Why Shouting Louder Is Not the Key to Being Heard

credit to Andy Paul


Sales tipsIn 1971, Herbert Simon, an economist at Carnegie Mellon University, and a future Nobel laureate in economics, wrote a very prescient description of the upcoming information revolution and the impact that the ready availability of seemingly endless quantities of information would have on our ability to process and use it. While Simon wasn’t specifically addressing the selling and buying of products and services, the conclusions he drew are certainly applicable in today’s sales environment.

The following is a quote from a paper Simon published in 1971:

“…in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”*

What Simon was describing was a situation based on the laws of economics—namely, that the supply of any commodity, in this case the attention span of any consumer of information, is limited and that market forces will efficiently allocate that scarce resource among the various interests competing for it.

Let’s apply Simon’s lesson to the selling environment. Your prospects and customers are, by definition, consumers of information. They seek information from various sources, such as the Internet, social media, and salespeople, in order to make fully informed decisions about purchasing the right products and services for their needs. However, as Dr. Simon pointed out, prospects and customers have a limited supply of attention to divide among the various information sources requesting a piece of it. At some point during their buying process, they have to decide how to allocate their limited attention bandwidth (that is, their time) among all the demands for that attention. Those demands include talking to potential vendors, administrative tasks, management responsibilities, meetings, phone calls, emails, updating their Facebook status and texting with their spouse, kids, and friends.

Therefore, your prospects and customers make an economic decision about how they are going to prioritize the allocation of their limited and valuable attention. Those sellers that provide the greatest return to the prospect on the time invested in them will be given more time to sell. In other words, sellers that create value for their prospects and customers will have the inside track. And sellers that waste their prospects’ time will not get responses to their emails and voice mails—no matter how many emails and voice mails they send.

Your prospects will invest their limited time in you. If you provide significant value to them, they will give you more time to continue selling to them.

Do Your Prospects Earn a Positive Return on the Time They Invest in You?

Your prospects calculate an economic return on the time they invest in you as a seller. This is called a Return on Time Invested (ROTI.) Every sales interaction you have with a prospect is judged on whether it provides value or not. If you are careless about how you spend the precious minutes your prospects have allocated to you, then they will make the perfectly rational decision to invest their time with another seller. Are you wondering why your prospects aren’t listening to you? Now you know.

How can you effectively cut through the thicket of information your prospects confront and become an asset instead of a liability on their attention balance sheet? The key is to Sell with Maximum Impact in the Least Time (MILT)™. Selling with MILT means being responsive. In sales, responsiveness is the combination of information content, and speed. Quickly provide all of the information your prospects need to make an informed purchase decision in the least amount of time and you will be rewarded with all the time you need to make your case. Help your prospects get their job done more quickly and they will allocate more of their limited time to you because they have learned that you provide a better value and a better return on the investment of their time than your competitors.

Prospects who earn a positive ROI from the time they invest with you will reward you with their business


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