By Dawn Deeter-Schmelz
On Friday, April 25, 2014, the 36 students enrolled in the NSSI Advanced Selling class hosted the second National Strategic Selling Institute’s Benefit Auction. Held at the Wareham Opera House in Manhattan, the auction represented the culmination of the students’ learning and efforts.
The auction was tremendous fun and featured the auctioneering talents of Michelle Canny and the Canny Team, along with Stan Weber as emcee. Cadence, the K-State a cappella group, provided musical entertainment, and Coco Bolo’s served a fantastic meal. Highlights of the evening included a beautiful purple and white quilt made by student Brittany Joerg’s mother – it generated quite a bidding frenzy! Other popular items included tickets to K-State, Kansas City Royals, and Kansas City Chiefs events. Of course, the absolute high point of the evening was the fiddle playing of our own Sales Cat Team member Jake Pritchard, who brought down the house with his rendition of Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”.
Students undertook multiple tasks to bring the auction to reality. First, students learned how to use salesforce.com, a customer-relationship management tool used in a variety of businesses, to manage their sales pipeline. They developed prospect lists and learned how to manage their lists. Students practiced phone calls and voice mails before going “live.” Finally, each student made a call to approximately 20-35 prospects to find items for the auction and sell tickets to the auction. They experienced all the ups and downs that go along with sales, including rejection and a realization of the value of persistence. Students also managed the event itself. From decorating to program development to IT support, the students handled it all. The result was a real-life learning experience like no other. Students leave this class as true sales professionals.
Although final numbers are still being calculated, the students raised roughly $18,000 gross for the evening. Half of the net proceeds raised will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan, with the remainder going to support our sales students in travel to sales competitions and professional development. As a result of their great effort and success, five students were inducted into the “Ninja Sales Cat Club” to recognize top performers: Taylor Popp (junior), Jonathon Taylor (senior), Curtis Wendling (junior), Ryan Knight (junior), and Elyse Brill (senior).