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Center for Professional Selling

Student Coaches are Key to Sales Competition Preparation

Nov. 25, 2013

RBI Team

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from left to right:
Taylor Dixon, Ben Watson, Dr. Bill Weeks, Jenna Werneke, and Robert McCandlish

In mid-November, Robert McCandlish and Ben Watson traveled to William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey to represent Baylor University at the RBI National Sales Challenge. To ensure that these students were prepared for the sales call role-play and the speed selling competitions, faculty and student coaches worked alongside these two competitors from September through November.

"These sales competitions are a developmental opportunity, especially the speed sell because students will be faced with the question, "Why should we hire you? in the future," said Dr. Bill Weeks, a marketing professor at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business and faculty coach for the competition. "Speed selling forces students out of their comfort zone to learn more about themselves, and work on their writing skills by developing their script. They grow by learning how to deliver it effectively. This builds their confidence up while they learn how to receive coaching and adjust based on coaches' recommendations," said Dr. Weeks.

The student competitors and coaches highlighted the importance of preparation for a sales competition and connected their hard work to success in the future.

Jenna Werneke, a senior ProSales major from St. Paul, MN, was a student coach for the RBI National Sales Challenge. "It was much more relaxed being a coach rather than a competitor because I already knew the product. However, it was a learning experience to see how people prepare differently and to be able to mentor the competitors," said Werneke. As a student coach, Werneke was fully engaged in the competitor's preparation. "I helped the competitors by learning about the product as well as running several role plays with different personalities and objections, making sure they were ready for anything. I wanted the competitors to succeed because I knew what it was like going through the competition."

Taylor Dixon, a senior ProSales and marketing double major from Cincinnati, OH, was a student coach in 2012 and 2013. "It was a great opportunity to help the competitors prepare this year by applying all the knowledge I had and best practices I learned from participating in the RBI National Sales Challenge last year," said Dixon.

This was the first sales competition for junior Ben Watson, a ProSales major from Sulphur Springs, TX, and preparation was important for his development. "We practiced on Tuesdays and Fridays for a couple of months leading up to the competition and we all worked as a team when preparing. We had a great coach and great student coaches. It was a terrific experience and the role-play taught me a lot."

Robert McCandlish, a junior ProSales major from Westminster, CO said he sees how the benefits of competing and prepping for the competition will shape his future. "The RBI National Sales Challenge was an opportunity for me to develop real-world selling skills by competing against some of the best sales programs in the country. I learned that it takes excellence and perfection to be the best. It takes extra effort and dedication to truly be great at sales."

Dr. Weeks also highlighted the importance of preparation for the event. "The students have an intense training schedule that consisted of at least 10 two-hour training sessions. The students sold once to me, then to their student coaches, then the received a de-briefing to focus on areas of improvement," said Dr. Weeks.

"Two student competitors at the RBI National Sales Challenge had no sales experience inside or outside of the classroom. Students were essentially learning how to do sales calls in a competition while they were taking their introductory classes, so there was a quick learning curve," said Dr. Weeks. "I am proud of them because they progressed well given the challenges they had and they did a good job representing Baylor."

About the Center for Professional Selling

Dedicated to excellence in sales education and based in the university's Hankamer School of Business, the Center for Professional Selling is recognized as one of the premier global information resources for the sales profession. For more information on the Center for Professional Selling, visit http://www.baylor.edu/business/selling.

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