Getting To VITO (2005) Anthony Parinello

Who is your VITO? The person prospectside with the ultimate veto on your proposal. The Very Important Top Officer. They who sit at the summit of the organisational telegraph pole. Even though every vito has their own vito above them.

And so starts the first of many contradictions in Tony’s flow.

Yet this is not necessarily a bad thing.

As the star tech rep turned trainer states, everyone is encouraged to call ever higher inside prospects. The best path to scale such rarefied heights is invariably the treasured referral. And guess what, said referral can often emanate from the foothills.

One early element I enjoyed involved the withering observation that salespeople are rubbish at cultivating referrals. With a vito to vito intro the gold bar standard, the planning around preparing for and cultivating such from existing vito relationships was a decent contribution. Particularly with Board member manoeuvres.

In the main, the 2005 edition I read is a product of its times. Pre smartphones, pre social media and pre apps. Halfway through I was struggling to think of more than a section or two that was not already in the Sales canon. The 30-word crimson postcard, 3pp slidedoc or 7-step voicemailing for instance.

The central thrust – focused solely on the biggest cheese – whilst laudable, throws up repeated bitter 90isms; “VITOs buy results – not products!”, VITOs believe “second is first loser” & unbelievably suggesting a persona, “as VITO takes the last gulp from that wheat-grass protein drink”.

And a number of his quoted stats simply do not withstand scrutiny. “Recent studies have shown that a full two-thirds of the individuals running companies today in America were once salespeople!” or is it rather, “eighty-five percent of CEOs, presidents, and owners of companies were once salespeople”.

My biggest beef was undoubtedly the incorrect language and structure of the written or spoken approach. The “hook, grabber, usp, bullet, sizzle (whatever you call it)” is as outdated as beige.

Yet aside from this fatal breach of the hull, anyone trying to promote a process for such a vital component should hear praise.

There’s some useful remarks around VITO justifications, the advice to create your TIP sheet (template of ideal prospects), the “five cornerstones of performance”, asking how to earn trust, a humble suggestion of fit uncertainty, and confirmation of their PA equality.

And if you’re worried about the drain of wasted time, he believes that once or twice out of every ten calls you will be greeted by the Vito picking up their own phone “totally unprotected”.

It’s eleven years past. Yet this book still offers something.

Nothing breeds confidence like success. Speaking with more top dogs on a level footing can unequivocally help. There’s definitely a few worthy ideas here to give you extra belief. The question is, can you dismiss the misleading which surrounds in perilous measure?

As a footnote, here’s an early snapshot which, once read, will see sales managers the world over quoting all the time;


I readily see this redrawn for key internal slidedecks…

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