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National Strategic Selling Institute

The National Strategic Selling Institute creates opportunities for both K-State students and the business community. We provide students with a high-quality sales education that prepares them to hit the ground running in any sales organization. We also work closely with businesses to create opportunities to work with our students directly, thereby improving the recruitment process. Our overarching goal is to create a bridge between the academic community and the business community, so that businesses have the opportunity to hire outstanding talent and our students are placed in great jobs.

Currently NSSI students enjoy a 100 percent placement rate, with many students receiving multiple job offers. The success of the program has earned Kansas State University the honor of being named one of the Top Universities for Professional Sales Education by the Sales Education Foundation for the last four years, including 2015. Other accomplishments include developing a strong Professional Selling Advisory Board comprised of over 30 sales executives, establishing a chapter of Pi Sigma Epsilon, a national professional co-ed fraternity focusing on Sales and Marketing, creating the Sales Cats Sales Team that has competed at and won national competitions, and creating K-State Sales Week, an annual week-long celebration of sales as a career opportunity for students that includes workshops, professional development events, and a sales competition.

2015-16 NSSI Event Schedule


Activities of the National Strategic Selling Institute include the following

Educational Activities
Provide an interdisciplinary curriculum of sales courses for K-State students including the offering of a relationship selling certificate through the college.Develop a campus wide relationship-selling minor. Provide students with sales related internship opportunities. Provide opportunities for students to gain experience in selling through role playing. Provide sales-related mentorship opportunities for our students with alumni and community members and firms. Provide student scholarships. Encourage and support student attendance at relationship sales conferences. Develop a relationship selling distinguished speaker series. Facilitate company visits with a focus on sales. Actively participate in national collegiate sales contests.

Research and Faculty Support
Host academic and practitioner oriented sales conferences on the Manhattan and Olathe campuses.Provide summer research grants for faculty interested in relationship selling topics.Support faculty sales focused conference travel.Develop a white paper series in the area of relationship selling.Coordinate company visits for faculty.Develop relationships with firms for data collection opportunities.

Outreach Activities
Develop an external relationship selling advisory board.Develop and implement executive training seminars in relationship selling utilizing the Manhattan and Olathe campuses.Facilitate sales related consulting activities.

Sales Competitions & Professional Development

Although much learning goes on within our curriculum, the NSSI also looks for ways to supplement students’ education by offering professional development activities outside the bounds of the classroom. Activities include:

Edward Jones Sales Competition

K-State Sales Week

NSSI Auction

This is no ordinary auction! Held at the Houston Street Ballroom in downtown Manhattan, the auction is a semi-formal affair featuring fine-dining, musical entertainment, and the auction services of The Canny Team of Johnson, Kansas.

The NSSI Benefit Auction allows our Advanced Sales students to learn about territory management, prospecting, phone sales, and the sales process in a real-world setting! The students are working together to find items for the auction and sell the tickets to the event. All funds go towards programming for students, including our equipment for our innovative sales labs, professional development programming, and travel for the K-State Sales Team, as well as a local charity.  In 2014 we were able to donate over $5000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan.

This year’s auction is being co-sponsored by the Kansas State University chapter of Pi Sigma Epsilon.  Pi Sigma Epsilon is the national co-ed sales and marketing fraternity focused on student sales and marketing skill development. Partnering with our PSE students allows us to donate funds to the Manhattan Special Olympics.  As such, check donations for the 3rd Annual NSSI Benefit Auction should be made payable to Pi Sigma Epsilon Gamma Omega Chapter.

To develop our future sales stars, the NSSI utilizes an innovative curriculum, state-of-the-art facilities, and professional development activities, combined with real-world experiences. Realistic experiences such as the NSSI Benefit Auction allow our students to hit the ground running once hired. In fact, research has shown that students graduating from university sales programs tend to stay in their first sales job longer and produce more revenue faster than their peers who have not graduated from these programs. The NSSI seeks to provide our students with an outstanding sales education and businesses with outstanding sales recruits.

For more information on the 2015 3rd Annual NSSI Benefit Auction, please click here. For additional information and/or questions, please please contact Dr. Dawn Deeter.

University Sales Center Alliance (USCA)

The Kansas State University NSSI is proud to be a full-member of the prestigious University Sales Center Alliance (USCA), a consortium of sales centers established in 2002 and devoted to quality and innovation in sales education and the advancement of the sales profession.

In order to become a full member of USCA, a university must (1) be a distinct entity within the college or university and recognized as such; and (2) pass the strict criteria established by the USCA with respect to faculty, structure, curriculum, affiliation, and quality.  Kansas State University is one of nineteen full members in the USCA.

Certificate in Professional Strategic Selling

What is the Certificate in Professional Strategic Selling?

The Certificate in Professional Strategic Selling (PSS) provides Kansas State University students with an opportunity to prepare for careers in sales. The certificate exposes students to the fundamentals of sales and, through our innovative curriculum and sales labs, allows them to develop the skills needed to be successful. The certificate is open to all majors within the university; sales positions are available in all fields, and as such a sales certificate is a natural add-on for any major.

What can the PSS Certificate Do for You?

The PSS Certificate will allows you to distinguish yourself by demonstrating professionalism and competency in selling skills. Additionally, the PSS Certificate allows you to participate in the many activities of the NSSI, including professional development events and sales competitions. Finally, the PSS Certificate makes you attractive to employers seeking qualified sales professionals!

What are the course requirements?

The PSS Certificate consists of 15 credit hours:

Professional Strategic Selling Certificate Core Courses (Non-Marketing Majors):

  • MKTG 400. Principles of Marketing (3)
  • MKTG 542. Professional Selling (3)
  • MKTG 560. Sales Management (3)
  • MKTG 570. Advanced Sales (3)

Professional Strategic Selling Certificate Core Courses (Marketing Majors):

  • MKTG 542. Professional Selling (3)
  • MKTG 560. Sales Management (3)
  • MKTG 570. Advanced Sales (3)

Elective Courses in Professional Strategic Selling (Non-Marketing Majors choose one of the following courses; Marketing Majors choose two of the following courses -- cannot include MKTG 550):

  • MKTG 550. Business Marketing (3)
  • MANGT 662. Procurement, Logistics & Supply Chain Design (3)
  • COMM 323. Nonverbal Communication (3)
  • COMM 526. Persuasion 

For a more complete review of the sales core courses and our sales labs, please see the descriptions below.

Interested in earning your PSS Certificate?

Entry into the PSS Certificate program is competitive. Applications are reviewed in October and March of each year. To apply, go to http://tinyurl.com/NSSIApplySales or contact Dr. Dawn Deeter at ddeeter@k-state.edu. Take the first step to becoming a qualified and valued sales professional!

MKTG 542 Professional Selling:

The Professional Selling course focuses on interpersonal communications between buyers and sellers, both oral and written; along with the mechanics and intricacies of professional sales presentations. Students learn the skills and then put them into practice via at least one interactive role play with a buyer.

MKTG 560 Sales Management:

The Sales Management course covers the management of the sales force in non-retail settings.  Topics covered include hiring, training, organizing, motivating, supervising, and evaluating sales representatives.  We also focus on further developing students’ sales skills, with an emphasis on sales leadership and use of social media and CRM. Students participate in at least three role plays: an interview role play (hiring a new sales representative); a joint sales call role play (sales manager accompanies sales person on first call); and a coaching role play (sales manager coaching salesperson on the joint sale call). The role plays utilize one product in a realistic scenario.

MKTG 570 Advanced Sales:

The Advanced Sales course provides students the opportunity to enhance their professional selling skills through advanced instruction and skill development, making extensive use of sales role plays and a role play competition combined with a live sales event.  Content covered includes building relationships, negotiating, adaptive selling, and understanding communication styles in a sales context.  Students engage in prospecting and telephone sales for the NSSI Benefit Auction, an event held in April each year. Each student completes at least 50 sales calls to find items for the auction and/or to sell tickets to the auction.

The Sales Labs

The Sales Labs were integrated into the College of Business with the welcoming of the National Strategic Selling Institute. The labs support two live role plays on closed-circuit monitors that relay the video feed to the judges board room. These labs are instrumental for the college in being able to hold on-site competitions.

K-State Sales Cat Sales Team

Sales Cats

The K-State Sales Team represents the university at numerous regional and national competitions. Competitions allow our students to practice their selling skills in a realistic environment, participating in a 20-minute “sales call” as a representative of a product chosen by the competition sponsor. All “sales calls” are judged by sales professionals, with students receiving feedback from the judges.

Students also have the opportunity to hone their networking skills by interacting with students and faculty from other universities, as well as with the multitudes of business people in attendance.  Finally, students attend numerous professional development events and a career fair. Most of our Sales Cats have obtained internships and job offers from their participation in the sales competition career fairs.

In a typical year the Sales Cats participate in eight competitions, including : The International Collegiate Sales Competition at Florida State University; The Great Northwoods Sales Warm-up at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; The RBI Sales Challenge at William Paterson University; the Sales Decathlon hosted by Northern Illinois University; the National Collegiate Sales Competition at Kennesaw State University; the Western States Collegiate Sales Competition at University of California-Chico; and the Pro-Am Sell-a-thon at Pi Sigma Epsilon Regionals and Nationals. In 2014 the Sales Cats scored two major wins.  Senior Austin Robisch won $2,000 cash and a job offer from Adobe by winning the Sales Decathlon, and junior Helen Dinkel won a custom-made suit by placing 1st in the RBI Sales Challenge.  Many students indicate that attending a sales competition is the highlight of their college experience.  Our goal is to share this experience with as many of our students as possible; more resources will make this possible.

Students – Interested in becoming a Sales Cat and travelling to competitions (all expenses paid)? Be sure to compete in K-State Sales Competitions such as the Edward Jones Sales Competition in September, the Security Benefit Competition in October, and the Victaulic Sales Competition in February  to be considered.  Also, check out Pi Sigma Epsilon, our co-ed sales and marketing fraternity; PSE members have the opportunity to compete as a Sales Cat!

Pi Sigma Epsilon

Pi Sigma Epsilon is a national co-ed fraternity for students in marketing, sales and management. As a member or Pi Sigma Epsilon you will compete nationally in competitions involving Public Relations, Marketing Research, Management, Project Management and Sales. Pi Sigma Epsilon's corporate sponsors offer job and internship placement to many students at competition career fairs.

NSSI Sales Cup Scholarship Competition

NSSI Sales Cup Points System

All students enrolled in the Certificate in Professional Strategic Selling Program automatically will be entered in the NSSI Sales Cup Tournament.* Similar to the FedExCup on the PGA (Professional Golfers' Association) Tour, students will have the opportunity to compete and earn points toward the top prize of $1500 in this inaugural season of the tournament. Points can be earned throughout the year through participation in sales competitions, networking events, and workshops; attendance at NSSI-sponsored speakers and events; and performance in coursework.

Standings in the form of summary point totals will be posted regularly in the Marketing Office as well as on monitors throughout Calvin Hall. The top 10 points earners take home a portion of the $5000 prize money with the overall Champion taking home the NSSI Sales Cup Trophy and the $1500 top prize. Second prize gets $1000, third $750 and 4th through 10th $250 each.

Award winners will be presented their trophies and prizes at the National Strategic Selling Institute Spring Advisory Board Meeting and luncheon in April. Students can earn up to a total 10,000 possible points with points earned for participating in sales competitions, sales socials and networking events and grades from the following courses: Professional Selling, Sales Management, and Advanced Sales.

The higher points are weighted in competitive sales events, with lower points awarded for grades and overall GPA. Details of the NSSI Sales Cup Tournament are available from Dr. Deeter, Director, National Strategic Selling Institute. In order to be awarded on of the prizes in the competition, a student must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours in Spring 2015.

*Students who do not wish to participate in the competition should notify Dr. Deeter at ddeeter@k-state.edu to opt out.

Giving to NSSI

The Marketing Department and our NSSI Advisory Board have developed strategies to strengthen and improve the program. Still, implementing these strategies and achieving our long-term goal of becoming one of the top universities for sales education requires ongoing resources.  Maintaining and expanding these resources relies on the contributions of alumni and friends of the program.

Below are four areas where we are actively seeking support. Your support can help us further leverage the impact of the NSSI on the personal and professional lives of our students. We invite you to join us in defining the future of the NSSI by making an online gift. To learn about other ways to give, please contact Darin Russell, director of development, or Ryan Kenney, development officer, at 785-532-2725.

Below are the areas where you can help.

Student Scholarships and Awards
With sufficient resources, the NSSI would like to establish a series of scholarships and awards for sales students. Students can use scholarships and awards to offset the cost of their education. Such awards might allow students to accept a sales internship in another city, for example, that might offer greater experience but at a higher cost.

Technology Needs: NSSI Sales Labs
The Sales Labs, home to the NSSI, represent the heart of our sales programs. The labs are set up like an office, albeit an office equipped with recording equipment.  In our labs, students can go on mock sales calls that are recorded; the feedback received on their performances allows our students to improve and further develop their sales skills. The Sales Labs require state-of-the-art recording equipment. Currently we have two labs, but as the program grows the number of offices needed expands.

NSSI Advisory Board

The mission of the National Strategic Selling Institute Sales Advisory Board is to build a strong foundation for student support and communication between the academic and private sector to promote hiring and success for our graduates.  The Board plays a fundamental role in developing credibility and confidence in our NSSI program, instilling credibility and confidence in our graduates as they move into the workplace.  As respected leaders in the selling community, our Board will work to improve visibility for academic and on-site training programs through NSSI so our graduates achieve relevance and prominence in their chosen careers.

The NSSI Sales Advisory Board is comprised of sales professionals and business executives who provide advice and counsel on curriculum and institute strategy. Many of our Sales Advisory Board members serve as mentors in the College of Business Administration Executive Mentor Program, and all offer valuable networking and interactive learning experiences for our students.

The next NSSI Advisory Council meeting is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 18. Click here for more details.


Corporate Partners

Become a Corporate Partner

Please Visit Us!

We invite you to visit the NSSI on our Manhattan campus. Whether you are on campus for a career fair, an interview, or just visiting, we hope you will stop by to see what we have to offer! Please contact Dawn Deeter to arrange a tour of our Sales Labs and learn more about our program.

Dawn Deeter

Dawn Deeter-Schmelz, director
National Strategic Selling Institute


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