Business students excel in regional sales competition

From left to right: Enrique Garcia, Rene Alvarez, Sara Baldwin, Owen Day, and Julie Nelsen
From left to right: Enrique Garcia, Rene Alvarez, Sara Baldwin, Owen Day, and Julie Nelsen.

A team of students from Washington State University Vancouver secured third place in the prestigious Pacific Northwest Sales Competition hosted at Oregon State University.

The competition, which attracted participants from nine universities across the region, took place in Corvallis, Oregon. Students were tasked with engaging in a timed mock sales role-play, where they had to pitch a wide-format printer for Pacific Office Automation to a fictional graphic design firm. Judges evaluated contestants on various aspects including rapport building, needs analysis, product presentation, sales call management, and closing techniques.

Under the guidance of Julie Nelsen, assistant professor of marketing and director of WSU’s Center for Professional Sales, the WSU team made their debut in the intercollegiate sales competition arena after honing their skills in internal contests. The team included Enrique Garcia, Rene Alvarez, Sara Baldwin, and Owen Day — all seniors set to graduate in May 2024 with a Professional Sales Certificate. Their performance earned them a share of the $600 cash prize.

“The students worked hard practicing for the competition and pushed themselves outside their comfort zones to learn about the sales process,” Nelsen said. “They did an outstanding job of supporting each other and contributing to the sales process without overshadowing their teammates. This was a true team success story.”

In addition to the team event, each student participated in individual sales role-play contests, with Day securing a fourth-place finish and Baldwin ranking in the top 16. The trip was funded through the support of industry partners.

Nelsen expressed gratitude to the Carson College of Business Center for Professional Sales partners, saying they play a pivotal role in providing WSU students across campuses with exposure to sales careers and opportunities to refine their skills through competitions.

“Their contributions allow WSU students on the Pullman and Vancouver campuses to learn about sales careers and travel to competitions,” she said. “These opportunities provide invaluable skills and experiences that set up our students for successful careers.”

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