A fourth-year University of New Brunswick business student is putting his powers of persuasion to the test for the chance to win $7,500 at a national sales pitch competition.

Herbert Bempah is a top 25 finalist in the Great Canadian Sales Competition taking place at the Google headquarters in Toronto on May 3.

“I participated in this competition last year, but I only made it to the semi-final round. This year, I was determined and figured I’d try again,” says Mr. Bempah, who is also outgoing president of the UNB Student Union. “For me, as a business student, I thought that this would be an opportunity to develop the skill of trying to sell something that you’re passionate about and something that you believe in.”

The competition gives students with the drive for sales the opportunity to show how persuasive and passionate they can be to the business world.

In the semi-final round, the competitors were paired with a mentor from one of the 25 Fortune 500 companies that sponsor the event. Mr. Bempah was paired with Bunzl, a multinational product distribution company.

“All across UNB, faculty and students have come to respect Herbert for his leadership,” says Dr. Devashis Mitra, dean of business administration at UNB. “It’s fantastic, although no surprise, to learn that he has made it to the final round of the Great Canadian Sales Competition. I’m sure his pitch will be delivered with his usual eloquence, wowing Bunzl and the competition’s judges alike.”

As a finalist, Mr. Bempah will have to sit down with the owner of a mock business and have a conversation with him as if he were a sales representative for Bunzl at a business meeting.

“I have to find a solution for a fictional company, called Elite Building Services, which provides cleaning services to companies across Canada,” says Mr. Bempah. “Their problem is the inconsistency of quality products and they needed to lower their costs. It is my responsibility in the case to pitch why Bunzl could provide Elite Building Services with the quality products they needed at a reduced cost.”

To reach the finals, Mr. Bempah had to qualify via two preliminary rounds. In the first round, roughly 2,000 video submissions were received with contestants pitching on a topic of their choice. Mr. Bempah pitched why the Lion King was the best Disney movie of all time. In the semi-finals, he worked with Bunzl to understand their business better.

“I’m very optimistic about making it to the top 25 and it’s a testament to what can actually be learned at the competition,” says Mr. Bempah. “My goal is ultimately to make it to the top five, then hopefully winning, but I think I’m more excited to be competing with other brilliant students that know the art of sales.”

Media contact: Cody Peters