional Sales provides students with growth and development opportunities and helps raise financial support for student travel to Sales Competitions around the country. In 2011-2012, the Center raised $26,000 to support student involvement in seven national competitions.

Every year, the students participate in the National Collegiate Sales Competition, which began its history at Baylor University. The nationally recognized sales competition was initially hosted on Baylor's campus for its first four years after former Baylor Professor, Dr. Terry Loe, established it in 1999. In 2003, Dr. Loe joined Kennesaw State University's staff as the director of the Center for Professional Selling, since then the competition has been conducted in Georgia on Kennesaw's campus.

"I was able to attend last year's NCSC and afterwards I took home my judging sheet, hung it on my wall and wrote in big letters 'Goal: WIN. WIN. WIN.' So you can say I've been looking forward to this competition all year," said Kroening.

The NCSC is a role-play competition in which 129 students from 65 universities participate in making fictitious sales presentations to businesses. The event brings in over 300 sales executives to act as buyers from the companies that serve as corporate sponsors for the competition, half of which are Fortune 500 businesses.

The competition is set as an elimination tournament, with only the top sellers from every round moving forward. Each round, competitors sold Netsuite's CRM-Plus software to potential buyers from different industries. In the first round, the field of 129 students met in a role-play with potential buyers representing a company that provides cooking oil to restaurants. In the second and third rounds, competitors attempted to sell the software to representatives from a clothing company and a consumer packaged goods company. Students received limited information for each sales call and had only 20 minutes to engage in the sale exchange.

"The competition was a great learning process," said Julio. "It really put all the talent around the country and even the world into perspective. To have done as well as we did really illustrates the strength of the Baylor Professional Sales Program compared to the other programs around the country. Of course, we wished to have brought back the first place trophy; however, it showed that we will be well prepared for our careers once we graduate."

Gui Julio made it to the quarterfinals and placed in the top 32 of participants. While Hannah Kroening continued on to the semifinals where she placed in the top 12 out of the 129 participating students.

"The NCSC is a highly competitive and valuable learning experience for sales-driven students," said Charles Fifield, Professor of Marketing. "It provides our students an opportunity to test their skills as well as their ability to adapt and improvise according to different sales situations. Both Gui and Hannah did an excellent job at both."

"We are trained to work harder, work faster and to do it right the first time. In sales people can be aggressive, but here at Baylor we've learn the importance of heart selling not hard selling. It's about building relationships with customers and creating a valuable transaction," said Hannah Kroening.

Charles Fifield, senior lecturer of marketing, and Dr. Andrea Dixon, professor of marketing, coached the team. Serving as a student coach and Baylor's alternative competitor was Mark Crouse who trained alongside Julio and Kroening. Other team members were Spencer Anderson, Jeb Philips, Colyn Squires and Joseph Chen, who helped the competitors prepare.

"Getting to compete in NCSC this year was one of my best experiences I have had in the sales program," added Kroening. "It was a lot of pressure because the competition is very stiff but our team came together and supported each other so well."

The Center for Professional Selling provides world-class training and individualized coaching from experts in sales to professional selling majors. These students are provided access to a variety of networking, internship and job opportunities through the program. Upon graduation, students will have practical experience combined with professional instruction setting them up for success in sales careers. For more information about the Center for Professional Selling, visit www.baylor.edu/business/selling.

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