VITO “very important top executive” letters is an effective way to target a key contact in an organization with personal and valuable messaging.

Understand the persona you’re writing the letter to.

After sending a VITO letter, you can then spend the next few weeks or months with persistent follow up (calls or emails with relevant articles).

Use these general guidelines to write your own VITO, and see them in practice in the sample letter below.

  1. A short headline – less than 30 words, to the point, and does not include words or phrases unfamiliar to the VITO. (Ex: The world’s largest insurance company cut $120 million in annual IT operating expenses in just 4 days. Here’s how we helped them do it.)
  2. A tie-in paragraph designed to connect the headline to the rest of the correspondence. Typically introduces social proof for the claim made in the headline.
  3. Benefit bullets – a series of short statements of your abilities in the areas of greatest interest to this VITO.
    •  Increasing top line revenues
    •  Increasing effectiveness of revenue-generating employees and processes
    •  Cutting expenses
    •  Compliance
  4. An ending paragraph – State a call to action or introduce some level of suspicion as to what the possibilities could be.
  5. An action-oriented postscript (P.S.) – Put the precise day, date, and time you will call VITO. Whenever possible, include the name of VITO’s personal assistant.

Same concept for BASHO, which is another email strategy.

Here’s sound advice on VITO letter strategy from a former colleague:

  • Again the point is to address each letter individually and handwrite a simple message with an easy call to action.
  • I try to keep each note under three paragraphs and pull in something personal about the prospect I genuinely find interesting (discovered during the company research/individual investigation stage).
  • If I can’t find a leverageable nugget there, then I just use the old stand-by…. “I’m working on building a partnership between our two organizations, your input is critical at this point in time”
  • Tell them “because of their background and position in the organization they have a unique perspective that must be collected in order to move the partnership forward.”
  • Then include a call to action like dialing your cell number or emailing if they’d like to set up a more formal meeting.
  • With every call to action I include a promise… “If you don’t find our discussion valuable or believe that perhaps abc’s technology and XYZ’s initiative/project/replacement is misaligned then I promise to disengage and not waste your time.”