Bradley sales team wins awards at national competition

Senior Letita Brodnax tied for seventh in the nation, and senior Collin Schaefer tied for 16th in last month’s National Collegiate Sales Competition.
“The entire team was involved in preparing Collin and Letita this year,” team adviser Jason Garrett said. “They read articles regarding customer relationship management software, worked with the product that was sold in the contest, conducted practice role plays and helped customize the product for each round of the competition.”
Other members of the Bradley team included, junior Dan Short and seniors Jordan Hill, David Ackerman and Eric Laurent. 
Garrett said the team was very dedicated.
“On average, the team members spent well over 20 hours per week practicing for the contest,” he said. “They cut short their Christmas breaks by coming to practice a week before classes.  This is in addition to their classes and jobs many have.”
Director of the Professional Sales Program Mark Johlke said students’ preparation for the competition begins when they take their first sales classes. 
“However, their specific preparation for the NCSC formally starts at the end of each fall semester,” he said. “The two students chosen to represent Bradley at the NCSC work with  Jason Garrett or myself to develop a program of study that students will follow over [Winter Break].” 
During Winter Break, students spend much of their time improving their familiarity with the product that will be “sold.” 
Preparation for NCSC intensifies when the students come back for the spring semester and start meetings with the coach, Johlke said.
During these meetings they conduct many sales call role-plays, which are recorded so the faculty coach and students can review and critique them.
In addition, other sales students get involved by conducting role-plays with them, Johlke said.
“This sales team will meet several times a week for approximately two hours at a time, and this continues right up to the time of the contest itself,” he said.
Brodnax has been involved with the sales program for two years, and she said she enjoys the relationships she has made with the students and sales professionals.
“The professors are very supportive and want students to succeed,” she said. “Sales is an important part of almost any business, and the professors provide students with the essential resources to excel.”
She said being in the sales program has helped her immensely in the job search process. 
“Ironically, there are still several opportunities in this field, despite the economic crisis,” Brodnax said.
Schaefer also said the sales program has helped him in the job search process. 
“The classes have taught me a lot about listening and have helped me find ways to remember important facts,” he said. “This has definitely come in handy during interviews, especially those that are sales related.”
Team members said Garrett and Johlke are major factors in helping students with career advice.
“They have put us in contact with many employers,” Schaefer said. “For example, I was recently extended an offer from a firm I met at this year’s Sales Mixer/Get Together the day before the Career Fair.”
Johlke said the most rewarding benefit of the sales program is working closely with the students. 
“I get to coach students one-on-one and in small groups to help them learn and then improve their professional selling skills, and then to help them get their careers off the ground,” he said. “It’s very rewarding, both personally and professionally.”