Higher Power

Secrets #9 -10

Secret #9
Make Intelligent Decisions Quickly and Independently. Joel Ronning, CEO of Digital River, an e-commerce outsourcing provider in Eden Prarie, Minnesota, makes decisions for his company based on this equation: "Experience plus intelligence equals intuition." To this, Ronning adds a degree of fearlessness and puts the element of time in front of every decision. When does a given outcome have to take place? What choices must be made now to bring about the necessary results? Follow Ronning's lead. Look at opportunities in your sales forecast and ask yourself these questions: When does an outcome need to take place, what has to happen to get the results that you, your prospects and your customers want?

Secret #10Stay Focused. Isn't it amazing what the power of focus can accomplish? In the field of medicine, a focused beam of light performs laser surgery that's less intrusive and less destructive than doctors 30 years ago could have ever dreamed possible. And in your own business, you have the opportunity to take the power of focus and use it to change everything.

Emil Wang, CEO of Latitude Communications, a provider of e-conferencing services in Santa Clara, California, is big on focus: "Come at me with what you're selling, but be honest and stay on purpose," Wang says. "Be very clear about what you want and don't ask premature questions. If anyone, regardless of title, sounds flaky, I'll brush them off." Further your own agenda by sticking to the prospect's. In fact, that might be the ultimate CEO selling secret.

Advice From a Pro


Having written 22 books on the topic, Brian Tracy knows a thing or two about selling and achieving top performance. In his book Focal Point (AMACOM), Tracy maintains that you should "compress every possible step when it comes to your sales process." This is especially true when it comes to making that big sale happen. The paradox is that you must combine this passion for compression with a willingness to be patient and persistent. The trick, according to Tracy, is to do a lot of little things over time-and not to obsess over a single opportunity.

This is especially true when you are trying to form winning relationships with the CEOs you want to do business with. "I've sent letters and unsolicited proposals, left voice-mail messages and played telephone tag for six months to three years to get an appointment with a CEO," Tracy explains. "I'll go on the Web and download the company's information, or make a request for sales literature. Then before I pick up the telephone to call a CEO, I'll check the organization's current stock price and its past three months' performance." Thanks to the Internet, most of this research can be done in just a few clicks.

Tracy's approach is worth emulating-and it doesn't take a lot of time. A minimal amount of research will provide you with the information you need to craft a great opening line. And after you finally connect with that CEO, follow Tracy's example. "I always send a letter to thank the CEO for his or her time," he says. "But that's not all the letter says. More important, it states specifically what I can and can't do to further the CEO's overachievement of goals, plans and objectives." As Tracy has found, this approach will make the return trip to any CEO's office a good deal easier.

Tony Parinello is the bestselling author of Selling to VITO, the Very Important Top Officer. His newest book, Secrets of VITO: Think and Selling Like a CEO, reveals insights into and lessons on selling from the CEOs of some of the best-run companies in America. For details, log on to www.ceo2mentoru.com.

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Tony Parinello has become the nation's foremost expert on executive-level selling. He's also the author of the bestselling book bearing the name of his sales training program,Getting to VITO, the Very Important Top Officer, 10 Steps to VITO's Office,as well as the host of Club VITO, a weekly live internet broadcast.

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This article was originally published in the August 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Higher Power.

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