Ferris Students Participate in a Virtual Personal Selling Competition

The main thing that was difficult/different is that we had a very specific amount of time allotted for these things, as well as adjusting to the overall virtual reality itself

During the Spring 2020 semester, Ferris students participated in the RNMKRS Virtual Sales Competition. This competition was sponsored by Dell, HubSpot, and the Direct Selling Education Foundation, among others, and is free for students to participate. The competition was a roleplay experience, and students had to sell Dell Rugged laptops to an artificial intelligence “BOT” named Alex. The bot represented a police department in Texas. Students had to use sales knowledge they learned in their classes to work through a personal selling experience.

Sixty-five Ferris students were among the 1300+ students from 49 different universities that participated in the competition. Students in Barb Barney-McNamara’s personal selling and advanced selling classes were required to participate as a class assignment, as were students from Dr. Scot Squires professional selling class. Students were able to complete the simulation during class time and were able to get feedback right away from the artificial intelligence system. In the future, Barney-McNamara plans to open the competition to all Ferris students who want to participate.

Andrea Tancredi was Ferris’ top scorer performing in the top two percent of all competitors. While preparing for the competition, Tancredi researched more about the Dell Rugged laptop, along with the information provided by the competition, which enabled her to get a good understanding of the product. Students were ranked on their opening statement to the BOT, discovery questions, knowledge of the product, closing the sale, and overall empathy with the BOT.

Tancredi said, “The main thing that was difficult/different is that we had a very specific amount of time allotted for these things, as well as adjusting to the overall virtual reality itself.”

The second-place scorer for Ferris was Allison Samp who was also in the top two percent of all competitors. Josh DeBoode and Charmaine Stone placed in the top 10 percent of all competitors. Spencer Sucharski and Ty Cochrane place in the top 20 percent of all competitors.

The virtual aspect of the competition was beneficial because it eliminated travel costs for students. Most competitions require students to travel to the competition, but because it was virtual, a larger number of students were able to participate. It also greatly reduces the stress students can feel when competing because they were in a comfortable environment.

This competition is a great way for students to gain experience without the extra time and financial aspects of traveling to a competition, said professor Barney-McNamara.