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By: Saad Ejaz

The second annual Great Canadian Sales Competition is underway this year. With 60 participating schools, the competition is beginning to gain momentum. This is partially due to its major sponsors, which include Google, Air Canada, Xerox and Purolator.

The GCSC is one of Canada’s biggest national student competitions, and invites universities and colleges across the country to take part this year.

The aim of the competition is to make students more aware of the sales industry. Sonya Meloff, the cofounder of the Sales Talent Agency and Great Canadian Sales Competition believes this will help a new generation become interested in sales.

“There is so much misconception of sales as a profession. There is a real lack of knowledge, and sales just isn’t highlighted as an area of study . . . Our intention with the competition was really to highlight sales as a profession, celebrate sales as a profession and promote the profession. And we hope to be a conduit to getting students in front of amazing employers and hopefully getting as many as possible into amazing job opportunities,” said Meloff.

The competition consists of three rounds, and participants are required to use their sales skills to advance through them. To enter the competition, students are required to submit a video pitch about a product or service of their interest. After making it to the second round, participants work with one of the competition’s big-name sponsors to create a pitch for a novel product or service in line with the company’s interest.

Michael Coté, the Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Purolator showed his enthusiasm for upcoming GCSC. “It is pretty rewarding internally for the sales leaders at Purolator to help and work with our sponsored competitor and help them succeed . . . We help prepare our finalists, and where I feel that most of the fun for us next is to see them presenting in the final round and cheering them on,” he said.

The final round consists of finalists presenting their pitch to a panel of judges made up of executives from Canada’s leading companies. Coté is one of the judges this year in the final round.

All the finalists of the competition win a trip to Toronto, up to $7,500 and a chance to meet the executives from Canada’s leading companies.

Finalist from last year’s GCSC, Rachele Benjamin, stated that although she did not pursue a career in sales, she was able to learn valuable skills and lessons from the competition. “It’s important that if you’re looking for a career, you approach every opportunity with an open mind. Guaranteed, if nothing else, you will learn a lot from entering and giving it your best shot,” she explained.

The ability to network, construct and present ideas are skills that are pivotal to many jobs in the workforce today. The ability to build on these skills is a fundamental aspect to learn before entering a professional setting and the GCSC hopes to continue helping students find their niche in the field.

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