The purpose of the Agriculture Sales Career Development Event (CDE) is to provide an individual with the basic skills to take advantage of the career opportunities offered in the agricultural sales field. Sales are an essential part of a market economy. Agricultural products benefit from sales skills, both for inputs for production and the marketing of the products.
The Agricultural Sales CDE evaluates skills essential to careers in sales, including the following:
- Communication Skills
- Verbal Communication
- Written Communication
- Interactive Communication- to be able to listen and question in order to gather information
- Product Knowledge
- Features and benefits of a product
- Identifying potential customer objections
- Knowledge of proper product use
- Sales Process
- Identifying prospective customers through marketing data
- Developing an approach that introduces your product to your prospective customer
- Develop a sales call that determines and addresses customers' needs and objections
- Attempt trial closes to confirm customer interest.
218 Filley Hall
Lincoln, NE 68583-0922
Easch participant will be allowed to bring a one-inch binder to the event containing the provided product information and any other information gathered by the participant. Students may also bring a calculator (separate from a cellphone). This is the only material allowed.
2017 Team Schedule - TBD
The event will be composed of three parts. Individual scores will be comprised of the written exam and individual sales activity. The team score will be comprised of the team activity and all individual scores. The team will be composed of four students, and all four individual scores will count toward the team total.
Participants should wear FFA Official Dress for this event.
Real world scenarios will be utilized, and students will not be allowed to invent product information to include pricing, packaging, specials, etc. As a salesperson, those decisions typically involve or are at the discretion of management.
To improve consistency of evaluation of the sales presentations, two teams will be selected at random to complete their team activity in front of all judges at the beginning of the event. The judges will provide a collective score for each of the two teams.
While actual participation time is about an hour, it may take longer depending on movement of participants through the three parts of the event. If you have special time considerations, please contact the event superintendent as soon as possible.
- Team members will work together to demonstrate teamwork, group dynamics, problem solving, data analysis, decision making and oral communications.
- Teams will be allowed to use their one-inch binder for the event.
The following information will be provided to the team at the event as if they were a group of salespeople working together to develop the pre-call planning prior to conducting a sales call.
- Product information (before event)
- Profile of three customers
- The team will be provided with paper and pencils. No presentation equipment such as laptops, flipcharts or dry erase boards will be allowed.
This strategy should include but not be limited to:
- Determining potential customer needs and wants.
- Identify features and benefits of the product(s) that address the customer's needs and wants.
- Identify potential customer objections and prepare to address them.
- Identify possible related/complimentary products and their suggestive selling strategies.
- Develop information gathering questions to be utilized in clarifying the customer's needs and wants.
Teamwork and involvement of team members will be judged during this event. Students are expected to justify their decisions based on selling principles.
The team will be given 20 minutes to analyze the information given and develop a presentation to provide the information listed above. During this 20 minute period, the team will be judged using the team activity scorecard found in this chapter.
At the conclusion of the 20 minutes, the team will present to the judges who are acting as the team's immediate supervisors. The presentation will be no longer than 10 minutes. At the conclusion of the presentation, the judges will have ten 10 minutes to ask questions of all team members. The questions will be taken from all aspects of the team event.
Individual Sales Activity
Information and product(s) from team activity will be used in the individual sales activity. (Individual activity will be conducted after the team activity.) Participants will directly sell the product(s) to the judge. The judge will fit one of the customer profiles identified in the team pre-call planning activity. The judge will act as the customer which may include not buying the product. Participants will have to establish rapport, ask probing questions to ensure they meet the customer’s needs, and clarify customer information as a part of the sales call. Participants will have 10 minutes to interact with the judge. Participants are allowed to use their one-inch product information binder during the individual activity
Individual Written Exam
The written exam is designed to evaluate an individual’s knowledge of sales skills. The listed resources will be used as a basic resource but the questions will be generated based on basic sales concepts.
Team Activity........150 points
- Written exam.....100 points
- Sales activity.....150 points
Individual Score: written exam + individual sales activity
Team Score: individual scores + team activity
In the event of a tie in the individual scores, the highest individual sales activity score will break the tie. If the tie cannot be broken using the individual sales activity score, the highest written exam score will be used. If a tie still exists, the highest team activity score will be used to break the tie.
In the event of a tie in the team scores, the highest team activity score will break the tie. If the tie cannot be broken using the team activity score, then the total individual sales activity scores will be used. If a tie still exists, the total written exam scores will be used to break the tie.
This list of references is not intended to be all inclusive. Other sources may be utilized, and teachers are encouraged to make use of the very best instructional materials available. Make sure to use discretion when selecting website references by only using reputable, proven sites. The following list contains references that may prove helpful during event preparation. The most current edition of resources will be used.
- Past CDE materials and other resources on FFA.org
- ProSelling: A Professional Approach to Selling in Agriculture and Other Industries, W. Scott Downey, ISBN-13: 978-0978895211
- Professional Selling, Rebecca L. Morgan, ISBN 0-931961-42-4
- Sales Training Basics, Elwood N. Chapman, ISBN 1-56052-119-8
- Closing, Virden J. Thorton, ISBN 1-56052-318-2
- Ditzenberger and Kidney, Selling-Helping Customers Buy, SouthWestern Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1992, 1-800-543- 7972, ISBN 0538605316.
- Understanding Ag Sales, FFA.org