Bauer Sales Students Recognized for Team and Individual Performances
Students from the C. T. Bauer College of Business Program for Excellence in Selling recently brought home top honors in the State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition held at Central Missouri University.
Represented by management and marketing senior Yara Suki and marketing senior Eric Gibson, Bauer College competed against individuals and teams from colleges such as University of Southern California, Texas State University, Western Michigan University and other top business schools from across the nation.
The Bauer students ranked highly overall as a team, while Suki was named the overall winner and placed second in the sales role-plays competition.
The competition gives students the opportunity to pitch their marketing ideas and to showcase their sales skills by creating a team comprehensive marketing strategy for State Farm’s financial services product line.
The second part of the competition is a sales role-play contest. The competition’s overall rankings are based on a cumulative score of these two major components.
National competitions such as this one are significant to Bauer and the Program for Excellence in Selling, said Bauer Marketing Executive Professor Randy Webb, because the students are able to compete against major colleges and universities across the nation, giving them an opportunity to show the caliber of the program.
The plans required weeks of preparation from Suki and Gibson to craft their marketing plan, which was geared towards selling mutual funds to early career millennials through a corporate and agent level strategy. Preparing for the role-plays gave them an opportunity to put the tools learned at Bauer to practice, Suki said.
“The constant training and feedback we got helped us to improve our selling skills, understand how to create a marketing plan and represent the school in front of top State Farm executives,” she said. “It took long days and late nights of hard work to uphold the PES reputation at the annual State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition.”
This is the fourth year Bauer College has competed. Last year, Bauer students Ricardo Guerra claimed the overall champion award, while Juan Rueda took the third place spot in the sales role-play contest.
“It was exhilarating and unlike anything we had ever experienced before,” Suki said. “Now, I can truly say that I represent my school and the leading sales program in the nation with second place in sales role-play and first place competitor at the competition.”
The students were coached by former PES program manager Sonya Brooks and State Farm sales representative Daniel Garbarino and prepared for the competition by familiarizing themselves with State Farm, its product and their specific target market, which helped them develop a marketing strategy and selling process.
“The team worked very hard to train for the competition and their level of preparation showed in their placement as a team and individually,” Brooks said. “It is a testament to the knowledge and skills that PES provided for all its students that UH was able to compete and represent on a national level.“
The Program for Excellence in Selling goes above and beyond to prepare students for these competitions, Webb added, with the curriculum focusing on the SPIN selling process, which helps students learn to ask the right questions and identify needs.
“My biggest take away from this event was the confirmation that the University of Houston is the best sales program in the country,” Gibson said. “I walk away with the confidence that I will be successful in any role that I take on upon graduation. Competing allowed me to display all the skills that I have learned through the program and show them off at a national level.”
By Ann Lynd