No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service, No Customers.

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service, No Customers.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

“Don’t buy anything here,” is not a sign you’d see in a retail store or do you? Are you selling the customer yes with your signage or telling the customer no? Don’t answer that challenge until you read the signs. Your signs.

I went to a restaurant for breakfast yesterday. The front door sign struck me. It said Welcome. I realized how rarely I see that sign.

I went into another (nameless but big national chain) restaurant in the same vicinity. The FIRST THING I see is a sign that says “Shirts and shoes must be worn to be served.” OK, I can live with that. Then I get in the place and a sign at our table says “This booth reserved for two or more persons.” So I look on the wall for some help no luck. “No Credit Cards” and “Pay Here” by the cash register. There’s a handwritten sign “Absolutely no checks of any kind.” Two more on the cigarette machine “Use at own risk” and “NO refunds given out.” And no place like this would be complete without a “No Loitering” they had one. But the killer was a framed sign that said “Firearms not Permitted.” Which is a good rule for a place that threatens and intimidates you. Evidently they want to be the only ones with pistols.

This is a restaurant where just reading the signs leads to indigestion. What happened to “welcome”? Pathetic, huh? NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. What about your place of business says Welcome or Thanks?

Are your signs encouraging or discouraging what subliminal message are you sending to your employees and your customers? Are your signs ‘you’ oriented or ‘customer’ oriented? Here it is in a nutshell. Open says it in terms of you, welcome says it in terms of the customer.

Do you think the sign “shoplifters will be prosecuted” will stop a thief? No. But what do the words tell your customers and employees. How about “no loitering.” The loiterers are usually the ones that can’t read. Do you think “no soliciting” has ever or will ever stop a salesperson. As a minor protest I went out and purchased a “Solicitors Welcome” sign that is displayed big and bold on the front door of our offices.


Here are a few recommendations for signs to make them more sales oriented:

  • Inspect every sign in your place of business.
  • Take off all the “no” and “don’t” messages.
  • positive requests with “please” and “thank you.”
  • Reword the “harsh rules.” Try, “we would appreciate,” or “to help serve you better,” as leadin lines.
  • Have a welcome sign and mat at your front door.
  • If you have a cash register put a thank you we appreciate your business sign on it, or Thanks for joining us, come again, soon.

Make every sign in your business a positive action sign. Signs that say “Yes.” Signs that make people smile or feel good about reading them.

You could go wild at the front door and have a sign that says “We’re glad to see you.”

Do signs affect your business? YES! Signs…

  • Set the tone for your employee’s work atmosphere.
  • Set the tone for a customer visit.
  • Show customers you care (or don’t care).
  • Show customers you appreciate them and their business.
  • Get customers to talk about you in a nice way.

Success Tactic: Reword signs that are time worn. Instead of “OPEN” say “WELCOME, We’re glad to see you.” On the way out have a banner that says, “We hope we have earned the privilege of seeing and serving you again soon.”

Try to put signage with rules in the positive. Here’s an example: “Welcome to Joanne’s Diner. We appreciate your cooperation with the dress code as required by the health department. For your protection and the protection of other customers like you, it’s important that you wear shoes and shirts. Thank you.”

Set the stage for smiles, warm feelings, and a “yes” attitude with your signage. Go around your business RIGHT NOW and perform a signectomy. Remove all negative signs and make new ones. The result will be happier customers and happier employees which leads to a happier wallet.

As I paid my check at the restaurant, I got another surprise. The sign on the cash register said, “Thank you for your business.” The lady took my money, smiled and thanked me again. It felt good. I’ll be back.



Retail Salesman’s Creed written in 1913 still applicable today. Just go to click FREE STUFF then click GitBit register and enter the secret words, Sales Creed.