The CIO’s Declaration for Potential Partners

I'm giving a talk tomorrow to a group of high performance salespeople for Canon Canada on "Selling to the C Suite". I always enjoy sharing my perspective as a CIO to other groups who we interact with on a regular basis. I'm a firm believer in avoiding words and bullets on Powerpoint slides unless absolutely necessary. In this case, as I prepared the presentation, I felt that it would be interesting to put the context of the presentation into a Rick Mercer type of rant, or the "I AM Canadian" declaration. Below is my attempt.

The CIO’s Declaration for Potential Partners

In my mind, you are not selling me a piece of equipment. The highest value is not on feeds and speeds, or promises, but in your ability to help me solve my problems through a partnership that provides service.
If a piece of hardware assists you in delivering exceptional service that makes my organization more successful, then I will acquire that hardware. This is why the lowest price doesn’t always win the bid.
The successful bidders are those that have found a way to build a valuable relationship long before the RFP goes out. These partners invest in learning about my world, about the things that keep me up at night, and find ways to make it worth my while to break out of my busy schedule to discuss how their services will be an investment. (Hint: Cold calling and asking for a “few moments” of my time will not work.) You make it easy for my team to work with you.
My colleagues and I are loyal to partners who deliver exceptional support, not necessarily to a particular brand.
Ask yourself… “Am I trying to sell a drill, or do I know what kind of hole he needs?”


  1. This is a great piece of writing for 5 am! Question: think of the salesman being a fund raiser like me, and what would you change?

  2. Thanks for the comment and question. There are a number of charities that I support, and while diverse in nature, the common element seems to be:

    - that they were able to be absolutely clear on what they do/provide and define what the benefit is (they are not ambiguous),
    - they are professional in their delivery of information (i.e. use media well to support their message, no re-photocopied flyers),
    - they are well managed, and work to minimize operational costs to maximize benefits,
    - they give me time to consider my gift and the implications of such. No snap decisions that I might regret.
    - They make it easy to participate. Online giving, credit card payments certainly help, and
    - they all are able to "put me into the story" and let me see how my contribution actually helps.