Over the weekend, my colleague and co-author Shawn and I were in Las Vegas conducting a workshop for 40 savvy business owners.

We started this workshop by sharing an observation made the night before as we watched the many gamblers on the casino floor.

What was most interesting to us was one gentleman that we watched play for quite a while, who was on a machine that ranged from $0.50 up to $8.20 per spin. He started by putting $50 into the, and we watched as the machine crept up to over $150. Then he got lucky and the machine made its way to $487! At this point, he upped the ante. He wasn’t playing for pennies anymore. He increased the bid on the machine with each hit of the button costing the full $8.20.

Shawn and I watched as he eventually went all the way back down, losing everything including his initial $50. The machine had just 47 cents left in it from his original $50.

The man didn’t even cash out his 47 cents. He just got up, left and instantly proceeded to another machine where he put more money in.

This story isn’t about walking away when you’re ahead… You guys all know how gambling works. That’s not the big point here.

To me, the fact that he left the 47 cents behind was the fascinating part, and it’s something that we can learn a lot from.

To the gambler, it wasn’t worth his time to cash out the ticket for the $0.47, especially after having “lost” over $400. It was something that was easy to leave behind. To the casino, though, that was 47 cents that they didn’t have before, and it was over and above the statistical edge they gained through the odds on the machine. It was basically a tip to the slot machine…

The 47 cents is incremental. It’s the micro-win. It’s yet another way that Vegas wins big.

Disney gets this too. It’s the incremental improvement we talked about just a few weeks ago. The employee whose sole job is to fix the strollers. It’s incremental. And they win because I head back to the gift shop in a better mood.

Where are your $0.47 incremental wins?

It wasn’t worth the gamblers time to collect the 47 cents, but it was DEFINITELY worth the casino’s time to engineer a situation where people would feel that way…. The casino will pick up your “worthless” $0.47 all day long, and they’ll continue to look for new ways to get it and whatever else they can get.

In your industry, you can choose to adopt the mindset of the gambler or the casino. If you’re the gambler, you’ll feel too self-important to go after the incremental wins.

To ask for referrals at every opportunity.

To reach out with that personal contact that makes a client feel special.

To do more work than is required.

If you choose to be the casino, though, you’ll change the way you look at how you do things. It’s not about how to get the most return out of the least amount of work… but about how much more work you can put in to get the smallest (but most consistent) incremental value from every interaction with your clients and prospects.

The house always wins for a reason, so don’t be the gambler.

Your challenge for this week: Identify where you might be missing an opportunity to engage and interact with your prospects AND existing customers – think about the areas where the competition has decided it’s not worth their time for such little impact, and you can pick up those 47 cent wins all day long.

As a thought starter, consider the following:

Do you have a process in place to routinely get in touch with past clients?

Are you creating exception reports to show you when things you expect to happen, haven’t happened?

Have you taken the time to identify the most common customer objections, criticisms, or complaints and train each employee to ensure they’re ready and able to deal with them?

Do the work that’s beneath your competitors, and you’ll be way ahead.