Business student wins global sales competition


If you were to ask experienced salespeople "What's your biggest problem in selling?”, a majority of them would probably say, "Closing the sale." But closing the sale is no problem for University of Akron College of Business Administration student Joshua Woolls.

College of Business Administration senior Joshua Woolls, left, is the overall champion of the World Collegiate Sales Open, held recently at Northern Illinois University. Woolls is joined by Frederik Beuk, center, assistant professor of marketing and sales team coach, and Timothy “TJ” Shark, who took second place in the telephone sales call category.

The UA senior majoring in international business took the $2,000 top prize in the 2011-2012 World Collegiate Sales Open held recently at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill.

Imagine trying to persuade someone to buy your product during an elevator ride or make a voicemail message so interesting that the company CEO actually calls you back. In the final competition, participants were required to engage professional buyers in several role plays, leave effective voicemails and use a "16-floor elevator pitch" to convince the CEO of the buying company to meet with them.

Pros who know best do the judging

All performances were judged by a group of national sales professionals, who served as the "customers." As one of the final four contestants, Woolls had to persuade a "customer" to sign on the dotted line. To add to the pressure, his fellow competitors also observed the presentations of each of their colleagues in the final four.

"It was a great experience and I would encourage any other students that have the chance to go," Woolls said. "I had fun, learned a lot and made connections with a lot of people in my field." In order to compete and have fun, students are required to take Advanced Professional Selling to attend competitions. This class gives them the skills required to sell in the real world – and hopefully win competitions.

As for his future, Woolls, who expects to graduate this year, works at Time Warner Cable in Akron and has plans to move up the corporate ladder.

"My goals are either to continue to grow and move up at TWC or to move into a sales position at another company," he said. "If possible, I would love to sell industrial products in an international setting."

No doubt the world's collegiate sales champion will get the chance to do just that.

Media contact: Laura Massie, 330-972-6476 or