Tie a yellow ribbon around more money.

Tie a yellow ribbon around more money.

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 gitomer.me.



Tie a yellow ribbon around more money.

I walked onto the airplane the other day, and as usual all the flight attendants were wearing yellow ribbons. I had seen them before, but never knew what they were for. But after seeing them for months my curiosity got the better of me. “Hey,” I asked. “What do those ribbons mean?”

“We’re in union negotiations right now with the company, and the yellow ribbon means no concessions.” Said a triumphant flight attendant. “All of the flight attendants and ground personnel are wearing them. We haven’t had a raise in years, and the airline is making all this money.”

Great I’m greeted by an employee wearing a yellow ribbon that essentially says:

My company is underpaying me for the job I’m doing.

I don’t like it.

I don’t like them.

We’re all banded together.

We want the yellow ribbon to be the first thing you notice about me.

I’m pissed.

AND we will strike if we don’t get our way.

Why don’t they wear a ribbon that says:

I love my job.

I love my customers.

I’m happy.

I’m proud of the work I do.

I’m doing my best every day.

I am thankful to customers for providing the wages that provide the food for my family.

Where’s that ribbon? Still at the ribbon store.

Why isn’t management wearing a ribbon to say:

We’re working on your raises and will have them within 30days.

We support and respect our front line people.

We will guarantee that our internal squabbles will in no way be reflected by any interruption of service to our customers.

We recognize that customer’s money is how we live.

Where are those ribbons? Happy ribbons. Proud ribbons. Humble ribbons,

Not only do corporate pinheads not get it they will never get it. It’s the age old management vs. union struggle that has no winners except for the corporate bosses and the union bosses. Where is the customer in all this? Oh, the customer is the one who provides the revenue that pays the bosses salary, pays the workers salary, pays the union dues, and in general all the corporate funds for all of their raises and benefits that’s all.

I mean, can you see the great Stephen Wolf (US Airways CEO) making an announcement to the employees one Friday “People we’re a bit short of funds to make payroll this week, but don’t worry, I have plenty of money up at my house, and I’m going to get some right now so all your checks will clear.” There’s a laugh.

No, he’s screaming “get more customers, collect more money, raise the prices, gouge a few more people some out of those $75.00 ticket changing charges.” The customers provide the corporate wage.

Why don’t people sit down and figure an amicable solution so that the employee is HAPPY, and transfers that feeling to the customer through service? It just doesn’t seem to be the corporate way and the customer suffers.

But, no management in their wisdom, waits till the last second, fails to “meet the demands” of the ribbon wearers, a strike ensues, and who loses? The meal providers again us poor customers the ones providing the money to foot the bill anyway.

After reading this far, a few fringe airline people will email me and tell me that, “I don’t get it.” Let me save you the effort I get it OK, I just don’t want to hear about it. I’ve got my own problems, and you don’t see me wearing a ribbon about those do you?

Customers ought to start wearing ribbons that say:

My mortgage payment is due.

I expect friendly service.

I paid a fortune for this ticket and don’t want to hear about your crap.

The wearing of a ribbon indicates your empathy and support for a worthy cause. Was the US Airways flight attendant wearing a ribbon because she was against drunk drivers? No. Bring home the soldiers safely? No. Cure cancer? NO. Her reason was “I want more money.” Sick.

Remember the AA pilots (sick out) strike last Presidents Day weekend? Thousands of disappointed people stuck in airports because the pilots were pissed at their employer and who takes it in the shorts? The customer the very person who funds both the company and the pilots.

Remove the customer from the equation, and the one ingredient necessary for the whole argument is gone money. Hello. What’s wrong with this picture?

If you want the customer to be loyal, you’d better take loyal actions not selfish actions.

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Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlottebased Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/3331112 or email to salesman@gitomer.com

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