2013Dec 10

@LU_SPAD Championship Selling GAME DAY™ Highlights

GAME DAY™ 2013

GAME DAY™ 2013

On Friday November 29th, 2013, Tom Blake’s Championship Selling course came to an end, with the 5th Annual GAME DAY™ held at Alumni Hall. Nine groups of third year SPAD students (with a few notable exceptions) presented case solutions to nine different high-profile companies. Students had the opportunity to put their sales skills to the test by presenting to representatives from companies, which included: The Canadian Paralympic Committe, Great West Life, LG Electronics, Molson Coors, Mondelez, CIBC, Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, and Sprout.

The Championship Selling course is unique to Laurentian University and SPAD. This is the 5th year that Tom has run the course through the program, and it offers a totally unique experience to students. Every second week throughout the semester, Tom would make the trip up to Sudbury from Toronto, to lead two, three hour sessions. During these sessions, Tom would lead great hands-on activities, which enabled students to practice their selling skills. Tom promised to teach willing students three things throughout the course:

  • How to get a better job
  • How to be better at the job
  • How to better at life

He delivered on his promise. Getting a University degree is the first step in becoming successful in the business world. However, it is experiences such as these, that allow students to develop and demonstrate the skills necessary to make it in the industry.

Three months of preparation lead up to the GAME DAY™ event at Alumni Hall. Teams spent weeks preparing a case for each of their “clients”. The day began at 9am, where teams would finally get to present to their respective customer. Teams had the responsibility of orchestrating two 30 minute meetings with their client(s), with emphasis on following Tom’s “7-Step Sales Process”.

First Place Finishers - T.S.I. (Great West Life)

First Place Finishers – T.S.I. (Great West Life)

The first meeting required students to use a tactic known as “Playing Catch™” to gather important information from their client. The strategy encourages students to be good active listeners, and ask concise open-ended questions, in order to gain  the information they desire. With the information gathered in meeting one, students had to prepare a solution for the second meeting. The most important part of the second meeting was being able to present a solution that addressed both parties’ needs, and being able to “close the deal” in the end.

At the conclusion of both meetings, teams met with their respective clients, who offered constructive criticism on how to improve each student’s presentation/sales skills. SPAD Alumni, Hugues Gibeault was on-hand as a guest speaker for the event. Gibeault spoke passionately about his career, and how he has gotten to where he is today as CEO of Optimé International.

Gibeault also lead a debriefing exercise, where students stood at the front of the room to discuss what they had gotten from the Championship Selling course, and the overall GAME DAY™ experience. Everyone spoke about how Tom’s work has given them a new perspective on the business and sales industry. The knowledge and experience gained through this course is truly unique and invaluable.

All teams performed well, and it was very difficult to choose the winning teams. Second place runner-ups was team “J Crew”, which presented to CIBC and consisted of Jason Rabski, Julie Lopez, Jenna Woodward, Jason Reichart, and Jillian Pereira. The first place team was team “T.S.I” who presented to Great West Life. The team consisted of Grant Winter, Tom Zapletal, Tim Smith, Kaite Doyle, and Kat Schwabe.

Second Place Finishers - J Crew (CIBC)

Second Place Finishers – J Crew (CIBC)

When asked about his thoughts on GAME DAY™ 2013, Tom Blake had this to say:

“I thought it went great. I really appreciate the effort that people put in. It all starts with the program itself, the SPAD program, to make a commitment to this type of course, which is a little bit outside the box of a normal business program. The next commitment is from the students, they have to take their game to the next level. They know it’s a competition, and they know how important it is, so there are some things they need to do throughout the term to get their skills to the level that is required. Finally, we are blessed to have nine key companies come up – these are tier one corporations like CIBC and Procter & Gamble, you are getting some of the best business minds in the world here for 2013”

In closing, Tom added:

“To me, the most meaningful thing I can do, is to be here to make a difference and help students try to get to a different level. I know if I had some of this when I was in school, it would have made a difference. I think it’s a practical experience that we are trying to offer, the ability to help people get a good job and understand who they are going forward.” 

A big thank you to Tom Blake for his commitment to this course, and to all of the business representatives who made the trip to Sudbury for GAME DAY™. It was a very rewarding experience for everyone involved. We look forward to the sixth annual GAME DAY™ in 2014!

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