Here's a rule to always remember: VITO, the Very Important Top Officer--the person with the ultimate decision-making power in every organization you want to sell to--expects a return on investment for every investment of time, resources, money and attention they spend with you. If VITO doesn't get a return, guess what? VITO won't return!
Any business relationship VITO associates with loss of money--or time, attention, resources or anything else--will not be considered a mutually beneficial relationship or ring true with Equal Business Stature. That means VITO won't pursue that relationship, and certainly won't consider providing you with any golden VITO-to-VITO referrals--or anything else!
VITO must be able to witness and measure not just once, not just twice, not just this quarter--but continually quarter after quarter and year after year--that an ROI is taking place. If this doesn't happen VITO will vote with his feet. As I see it, it's our job to keep VITO informed as to what value/ROI is taking place, simply because if we don't do it, no one else will. Or worse yet, our competition will make their pitch to VITO.
Since you already know the value you're delivering, why not take the bull by the horns and take personal responsibility for summarizing the ROI you've delivered--and are delivering--to VITO's organization with a value inventory report?
Don't send an e-mail for your value inventory/ROI report--e-mail messages are too easy to overlook or delete accidentally. Use a good old-fashioned piece of paper. Use only one piece of paper; keep the message short, simple, accountable and easy to read, and make this report a regular benefit of your relationship with VITO. Deliver it in person or send it via express mail or courier. (If this relationship isn't worth ten bucks a month, what business relationship is?)
As you craft your value inventory/ROI report, remember that it should include:
- Your value in the form of intellectual and professional resources you add for free that VITO would otherwise have to pay someone else to provide. Yes, this includes all of the meetings you attend to educate, brainstorm and offer your organization's expertise in the best interest of VITO's organization.
- On-time delivery or rollouts that would otherwise have cost VITO time, money or goodwill. Don't take for granted the little favors you and your organization do to "jump through the hoops" on delivery and terms and conditions.
- Ethical and responsibility increases in company or shareholder value that you've helped bring about. Think of what your product, service or solution does for VITO's organization, like decreasing time to revenue, increasing effectiveness and efficiencies of key revenue-generating employees, containing cost or eliminating costs, etc. Important note: In this part of your value inventory/ROI report, do not mention what your product is!
- Do your homework by demonstrating the payoff you're delivering on VITO's investment in you. (And if an ROI isn't yet taking place, make sure you tell VITO that fact and let VITO know you'll take personal responsibility for changing what needs to be changed until one does take place!)
Here's the bottom line:
If you leave VITO in the dark about what impact your relationship is having he'll eventually wander off and do business with your competition. And we don't want that, do we? I didn't think so! Therefore, let's make a focused, determined, disciplined effort throughout the year to communicate with VITO on a monthly or quarterly basis as to the value you're delivering.
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.