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A winning combination of skills and teamwork were shown in the recent victory by the Titan Sales Team, from left, Christopher Kondo, Samantha Kist, Scott Kueny, Kelleen Rowe and Katie Nguyen.

Top Salesmanship

Titan Sales Team Takes First Place and Individual Awards in Contest

May 4, 2010

By Pamela McLaren

Four Cal State Fullerton students proved they had the goods when it came to closing the deal, winning first place honors in the sixth annual Western States Collegiate Sales Competition last month at Cal State Chico.

In their first-ever competitive effort, the Titan Sales Team was judged best in overall team performance with two members winning individual performance honors.

Proud team members are: seniors Samantha Kist, Scott Kueny, Kelleen Rowe and junior Katie Nguyen, who worked under the guidance of Christopher Kondo, director of the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics’ Sales Leadership Center; S. Allen Broyles, associate professor of marketing; and Corey Hutchison of Playbook Consulting. The team also received support from the center’s corporate sponsors Jim Greene, vice president of sales, ADP, Orange County region, and Jason Glazer, senior branch manager of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, Orange County.

The competition was held April 17 with teams from Arizona State, Northern Arizona University and the CSU campuses of Fullerton, Bakersfield, Chico and Fresno. Teams in the contest were judged on needs identification, presentation, overcoming objections, approach and the close of the sale.

“Our team was given the task of learning about two different products — Groups Savings Plus from Liberty Mutual Insurance and EasyPay Net from ADP,” explained Nguyen.

“At the competition, we each had 15 minutes to do a sales call with a real buyer for each product. Although we were alone with the buyer to do the sales call, we were recorded on camera and graded by a panel of 5-7 judges in the next room,” Nguyen explained. “These judges were sales people from the respective companies that sponsored the event.”

“Of all the awards, its really meaningful that we won the team honor. It means that every one of our students was not only strong in his or her sales skills but in collaboration and sense of team,” said Kondo. “If any one of them had not been at the top of their game, Cal State Fullerton wouldn’t have taken the top honors that day.”

“It was our objective to represent Cal State Fullerton well and I know we did just that,” said Rowe, who took top honors for best overall individual performance. “Being the top performing school, especially as first-year participants, is amazing and shows the caliber of the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at Cal State Fullerton.

“The individual achievement award for me was exciting and rewarding,” Rowe added. “It is a great feeling of accomplishment to set your goals so high, work hard and exceed your expectations.”

“I thought it was amazing,” said Kueny. “I really learned a lot and the experience tremendously built my confidence for sales.”

“This experience has taught me the true meaning of team work. Although our team competed as individuals, we were all willing to help one another throughout the process,” said Nguyen, echoing the same sentiment as others.

“Being able to work with such a strong group of individuals was energizing and allowed us to push to our personal best and come out on top,” said Rowe.

Jason Glazer of Liberty Mutual noted that he wasn’t surprised to hear that the Fullerton team had won. “I expected to see such success from this hard-working team,” Glazer said. “Having the opportunity to work with this team was a true pleasure. I was very impressed with the preparation by both students and staff, which showed while working with the team and came through during the competition.”

“This is a huge win,” wrote Tyler L. Brooks of Federated Insurance, one of the sponsors of the sales competition, in an email following the competition. “I was so impressed with all of your team members.”

In addition to the top team honor and best overall individual performance to Kelleen Rowe, Samantha Kist won the Liberty Mutual award for best sales role play.

“I made great relationships both within my team and the companies who helped with the competition,” said Kist. “I was so happy to be able to have both won personally and as a team, it has already opened up a few doors for me. I am grateful to Professor Kondo for his constant encouragement and faith in our abilities. I would recommend anyone thinking about joining the sales team to take on the challenge.”

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