Sales student places first in national competition

Contact: Stacey Markin

Laurel Wright and Tyler Nabozny

KALAMAZOO—A team of two Western Michigan University sales students competed in the State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition in Warrensburg, Missouri, on Nov. 2, with one student taking top honors in the sales role-play category. This victory builds on a winning streak for WMU sales and business marketing students at recent competitions.

Tyler Nabozny and Laurel Wright, both seniors from Kalamazoo, competed in three different rounds of competition, including:

  • A marketing presentation answering the question, "How can State Farm agents leverage their digital presence and technology to be more customer-focused and competitive in today's marketplace?"
  • A sales role-play, based on a scenario that a State Farm agent would experience when interacting with a potential customer. The role-play challenged students to apply proper selling skills.
  • A customer service role-play with a situation that a State Farm employee may experience. The role-play challenged students to identify ways to handle a challenging customer situation.

Nabozny clinched the win in the sales role-play portion of the competition, demonstrating exemplary selling technique and placing ahead of students from more than 10 other universities across the country. His task was to sell automobile insurance to the new spouse of an existing client. Though the price point on the plan that Nabozny recommended was higher than what this potential client was currently paying, he was able to leverage the excellent coverage and multi-car discount to close the sale.

"I have always felt comfortable in sales role-plays because of my animation and sense of humor," says Nabozny. "Representing WMU at a national competition was an amazing experience. I am proud to be a part of the sales and business marketing program. This is not just a win for me; it is a win for the program. On a personal note, my dad helped the WMU football team reach their first MAC championship in 1988, and now my teammate and I have helped the school capture a sales competition victory. This has truly been a full circle moment for me."

Dr. Kelley O'Reilly, associate professor of marketing, coached Nabozny and Wright for the competition, providing feedback and support to the students as they refined their ideas and techniques.

"Watching Tyler and Laurel's preparation and dedication was highly impressive," says O’Reilly. "Through long hours, commitment to each other and honest feedback, they prepared to do their very best. In the end, Tyler was able to combine his preparation, professionalism, and personality into the perfect mix for judges, resulting in a first place finish. It was a privilege to watch their performances and an honor to coach them both. I am extremely proud of how well they represented our program and Western Michigan University."

Learn more about the sales major online.

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