By Amanda Dyslin
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — Some products sell themselves, like cool phones or shoes.
Other products need a good salesman, like a bike tire, for example. Not exactly the most intriguing item to market.
But West High School senior Isaiah Stock found a way to sell a Continental bicycle tire to a tough crowd, which is why he’s moving on to the international competition of Distributive Education Clubs of America in Anaheim, Calif., this week.
“After they called my name for first place (at state), I don’t even remember what happened really; it was all a blur,” Stock said.
Stock and two dozen of his West classmates competed in a variety of categories at the beginning of March at the state-level competition in Minneapolis.
Stock, Kennedy Maker and John Haley all placed first in categories. First-, second- and third-place finishers qualify to go on to Anaheim, but because the event is during West’s prom, only Stock decided to go, said West DECA advisor Mary Berg.
Stock said he’s gone to seven formal dances in the past, so missing senior prom isn’t a big deal. And the girl he had planned to take understands, he said.
“I’ve had the opportunity to go to prom twice already,” he said.
Berg said some of the metro schools have about 150 students participating at the state level, so the competition is tough.
“For us to take 24 or 25 students and to get three first places, it’s pretty good,” Berg said.
Stock’s category was Professional Selling, and the DECA challenge this year was to create a sales pitch for a bike tire.
“I was supposed to act as a sales rep for a tire manufacturer, pitching their tire to a supply chain manager of a bicycle manufacturer,” Stock said. “I had full creativity on what I wanted to do.”
Stock chose the tire he wanted to sell (Continental) and created a campaign. He also went to Scheels and Nicollet Bike Shop for advice. The folks at Nicollet even ordered and paid for a Continental tire for Stock to use in his presentation, he said.
At state, Stock pitched the campaign to a judge who role-played as a bike manufacturer. Stock said he emphasized the new technology of Continental tires, but he mostly talked about why buying the tires would be a good business decision — emphasizing pricing points, customer service and branding.
“It’s really applicable to real life,” Stock said. “You’re selling the brand and the company.”
Stock will do his sales presentation for the tire again at nationals. He said he’s not changing much about the presentation, and he’s excited to be making the trip with Berg.
Other DECA events include employment interviews, sales demonstrations and role-playing scenarios where students are given 15 minutes to prepare a solution to a business-related issue.
Stock’s trip to nationals will cost about $2,000, Berg said. Anyone interested in donating or sponsoring his trip can contact Berg at 387-3461 or firstname.lastname@example.org.