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Sales Culture Speaker Explains Every Conversation is a ‘Selling Moment’

By Colin McEvoy on March 17, 2015

Todd Cohen, author of the book “Everyone’s in Sales," speaking at DeSales University.

Todd Cohen, author of the book “Everyone’s in Sales,” speaking at DeSales University.

When you meet someone for the first time, and they ask the inevitable question, “What do you do?”, you have exactly 7 to 10 seconds to inspire them.

That was one of the messages Todd Cohen, a nationally-renowned speaker on sales culture, shared with a crowd of nearly 100 people during a speaking event at DeSales University on March 10.

“You have 7 to 10 seconds to grab somebody’s attention, so they can say to you the golden words: ‘Tell me more,’” Cohen said. “That 7 to 10 seconds is everything. It doesn’t matter what you do if you can’t grab somebody’s attention.”

Cohen, author of the book “Everyone’s in Sales,” spoke at an event organized by the DeSales Inventing and Developing the Entrepreneurial Association of Students (I.D.E.A.S) club, which was supported by the Entrepreneurship Council of the Lehigh Valley, a council of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC).

In his sales leadership career, Todd Cohen has generated more than $750 million in revenue for major corporations. As a public speaker, he delivers more than 100 keynote addresses a year throughout the United States and the world.

“Every single conversation you have is an opportunity to inspire, motivate and advance your goals,” Cohen said. “Think differently about every conversation, because during every one, people are making a decision on you. Every conversation counts. Please don’t waste a word in your careers.”

In keeping with the theme of his book, “Everyone’s in Sales,” Cohen encouraged the audience not to be “sales apologists” and to recognize that every time you talk, it’s an opportunity to do one of three things: sell yourself, network and coach. He said every single word a person speaks is an opportunity to sell himself or herself.

“Something I hear a lot is, ‘Look, I’m not trying to sell you on something,’” he said. “Don’t ever apologize for asking for what you want. If things have gone right, you have earned the right to ask, and if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

Vincent Daily, vice president of the DeSales I.D.E.A.S. club, said he received extremely positive feedback from the audience regarding Cohen’s presentation, and said Cohen did a good job of targeting his content both to the college students and to everyone in general who attended.

“From the students’ perspective, anything that helps in terms of having an edge in the job market, coming out of college, and the never-ending climb toward building your network and establishing connections is extremely valuable,” Daily said. “I think what Todd had to say really resonated with everybody.”

Cohen has previously worked in team sales at such companies as Xerox, Gartner Group, Pensare, Thomson-Reuters, and LexisNexis. He has delivered lectures and coaching seminars for companies like American Express, the American Marketing Association, and the American Institute of Architects, AAA Insurance Exchange, Penn Liberty Bank and many more.

Cohen urged the audience to be aware of their own “value proposition,” a clear and concise statement that articulates the value of your product to a client or prospect. He also recommended maintaining “relationship portability,” meaning a combination of both reliability and availability. The best relationships, he said, are contacts who are both readily available, and who believe in you and will refer you to other people and other organizations without question.

He also encouraged the audience to be good networkers, and to make conversations with others about them, rather than you. He noted that networking is always about the other person and said, “If you make it about you, you’ve lost me.”

“This is about tonight understanding that everything we do, every single word that comes out of our mouths is a selling moment,” he said, “Starting tonight, every single conversation counts. There is no such thing as a wasted conversation ever again. And I promise you, ladies and gentlemen, if you get this and embrace this, things will change for you in ways you can’t even imagine.”

This is one of four entrepreneurship-related events that the Entrepreneurship Council of the Lehigh Valley will support this year, according to Dawn Ferrante, LVEDC director of regional competitiveness and staff liaison on the council.

Dailey said if any other professionals were interested in speaking for the DeSales I.D.E.A.S. Club, they can contact him at [email protected].

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