Students Develop Applicable Life Skills in Competition

PROVO, Utah – Jan 15, 2013 – Students in the Business Management 454 sales management class spent the semester learning proper sales techniques and skills in anticipation of their very own Marriott School of Management Sales Competition. But in the process they found that the lessons learned have value right now.

“Every role in life requires the ability to sell,” says Tamara Masters, business management assistant professor. “Whether it’s asking a favor from a friend or actually selling a product or service. The course has application immediately, and the contest was a nice way to sharpen those skills.”

To prepare for the competition students were taught to focus on the challenges businesses face and spent the semester learning the formula for making a successful sales call: researching, asking questions and listening.

“You have to identify the needs of your customer,” Smith says. “A lot of people try to talk their way into a sale and not actually address the customer’s problems. Learning that was an eye-opener for me to try and think that way.”

Additionally, students spent hours practicing techniques, watching videos of sales calls and analyzing footage. During the final week of class, students showcased what they learned in the competition before their peers and judges.

The winner of the event was Dan Peterson, a senior marketing major from Salem, Va.; Jordan Smith, an entrepreneurship senior from Draper, Utah, took second place; and Kyle Barton, a senior marketing major from Highland, Utah, took third.

Preliminary rounds were sponsored by Kraft Foods, Qualtrics and Q90, and each company sent a representative to role-play with students making a sales call each round.

Swire Coca-Cola sponsored the final round of the tournament, and Ron Rallis, director of on-premise channels, represented the company acting as a restaurant owner interested in changing soft drink providers. Students, playing the role of Coca-Cola representatives, were given seven minutes to identify his needs and set up a return call.

“It’s really important to ask the right kinds of questions,” Rallis says. “You need to become a consultant for the business rather than a salesman so that you can offer solutions to help.”

Students improved their skills with hard work and the right attitude, something that will continue to be a benefit for them in the future.

“Dr. Masters emphasized the importance of practice,” Peterson says. “The repetition and practice of proper techniques had the biggest impact on my learning and development. I will use the skills learned here every day of my life.”

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems, and entrepreneurship. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

MSM Sales Competition
Dan Peterson meets with Ron Rallis in the final round of the Marriott School of Management Sales Competition.
MSM Sales Competition winners
Kyle Barton, Jordan Smith, Dan Peterson and Ron Rallis pose together at the conclusion of the Marriott School of Management Sales Competition.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Andrew Devey