Selling To Vito: The Very Important Top Officer / Edition 2

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Selling to Vito contains all the tactics you need to get appointments with impossible-to-reach top decision-makers. They in fact are the Very Important Top Officers (VITOs), the people with the ultimate veto power who hold the key to bigger commission checks, every sales award you could possibly win, and VITO to VITO referrals that you can take to the bank!

You'll quickly learn how to:

  • Get into new accounts at the top
  • Keep out of time-consuming log-jams-and into VITO's office
  • Promote loyalty at the top with existing customers and capture add-on business
  • Increase the size of every sale

Selling To VITO offers innovative new ideas and street-smart tactics for reaching the very top person in any organization. It's based on the seminars that have helped thousands of sales professionals from top corporations like Canon, 3M, Hewlett-Packard, and MCI bust quotas and increase commissions. It can help you, too, by getting you to the right person so you can do what you do best: SELL!

Anthony Parinello is without question the country's foremost expert on getting appointments with, and selling to, top decision makers. This book is the product of his twenty-three years of award-winning sales performance.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Fatbrain reviewed this book and the publisher's summary, and found that the summary accurately reflects the book's contents. If you're a sales professional who's tired of being vetoed by your clients' VITOs (Very Important Top Officers), then this book is for you. This revised and updated edition of the author's 1994 book details strategies designed to help you make the sale by identifying and directly reaching VITOs. Among the lessons offered: How to distinguish between "Seymours" (executives who always want to "see more" data, demonstrations, flip charts, etc.) and "Managers" (those who focus on the advantages of what you're selling); and how to move beyond "closing a sale" to "opening a business relationship."

Related Titles:

If you're looking to raise your sales results with some high-tech tools, try Sales Force Automation Using Web Technologies and Data Mining Techniques for Marketing, Sales and Customer Support. Sales-force managers seeking ways to boost their effectiveness should see 7 Secrets to Successful Sales Management: The Sales Manager's Manual.

Reviewed by MH - December 28, 1999

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580622240
  • Publisher: Adams Media
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony Parinello is one of the most innovative sales trainers in America today. His passion is his sales and public-speaking career. When he's not on the speaking platform, you can find Tony with his wife Nancy trekking in the Himalayas, scuba diving in Palau, or in photographic safari in Africa, or in any number of other exotic locales. Mr. and Mrs. Parinello live in California.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: The Time Is Right

Welcome to the new economy. welcome to the new millennium. If you're a salesperson, you have your work cut out for you.

It's more difficult than ever to sell for a living, and every salesperson who's likely to still have a job twelve months from today knows it. The competition is tough, and finding new customers (not to mention keeping the old ones) can be brutal. Prices are down, the cost of sales is up, overhead is up, margins are down. More than ever, companies are looking for strategic alliances and business partnerships today, not quick fixes. And how about the latest trend in the sales world-the moves by companies to tie the commissions of their salespeople to the profitability of the company (or the sale recorded by the rep)? This can mean that if a salesperson spends too much time in an account trying to get an order, then that time and the associated cost of sales is going to be reflected in that salesperson's paycheck. Companies today are also tying customer service responses to the compensation their salespeople receive. And, in yet another twist, there are new payment schemes whereby salespeople are penalized if a company bails out, say, three or four months after signing on. Those "short-term" sales, the ones that relied on low price or a less-than-perfect match with the customer's needs, are being noticed. And, more and more, they're costing salespeople money.

Things just aren't the way they used to be. Today's difficult, surrealistically fast-paced business climate is probably one of the main reasons you bought this book in the first place.

You probably know about all this. And while you may consider this state of affairsto be pretty desperate, I have a surprise for you. It's because you know about how difficult things can be these days that you have a remarkable opportunity with today's most important businesspeople. Top decision makers-whom I call VITOs, short for Very Important Top Officers-know all about the often intense market pressures you face. They deal with those pressures every moment of every working day. VITOs, of course, come in both genders. They are presidents, CEOs, executive vice presidents, and the like. Actually, the titles aren't as important as the function. VITOs have the ultimate veto power in an organization. They have power, control, and authority. They're the people who can say "yes" and have it stick when everyone else is saying "no." They're the people who are most concerned with gaining market share, increasing revenues, controlling expenses, decreasing expenses, reducing time to market, and dealing with the changes in our unpredictable economy. They're the people who have to focus on solutions-and, in that, they have something in common with you.

Perhaps you've tried selling to top decision makers before-and perhaps you found the experience intimidating. Perhaps a VITO gave you the impression that he or she considered all salespeople to be timewasters who are simply never worth bothering with. (Actually, VITOs consider only bad salespeople to be timewasters, and they're right.) You may even have come away from your encounter with a VITO convinced that he or she was speaking a completely different language than the one used by most of your contacts. However, most VITOs have sold for a living at one time or another--or, at the very least, appreciate the value of good salespeople.

It's true, VITOs do tend to see the world in terms that are a little different than most of the other people you sell to. While other low-level contacts may worry about protecting their turf, or impressing others in the organization, or even holding onto a position they consider shaky, VITOs' interests are usually much more straightforward. VITO wants to improve the company's bottom line by raising revenues, improving efficiency, or lowering expenses. Not surprisingly, the language VITO speaks when it comes to dealing with the rest of the business world is a little more direct, a little less patient than that of your average contact. But don't worry. You can reach and do business with VITOs, no matter what your past experiences in dealing with them may have been. If you follow my advice, you'll understand that there's a food chain in every sale. VITO is at the top; the other people in the organization are lower. As a general rule, salespeople make their biggest mistake when they initiate contact at a comparatively low point on the chain!

One of the purposes of this book is to teach you VITO's language-and show you how to use it to your (and VITO's) benefit. The techniques you'll be learning about have worked for over one million salespeople in businesses throughout the country. They can work for you.

Once you finish reading this book, you will no longer be a distraction for VITO. You will no longer be something that stands in the way of VITO's attempt to deal with today's value-sensitive, ultra-competitive market conditions. You will be someone, not something-and an extremely important someone at that. You will be someone who understands what VITO is up against and knows how to offer what VITO wants most to find: solutions.

You will be VITO's business partner.

Once you've done that, you won't have to worry about most of the things salespeople keep complaining about. You won't have to worry about getting shunted off to a lower level. You won't have to ask yourself who really has the decision-making authority. You won't be left without any recourse if some low-level influencer within the company decides he or she doesn't like what you have to offer.

You won't have to worry about any of that because you'll be working, not with just anyone within the organization, but with VITO. And I can tell you working with VITO makes sense because it's what turned my own career around.

Selling to VITO affects the entire sales cycle. Unlike many other sales training programs, where you might approach qualifying, questioning, and closing as separate components, the program you're about to learn is about ideas, tactics, and methods that will move the sales in such a way that you save time, avoid grief, and compress the standard sales cycle, so that it runs according to a new and accelerated time frame: VITO's time frame. This makes selling more enjoyable and rewarding, and that's no small feat.

Who Is This Guy?

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. In addition to being an author and a radio talk-show host, I'm a salesperson-and I'm also a sales trainer.

As you read this book, you're going to come across a lot of suggestions about ways to do things differently. I know that's sometimes hard to do once you've built up a routine in your sales work. But you should know that I will never, under any circumstances, offer you any advice or outline any technique that is not something I myself have tried and found successful-and continue to use daily.

The ideas in this book are practical, down-to-earth, and, most important of all, proven to work in today's business environment. Try them and see. These are not the theoretical constructs of some business-school whiz. I'm a salesperson, like you, and I think my revenue and commissions over the years indicate that I'm a pretty darned good one.

Right now I'm going to give you a little bit of background to demonstrate that to you. But remember, what I've done isn't the issue here. It's what you can do. I'm bringing up my own career because I think talking about it here will make you want to listen to what I have to say on the topic of selling to VITO. And that was what made all the difference for me.

When you get right down to it, though, it would be a little misleading to say that I actually wanted to sell to VITO in the early days. The truth was, I was in such a horrible situation that I had no other choice.

I started out as a sales rep for Hewlett-Packard. You had to have a college degree even to interview with HP. They didn't call their reps salespeople back then, they called them "sales engineers." You can imagine how popular an ambitious young kid with no college degree must have been with some of the people there! But they liked what they saw, and I liked the company. (The way I figured it, any company bright enough to bend the rules to take me on had to have something going for it.)

I worked hard and had three stellar years at HP. Then I got cocky and let up a little bit. Guess what happened then. The fourth year rolled around, and I had a very, very bad first half.

When I say "bad half," I don't mean that I was a little under quota. I mean I had a horrendous half. I was at 19 percent of quota. I was placed on probation and given a formal memo that was placed in my personnel file. That memo informed me that I had to get my act together within the next six months or I would be fired.

Looking back now, I can see where I went wrong. Slowly but surely, I had stopped prospecting for new business. It happens to a lot of successful salespeople. I was sticking with the old reliables--my existing customer base and knocking on all the familiar, safe doors. At the rate I was going, there was no way I could support the quota I'd been assigned. I had gradually convinced myself that I could get by with taking shortcuts, and as a result I had nothing, absolutely nothing in the pipeline.

I had six short months to sell enough new computer systems to meet my quota, or I'd be gone.

I finished that year at 103 percent of quota-and got to keep my job for another year...

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Table of Contents

Part 1: Meeting and Becoming VITO's Business Partner
Chapter 1: The Time Is Right
Chapter 2: Adding Value to VITO's Day
Chapter 3: The Five Keys to Working with VITO
Chapter 4: A Portrait of VITO
Chapter 5: Other Players in the Drama-and the Influence and Authority Network
Chapter 6: The Seymour Problem
Part 2: Contacting VITO
Chapter 7: Call Objectives
Chapter 8: More Research You'll Need to Do Before Contacting VITO by Mail
Chapter 9: Benefits-and the Headline of Your Letter
Chapter 10: The Rest of the Letter to VITO
Part 3: Making Your VITO Call
Chapter 11: Getting VITO's Attention by Phone
Chapter 12: The Gatekeepers
Chapter 13: Voice Mail Messages to VITO
Chapter 14: The Pigeonholing Problem
Part 4: Meeting VITO and Keeping VITO Involved
Chapter 16: Delivering Your Presentation to VITO
Chapter 17: Meeting with VITO By Phone and in Person
Chapter 18: Keeping VITO Involved
Part 5: Success!
Chapter 19: Success!
Chapter 20: Some Final Thoughts on Your Current Accounts
Chapter 21: Some Common Questions
Chapter 22: Congratulations!
Appendix A: Your Prospecting Ratio
Appendix B: The Template of Ideal Prospects (TIP) and the Benefit Matrix
Appendix C: More Tips on Creating Equal Business Stature with VITO
Appendix D: Talk Back!
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Tony Parinello is amazing.

He is one of the most imaginative and determined people I've ever met. That imagination is apparent the minute you pick up his book or audiotape album and see the name VITO describing the top person in an organization the Very Important Top Officer with the ultimate "veto" power. Seldom have I known a name or word to take hold so quickly-to become such an integral part of the sales culture. "VITO" is an overnight addition to the lexicon!

Walk into the sales department of any company that has participated in one of Tony's programs and you'll hear managers asking their salespeople, "Have you talked to VITO yet?" You'll hear salespeople saying, "I have a meeting with VITO scheduled for next Tuesday," or "I met VITO-she gave me the go-ahead to do a corporate-wide study!"

Tony's not afraid of challenges or changes. From getting his first job in sales after a tour in the Navy as an airman, to starting his own sales training company, Tony has always stretched beyond his own comfort zone. He sets the bar high, higher than he's ever had it before, and then goes for it.

He's not a perfectionist (that takes too much time), but he always strives for excellence in whatever he does. When he falls short, he picks himself up and tries again. When I asked Tony where he got his determination, he said, "From growing up in the inner city. Hoboken, New Jersey, was a rough town. I learned a lot about risks and taking chances, and how to size up challenges on the spot. Watching my dad in the ring-he was a Golden Gloves fighter was invaluable. I learned that you can't stay downfor long if you want to win."

Tony shows that kind of courage and determination in the field he chose to speak and write about. He has taken the most unpopular topic in sales training-prospecting and selling to hard-to-reach top decision makers-and given it new life, spirit, and excitement. Tony challenges and exhilarates even the most experienced salespeople. He doesn't just preach about how important prospecting is, or tell you that it's "all a numbers game." He's developed a comprehensive, logical, and innovative sequence of steps that will get you to the top decision maker

His is a process that is based on twenty-three years of award-winning sales performance-in other words, Tony's own trial and error, with his own feet in the street. In that period of time, Tony made over sixteen thousand prospecting calls to top decision makers and conducted hundreds of interviews with receptionists and executive secretaries all across the nation. He listened to these people carefully. He knows what they want, what they expect, what makes them see red. And he knows how to get their attention. As a behavioral scientist, I can easily see and understand why his unique methods for building trust and rapport with decision makers work so well-and result in appointments.

Tony redefines many of the most outdated beliefs about selling; my favorite example of this has to do with the idea of "closing the sale." Tony never "closes" a sale. He "opens" business relationships, mutually beneficial partnerships that last for many, many years.

Keep in mind that Tony is a tactician--a salesperson's sales trainer. He uses the methods in this book every day; he never suggests an idea that he hasn't already found to be effective in his own sales work. He takes full responsibility for his ideas, a trait that is essential for any professional. Simply stated, he walks his talk.

In my audiotape album, Time to Win, I address the idea that success depends on choice, not chance. Your decisions are what cause your rewards and the consequences you face. Let's think, for example, about the decision of who to call on first in a new prospect company. Clearly, that's a choice you have to make just about every day of your sales career. Tony makes clear that it's also a choice that will have a greater impact on your level of success than virtually any other. In my tape, I also talk about the Statue of Responsibility, a counterpart to the Statue of Liberty that serves as a reminder of lost freedoms and opportunities arising as a result of irresponsible choices and actions. Tony argues persuasively that one of those lost opportunities is neglecting to call at the top. (And he points out that if you don't do it, your competition will!) Calling at the highest level first is certainly not the easiest, safest, or most comfortable route. But risk-and even a certain amount of discomfort--can be a healthy part of growing, of seeking out opportunities, of learning. And it's been my personal experience that the road less traveled is the one that often pays the biggest dividends in the long run.

When you're talking about getting appointments with VITOs, the dividends will take the form of time saved, opportunity coverage, and customer loyalty-not to mention increased commissions for you, if only because you won't be wasting as much time as before. My guess is that, on some level, you probably already know about the potential advantages of calling high-and the perils of calling too low-in a prospect organization. So let's move on to the real challenge, making the initial contact with VITO.

That's where Tony's Selling to VITO program comes in-and where you will come to benefit from his imagination and his street-smart instincts. His innovative ideas and proven tactics will separate you from your competition. Try them and see.

If you were to compare the process of selling to top decision makers to a competitive sports event, you'd have to liken it to a marathon. Like a marathon, half of the job of selling to VITO is preparing yourself, and the other half is employing the proper psychological and tactical edge. If you prepare properly, then use all the advantages at your disposal, you will know, without any doubt, that you can attain your goal. And then you will go out and do just that.

With Tony as your coach and Selling to VITO as your training guide, you'll not only finish the marathon-you'll become unstoppable. You'll develop unshakable confidence. You'll set your next goal higher, higher perhaps than you've ever set it before. And you'll make success your own.

--Dr. Denis Waitley

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2000

    Great sales tools

    Lots of nuts and bolts instead of feel good affirmations or tricks to ply prospects with. I'm giving it to my team.

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