TAMK’s multinational student team participates in a sales competition in Denmark
SPLASH is an Erasmus-funded research project whose participants come from Finland, Denmark, Austria and Italy. Principal Lecturer Pia Hautamäki and Senior Lecturers Pauliina Airaksinen-Aminoff and Teppo Yrjönkoski from Tampere University of Applied Sciences are in charge of the project in Finland. In the sales competition, students have the possibility to learn about the field internationally and burnish their sales skills. The competition will take place in Aalborg, Denmark on 8-9 May 2023.
“We wanted to organise an innovative and modern sales competition. Use of LinkedIn and other digital sales tools is important in sales. This can also be seen in the competition themes”, Pia Hautamäki explains the background.
TAMK’s competition team has 14 members from Finland, Germany, Hungary, Spain, South Korea, Japan and Brazil. Pauliina Airaksinen-Aminoff is the team’s coach.
Future sales professionals Erica Kinnunen and Takehito Hinami especially like the social and rewarding nature of sales work.
“It is great to have feedback that the customer felt heard and found a good solution or product. Every customer is different and every sale and purchase experience unique and thus you can challenge yourself socially and psychologically”, Kinnunen tells.
“I love meeting all kinds of people and finding out what makes them tick. There is nothing like sealing a deal with a handshake, knowing that I made someone happy and earned a nice commission”, Hinami states.
Clear roles help in teamwork
The students participated in an extra sales course due to the competition. They learnt to know their customers online and contacted them on LinkedIn. The students meet the customers twice, first remotely and then in Aalborg. There are two assessors in sales meetings. One represents the educational institution and the other the customer.
At the moment, the team is looking for sponsors, marketing itself in social media and preparing for the customer meetings.
“We agreed to assign each member a specific role to ensure the project runs smoothly. The division of tasks proved to be efficient and helped to avoid any miscommunication”, Takehito Hinami tells.
“We have practised diverse ways of promoting sales as a group and individuals. We have also learnt about the effects of body language, use of voice and clothing”, Erica Kinnunen adds.
The course also focused on empathy and emotional skills, which are valuable skills for future sales professionals.
“It is all about meeting the customer and listening to the customer. It inspires confidence between the seller and buyer, which is a key to success”, Pauliina Airaksinen-Aminoff emphasises.
New acquaintances and career possibilities
Erica Kinnunen and Takehito Hinami also have other expectations for the trip to Denmark than the competition.
“I am very extrovert, I like travelling and making new friends around the world. Networking is important because it opens doors to new jobs and encourages to study abroad. An international competition is a good opportunity to demonstrate personal competence to others”, Kinnunen says.
“My lecturer insisted that we should never alter our proposals just to seal the deal. It only undermines our credibility and value. I have kept the advice in mind and I am determined to follow it in the competition, too. The competition is an opportunity to mingle with real companies from all over Europe and learn from their experiences. It is also a chance to hone our sales skills. Maybe we will even land a job offer or two along the way”, Hinami ponders.
Pia Hautamäki and Pauliina Airaksinen-Aminoff rejoice in the results of the SPLASH project and TAMK’s success as a sales educator.
“We at TAMK are pioneers in modern B2B sales education and we have built a lot of related contents. And TAMK was chosen one of the best sales HEIs in the world”, Hautamäki reminds.
“As the coach, it has been wonderful to learn to know young people from different countries. Thanks to them, I have had the chance to learn and satisfy my curiosity”, Airaksinen-Aminoff praises.
As regards the prize for the competition winners, Airaksinen-Aminoff remains cryptic.
“It will be a great surprise!”
Text: Emmi Suominen
Main photo: Jere Kiviniemi
Takehito Hinami’s photo: Emmi Suominen
Erica Kinnunen’s photo: Erica Kinnunen