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K-State Today

May 25, 2022

National Strategic Selling Institute hosts 10th annual benefit auction

Submitted by Ruthie Gergeni

The National Strategic Selling Institute held its 10th annual benefit auction on May 6 at the K-State Alumni Center. Students in the Advanced Selling class organize the event every year to learn about the sales process in a real-world setting.

This year, the class raised more than $55,000. The funds raised through the benefit auction go straight back to students in the form of merit awards and scholarships. Similar to K-State Proud, the benefit auction involves students raising money to pay it forward to future sales students.

An additional $11,000 was raised for Coming Together for a Cure, which was chosen as the charity partner for the event. Founded by a recent K-State graduate, it is a nonprofit organization in Wichita devoted to providing renewed hope for people with muscular dystrophy and other life-threatening diseases by advancing support, education and access to adult stem cell therapy. 

Stan Weber, an alumnus of the K-State College of Business Administration, served as emcee of the benefit auction. Weber was a quarterback for the K-State football team and is the color analyst for Wildcat football and basketball broadcasts. 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 with student merit awards. These awards are based on students' participation and performance in the Advanced Selling class. Overall, $33,000 in student merit awards were given to 40 students. 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 Cameron Jones, senior in professional strategic selling, Lenexa. Additional winners of the Ninja Sales Cat Award included Collin Thompson, senior in professional strategic selling and marketing, Olathe, $1,500; Cameron Pavelschak, junior in professional strategic selling, Mascoutah, Illinois, $1,000; Colton Williams, junior in professional strategic selling, Osage City, $750; and Jacob Jasper, senior in professional strategic selling and management, Burlington, $500.

The Ninja Sales Cat Awards were sponsored by the following companies and individuals: U-Stop Convenience Shops owned and operated by Mark and Chis Whitehead, Green Precision Analytics, Merck Animal Health, Ron and Janis Jackson, and NorthStar Wealth Navigation — Northwestern Mutual.

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 voicemails 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 toward 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. The students in this class set a very high goal for themselves and worked hard enough to exceed that goal. I'm so proud of their efforts."

The National Strategic Selling Institute is in the College of Business Administration and has been named one of the top sales programs in the country for 10 straight years by the Sales Education Foundation. For more information,  contact kstatesalesprogram@k-state.edu.