NDSU business students take advantage of sales labs to hone interview skills (Video)


Students attending NDSU’s College of Business in downtown Fargo are learning some real life lessons about the workplace thanks to the addition of brand new sales labs. The students are leaving the classroom to meet one-on-one for a little practice in the working world with local corporate leaders.

Josh Diede is 21, a senior at NDSU, and he’s got the butterflies and nerves going. The Business Management major is one of the first students to use the new sales labs that just opened at NDSU’s College of Business.

Mike Krush/NDSU College of Business Instructor, “The whole notion is, from a sales class standpoint, developing these sales students to get used to interpersonal interactions. So, the first thing we do is talk about yourself in mock interview settings and then they roll into two roleplays.”

Josh and other NDSU students who use the labs are also being recorded. And upstairs faculty monitor the interview save it and evaluate it so the students know how and what to improve, when it comes time for that job interview or first day in the new workplace.

Diede, “It was extremely beneficial. I wish we were doing more of them.”

Gerry Macintosh/NDSU College of Business Instructor, “Interviewing skills parallel sales skills. Interacting with people and presenting yourself.”

Erin Donner and Joe Winter survived their sales lab interviews.

Donner, “Honestly, I have gotten more out of the real world things and the sales labs than all classes put together this semester.”

Winter, “After the interview, we can log on and critique ourselves and see what our strengths and weaknesses and prepare for the next one.”

And for the Fargo Moorhead businesses taking part in the roleplay interviews, it is a chance for them to take a look at the upcoming workforce.

Ross Erickson/Pepsico Dakotas, “It helps you understand the student, to see what they are about and they can ask questions to see what our company is about.”

The students we talked to got so much out of the labs. They want more of this. You can never be too ready or prepared when it comes to landing that first job out of college. Kevin Wallevand WDAY 6 NEWS.

And the sales labs are open to more than just Business majors. NDSU Students in communications, engineering and other disciplines will also use the sales labs.

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Global Sales Lab helps students practice business savvy

FIU College of Business Global Sales Lab

Business savvy and performance under pressure are key to sales success – and that’s why the College of Business’ new Global Sales Lab delivers a major advantage to FIU students.

Inaugurated Oct.19, the Sales Lab features 12 sales training rooms, eachequipped with a camera and microphones, and recording and playback capabilities. Students can conduct mock interviews, participate in executive training sessions, work on role-play exercises and record sales presentations – all of which can be archived for review.

These capabilities increase students’ exposure to the sales profession. The technology-enhanced rooms also allow real-time streaming for competitions, sales course assignments, interviews and peer reviews.

It’s a central part of the College of Business’ Sales Program, which focuses on sales leadership development, professional networking and competitive training. For the Fall 2015 semester, 450 students took the basic sales class.

“Our goal is to connect students with companies and jobs,” said Nancy Rauseo, senior lecturer and coordinator for Sales Programs in the Department of Marketing.

Four Naming Sponsors are on board: ADP, Axxis Solutions, C.H. Robinson, and Northwestern Mutual – The South Florida Group.

“For local, national and international businesses, the Sales Program and Lab serve as a talent incubator,” said Andres Campo, principal for Axxis Solutions.

From left to right: Anthony Miyazaki, chair and professor, Department of Marketing; Andres Campo, founder of Axxis Solutions (one of the four Naming Sponsor of the Sales Lab); Jose Aldrich, Acting Dean, College of Business; Guillermo Benites, CEO of Axxis Solutions

Evalena Behr, a recruiter at Northwestern Mutual, one of the Lab’s Naming Sponsors, said she will be using the lab to interview students, participate in the sales tournament and contract potential interns.

“It’s also going to serve as a resource for the students, an area they can come to for studying or doing homework,” Behr said.

“Now we can watch ourselves and take notes,” said Sean Velasquez, vice president of the Sales Society executive board. “We can really see how we need to improve our sales strategy, the tone of voice, the posture and body language, or if we’re using too many filler words.”

Naming Sponsors can use the Global Sales Lab to set up interviews and recruit, boosting their brand awareness among FIU’s sales students. Executives and recruiters can watch students’ archived videos and determine which are best suited for internships or jobs.

The Panther Sales Tournament, where students use role-playing techniques to sell a product to a corporate executive, will be one of the primary beneficiaries of the Global Sales Lab. During the 15-minute in-person meeting, students must showcase a product and its positive impact on the business, as well as build a rapport with the buyer, address any questions or objections, and ultimately close the sale.

In the fall 2015 tournament, the first held in the Global Sales Lab, students’ sales calls were streamed live to judges sitting in another conference room. Students were tasked with selling an iPhone 6 to buyers from multiple industries.

In her presentation, student Andrea Saladrigas highlighted the importance of communication between employees and vendors to the owner of three restaurants; its impact on the company’s supply chain; and the phone’s security. After some negotiating on the price, the deal was done.

“You stood your ground to make the deal,” said Matthew May, Sales Manager at C.H. Robinson Worldwide, who played the buyer. C.H. Robinson is also a Naming Partner.

The judges pointed out one area where more work is needed: handling buyers’ objections to the price or the product’s qualities. “For most, the response came down to ‘trust me,’” said Mark Crofton, global vice president at SAP Sales Academy.

FIU’s Panther Sales Tournament is one of the only U.S. programs to include a Spanish-language track, where the selling and buying is conducted in-language and students are judged by Hispanic executives. In spring of 2016, the Sales Program will host the first-ever Global Bilingual Sales Competition, inviting students from national and international universities.

“It’s all about preparing FIU students to take high-paying jobs in the professional sales field, with the help of some great business partners,” Rauseo said. “We’re making a difference in a student’s professional career and personal life.”

The program’s final exam is a one-on-one exercise where they pitch and try to sell the Salesforce app to a corporate buyer. The Global Sales Lab will make those sales calls and other assignments more dynamic, students agree.

“You can judge each other in real life and get feedback at the same time,” said Franklin Guijarro, a marketing major who will graduate in 2016 with a Sales & CRM Certificate. “You can send the videos to employers – or they can access them remotely – and companies can watch your exercises, your performance.”

Who won the Panther Sales Tournament?


  1. Andres Gonzalez
  2. Vanessa Miranda
  3. Jonas Erthal
  4. Hailey Gerards
  5. Andrea Saladrigas
  6. Lauren Vincent


  1. Andrea Saladrigas
  2. Nicolas Norena
  3. Susan Crispin
  4. Jose Cruz
  5. Wilmer Marquez
  6. Eryka Melo


William Patterson National Sales Competition (Video)


By Michael Hill

High-fiving Caroline Crabtree – minutes after learning she was a finalist in a national speed-sales and sales role-playing competition at William Paterson University, “you don’t know really what to expect coming out of these things because it’s really subjective. But, I’m definitely excited.”

This is the 9th year of the National Sales Challenge at William Paterson University. While it’s a competition, it aims to give students a real world experience.

Seamark Shoji, Dean, Cotsakos College Of Business, William Paterson University said, “we want to make sure they first of all learn from each other and feel that they’re really competing in a real world environment.”

In soundproof rooms with cameras recording, the sales majors had to apply their skills. They come from 36 colleges across the United States and across the sea.

The judges include executives from corporate America such as DHL’s new CEO for the U.S., Greg Hewitt, “I love competitions that get the best of the best and let us see who’s the next shining star is.”

What did you say to Greg to get him to come here?

“Please?” Victoria Reyes sold Hewitt on judging the competition. She shares her story of the benefits of networking here to get a job, launch a career – it could start with an internship and learning the ropes as she did at DHL, “there’s that you learn the book theories and you learn what we’re supposed to do and you study as much as you physically can and then when you get in to the real world you realize it doesn’t always as smoothly as a textbook does and that was really great for me to kind of be able to learn how to adapt in that way.”

Annamaria Havrillova competed in this challenge two years ago before graduation. “It’s not only about competing but getting the skills to network and create these relationships with people who come and attend these.”

The Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales at the school organized this 3-day competition.

Prabhakar Kothandraraman, the Executive Director for The Russ Berrie Institute For Professional Sales said, “nobody wants to call themselves sales people and there’s a lot of social stigma and there’s no turning from that. Despite all that, these students have stuck the flag in the ground and said I’m going to become a sales person and that’s my professional career and I am proud of them and they also have gotten out and worked for it. Sales is one of those disciplines where you can not just show up, get your grades and go and you’ve got to go to a lot more other things in terms of immersing yourself in the discipline. So, it’s really a proud moment.”

A moment to show what you have and how what you have can become a game changer.

Erin Grogan, finalist from Sienna College reacted, “I think it’s really to be kind of confident in yourself and know skills you bring to the table no matter where you’re from.”

Dean Seamark Shoji concluded, “many of them leave with an internship offer if not a full time offer.”

A competition for some, a career launcher for others.

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New lab trains students to sell


Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business has some new options for teaching students consultative sales techniques, thanks to a corporate partnership with the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters. The ribbon is cut to open the Lear Corporation Career Services Center’s new sales lab. The ribbon cutting was followed by an appreciation reception at the Lear Center.

On Friday, December 5, MSU’s Lear Corporation Career Services Center opened its new sales lab with a ribbon-cutting and appreciation ceremony.

Five rooms in the Lear Center have been equipped with videography technology enabling students to be recorded conducting sales role plays and presentations and to receive customized feedback on the videos to improve their personal selling competencies.

“This technology is a huge enhancement to the pedagogical capabilities of our sales program in that students now have the opportunity to see themselves in action and learn from their own observations as well as from the feedback provided by professors,” said Doug Hughes, associate professor of marketing and leader of the Strategic Sales Institute.


The renovation was funded by a $75,000 gift from Thomson Reuters, a long-time corporate partner of MSU’s sales program.

“With state support for universities shrinking, we increasingly rely on corporate and individual donations to fund important initiatives that allow us to stay on the cutting edge,” said Hughes. “We are grateful for Thomson Reuters’ support.”

“Thomson Reuters is excited and pleased to have funded the new sales lab,” said Rick Kursik, vice president of sales for the Professional segment within the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters. “Our relationship with the university and specifically the sales specialization has been an extremely positive one, and the lab was a great way for us to expand that relationship and to provide further value to the students of MSU.”

While the lab technology offers particular benefits to students studying sales, it also provides students across the college with the opportunity to evaluate, reflect upon, and improve their personal presentation skills—vital to any business career.

“Our business has many former Spartans on our sales staff and we value greatly the contributions they provide on a daily basis,” said Kursik. “We hope that the sales lab and our ongoing work with MSU furthers this impact and enhances the working relationship we enjoy with MSU and its students.”

Thomson Reuters is the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. It combines industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers in the financial and risk, legal, tax and accounting, intellectual property and science and media markets, powered by the world’s most trusted news organization.



Interact Solution Exhibiting at the Training 2015 Conference in Atlanta

Interact Solution has grown and offers more options than ever before and we are excited to share them you, so please stop by so we can show you just how they may best assist your business.

We will be located at Booth #27 from Monday February 9 through Feb 11.

The CEO, Haywood Pulliam, will also be hosting a speaker session “A Look in the Mirror” on Monday, February 9, at 12:45 pm in the Georgia World Congress Center, Room A316.




K-State Today Article

New software gives sales students a leg up on the competition

By Brent Fritzemeier

Thanks to new software in the sales labs of the Kansas State University College of Business Administration’s National Strategic Selling Institute, or NSSI, students pursuing a certificate in professional strategic selling now have an edge when meeting with potential employers.

Interact Software from CenergyIT allows students to record themselves during mock sales calls, to get a better understanding of how they are performing in sales situations. The software allows for critique from professors and creates a shareable online profile of their work for potential employers.

“The new technology in the sales labs not only allows us, the students, to view and critique ourselves on our sales role plays, but it also enables us to show off our real-world sales experience to the corporate sponsor’s recruiters,” said Kevin Donlin, a sophomore in industrial engineering who is pursuing a sales certificate. “Best of all, this is all available at a click of a button for the recruiters, making it easier than ever for them to view our work.”

That availability to recruiters gives students in the program a real edge over other potential hires, going above and beyond what can be shown on a traditional paper resume.

“The new NSSI Sales Lab technology has taken our recruiting efforts to the next level,” said Mark Carr, Channel Sales Manager at Security Benefit, a corporate partner of the institute. “The video technology provides us with insight to determine how well students perform and interact in simulated sales interactions. This new development is invaluable as it helps us understand how the students will perform in future sales initiatives for our firm.”

The software was provided to the National Strategic Selling Institute through a gift from Pat and Larry Kendall, two Kansas State alumni and longtime supporters of the College of Business Administration, who also provide funding to send students to sales competitions throughout the year.

“Thanks to the generosity of Pat and Larry Kendall, we are able to provide our students with a state-of-the-art experience that helps prepare them for a career in sales,” said Dawn Deeter, director of the National Strategic Selling Institute. “Both our students and corporate partners benefit from recruiters’ ability to watch students’ role plays. Employers can see our great students in action, and students get fantastic jobs.”