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April 03, 2024

By Raymie Shields ’24, Business Management

Reflections on the University of Toledo Invitational Sales Competition Experience

At the end of Feb. 2024, we attended the University of Toledo Invitational Sales Competition (UTISC). As a senior, I couldn’t compete, but I was able to be a peer coach and help the competitors that represented Capital. 

We started working on this competition at the beginning of January, meeting once or twice every week to conduct practice roleplays that simulated what the upcoming sales competition would look like. I pretended to act as the buyer for the competitors. The buyer is the person to whom you are trying to sell your product or service. 

Every time we did a different roleplay, I would pretend to be a different type of personality. An important part of sales is analyzing your buyers and adjusting to the type of person they are. If you have a very analytical buyer, you are not going to want to spend a lot of time trying to build rapport with them, you are going to want to spend more time looking at the numbers. 

We had practiced for as long as we could, and it was time to head to Toledo for the three-day competition. Thursday was mainly just for mingling, figuring out how the competition would be set up, and a development block. The development blocks were hosted by different sponsors of the competition like International Paper, Grainger, Fastenal, Cintas, and more. They were designed to teach us about different areas of business and help us grow in the sales field. 

Friday morning, it was game time. The first round of the competition was underway. When Capital wasn’t competing, we were doing more development blocks to learn things like how to handle objections, how to keep your buyer engaged, and how to make calculations in a meeting. We were also participating in a large career fair where we were able to make connections with several large companies hiring for sales internships and full-time postgrad roles. I have been able to land interviews with three of the companies I met there, and am so grateful for these opportunities. 

Friday evening, we had a networking event where we would find out if we advanced to the final round. Everything we had been working for was coming down to this moment. Despite our efforts, Capital did not progress. It was heartbreaking for all of us, but we were able to look at the bright side of things. 

This was our first time competing at the UTISC, so now we know how it would work for next year. We learned things in the development blocks that we will be able to apply to other competitions and in our professional careers. We still had one more day. Saturday was where we got to watch the final round of the competition and see who had won. We were able to take notes and learn a lot from the students who placed in this competition. 

In retrospect, I am so grateful to have gotten the chance to even attend this competition. It provided an invaluable learning experience, and I made so many connections that I would not have gotten anywhere else. I can’t wait to attend another competition.