Asbury Business Places Second Overall in National Sales Competition – Asbury University
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Asbury Business Places Second Overall in National Sales Competition

March 27, 2018

Business students and facultyMarch 27, 2018

WILMORE, Ky. – The Asbury University Sales Team placed second overall in their first trip to the University of Toledo Invitational Sales Tournament, a collegiate competition for aspiring business leaders and sales representatives.

The team of four was coached by Dr. George Allen, associate professor of marketing in Asbury’s Dayton School of Business. The students competed against 33 other universities from 20 states, including several schools with established sales programs and student bodies in the tens of thousands. In addition to their role plays, the students had the opportunity to meet with sponsoring company representatives, including 3M, P&G and General Motors, for career coaching and to learn about the company.

“I’m very proud of all four of these students, not just because they won, but because of their good sportsmanship, their perseverance and their great attitudes throughout the prep process and the tournament,” Allen said.

Senior Austin Cocanougher ’18 served as peer coach to competitors Kaylee Van Winkle ’19 and Jackson Thomas ’20 and alternate Michael Secen ’19. Van Winkle placed Junior Division Champion and Jackson Thomas placed Runner Up in the Freshman/Sophomore Division. In addition to trophies, students received cash awards of $1000 and $750.

The process of competing involved four rounds of role playing with business professionals. The competitors were broken into groups of six per room and each role play lasted 15 minutes. The role play occurred between a student and the individual buyer, but the round was live-streamed to the judging room where a panel of 5-6 judges evaluated the meeting. The top two scorers from each room would then progress to the next round. Students began the first round by introducing their product, and by the final round were trying to confirm the CEO’s decision to purchase.

Joining the Asbury Sales Team was a competitive process; late last fall, interested students were required to successfully sales pitch a product to Allen before securing a spot on the team. The students said that the team practiced once a week leading up to the competition. Allen provided the team with product information and shared his expertise as a former salesman. As peer coach, Cocanougher helped the team by serving as a buyer for practice role plays.

Both Van Winkle and Thomas have planned to pursue a career in sales, and Secen said that competing in the tournament convinced him that sales is the career for him. They valued the opportunity not only to develop their skills, but also to network with hiring companies. Thomas said that he and Van Winkle were approached by the head of sales from a major company to apply for jobs after graduation.

“This competition helped me realize the importance of adaptability and confidently believing in your capabilities as a salesperson,” Van Winkle said. “However, the greatest benefit I received from this competition was the importance of actively listening to people and confidently providing them with a genuine solution.”

— by Cathryn Lien ‘18

To learn more about Asbury’s Dayton School of Business, visit: