Baylor students stepped into the cut-throat world of professional selling in an internal selling competition appealing to real 3M employees, also known as the Baylor Business Selling Outside Competition.
“Over the course of time as I came in, I saw the competitions as an important place to give students the kind of ongoing development that they need,” said Dr. Andrea Dixon, associate professor of marketing and director of the Keller Center & Center for Professional Selling. “For our students, every time they get to engage with a business executive they’re more productive in those conversations. That skill building opportunity is important for someone in the sales area.”
From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, sales students were role-playing in the Baylor Business Selling Outside Competition at the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation.
The competition starts at the very beginning of the year. Magnolia junior Nick Logan said students do one competition that starts off with emails, voice calls or voicemails to initiate the calls process. Then students have their first meeting with a salesperson, followed by the value analysis and eventually closing on the buyer. The competition is emulating the steps in a sales process, Logan said.
The company that students were selling to was 3M, a manufacturing corporation and Fortune 500 company that participates in this program with 12 colleges in the nation. In this case, the buyers were real, current employees who had a true and strong attachment to the competition. Dixon said that the 3M employees also had a strong interest in seeing young people develop professionally.
“I competed in the competition when I was a student, but this is my first year buying in it, and I’m very impressed with the caliber of talent that’s coming through,” said Robert McCandlish, employee at 3M. “They’re all very well prepared, very well spoken, and they do a great job. I’ve been impressed, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the buying process and helping the students grow as much as they can.”
The role play lasts about 20 minutes and allows for students to see how they compare to their peers. The Baylor Business Selling-Outside also allows the buyers to get a “sneak peek” at the Baylor talent as they prepare to enter the job market.
“Something that’s really neat about these sales competitions is that it’s actually relatable in almost any major,” Logan said. “You’re almost always selling yourself, so at the end of these competitions you can see yourself being successful in a lot of presentations.”
The role playing was captured in video format and sent to 100 judges who view three videos each and complete a judging assessment form. The competition names the top ten winners, and prize money is given to the top four. This year’s first place winner is Round Rock junior Reed Mitteness, the second place winner is Waco senior Branden MacKinnon, the third place winner is Waco senior Annah Smith and the fourth place winner is Dallas senior Austin Newberry.
“This was my second BBSO, and I’ve definitely learned more with the more experiences I’ve had,” Houston senior Thomas Scaff said. “It was just a really great opportunity to get a real-life business experience.”
The first selling outside competition took place in 2009 with only six competitors. Dixon said there were 91 competitors this year. Students also compete in four internal competitions and nine external competitions. External competitions take place in Indiana, California, Wisconsin, Georgia, New Jersey and Ohio.
“There’s a great spectrum, and the nice thing about that is sending them to other parts of the country where people speak a little differently and the way that people engage is a little different,” Dixon said. “Learning how to engage with someone and be on equal terms with them is important, and competitions give them some of that practical application as well.”
Baylor’s Center for Professional Selling was the first sales center in the country and is annually recognized as a top sales program, according to the website. The website also states that the program provides financial support for students to compete in at least one external competition as it helps with the college to career transition.
“In reality, we’re here for the students today,” said Phil Redding, 3M employee. “We’re here because we know they’re in preparation for further programs or competition, so we’re here for the benefit of them so they can practice, review and see what things are working and what are not. This is also going to help them to go further within their sales program in the future.”