It's January! When you made your resolutions on December 31, were you worried primarily about your weight, your waistline, or even your reception at the water cooler? If so, you may have been overlooking something. Here are 10 New Year's resolutions you may have overlooked.
Repeat after me...
1. I resolve not to waste any more time calling Seemore. You remember Seemore--he's the analytical type who shoots down ideas for a living, as opposed to the visionary type (VITO, the Very Important Top Officer; the CEO, president or owner), the person who's always in search of good ideas that'll get him closer to the over-accomplishment of his company's vision. If you're not sure which of these two people you should be making your first sales call to, go directly to Jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect a fat commission check.
2. I resolve not to treat Tommie like a gatekeeper. VITO's personal assistant (that's Tommie) is one of the most important people in the entire organization, and deserves to be treated as such. Dump all of the outdated, tactics used in 2005 because they simply didn't work. Just treat Tommie like he were VITO.
3. I resolve to avoid the "F" word during all conversations and correspondence with and to VITO. Translation: stay away from discussions about features, the "how" of your product, services or solutions. Stick to compelling demonstrations of the "what"--the benefit to VITO or VITO's organization. Always put those benefits at the beginning of every discussion or presentation with VITO.
4. I resolve to achieve equal business stature with every VITO I want to sell to. You really are the expert in your product or service, and VITO will respect you for acting like one. Remember, you're the functional equivalent of VITO.
5. I resolve to contact VITO directly. No more pussyfooting around. Build a VITO-speak correspondence blitz and follow up purposefully, promptly and directly by phone.
6. I resolve to avoid leaving lame voice-mail messages to VITO. Make sure your message broadcasts confidence and focuses directly on the quantifiable gains you delivered to one of VITO's colleagues or an organization VITO will be able to relate to.
7. I resolve to never avoid leaving voice-mail messages for VITO. Get yourself out of the habit of letting all contact drop because VITO "isn't in" or because you "do better on live calls." This is call avoidance, pure and simple.
8. I resolve never to waste VITO's time, or even give the appearance of wasting VITO's time. Getting dragged into unproductive discussions, discussions that eat away at the precious hours, minutes and seconds in the working day, is one of VITO's chief fears. Don't trigger that alarm. Make it clear that you know how to get to the point and stay on point, know exactly what you want from VITO, know when to stop talking, and know when to report back with something that'll add value to VITO's day.
9. I resolve not to treat VITO like any other customer. When was the last time you sent VITO a handwritten message of any kind? I rest my case.
10. I resolve not to shy away from asking VITO directly whether he/she will do business with me, and on what terms. This is the big one. If you can't find out exactly where you stand at the end of your first conversation, you're not implementing the system I teach. VITOs will respect you for asking this question, and as a general rule they'll give you the straight scoop more reliably than anyone else in the organization. And it sounds something like this:
"Ms. Importanta, if our suspicions are right and we're able to provide you with valuable (yap, yap...blah, blah*) could you see yourself becoming a customer of ours by the end of (January**)?"
* Of course, the "yap, yap...blah, blah" are words and phrases that VITO can understand that relate directly to what you can most likely do for VITO and VITO, Inc.
** Of course, you must pick a timeframe that makes sense to VITO and fits the time line of delivering your product, service or solution.
By following these 10 selling resolutions, you're sure to see a notable increase in the number of successful sales calls you make this year. Practice these each day and you'll be getting through to VITO in no time!
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.