Written by Brent Fritzemeier
Kansas State University’s Austin Robisch, a senior in management information systems from Overland Park, won first place at the Northern Illinois University Sales Decathlon, Oct. 2-4, earning a $2,000 cash prize, a job offer from Adobe Systems and the title of Sales Athlete of the Year.
Armani Williams, a junior in marketing from Lenexa, also fared well in the competition, taking first place in the face-to-face call and third place in the telephone call portions of the competition.Sales winners
Austin Robisch, center, holds the first-place honors he earned at the North Illinois Sales Decathlon. With Robisch are coach David Lehman, left, instructor of marketing; and Armani Williams, right, with the awards he won at the event.
Robisch beat out 19 other finalists representing 10 different universities from around North America, including Ball State University; Baylor University; High Point University; Michigan State University; Niagara College-Canada; University of Akron; University of Dallas; University of Wisconsin, Whitewater; and Northern Illinois University.
The Sales Decathlon got underway in March with just under 150 sales students from 21 different universities across the U.S. and Canada vying for the title of Sales Athlete of the Year. During the initial three competition rounds, students used sales skills taught in their collegiate sales programs to complete the first steps that led to making a sales call on a customer. The events were judged by industry partners from 60 companies who ultimately reduced the field to the final 20 students.
“The Sales Decathlon offers students a chance to pit their talents versus others to see who can better meet the client’s needs,” said Robert M. Peterson, director of Northern Illinois University’s professional sales program. “It mimics the complete sales process, from leaving a voicemail, executing a call and perhaps closing the sale. You must be sharp in each of the 10 events or someone else will take your prospect.”
Both Robisch and Williams are earning certificates in professional strategic selling from the National Strategic Selling Institute in Kansas State University’s College of Business Administration. The certificate program is open to all majors at the university, and allows students to distinguish themselves by demonstrating professionalism and competency in selling skills.