European Sales Competition 2023: What Everyone Needs to Succeed

European Sales Competition 2023: What Everyone Needs to Succeed
Colin’s granddaughter, Skye, age 2, is pictured here learning about sales in Sales Insights: Wise words for beginners in Business-to-Business sales by Dr Colin Mackenzie & Dr Alexander Bauer of Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences (on Amazon).

A personal view by Dr Colin Mackenzie

Dr Colin Mackenzie, FHEA, is an international sales competition judge, buyer and is on the committee for the South-East Asian Sales Competition. He has also held (and still holds) several senior positions in business-to-consumer, business-to-business and not-for-profit organisations in Scotland and in London. He is currently an Associate Professor at Wittenborg University of Applies Sciences.

It is sometimes claimed: ‘salespeople are born not made.’ However, everyone does have the capability to improve their own personal selling skills. I taught both my children from a young age, and they grew into successful business leaders. The world is what you make of it.

Sales competitions are exciting. They are fun, challenging and support the concept of sustainable sales. They also contribute to what everyone needs – the ability to sell. Whether it is about selling yourself to win a job, finding a life partner, discovering business investors or persuading children to eat their greens, at some point the art of listening and persuasion comes into play. Put simply, the more you gain sales skills, knowledge and practice, the more resilient you will be. This opens up greater life opportunities. For the judges, buyers and administrators, sales competitions offer the excitement of live events; things can, and often will, go slightly astray. Everyone is touched by nerves and the deep satisfaction in seeing how people grow over the course of the event.

One of the current hot management topics is the idea of ‘sustainable leadership’. Business investors have recognised that sustainable leadership practices can offer long-term results. This means business managers and leaders investing in the three key pillars of sustainable leadership: the environment, the community and of course profit! Sustainable sales are the foundation of profit and are achieved through ethical and professional selling. Sales competitions like the European Sales Competition 2023 are an excellent method for gaining not only the knowledge required to develop sustainable company profits but also to practice sales skills in a safe arena, where everyone is supportive and where you don’t lose your job if you don’t win! Sales competitions offer so many advantages for all the stakeholders.

As an international judge over many years, I’ve met students who, very nervous at first, have gone on to flourish in sales and in leadership positions. I’ve seen students develop a sense of increased confidence, achievement and a greater understanding of the most fundamental, but often misunderstood, area of business: the sales process. For sponsors there are also great advantages to these competitions. Employers love having access to a wealth of student talent and potential future employees. I’ve interviewed many sponsors who have told me how sales competitions are instruments for them to re-examine their own selling techniques and supported thinking on developing their unique selling propositions.

For me, success is not defined by how much money you have, or the type of car you drive, but whether you make a positive contribution to society. Sales competitions can give you the skills to make an impact, both on yourself and those around you. For example, most people ‘hear’ but do not really ‘listen’. Sales professionals need to have high levels of actively and empathically listening skills to analyse and understand needs. They need to develop their psychological contract with their clients to build trust. I often think if more people had these skills the world would be a better place.

WUP 26/04/2023
by Dr Colin Mackenzie
©WUAS Press