KALAMAZOO—A team of two Western Michigan University students placed second overall, and one of the two took top honors in the individual speed-selling category at a national sales competition, continuing a run of stellar performances by WMU students at recent sales contests.
In the most recent competition, Greta Lorr, a junior from Jackson, Mich., and Aleks Jogerst, a senior from Vicksburg, Mich., took second place in this year's National Sales Challenge staged by the Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales. The competition was Nov. 14-16 at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J.
This is the third time the WMU sales program has earned national recognition recently. The Sales Education Foundation again named the program as a top university sales program, continuing a run that began in 2007. Then Jogerst won the top spot at the State Farm Sales Competition 2012 in October.
National Sales Challenge
The third and most-recent achievement came at the National Sales Challenge, which brings together top sales students from across the country to meet and network with representatives from major corporations as they compete in two sales events—speed selling and sales call role-play. The combined scores for Lorr and Jogerst in the two events placed them second overall among 33 participating colleges and universities.
Lorr won the speed-selling event in which students create a two-minute sales pitch about themselves and meet individually with executives as they highlight why the executives should hire them. She also placed fourth overall individually. Jogerst earned the third overall spot, placing fourth in speed selling and second in role-play.
"The most challenging part for me were the rehearsals the week before the competition," Lorr says. "With the competition only one week away, I fell into a slump, but with the support of our awesome faculty and fellow peers, when it came time to compete, I was ready."
In the sales call role-play event, students engage in a 15-minute sales call with a business executive who evaluates them in areas such as ability to gather information, identify needs, present solutions and gain a commitment, as well as in their approach and overall communication effectiveness.
"The final involved an unexpected curve ball in which an upset office worker stormed into the sales room half-way into my sales presentation," Jogerst says. "I used the structure I learned in professional sales and advanced sales courses to deliver a quality sales call in 15 minutes."
Dr. James A. Eckert, WMU associate professor of marketing and advisor to the team, notes that the University has competed in the RBI National Sales Challenge since its inception in 2007. WMU's team placed third in 2007, with Chelsea Biermacher taking first as an individual. Although the University didn’t place in 2008, its team racked up three trophies in 2009, placed second as a team in 2010 and placed fifth overall in 2011.
The sales and business marketing major has an intense sales-focused curriculum and prepares graduates to start their careers in professional sales and business marketing. The sales and business marketing major at WMU is considered one of the best sales programs in the country.