Workplace in the Classroom

Workplace in the Classroom

Each year, students in BUS 322 Advanced Selling participate in a unique type of service-learning project – a month-long sales campaign complete with quotas, commissions, and bonuses.  It is not money students earn, however, but grades.

BUS 322 Top Performers’ Cup Winners for 2021

According to Associate Professor Mark Breedveld, “The campaign is set up to be as realistic as possible so students can learn what it’s like to work in an environment like professional sales where compensation is sometimes completely based on performance and where salespeople compete to earn additional rewards.  The pressure is real, and students have to set goals, work as a team, make their calls, and bring in the business.  It is a very challenging assignment and a great learning experience for them and me.”


This year the sales campaign was carried out for the BC Agriculture Council (BCAC), the lead agriculture industry advocate for key sector-wide priorities in British Columbia. Based in Abbotsford, BCAC represents 27 farm associations that in turn generate approximately 96% of farm gate sales in BC.

BCAC provided the class with a list of lapsed customers for a product it offers to BC farmers called a Farmer ID Card.  The wallet-sized card provides, among other benefits, a convenient way for farmers to show vendors that they have farm status and are therefore eligible for exemption from paying the 5% BC Provincial Sales Tax on many farm-related purchases.

After two months of classroom training, the BUS 322 students launched the campaign on the first of November.  Working in teams of three or four, they contacted the farmers on the renewals list, from their personal networks, and from their own prospecting efforts.

Students were aided in their selling efforts by a limited-time offer that BCAC created to make the purchase of the Farmer ID Card more enticing during the month of the campaign: prospective buyers were offered an entry into a draw for one of five $100 gift cards and an opportunity to provide a Christmas poinsettia (courtesy of Chilliwack’s DeVry Greenhouses) to one of two charities, the UFV Student Union Society’s Angel Tree Fund or the Chilliwack Salvation Army Community Food Bank.

By the end of November, students had contacted some 600 farms by phone and email, resulting in $5,500 in card renewals and new sales for BCAC – a welcome source of income for this non-profit organization that works for the betterment of BC farmers.  In addition, the students earned 22 poinsettias which were shared between the two charities.

When teams’ sales were compared at the end of the campaign, the “Produce Prospectors” team (made up of BBA students Larissa Price, Chad Charest, and Tushar Malhotra) ranked first with $2,685 in sales, with all three team members achieving their individual quotas, team quota, and sales bonuses.  As a result, the team received the compensation due them – a 100% grade on the project and their names on the Top Performers Cup, a trophy awarded to the winning team for each of the past eight years.  The secret of their success? According to Price, this year’s top seller in the campaign, “We needed to be proactive and efficient to finish at the top of the leader board.  She adds, “This project truly got my feet wet into the real world of sales.”  Team member Charest agrees, “This opportunity for real, boots on the ground, hands-on experience was valuable and certainly has me prepared for future situations.  The skills and knowledge I obtained will be directly transferable to the workplace.”

BCAC Communications Manager, Cassy James, was equally expressive: “It’s been a great first experience to partner with UFV’s BUS 322 students on this annual sales project. Working with the students to hone their skills through real-life experience while ultimately supporting the long-term sustainability of agriculture in B.C. has been a truly successful partnership. We’re excited to continue to grow our relationship with UFV and their students.”