With Only Days to Prepare, Business Student Places Third in Sales Competition

 Date Published: April 29, 2016

Nohely Torres, BA '16, an undergraduate business major, competed among several students from around the world in the "Global Bilingual Sales Competition", an international sales competition held April 15 in Miami, Fla. sponsored by Florida International University (FIU). As part of the competition, Torres participated in role playing rounds, where contestants were judged on criteria such as their approach, identification of customer needs, presentation of the product being sold and overcoming objections, among others. Torres finished third in her category in the English and Spanish round.

Coached by associate professor of marketing, Laura Muñoz, Ph.D, and Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business MBA student, Cassian Bernard, Torres only found out about the competition one week before the event.

Torres at the competition

Torres among competitors at the Global Bilingual Sales Competition hosted by Florida International University.

Bringing in Reinforcements

"I've had Nohely in three of my courses now, I've seen her work ethic and recognized that she is a natural. I knew she was ready for this competition," said Muñoz.

However, with only five days to prepare, Muñoz knew she needed to bring in reinforcements to provide Torres with intensive preparation.

"Cassian has the industry experience that compliments what I do in the classroom. I knew he would be a great asset to Nohely's team," said Muñoz.

Currently a second year student in the MBA program and a full time professional, Bernard was pleased with the opportunity to help a fellow student.

"UD offers students an opportunity to connect with real professionals, in my program I've had the chance to meet and collaborate with an array of people with different backgrounds and experiences. Through these collaborations you get to build genuine relationships which I know I can use to build my career in the future," said Bernard. "It was important to me to be a part of sharing that same opportunity with a young professional as well."

Bernard, who has worked in professional sales for over ten years, often trains others in sales through his position as general sales manager at Ashton Woods Homes.

"I coach my sales team through a training process we use at Ashton Wood Homes. While it is a little different and for a different purpose, sales is fundamentally the same no matter what you apply it to. You have to understand a customer's past experiences, and future needs. Then you have to insert your solution or product to them in a way that makes it personal and relevant."

Torres and Coaches

Torres with her coaches. Left to Right: Laura Muñoz, Nohely Torres, Cassian Bernard

A Unique Talent for Sales

Once Bernard was on board the three worked long hours preparing for the competition, with Bernard helping Torres after work hours.

"There was no time to waste so my critique had to be very direct," said Bernard, "People often find it difficult to be critiqued at that level but Nohely accepted the feedback and immediately corrected her presentation without internalizing it. I think it shows she's not only a professional but that she has a strong amount of resilience which is essential to being a top sales professional."

"Several of the competitors prepared for months," said Muñoz, "Her placement shows how strong her talents are. Nohely is a diamond, we are just here to help her shine."

A Transformative Experience

Torres' expenses were covered by the UD Experience Awards, a program created to allow UD students to participate in conferences or competitions.

"I'm so grateful for the experience," said Torres, 'I learned so much about myself as a professional and also about the beauty of the sales industry. You don't always get a list of questions or a script to read from, you have to be creative and mold yourself to every client you face."

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