The gaming industry truly does have its own vernacular. Dealers “dump the rack.” Tipped casino employees all like a gaming customer who is “George.” “Whales” get “comped.” Most casino frontline workers love an occasional “E.O.” (early out). A slot machine with consistent but small payouts is a “dribbler.”
In addition to this unique gaming lingo, I have also heard some unique “business words to live by” in the gaming biz. I may have even created one or two of these phrases myself. And while they may be applicable in other industries, these catchphrases just seem so right in our delightfully screwy industry.
I share them with you now (along with some explanation and history); with the understanding that you may not like them all or may even violently disagree with some of their business wisdom.
“Don’t let the naysayers get you down.” – Actually this saying, which I first heard from one of my early and since departed marketing mentors, Vince Risafi, used a much more colorful word than “naysayers.” It was used to soothe me after a particularly busy casino marketing event schedule had concluded, and where our seemingly stellar results were lampooned by the bean counters. It is most appropriate in our industry for those times when a manager took a risk or broke a rule on behalf of a guest and was read the riot act instead of praised.
“It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.” – While not always true, this phrase speaks to taking action to positively impact the business, rather than following the normal chain of command and jumping through bureaucratic hoops, when the solution was clear and quick.
“Find out what your customers want … and give it to them.” – I’m not sure when I first heard this phrase in gaming but I have stolen, er, adopted it for my company almost since its inception. Marvelous in its common sense simplicity, challenging in its complex interpretation and execution.
“The difference between a casino executive and a great casino executive is about 10,000 customer interactions.” – I believe that this is one of my very own original business aphorisms. It frames the challenge that all casino executives face, getting out of the muck and into the day- to-day fray of leading by “wandering around” and learning about the real world of our customers and employees.
“Marketing is not a department.” – While I may have stolen this phrase somewhere in my career, I remember first using it in a conference session to make the point that true casino marketing is an integrated process that involves all members and aspects of the casino organization to be successful. Or, to be blunt: Any marketer can get ‘em to come in and any employee is capable of running ‘em off.
“What do you need to do your job better or give better customer service?” – This is one of the best questions any gaming supervisor can ask his or her employees. I remember first hearing this from a researcher in a focus group with casino employees. They were dumbfounded that anyone was actually bothering to ask the question and that anyone really cared about their answers. But answer they did, in an unbelievably blunt and cathartic array of responses. I have used this question ever since in my consulting work. Every gaming manager should do the same.
“Spend 80 percent of your managing time with the good employees, not the bad ones.” – I first heard this in a presentation by my friend and associate, Steve Browne. He was speaking to the common gaming organization insanity of managers spending the vast majority of their time with the “problem children” and way too little time with the “employee stars.” Precious business words for managers to live by.
“ABS or Always Be Selling.” – I’m sure this came from Raving’s own professional salesperson, Amy Hergenrother, and she probably got it from her past experience in transportation leasing sales. In the gaming world, it applies not only to the role of the casino host but to every employee, as they are all involved in selling an entertainment experience that enriches people’s lives. This is not a high pressure type of sale, but a relationship building endeavor.
“If you want to spend more money, make more money.” – Actually, I never use this saying, first uttered by my longtime mentor, John O’Looney, when I was bemoaning why I couldn’t go on a golf trip with him to some swanky golf resort. But it did get me off my underachieving butt to pursue a real gaming career.
I know you have your own words to live by. Go live them.