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The best young sales talent in the UK will compete in a national university contest where selling skills are honed and students receive candid feedback on their abilities from corporate executives.

Abertay University will host the prestigious Salesforce Scottish Open Sales Competition 2017 in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University, where the event was first piloted last year.

Universities from Scotland and England will be challenged to sell under real life conditions to major players including San Francisco-based software and enterprise firm Salesforce and banking giant RBS.

The next generation of business professionals from Abertay, Edinburgh Napier, Aberdeen University, Robert Gordon University, Dundee University, Sheffield Hallam University, Coventry University, Perth College UHI, St Andrews University and Glasgow Caledonian University are currently sharpening their sales tactics in preparation for the battle in Dundee on February 21 and 22.

The competition conference model is based on massive US sales events where up to 1,500 colleges regularly compete, and the winners will go head-to-head against the best in Europe at a contest at Edinburgh Napier this summer.

Sponsored by Salesforce, Royal Bank of Scotland, IT insights specialist Gartner, recruitment solutions firm Talented Scot, software company Zudu, and the Association of Professional Sales, the competition at Abertay is also a golden opportunity for businesses across Scotland to identify student sales talent with a view to employing future stars.

A role play session where students engage in a business to business seller-buyer meeting makes up one element and there will be a timed Speed Sell section to test nerves under pressure and also instill confidence in the students.

There will also be a range of talks and feedback sessions from industry experts over the two days and the event will culminate in a Gala Dinner.

Dr Gary Mulholland of Abertay’s Dundee Business School said the competition is both a learning opportunity and a chance for the cream of University sales students to make their mark.

He added: “We teach people how to capture the imagination within 30 seconds in an elevator pitch style and those skills will determine who succeeds in this competition.

“Working in the sales industry is both rewarding financially and personally and is a great way of meeting people and the different approach we take at Abertay puts our students on that path.”

Tony Douglas of Edinburgh Napier Business School said: “It is so important in today’s fast changing business environment that our University Business School students have the opportunity to learn and practice the important presentation, listening, questioning and negotiating skills that will help equip them for not just a job in sales but also introduce them to the opportunities for a career in sales.

“Large numbers of students leaving our Business Schools are destined for a sales-related first job in the real world – it is important that we assist them in finding meaningful employment on graduation”

Zane Powell, law student and director of start-up company UniJob App, said: ” I took part in the first ever Scottish Open Sales Competition and this luckily coincided with the early stages of my business venture.

“The experience I gained in selling from the competition and the dedicated team of professional sales coaches was vital in helping me go forward and secure significant investment for my start-up venture.”

The wider Abertay Enterprise week, running February 20 to 23 is open to attend, but the competitive element is closed for competitors only.

Local sponsorship opportunities are still available and present an ideal opportunity for companies to identify their next top sales people.

For more information visit www.scottishopensalescompetition.co.uk.