Sales students claim top spot at regional competition

Contact: Samantha Hooker

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A 13-member team of Western Michigan University students placed first overall in the Thomson Reuters Sales Competition, besting teams from Michigan State University, Central Michigan University and Purdue University. The team was led by Mary Nielsen, instructor of marketing.

A group of students posest together.

The winning team stands together.

Three of the students were also included in the top four finalists in the individual round. Students Joey BerlinJacob Myers and Jacob Delekta finished in first, third and fourth place, respectively. Three additional students from the WMU team were awarded in special categories for their sales approach, with Dylan Coleman being recognized for Best Questions, Kaleb Jonker for Best Rapport and Jimmie Rubio for Most Creative.

Participants were asked to assume the role of a sales associate for Thomson Reuters and attempt to sell website software and a domain to an accounting firm based in Brooklyn, New York. In the first round, competitors left a compelling video email to the client in order to set up a meeting. The 25 finalists were selected based upon their video email. Next, they engaged in a phone call with a member of the accounting firm to understand the company’s needs and present the software as a comprehensive solution.

Berlin, who placed first in the individual round of competition, explained his approach, "I pride myself on being the most prepared person. I found success because of the work I did before the competition. As a team, we brainstormed solutions and participated in mock calls with Mary Nielsen and each other. This win was definitely a team effort.”

Preparation was the key to the team’s success according to Myers. "As a first-year student with no previous sales experience, I learned that hard work and practice are invaluable," he says. "We spent hours in practice sessions with Professor Nielsen and role-playing with each other in the Robert S. Kaiser Sales, Negotiation and Leadership Lab.”

Delekta knows that the lessons learned in preparing for the competition can be used in a much broader sense.

“Dr. Jim Eckert emphasizes in every class that whoever prepares the best, wins,” he says. “It’s a concept that isn’t just for classes but can be taken into any job or field and will guarantee you set yourself among the elite.”

The WMU Team

  • Joey Berlin, senior, from Huntington Woods
  • Jared Bishop, sophomore, from Charlotte
  • Dylan Coleman, senior, from Lambertville
  • Michael DeMarco, junior, from Spring Lake
  • Jacob Delekta, senior, from Waterford
  • Andrea Garza, junior, from Kalamazoo
  • Jake Hammel, senior, from Lawton
  • Kaleb Jonker, sophomore, from Hudsonville
  • Jacob Myers, first-year, from Monroe
  • Jimmie Rubio, junior, from Canton
  • Natalie Tapia, junior, from Dearborn
  • Martin Walker, first-year, from Gurnee, Illinois
  • Kurt Weber, junior, from Troy

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.