What’s Your Buyer’s ROTI? [Return on Time Invested]

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

That’s from Herbert Simon, Nobel Prize winner in economics.

In a white paper published in 1971, a couple decades before the internet as we know it came into being, Simon accurately forecasted the problem that everyone of us confronts.

We are inundated with too much information and have too little time and attention to consume it and make sense of it.

In this case, Simon defines attention as a slice of our overall mental processing capability. Or bandwidth or brain space.

Whatever you call it, our attention is a limited resource.

The never ending deluge of information seeking a slice of your buyers' attention is a big problem for sellers.

You have to compete for that attention with the internet, social media, competitors, family, internal meetings, paperwork and, oh yeah, their own jobs.

What Simon found in the research for his white paper was that we humans generally make rational decisions about how to allocate our limited attention across the multiple information sources demanding it.

In other words, we prioritize investing our time in those sources of information that provide the largest value.

It’s one thing to attract the attention of a buyer. It’s another task altogether to capture and hold onto their attention.

The value the buyer receives from you in exchange for the time they gave you is a fundamental building block of sales.

It’s the explicit bargain at the heart of every sales transaction and purchase decision.

A buyer invests some of their time in you. What value are you giving them in return?

What’s their ROI on the time they invested in you? I call this Return on Time Invested (ROTI).

If you don’t get this right, you’ll be wondering why you can’t get more of their time.

You might get away with one valueless sales touch. More than that and the buyer will rightfully decide that you’re not worth a further investment of their time.

Ever had that happen to you?

This imperative to earn an ROTI applies to every interaction you have with a buyer.

It doesn’t matter how large or how small an investment they make in you.

An in person call. Or a voice mail. A video call. Or an email.

Buyers invest their time with you.

What value are you giving them in return?