Students show off dual-language sales prowess at FIU’s Global Bilingual Sales Competition.

Students show off dual-language sales prowess at FIU’s Global Bilingual Sales Competition.

Students show off dual-language sales prowess at FIU’s Global Bilingual Sales Competition.

Armed with sales savvy in two languages, students from U.S. and international universities joined their FIU counterparts in a challenge: to sell a local advertising package on Comcast Spotlight as part of the 2017 Global Bilingual Sales Competition.

Using role-playing techniques, participants had to sell an advertising solution to a South Florida business owner during a series of 15- and 20-minute in-person meetings. Each student competed in both English and Spanish over 3 days.

“I don’t know about marketing, I’m a cosmetic surgeon,” said Alex Vidal, who played the owner of a business named Luxurious Cosmetic Surgery in Hialeah in round 1 of the English-language competition. “Most of my customers are from Doral and Coral Gables, but I don’t care where they come from as long as I get more customers.”

During the sales pitch, FIU student Ana Brenes Lugo discussed budget, target audience, ad placement, and digital components. “I’m not going to waste your money,” Brenes said… but she didn’t get the deal signed.

The exchange drew laughs, advice and even some cheers from the judges, who included representatives from global businesses as well as College of Business faculty teaching sales courses.

Students show off dual-language sales prowess at FIU’s Global Bilingual Sales Competition.

“Show her the video and get her into your world. Take charge,” Shelene Fox, insurance professional and agent at Combined Insurance A Chubb Company, said in the judging room. “Her [the student’s] enthusiasm and energy are on point.”

In addition to FIU, the competition included students from Florida State University (FSU), Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) in the Dominican Republic, Bryant University in Rhode Island, University of Dallas, St. Thomas University, and France-based SKEMA Business School.

This was the first time students from Bryant University participated in the Global Bilingual Sales Competition, noted Stefanie Boyer, associate professor of marketing at the school.

“At every competition you see how much the students have grown,” said Boyer, who is also director of the Northeast Intercollegiate Sales Competition (NISC). “They get better with every single role-play work they do.”

The students are judged on how they identified the needs of the buyer, showed value, pitched the proposed solution, addressed issues or concerns from the buyer, and satisfied the need. Judges also took into account how students incorporated their style and personality into the conversation.

The list of over 40 judges and sponsors included Aerotek, C.H. Robinson, Northwestern Mutual, DHL Express, Celebrity Cruises, Comcast Spotlight, State Farm Agency, Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Dolphins, Techtronic Industries, UPS, and ADP.

FSU student Jamie Hagar, who isn’t fluent in Spanish, performed well in the Spanish-language rounds. One strong point, judges noted, is that she apologized up front for not speaking Spanish well, which automatically drew empathy from the buyer. Hagar quickly established an agenda for the meeting and highlighted the must-haves for the marketing campaign in detail.

Students show off dual-language sales prowess at FIU’s Global Bilingual Sales Competition.

“She was ready to get her buyer to sign the contract if they showed confidence in the program.” said Alfredo Keri, co-founder of Cargo42, the Miami-based on demand marketplace for local truck company. “She used visuals better than anyone else and her style made the presentation more interactive which resulted in a better engagement from the buyer.”

The competition required students to build a rapport with the buyer, identify his needs, showcase the product and its positive impact on the business, address any objections from the buyer, and ultimately close the sale.

“Our vision is that the FIU Global Bilingual Sales Competition serve as a venue for Spanish-English bilingual students and educators who want to invest in developing a global sales force,” said Nancy Rauseo, Marketing Department senior lecturer and director of the College of Business’ Global Sales Program.

Alongside the competition, the Sales Program also hosted a Career Fiesta for students seeking internships and jobs.

Students show off dual-language sales prowess at FIU’s Global Bilingual Sales Competition.

An incubator of new talent.

FIU’s first-ever Global Bilingual Sales Competition, which aims to create a pipeline for account managers and sales managers, was held in spring 2016. Together, the Global Bilingual Sales Competition and the Panther Sales Tournament, now in its third year, work to increase students’ exposure to the sales profession.

“The biggest challenge that students face in sales is practice, and that’s what makes the process more effective,” said Rafael Soltero Venegas, a sales coach and instructor in the College of Business’ Department of Marketing.

The FIU Global Sales Program focuses on sales leadership development, professional networking and competitive training, to provide students with the basic selling skills and valuable techniques that will give them an advantage in the business-to-business sales field. It includes a Sales & CRM Certificate program, a Professional Sales minor and a sales team that competes at national events.

A central part of the College of Business’ sales program is the Global Sales Lab, inaugurated in 2015, which features 12 sales training rooms equipped with a camera and microphones, and recording capabilities.

The 2017 Global Bilingual Sales Competition winners

Overall Winners Final Round:

  • 1st Place
    • Jamie Hagar – (FSU)
  • 2nd Place
    • Virginia Dillon – (FIU)
  • 3rd Place (Tie)
    • Kristine Bazze – (FIU)
    • Fabiola Elizondo – (FIU)
  • 4th Place
    • Jessica Aja – (FIU)
  • 5th Place
    • Samuel Rodriguez – (FSU)

English-language rounds:

  • 1st Place
    • Rachelle Sullivan – (University of Dallas)
    • Jamie Hagar – (FSU)
  • 2nd Place
    • Fernando Martin – (FIU)
    • Fabiola Elizondo – (FIU)
  • 3rd Place
    • Jessica Aja – (FIU)

Spanish-language rounds:

  • 1st Place
    • Samuel Rodriguez – (FSU)
    • Fabiola Elizondo – (FIU)
  • 2nd Place
    • Jessica Aja – (FIU)
  • 3rd Place
    • Kristine Bazze – (FIU)
    • Fernando Martin – (FIU)
    • Jimmy Egas – (FIU)

Best Visiting Sales Team: Florida State University 

  • Jamie Hagar
  • Samuel Rodriguez
  • Laura Guerrero

 

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