The math of casino marketing
Every industry and business is faced with the challenge of selling their product in an ever increasing and competitive business landscape.
No matter the item or service, it must be sold and sold well. As a result, when it comes to sales, you will find books, programs, training systems, unique languages and symbols, motivational messages and materials—by the truckload.
For almost 30 years now, that is just what I have been doing—studying the magic of sales in all these different industries and then attempting to bring what I have learned back to gaming operators to create a fully-functioned, complete “sales program” for casinos that sell the gaming experience to avid experienced players all across the globe. And when I started, I was sure that the most prevalent and significant thing I would encounter was the mystery of selling, the magic, the psychology. How do you entice someone to buy a product they did not even know existed 20 minutes ago? How do you maneuver someone into purchasing something that cost more than their monthly salary? What is the magic formula to not only keep someone on the phone when you cold call them at dinner, but gets them so excited they just can’t wait to pull out their credit card to buy your wonderful product?
Selling must be about these things; about psychology and manipulation, the magic of persuasion and negotiating techniques and smooth-talking pitchmen and women. Right?
Wrong! Forget all that mumbo-jumbo, selling is about… math.
That’s right. It starts and ends with math. Oh don’t get me wrong, the rest of that stuff is important too. You must be likable (as an individual and a company or product), for people will generally not buy from those they don’t like. Persuasive techniques, getting inside the customer’s mind and understanding how they think and what is important to them, player psychology and product knowledge—yes, these are all important to the art of selling. But without the math, you are like a blind man trying to understand color by learning the science of photons and prisms. You may understand it, but you still won’t see it.
Math tells you the who, what, why and when of selling. Without that, your salespeople are running blind.
- Math tells you who to sell to. Where are the qualified sales leads in your database of tens of thousands of prospects?
- Math tells you what is most important to your business. Is it new business, repeat business, retention or growth, getting more out of one customer or getting less out of more customers?
- Math tells you why your efforts are successful or not. Did you apply a sales strategy based on the right metrics? For instance, in gaming, what are you trying to do with a prospect, get them to spend more when here? Or come more often? Don’t say both, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
- Math also tells you when to sell. When is the prospect ripe for a sale? When should you approach, when should you pitch, and when in your sales process it is appropriate to apply the turn and try to close the sale?
These are the rather surprising things I began to learn once I truly started to study the magic of selling in all these other industries. I realized that no sales program for the gaming industry would be complete until it had a suite of underlying mathematical formulas and principles to provide the foundation for all of a casino’s sales efforts with gamblers.
I have run into many player development professionals in the business who are expert at the soft skills of selling, of understanding and getting inside their players’ heads, of knowing how to schmooze them, negotiate with them and take care of them when on property. But when it comes to the back of house, the math of the equations, they are still blind.
This is why so many player development executives today are focused only on the “usual suspects,” the top-value players in the database that give you so much business. Yes, they are valuable to your casino, but you already have their business. Where are the prospects? Where are the sales leads? Where are those hidden players that—if you identified them and properly approach and sell to them—would become your top players?
Enter the magic of math. It is not within the scope of this article to cover all the ways we have developed mathematical formulas and strategies to accomplish these feats within our wonderful industry. But I can offer you one thing of utmost importance, and share with you a number of questions you need to apply to your current player development (PD) sytem to see how it stacks up.
First, while you may be thinking, as does most everyone, that player value is the most important mathematical metric in player development; it is most certainly not. Value is only the qualifier—the true metric you must focus on is player trip. The trip is the magic metric that will lead to a successful sales-lead generation program.
And now to the questions, consider these as you examine your current PD setup:
- Do you have a mathematical tool that you can use to determine the sales potential of any segment of your database of players (or the database as a whole)?
- Do you have a mathematical solution to the task of finding qualified sales leads within your exiting database?
- Do you have a mathematical strategy for categorizing those qualified sales leads according to an appropriate sales strategy for each one?
- Do you have a mathematical formula for prioritizing sales leads from “most likely” to “least likely” to grow their gaming spend under your sales efforts?
- Do you have an appropriate mathematical tracking strategy to show where your sales efforts are working and where they are not?
Ponder these and begin to understand just how important the math of your business is to your selling efforts. Then get to work developing these formulas. Of course, if you need assistance, we at Raving are happy to help.
Some will tell you they can teach your hosts how to make a sales pitch or take care of a guest. Some will tell you they have a technology solution that will give your hosts the tools they need to simply do their job. Are these important? Sure. But without the math behind them, and a system that exploits that math in every aspect of your selling efforts, well, they are selling blind.
And that just doesn’t work.