If your sales force is focused on selling to print buyers, they are aiming too low on the corporate totem pole. That is the basic message Anthony Parinello, of VITO Selling, will stress as keynote speaker at the PIA/GATF Personalization Conference November 7 in Phoenix.

Parinello started his selling career with Hewlett-Packard as a computer systems salesperson. During his time with HP, Parinello was the recipient of many sales awards. He was successful then by creating what he teaches today.

In 1995, Parinello coined the phrase VITO, for Very Important Top Officer, and wrote his first of six best-selling books, “Selling to VITO.”

More than one million books later, San Diego-based Parinello has trained 1.5 million salespeople including employees at 65 of the Fortune 100 companies, and given close to 1,800 speeches. The focus? How to get appointments with and sell to difficult-to-reach company CEOs, presidents and owners—executives that he calls VITO (the Very Important Top Officer).

“I speak about the precise tactics necessary to initiate your sales process with the approver of your sale—which is not the decision maker—it’s the VITO,” Parinello explains.

What Parinello teaches is that there is a major difference between the approver and the decision maker. According to Parinello, the print buyer is not the decision maker or the approver. They are the recommender or influencer. The print buyer only makes a recommendation or gives an opinion to the decision maker who then must get VITO’s approval.

“My gig is to help salespeople get away from the print buyer,” Parinello declares. “You are wasting time with these people. And you are wasting time with the decision maker until you get to the approver and find out if they will do business with you.”

So Parinello suggests picking up the phone or meeting with the president, CEO or owner of every company in your territory with which you want to do business. He explains how to do that in an appropriate way, admitting that it is a difficult—but not impossible—task.

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