The $80,000 Toothpick


By Neal Glatt

Sometimes, the smallest change in our business can have enough impact on the bottom line.  United Airlines recently realized that they could save $80,000 per year by some creative thinking and one small tweak to employee behavior.  In fact, saving this much money is so easy, it’s crazy to think they didn’t do it before.

Up until this month (before COVID restrictions at least), cocktails ordered on United came with a lemon or lime wedge skewered on a small wooden stick when appropriate for the drink.  This isn’t an unusual catering expense, and right now on Amazon a package of 300 picks can be bought for only $5 at retail prices.  So who would ever think that eliminating them would add up to $80,000 in savings?

Well, like most everything in business, there is far more to the story than what meets the eye.  It isn’t just the direct cost of cocktail picks that leads to the savings, but the compound effects of removing them.  When United did the math, they found out the cost of flying with the additional weight of cocktail picks across all of their 4,900 flights per day added up to over $80,000.  

Instead of looking for a whole new way to cut costs, they got smart by looking for a small tweak that would be easy to implement with big rewards.  And no customer will even notice when the lemon or lime in their drink floats freely instead of being impaled by a toothpick.  Which begs the question - what can you do in your business to have a similar effect?

One thing I teach my salespeople to do is ask one more question on every single sales call.  Obviously this is very easy to implement and no one really notices the impact.  But what is the return on this change?

Well, often salespeople debrief calls with me and tell me that they’re not sure what a customer really meant by something they said but they felt pressure to get off the phone so they didn’t ask.  But by following a rule to ask one more question, they can get better understanding and potentially break through to the next level.

Of course, one more question may only move the needle 1% of the time.  But if we’re making 100 calls per week (and who can’t make 20 calls per day?), then we can be closing an extra sale every week.  Do me a favor and multiply your average sale by 52.  Wouldn’t you like that number in additional revenue in 2021?

To be fair, it’s not quite that easy.  Great sales requires having a process, knowing what questions to ask, and making sure we have the right sales mentality.  But you can learn and apply enough small tweaks to your sales approach to easily make 2021 your best sales year ever.  

If you’re serious about getting to the next level, you can learn everything you need to know in our Sales Bootcamp, Feb 15 - 26.  This virtual program combines both live and on-demand education that can easily be implemented into your business immediately.  Best of all, our generous sponsors below have made this the most affordable sales training program we’ve offered.  Space is limited, so sign up today by clicking here.

Sales Bootcamp is sponsored by FBinsure, SiteRecon, ArborGold, and Caterpillar.  All four can have big impacts for your business and add to your bottom line.

Tags: Sales , Money , Saving ,