Experts teach sales seminar at Black Hills State University

September 01, 2020

Written By: Andy Greenman

Posted In: Elevate Magazine

A five-week sales seminar course at Black Hills State University - Rapid City begins October 1. The course is designed to support and develop sales workforce in the Black Hills. Long-term interest from local companies is helping shape the program. 

In 2017, Hans Nelson served as Director of Corporate Relations at the BHSU Foundation. During an internship and fundraising meeting with Coca-Cola High Country they expressed the need for a sales training class. The company was able to teach an employee how to sell their products, but often those employees lacked basic sales skills. During that time BHSU was not able to fulfill this request, but the seed was planted. 

A few years later, Nelson in his new role as Director of the Center for Hospitality & Business, was approached by Tom Johnson, CEO of Elevate Rapid City. Johnson reported that Sales and Customer Service were two of the top 10 jobs postings over the last three years in the region. Nelson knew it was time to move forward.

A task force including cutting edge companies and BHSU faculty was assembled to develop a unique program and facilitate the classes. Online sales degrees are easy to find, but a class led by local leaders is rare. “We aren’t following anything. This is completely being developed by our group experts,” Nelson said.

The ten member task force includes Ray Hespen, CEO of Property Meld; Lynzie Montague, Director of Sales & Marketing at Liv Hospitality; Cody Welch, Sales Manager at Caliber; Shon Anderson, CEO of B9 Creations; Todd Gagne, President of DakotaShine Consulting; Tom Johnson, Executive Director at Elevate Rapid City; Julie Olson, CEO of Turner Lee Consulting; Priscilla Romkema, Vice President of Academic Affairs, BHSU; Jeff Wehrung, Chair of the School of Business and Greg Farley, Dean of the School of Business & Natural Sciences at BHSU. 
The five-week sales seminar course begins October 1 and will cover the core competencies of sales: interpersonal skills, sales strategies, and closing/sustainability. Students enrolled at BHSU will receive one credit, while professionals looking to take the next step will receive a certificate of completion. 

Although the course is still being developed, the first class is creating a buzz. Faculty are informing students and task members are sharing with other businesses in South Dakota. An innovative East River company plans to bring employees to the initial class. “We have a group from Brookings that are going to come for five weeks and live out of an Airbnb to do this course,” Nelson said. 

BHSU is planning for 30 students at the first class on October 1. They hope to build a reputation for the program that will stand out on a resume. Nelson states the hands-on training will “equip local sales people with whatever company they are a part of with cutting edge skills, ideas, philosophies and methods that will make them successful, ultimately driving that industry in the Black Hills." 

Contact Hans Nelson today to reserve your spot, the sales seminar is filling up. 605-718-4088, hans.nelson@bhsu.edu.