College students earn honors in national sales competitions

December 9, 2015
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WMU Sales Students
Milantoni, left, Bone, Bell and Warner. Courtesy WMU

Local college students participating in recent national sales and marketing competitions earned high honors.

Western Michigan University announced last week four business students earned top rankings after competing nationally at the Russ Berrie Institute National Sales Challenge at William Paterson University Nov. 18-20 in New Jersey, and at the State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition at the University of Central Missouri on Nov. 13.

The National Sales Challenge

During the ninth annual National Sales Challenge, WMU students Matthew Milantoni of St. Claire Shores and Melody Warner of Battle Creek competed against students representing 36 schools across the country in three different events.

Events included speed selling, where students have two minutes to deliver a personal pitch; a referral role-play as students meet with a business partner to try to restart a relationship or gain referrals within 15 minutes; and a second 15-minute meeting to determine organizational needs and a future product demonstration.

Student results

Milantoni not only won the speed selling competition, but was also voted as the 2015 RBI NSC Viewers’ Choice winner for the category. He also ranked fourth in the sales challenge champions category. Warner earned third place as Sales Challenge Champion, fifth place in the role play competition, and sixth in the referral role play competition.

As a team, Milantoni and Warner also took second place among the top 10 University Sales Team Champions. This is the fifth consecutive year WMU has placed in the top five for the event.

The State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition

Several days before the National Sales Challenge took place on the East Coast, two other WMU business students competed in Missouri during the sixth annual State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition showcasing students’ innovative marketing ideas and individual sales skills to the young adult market.

WMU students Lauren Bone of Livonia and Sam Bell of Prestwick, Scotland, took second place overall as a team, and third place in the marketing presentation component of the competition. Bone also took second place during the sales role play competition and third place for the overall competition. Combined, Bone and Bell earned $7,200 in scholarships from the competition.

Kelley O’Reilly, assistant professor of marketing at WMU and team coach, said the competitions are a positive experience for students.

“Our students represent the program, department, and college in a professional and impressive way,” said O’Reilly.

Competition categories

During the marketing presentations, students have 20 minutes to present on a topic and provide solutions to challenges State Farm and the industry faces in the marketplace. The sales role play competition consists of two individual video-taped sales scenarios with fictional young adult customers.

Each student participating in the competition receives $1,000 and prize money is also awarded for the top three places in marketing, sales role play, and combined competition categories. The Platinum Award was worth $5,000, $3,500 and $2,000 in each respective category, while the Gold Award was worth $3,000, $2,500 and $1,000, respectively. Silver Award winners receives $1,500 in marketing, $1,000 in sales, and $500 for the combined competition.

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