To Insure Promptness. An old and new tradition.

To Insure Promptness. An old and new tradition.

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

To Insure Promptness. An old and new tradition.

Ever leave a tip?

Sure you did. And most of the time you leave a tip, it’s based on the service or the quality that you perceive. Sometimes it’s a combination of qualities: Food plus server.

But these days, tipping has changed. Everyone seems to have their hand out, asking — no, begging — for more money. If you go into a Starbucks, there’s the familiar plastic bin by the cash register that’s always filled to some varying degree with change and a few bucks. Sometimes it’s a jar. Sometimes it’s a fish bowl. But it’s ever present where you see a counter and some servers.

What the workers are really saying is, “My company doesn’t pay me enough, so I need to beg you for more.”

Now I know this seems a bit harsh. “Oh, those poor people slaving behind the counter.” But the bottom line is, the company that employs them is making huge profits while their front line people predominantly starve. People on the front lines are always the lowest paid. I wish I understood it. But I don’t. No, I’m not a socialist, but I am a pragmatist.

That’s one way of looking at tipping. Let’s take a look at another way: Suppose EVERYBODY on the front lines of service had to EARN tips.

Ever go to an airport? If you’re like me, and you check a bag (or two), you go to a skycap. Skycaps work for tips. I know this, and I tip liberally as a result of it. The skycaps at the airport in


North Carolina
(my home airport) are the best in the


They’re friendly. They’re helpful. And they don’t have a jar out. They do the same excellent job — whether they’re tipped or not.

But suppose EVERYBODY in the airport worked for tips. People at the ticket counter, the flight attendants, and the people in baggage claim. Can you imagine if they HAD to work for tips? At the end of a day, they’d go home with no money, griping to their significant other about the lousy tippers at the airport — never for one second thinking that maybe their lousy service and poor attitude contributed to their negligible income.

But wait! There’s more! Think of all the other rude front line people in the world. How about the administrative people in a doctor’s office? Would you tip them? What about gatekeepers when you’re making a cold call? Would you tip them? What about sales clerks who ignore you when you’re shopping? Would you tip them? I doubt it.

At the root of a tip you’ll find friendliness, helpfulness, and service. But there’s a secret. In order to perform this you have to have the desire to serve. And you have to display the pride that goes along with giving great service.

No successful server is ever going to say, “I’m doing the best I can,” or “They don’t pay me enough to do that,” or “It’s not my job.”

The point here is that service has nothing to do with the company. Service has everything to do with the people who work for the company.

Ever go to a hotel? The doorman is friendly because he works on tips. The bellman is friendly because he works on tips. So why doesn’t the front desk clerk work on tips?

It’s interesting to note that many bellmen work at the same hotel for years, while the front desk position turns over as much as 400% a year.

How do you serve? Could you earn tips?

Think about the last server you had in a restaurant. Think about how they should have served and convert that to your service.

Here are 4.5 “tips to earn the tip.” (Even if it’s not in the form of money.)

1. Start with a smile. Smiles are contagious. People want to know you’re happy.

2. Engage in a friendly manner. Start with your name. Stop when it comes to your canned pitch. Why don’t you say something like, “This is a great restaurant. You’re gonna have a great meal.” Make a statement that gives others comfort.

3. Help others sincerely and without expectation. Your job is to serve. Do that with excellence and all will be well.

4. Tell them how nice it was to serve them. Be sincere. That’s no problem if you’ve been sincere all along.

4.5 Thank them. The best way to end your encounter is to say, “Thanks for being my customer. Hope to see you again soon.”

If you serve like you’re working for tips, your reward will be much more than financial; it will be personal fulfillment. That’s the tip you give yourself.

Sometimes the best tip you can give others isn’t money. For example, I often give a signed copy of my book to people I feel went above and beyond their duty. For you, if you haven’t written your book yet, it might be dried flowers from your garden, or something that you made, or a keepsake that costs a buck or two. You can find tons of them at little gift stores. A small gift is most often better than a monetary tip — because it’s from the heart.

The best tip of all that you can give to others is a kind word of thanks, or a compliment. They love hearing it from customers because they probably never hear it from their boss.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Little Black Book of Connections, and The Little Red Book of Sales Answers. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service at He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to

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Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer, Inc 704/333-1112