The four students who achieved second place in the National Team Selling Competition at Indiana University last fall brought their experience back to the classroom for a similar competition. But this time, they were the judges.

“Winning second place was really exciting, especially because we were competing against big name universities with competitive selling programs,” said Lauren Ramos, ’18. “It was even more rewarding to bring that win back to the classroom and share our experience with other students.” 

She, Kristina Rossi, Elizabeth Meyer, and Megan Barsella, ’18, brought back the second-place trophy from the National Team Selling Competition in October 2017.

“Our team was so proud of our placement and it was great to see all of our hard work pay off,” Ramos said. “After we presented, we walked out of the room feeling very confident that we would make it to the final round and we did.”

The Robins School also sent a group of students in the fall of 2016, who placed third overall.

Now, students have recreated the selling competition in the classroom to judge final exam presentations.

“When judging the final exam presentations, it was rewarding to see how prepared our coaches had made us feel,” Ramos said. “Being on the other side of it, we were able to pick up on very detail-oriented aspects of what makes a sales pitch successful- including strong rapport, ease of conversation, and the importance of asking questions.”

She and her teammates learned the importance of the soft sell, as the most successful students in the classroom competition made the client’s needs a priority.

“One of the things our coaches drilled into us was to always check in with the client and ask them how they are feeling,” Ramos said. “And the students that did that were the ones who succeeded in the final.”

Bill Bergman, instructor in marketing, coached the team and traveled with them to Indiana in the fall.

“When I first attended the NTSC in 2013, it was such a wonderful experience for the four University of Richmond students on our team, that I wished everyone from the Professional Selling class could have participated at the competition,” Bergman said. “After working with Dr. Jeff Carlson and Dr. Adam Marquardt, those students now get that chance.”

Bergman mentioned that he, Carlson, and Marquardt use the competition cases to design an in-classroom experience, and with the help of the professional selling team, give other students that same task.

“It is a great learning experience for everyone,” Bergman said.

The Indiana University National Team Selling Competition invites students from all over the country to compete, and is designed to give students a real-life selling scenario before they enter the professional job market, according to Jennifer Whaley, Altria Campus Manager at Indiana University.

“Our hope is that students take away learnings that they can apply in the classroom as well as in a potential sales career,” Whaley said. “The NTSC gives the students an opportunity to interact in a real life selling situation with customers, in a safe learning environment.”

Ramos is thankful to have been able to bring everything she learned in the competition process back to the Robins School, and says she and her team could not have done it without their coaches Bill Bergman, Jeff Carlson, and Adam Marquardt.

“There were many early mornings and weekend meetings that helped prepare us for the competition. The three of them also encouraged us not to let the names of the bigger schools intimidate us going into the first appointment. They pointed out areas for improvement, but also helped us play to our strengths. And I think that’s why we succeeded.”