Awards Given to Student Pitches at Thunder Sales Competition

Published: May 16, 2023 | Author: Hayley Radle | Read Time: 4 minutes

Thunder Sales competitors The Southern Utah University Professional Sales department hosted its annual Thunder Sales competition on April 6, where students had the chance to both pitch themselves to judges and participate in a role-play scenario to work on professional sales skills, network with hiring companies, and compete to win cash prizes.

Sponsored by Federated Insurance, the night started out with students giving a 60-second personal sales pitch to judges and employers, being scored on poise, preparation, and personability, along with whether or not the judge would hire them. The role play portion took place afterward, where participants entered a five- to seven-minute scenario attempting to sell Federated Insurance services to a hypothetical potential buyer. Six of these participants were chosen to compete in the final round, this time a 10-minute role-play scenario.

Out of the 48 people who signed up, a total of 12 awards were handed out, which included $50 and $100 gift cards to the second and first place personal pitch winners, respectively, as well as up to $500 to the role play winners. The role play awards were provided by Federated Insurance, and all personal pitch awards came from the event’s other sponsors of Zonos, Northwestern Mutual, and Leavitt Group.
The department hosts events like these to get students ready to enter the workforce after graduation, according to Professional Sales Administrative Assistant Maree Beach.

“A competition like this helps prepare them for that,” says Beach. “It is an opportunity to network with businesses, it’s an opportunity to present yourself professionally, and it’s an opportunity to showcase your selling skills for whatever career you’re going into, whether that is science related, business related, arts related, communications related, anything.”

Beach also says that all students will have to be able to sell services, products, or even themselves at some point, which is what the Professional Sales department and events like these allow them to put into practice.

Carter Barlow, a recent SUU graduate who studied business management and marketing and served as a Professional Sales Ambassador during the 2022-2023 school year, has done several competitions throughout his time in the program and enjoys the competitive nature of the event. He won one of the $100 first place prizes in the personal pitch along with second place $350 prize in the final role play round.

In Barlow’s experience, the competitions he’s participated in have been highly valuable for developing skills in sales, communication, and networking, and they’ve allowed him to hone his competitive side. According to him, there were a few reasons he participated in this competition.

“I was a Professional Sales ambassador, and I’m in the advanced professional sales class so it was part of our grade as well, but I honestly just competed because I wanted to win,” Barlow says.

His desire to compete and win is what brought him second place in the role play portion, and through his active participation in Professional Sales at SUU, Barlow has learned that preparation is the most important factor in sales and for these competitions. He advises that anyone else interested in these events should prepare as much as they can in order to be prepared for whatever might be thrown at them.

In addition to second place in the role-play competition, Barlow took one of four $100 first place titles in the personal pitch, with the other winners including Marlee Ressler, Dani Nikolashin, and Alexis McIff. The four $50 second place winners were Amberly Mikkelson, Luke Perkins, Miranda Garza, and Chantel Clark. From the role play, Ressler also took both the $500 first place and $100 People’s Choice awards, and Perkins took the $200 third place award.

As the Professional Sales department has grown, it’s become more important to hold events such as these in order to compete with other universities across the country, according to Beach.

“Of course, it’s meant for the students,” says Beach. “It is 100% for the students, but for our program, it is important to have some things like this so we can play on the same level or the same playing field as other universities.”

The program will continue to grow at the university, and any students from all majors interested in sales or developing similar skills are encouraged to get involved by participating in the events held throughout the year, joining the program, or becoming Professional Sales Ambassadors.

SUU’s Professional Sales program teaches students skills for a variety of careers and real-world experiences through relevant coursework and different competitions. Learn more about the Professional Sales program and annual Thunder Sales event.

Tags: Professional Sales School of Business

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