Japan's All Nippon Airways Tries All-For-One Sales Strategy

Posted by: Kenji Hall on March 9, 2009

The economic downturn has made the Japanese infrequent flyers. But All Nippon Airways, Japan’s No. 1 carrier and the world’s biggest (by passenger totals), has what amounts to a hail-mary strategy: Turn every employee into a salesperson.

In an attempt to halt a four-month decline in passengers, ANA’s top brass has asked all 32,000 employees to take the hard sell to friends, family and acquaintances, according to the daily Yomiuri Shimbun. They are doling out big discounts on flights and vacation packages. The sales blitz comes as a last-ditch effort before the airline closes its books for the March 31 end of the fiscal year.

The company hasn’t set targets for how much business it aims to bring in but it’s hoping the push will result in an extra $160 per employee—about $5.1 million. That amounts to a rounding error in ANA’s expected $14.6 billion in revenues this fiscal year and it won’t do much to offset the expected 13% drop from the previous year.

But it’s just the kind of all-for-one effort that Japanese companies do during hard times to drive home “kikikan” (a sense of crisis, in Japanese) so employees will think about the little ways they can contribute to the bottom line.

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s team of Asia reporters brings you the latest insights on business, politics, technology and culture from some of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies.

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