First time competing, FSB team closes the sale, wins trip to nationals

October 2018

Jay Murdock

A team of Farmer School students has won a spot as one of the 12 finalists for the AT&T National Sales Competition.

Allison Hess, Aleah Sexton, Lauren Boyd, Levent Yurdum, Jack McNelis, and Blake Cortez comprised the FSB team, which was the first Miami team to participate in the competition.

“I love presenting and pitching my ideas, and this was a great opportunity to do that. Sales is something I have always been interested in, and this competition was the perfect way to learn more about sales, and practice my skills,” Hess explained.

The FSB team was up against about 50 other schools in the first round, adviser Pat Lindsay said. He pointed out that he and adviser Don Norris had less than two weeks to put the team together, and no team member previously knew more than one other person on the team.

Lindsay said the AT&T competition is different than other sales competitions in several ways.

“Usually, these competitions have students performing on their own, once in a while in pairs,” he pointed out. “This one had teams of four to six students that were given a challenge … to have all of them present in a WebEx, go through a needs analysis, ask a lot of questions of buyers, make a sales pitch. And everybody on the team had to get involved.”

“A difficult aspect of the competition was executing the pitch over webcam. There were some technological issues and it's much more challenging to build rapport with a client without reading body language, but I think we did the best we could,” Sexton explained. “I think this is business in general and something unexpected will always occur!”

“We as a team went in feeling confident in our ability, but still unsure about the whole situation. But despite all this, we gave a stellar performance,” McNelis remarked. “We were very cohesive and played off each other very nicely and where one person needed help, someone else would jump in and give a great answer.”

Lindsay said that rather than a typical business-to-consumer pitch, the teams were trying to sell to another business. In addition, Lindsay explained, the finalist teams will face different challenges than in the first round.

“What’s interesting is that, in this next phase, there is a marketing component, where the team has to focus on a higher-level marketing presentation,” he said. “Then there’s going to be one-on-one sales scenarios, and two-on-two sales scenarios.”

The Farmer School team heads to Dallas later this month for the finals, and Lindsay said everyone is looking forward to it.

“This is new, it’s fun. The students have really embraced it, and did a fabulous job.”

AT&T Sales Competition team group photo