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K-State Today

May 18, 2021

National Strategic Selling Institute hosts ninth annual Benefit Auction, raising $108,000

Submitted by Dana Parker

The National Strategic Selling Institute hosted its ninth annual Benefit Auction on Friday, May 7, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan.

Put on every year by students in the Advanced Selling class, this experience allows students to learn about the sales process in a real-world setting. The funds raised through the NSSI Benefit Auction go straight back to students in the form of merit awards and scholarships. Similar to K-State Proud, the NSSI Benefit Auction involves students raising money to pay it forward to future sales students.

This year, the class raised more than $108,000, which is the best auction to date. Stan Weber, an alumnus of the K-State College of Business Administration, served as emcee of the event. Weber was a quarterback for the K-State football teams and holds the longest tenure for a K-State radio broadcaster. Lynn Langvardt oversaw the auction portion of the evening. Langvardt and his family own the Clay Center and Junction City sale barns and he has been named the top livestock auctioneer in Kansas and the Midwest.

During the auction, students were presented Student Merit Awards. These awards are based on students' participation and performance in the Advanced Selling classes. The five top-performing students earned the Ninja Sales Cat Award in recognition of class performance.

Earning top performer in the Ninja Sales Cat Award, along with $2,000, was Wade Heller, junior in professional strategic selling, Manhattan. Additional winners of the Ninja Sales Cat Award included Landry Brewton, senior in professional strategic selling, Amarillo, Texas, $1,500; Keegan Donahue, senior in professional strategic selling, Stilwell, $1,000; Zac Oakes, junior in professional strategic selling and modern languages, Overland Park, $750; and Lauren Greenstreet, junior in professional strategic selling, Overland Park, $500. These awards were sponsored by Edward Jones: Doug and Vicki Hill, Kasa Companies and Stifel.

The skills developed by students in the Advanced Selling class are unmatched by any other classroom experience. The course is designed to simulate a real-world sales environment within the classroom. The students are in the process of developing their sales stories and getting ready to do practice voice mails and phone calls, in preparation for the sales cycle to begin. Students use a CRM system, Salesforce.com, to track prospects and their sales pipeline as they work towards meeting or exceeding activity and performance quotas. Students make calls during class, with faculty coaching on the spot to improve skill sets. The sales students experience the joy of making a sale and learn how to deal with rejection.

"The fundamental purpose of this class is to give our students a realistic preview of what it is like to be a salesperson," said Dawn Deeter, director of the National Strategic Selling Institute. "Over the semester, the students realize firsthand the ups and downs of a sales career and the effort required to be successful. Even though the pandemic required a format change, I'm so proud of the efforts put forth by all the students to meet and exceed not only their class goal but raise the most money to date for the event."

The National Strategic Selling Institute is housed in the College of Business Administration, which has been named one of the top sales programs in the country for nine straight years by the Sales Education Foundation. In fall 2018, Kansas State became just the 19th university in the U.S. to offer a major in sales. Students can also earn a certificate in professional strategic selling, which is open to all majors at the university. The professional strategic selling program introduces students to the fundamentals of sales and its innovative curriculum and sales labs allow students to develop the skills needed to be successful.

For more information on the National Strategic Selling Institute, please contact kstatesalesprogram@k-state.edu