Sell-Off forces students to sharpen sales skills

By Molly Packer

The second round of the Baylor Business Sell-Off will test six students’ ability to market the benefits of products to potential customers.

Chris Cude, Dave Games, Ben Kessler, Will May, Samuel Moore and Sarah Shive will compete today for top spots on the team. The top two team members will move on to compete at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., against top students from around the nation.

“You get a scenario, a case, a week before and you have to make a script,” Austin senior Games said. “They bring in buyers, usually from companies, and there is a 20-minute role play recorded with cameras in the room.”

The recordings are distributed to companies that rank and give feedback to each of the contestants.

The companies that help judge the competition often offer jobs to the best competitors. Although nothing is guaranteed, competing in the Sell-Off often allows students to put their foot in the door.

“This is something that [represents] me that is being sent out to a lot of people who I’m applying to,” Games said. “It’s a lot of work for a 20-minute conversation.”

One of the hardest things for the competitors is time management. “It’s always such a busy time. [The competition is] right when we get back into classes and we have Sing,” said Shive, a North Richland Hills senior. “We’re all really involved elsewhere. We have a lot of commonality because we are so involved.”

Through all the chaos and late hours, the team is thankful for the work Dr. Andrea Dixon, associate professor of marketing, puts into the program.

“For every hour of work we do, she does four,” Shive said. “She’s obviously very successful in what she does and it makes me want to do the same.”

Though the Baylor Business Sell-Off is a simulation experience, in just a few months the graduating seniors of the team will be fully immersed in the business world. After going through the experience of the Business Sell-Off, members of the team say they are confident in their future outside of Baylor.

“I definitely want to be involved in sales. Honestly, international sales would interest me,” said Highlands Ranch, Colo., senior Kessler. “As far as what I want to sell, as long as it allows me to travel.”

Shive also hopes to continue in sales.

“I’m definitely going to work in sales, which I never thought I would say. I really like the idea of working with the government and nonprofits, so I’ll learn a lot about fundraising,” Shive said. “You don’t have to go door-to-door selling vacuum cleaners.”

Games plans on going into the technology industry to be a salesman.

“[I want to be] an account manager. Most times in sales you have to start out inside sales, on the phone,” Games said. “[I’ll] start off in a position to learn. Because, believe it or not, we’re not going to graduate college knowing everything whether we think so or not.”

Some of the team members, like many others in the business world, did not initially think business was in their future.
“I started out business pre-med. I like science but I realized I didn’t want to be a doctor,” Games said. “I like the creativity involved in marketing. Most of my decision was based on the curriculum and Dr. Dixon.”

Kessler’s parents both worked in business and he knew before arriving at Baylor that business was for him. Professional selling, however, was not always part of the plan.

“Sophomore year I was looking at majors and didn’t want to do accounting or finances. I wanted to do stuff with people,” Kessler said. “[Professional selling] is exactly what I wanted to do. I just realized that God had me here for a reason.”