There are two types of assignments: Written assignments and video role-play assignments. Written assignments consist of (a) short, written case preparations for class and (b) two 2-page papers based on interviews with sales professionals.
Every class is associated with a short, case-based assignment. See the Readings and Case Assignments section for the list of cases. All students are required to be ready to discuss these assignments. You are required to turn in 11 written assignments over the course of the class.
Aside from explaining how you would go about solving the problems, assignments must illustrate which of the techniques learned in the class should be used to address the particular issue. Grades will be check, check plus or check minus. Independently of turning in the written assignment, you must always come to class prepared to discuss the assignment and case at issue.
Take a Salesperson to Lunch
You are to identify, get an appointment, and meet with an experienced salesperson about what it means to be an effective salesperson. Discuss the requirements to become a good salesperson, as well as other relevant matters (territory management, incentives, information systems, etc.). Share the insights that you learn in a 2-page (max) memo. Interviews can be done with a partner, however you each must turn in separate assignments. Do not interview one of your classmates, but you may, of course, use your classmates for help in finding a salesperson to interview. You may want to consider interviewing a salesperson in the industry in which you hope to work upon graduation.
Take a Sales Manager to Lunch
You are to identify, get an appointment, and meet with an experienced sales manager about what it means to be an effective salesman and an effective sales manager. Discuss the differences between a good salesperson and a good sales manager, as well as other relevant matters (territory management, incentives, information systems, etc.). Share the insights that you learned in a 2-page (max) memo. Interviews can be done with a partner, however you each must turn in separate assignments. Find a different company than the one you profiled in the previous interview, and again, no classmates.
In-Class & Simulation Assignments
Elevator Pitch Competition
Teams of 4 have 3 minutes to pitch a technology product to a panel of customers. Every team member must participate!
EchoPort Sales Competition
Compete against your classmates in a web-based sales simulation to find out who is ‘The’ hunter of the class!
Video Role Play Assignments
In order to help you appreciate the difference between theory and practice, you will have the opportunity to perform what you learned in front of a video camera. Approach this exercise as you would any sales call between you and a customer—the object is to convince the customer to buy your product!
- Each role play should be no more than 5 minutes in length. This is important; the time limit will help you to develop your effectiveness and efficiency as a salesperson.
- In each video recording session (10 minutes total) you will play both the role of the salesman and the customer. In other words, for each session, you and your partner will record two interviews that are each 5 minutes in length.
- You are responsible for submitting the video in which you play the salesperson, i.e. the person doing the selling.
- Upload completed videos (i.e. YouTube, Vimeo) and then submit the link.
- Please title the video with your full name and the name of the video, e.g. “Michael Scott: Delphi.”
- Each student must do four videos, again playing the role of salesman and customer in each.
- The expectation is that the videotaped presentation will be more thorough and practiced than those given in front of the class.
- Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse. Don’t try to wing this assignment.
- Videos are worth 25% of your grade so make sure you spend enough time incorporating lecture material (Approach, Solution Selling, Meeting Objections, etc.)
- We will be grading your performance based on both the sales side and on the buyer side.
- On the sales side you should demonstrate the skills covered in class to date and show that you are able to address the key needs and concerns of the customer. On the buyer side, ask thoughtful questions, raise reasonable objections and have a genuine willingness to get to a ‘yes.’
- Any creativity that you wish to bring to the assignment is a plus.
- Greeting - Build up a rapport with your client or boss. Don’t jump directly into the sale.
- Smiling - Relax and smile once in a while. Make sure the client would want to talk to you again.
- Closing - Don’t leave things up in the air. What is the next step? What are each party’s responsibilities? Make sure you have a clear understanding before leaving the meeting.
- You can use your own video camera, smartphone camera, computer webcam, etc.
- Upload to YouTube, Vimeo, etc. and then submit the link
- Make sure that your video is viewable and intelligible. If not, re-record!
- Each seller should plan on a 5 minutes exchange. Thus, the full taping should take no more than 10 min total. (Points will be deducted for long sessions!)
- Both of you should sit in a chair, just like role plays in the class. This is a sales call not a sales presentation. There should be no notes and no visual aids.