John Ruhlin (@ruhlin) is the world’s leading authority in maximizing customer loyalty through radical generosity. He is the founder of Ruhlin Group, and author of Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention.
What We Discuss with John Ruhlin:
- Active loyalty versus passive loyalty.
- Why personalization matters.
- Why you should be asking “What’s the most I can do here?” when investing in relationships rather than “What’s the least I can get away with?”
- Why the timing of a gift matters.
- How to exercise radical generosity and take gift-giving to a whole new level.
- And much more…
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Have you ever stressed out about giving gifts that matter? Sure, everyone says “It’s the thought that counts,” but think back to the last time you were disappointed by a crummy gift someone gave you that was obviously picked up at the last minute with very little effort involved in the process. It’s not the afterthought that counts, is it? Now think about what happens when you give a similarly crummy gift to someone with whom you’re trying to build a professional relationship. As someone wise once said, the way you do anything is the way you do everything — so if you’re seen as being lackluster in your generosity, who’s going to entrust you to pull through when money and livelihoods are on the line?
Even if you’re not in business for yourself, the concepts Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention author John Ruhlin brings to this episode can be applied to any occasion that calls for gift-giving, and any relationship you want to strengthen. If you’re ready to take gift-giving to the next level through radical generosity, then listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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More About This Show
As anyone who’s ever attended a trade show of any kind will tell you: the appeal of corporate swag wears very thin very quickly. Cheap t-shirts, coffee mugs, pens, and key chains emblazoned proudly with company logos are handed out for free to all takers from every table on the floor, but they really don’t count as gifts, do they? Do they make you feel loyal to the businesses that foisted them upon you?
“Everybody’s received a gift — or what they think is a gift — and they don’t understand that a gift by its very nature is the antithesis of swag and trinkets and promo,” says Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention author John Ruhlin. “It’s actually the opposite.
“You’d never go to somebody’s wedding — even if you’re the tackiest person on the planet — you’d never engrave Compliments of [Insert the name of your business here] on this Tiffany vase you’re going to give somebody! That’d be the worst thing ever! People would make fun of you for decades if not the rest of your life. And yet that’s what most people do in corporate America. They give out the cheapest crap that they can find and they slam their logo all over it.”
If you own a business and you think your clients are loyal, consider how many of them are actively sending you referrals. If you think your employees are loyal, how many of them are actively engaged in promoting the mission of your business and how many of them are simply there to collect a paycheck?
“If your people aren’t actively advocating on your behalf, you have a loyalty problem. You have a bunch of passively loyal relationships,” says John.
If we want to generate active loyalty among our clients and employees (or family and friends if we’re not in business for ourselves), surface tokens like swag aren’t going to cut it. We have to try harder. If we want to be appreciated and connect with others on a deeper level, we have to express appreciation thoughtfully.
“When you give somebody a gift that makes them feel deep and feel VIP and feel special, there’s something that goes on in our brain psychologically that wants to reciprocate back to that person — that wants to love that person back,” says John. “It’s just how we’re wired. And most people in business have completely missed the boat. They think they’re doing great marketing and great relationship building by giving out swag, and what they’re really doing is communicating to the other person that they don’t matter.”
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about why thoughtful gift-giving doesn’t have to be expensive, when nothing at all is better than a clumsy plan b gift, why personalization really matters, when giving someone a mug is more memorable than giving them a Rolex or a trip to Hawaii, how to outshine your higher-budgeted competition with more meaningful gifts, why timing is important beyond ABC (anniversaries, birthdays, and Christmas), and much more.
And if you really want to save yourself some gift-giving grief, be sure to download John’s free white paper: 10 Worst Gifts to Avoid Giving If You Want Active Loyalty and Referrals Without Asking
THANKS, JOHN RUHLIN!
If you enjoyed this session with John Ruhlin, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention by John Ruhlin
- 10 Worst Gifts to Avoid Giving If You Want Active Loyalty and Referrals Without Asking (Free White Paper)
- Ruhlin Group
- John Ruhlin at Facebook
- John Ruhlin at Twitter
- The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition by Robert B. Cialdini
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) by Marie Kondo
- Artifact Mug
- Mastermind Dinners: Build Lifelong Relationships by Connecting Experts, Influencers, and Linchpins by Jayson Gaignard
- Louis Theroux: Gambling In Las Vegas
- The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by William P. Young
Transcript for John Ruhlin | Ways to Give Gifts That Make a Big Difference (Episode 157)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:00] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with my producer, Jason DeFilippo. Everyone loves gifts, but not all gifts are created equal. John Ruhlin is the world's leading authority in maximizing customer loyalty through radical generosity. This might sound corporate, but I've known John for years and this farm boy has a way of getting in your head through radical generosity and really takes gifting to the next level. Even if you're not in business for yourself, you don't have a corporate gifting thing going on or maybe you're going to do it later. The concepts he's teaching here today can be applied inside or outside of business and have been used by Fortune 50 companies to billionaires, to soccer moms and beyond. If you want to know how I managed my network of hundreds slash thousands of really amazing people and keep that going well, it's about systems and tiny habits. Check out our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free over at Jordanharbinger.com/course to learn how I managed to do all that. Now here's John Ruhlin.
[00:00:54] John, one of the things that you specialize in. It's not as simple as just like give people swag and promo items and that's what I do because at first I thought, okay, corporate gifting, snore, right? There's nothing here. I don't need a polo with like Ford Motor Company in embroidered on it, you know? But that's not what you do, you've got essentially radical generosity and loyalty through gifting and that's a completely different animal. Can you give us a little overview of that?
John Ruhlin: [00:01:26] Yeah, well I think a lot of people, they assume that they have loyalty and they assume that they know what a gift is. Like everybody has received a gift or what they think is a gift and they don't understand that a gift by its very nature is the antithesis of swag and trinkets and promo. It's actually the opposite. I tell people all the time, “Think about what you do at a wedding.” Like you'd never go to somebody's wedding. Even if you're the tackiest person on the planet, you'd never engraved compliments of Jordan Harbinger on this Tiffany's vase you're going to give somebody. That'd be the worst thing ever. Be tacky. People would make fun of you for decades, if not the rest of your life. And yet that's what most people do in corporate America. They give out the cheapest crap that they can find and they slammed their logo all over it. And so at a core level, what we teach people is that everyone says relationships are their most valuable asset. And everybody says, “Oh, I have loyal clients.” And I'm like, “Well, how many of your loyal clients are actively sending you referrals? How many of your loyal employees are not just collecting a paycheck, but they're actually actively filling your seats?
[00:02:29] If you're people are actively advocating on your behalf. You have a loyalty problem, you'd have a bunch of passively loyal relationships that stick around for the paycheck or stick around with your business because it's too difficult to change to another provider. But an actively loyal relationship is one that feels deep sense of gratitude, a deep sense of purpose, and it's really connected to you. One of the ways that we've found to solve the loyalty problem is that whether you're a janitor or whether you're a billionaire at a core level, we're all human beings, that we all crave to be acknowledged. We all crave to be appreciated. It's like the book, The Five Love Languages. We all want to be loved. Now we all want to be loved in different ways, but most of us crave being known and acknowledged. And when you give somebody a gift that makes them feel deep and feel VIP and feel special, there's a feeling psychologically, like Robert Cialdini's talked about, like there's something that goes on in a brain psychologically that wants to reciprocate back to that person that wants to love that person back. It's just how we're wired, and most people in business have completely missed the boat and they think they're doing great marketing and great relationship building by giving out swag and polos and umbrellas and what they're really doing is actually communicating to the other person that, that they don't matter.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:45]That's a good point. And I think the problem that people think of is that they're thinking of only customer loyalty. They're not thinking of employee loyalty. They're certainly not thinking of people on their team. And there's also this misconception that we can give stuff like all, we gave all our volunteers t-shirts and it's like, “All right, that's okay. But it doesn't really speak to what I would want necessarily.” I and everyone else, we don't need another t-shirt that says volunteer day 2019 University of Alabama River Cleanup. It's like I just don't need that.
John Ruhlin: [00:04:25] No.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:25] I'm disappointed that they even made those, because it was just the energy, the environmental impact of me straight up donating this thing that like is going to go to Goodwill and maybe get just recycled because even homeless people are like, “No thanks, this is an XL or a double XL. Because they're like, “Oh these need to fit everyone. Let's get one size.” Right? So it's just ridiculous,.
John Ruhlin: [00:04:48] To spend money to have a negative emotion and a feeling to spend money to have it end up impacting the environment horribly, to spend money to actually offend your most important relationships. And it took you time, energy, resources, whatever else. People don't realize that the impact and the ripple effect of what they're doing. Everybody wants to be acknowledged as a handwritten note. People were like, “I can't afford to do something.” I'm like, “Can you afford the time to write a really thoughtful, handwritten note?” Like People are like, “Oh, there's gifting rules and regulations.” I'm like, well, you can send a handwritten note to anybody and oftentimes the handwritten note is just as important as anything. And yeah, the cheap shirt from China that somebody spent $5.97 on, yeah, it's going to go to Goodwill or it's going to get wax the car on a Saturday, best case scenario. I use a lot of them and the bottom of our pets cages when you’re traveling to the vet or whatever else. And so like, it's horrible. I feel bad. I literally take bags of stuff to Goodwill, but I don't need more crap. And I think most people feel that way. There's books like essentialism and tidying up and whatever else. People are getting of a lot of junk in their houses on a pretty consistent basis because nobody thinks about this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:01] Yeah. So we don't need our customers slash employee loyalty gift to get Murphy condoed, right?
John Ruhlin: [00:06:09] No, no, that's for sure. That's not earning you any brownie points with your most important relationships that is for sure. But in our polite culture, in our very politically correct culture, like people will give you the token thank you and say thank you for it. Like nobody's going to like write the note and say, I actually thought less of you as a human being when I received this, bottle of wine with your logo engraved on it, or this Cousy or this shirt or this hat. But how often times that's what people think. They’re like, man, this person -- like everybody wants to be thought of as the thoughtful person. And that's what people say, “Oh, it's the thought that counts.” And I'm like, “No, it's the thoughtful thought.” And people can tell if you put energy in efforts like your spouse, like they can sell if you mailed it in and went and picked up like some random box of Russell Stover's chocolates at Walgreen's or did you actually like listen throughout the year and pick something out not just for the holidays of like Valentine's day and birthdays and anniversaries, but you went out of your way the other times a year to be thoughtful and say, “Hey, I love you. I hear you, I acknowledge you. I see you. And I went out of my way and put energy and effort and resources into this gift.” And it's not always the most expensive one. Oftentimes, some of my best gifts to my wife have been ones that I didn't cost a lot of money, but they took time, energy, creativity, whatever else. And it's just shocking to me how many people miss the mark, whether it's corporate gifting or whether it's gifts to their loved ones.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:36] Oh man, I'll never forget my ex-girlfriend's dad. I was there on Christmas. It's like literally 10 plus years ago. I was there in Christmas, and it was Christmas morning. It was kind of early. And I remember he was like, “Oh, I got to go do something really quick.” And everyone's like, “What are you talking about?” And he's like, I've got to go do something real -- it was like this clumsy excuse, and then he leaves for a while and comes back. And then a few people see him sneaking another gift under the tree and we're like, “Okay. That was weird.” And then of course, it turns out to be the gift for his wife, my girlfriend's mom, and everyone kind of knew that he had done that. And then she opens the gift and it's like essentially a digital camera from Walmart, but not the one that she had wanted at all. Like totally different model, different style, it was like a DSLR instead of a point and shoot or a point and shoot instead of a DSLR, I don't know what it was, but it was not at all anything that she would have even really wanted. I don't even know if she wanted a digital camera, but that was what she got. She was super, super pissed. It would have been better if he was like, “I didn't get you anything.”
John Ruhlin: [00:08:59] Yeah. Just been honest and owned it and said, “Hey, I screwed up.” Whatever else. Like, yeah, it's when you try to slip something in as a plan B like that, that's just, “Oh my gosh, man, that's just horrible.” Horrible.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:12] Right, right, because it would've been better if he was just like, “Look, I forgot, but I've got something up my sleeve, that's better than I forgot, and I went out and I really did the most half assed attempt to do this.” And the reason I tell the story is because I feel like lots of corporate gifts or things that you see in general as something that's supposed to signal to other people that they're special, that they're being treated like a VIP is the corporate or personal equivalent of the Walmart camera under the Christmas tree bought last minute. So a gift, it has to be special. It has to be personalized. It has to be thoughtful. It can't be swag. It can't be a promo item. It has to be about the recipient. I think a lot of people sounds really obvious, but a lot of people make this mistake because people will make the gift all about the company and they're like, we bought the nicest jackets that we could get an embroidered our company name in the back, right?
John Ruhlin: [00:10:08] Yeah. It's like, “Oh, we got Under Armor all we got, whatever.” It's like that doesn't fix the fact that you're trying to turn somebody else, whether it's an employee or whether it's a client into a walking billboard for you. How does that make you feel special? Hey, we pay you money now, go out and here's your gift that's basically a walking billboard that makes people feel like manipulated. It makes people feel like they're a number, they're not a human. It communicates all of the wrong things. But because we're in Western society and there's billions of dollars spent on promo and swag. It's become just kind of commonplace. But if you went back a hundred years ago and thought about like, what your great grandfather would have done. A lot of those old school principles of the simplicity, the handmade, the personalization, the handwritten note, it's like showing up to a meeting and your shoes aren't shined. It's like that little thing -- it's not like you can have a sucky company or suck your relationships and be a great gift giver and like magically everything's okay. But if you do everything else well and then it’s like doing everything at a Ritz Carlton level and then you want to take your clients to stay at a super eight. It's like it doesn't make any sense. It's not congruent. It stands out like the sore thumb. It's putting lipstick on a pig. It's just horrible, but because a lot of the decision makers, unfortunately in Corporate America, even today are a bunch of dudes like guys, emotional intelligence wise oftentimes don't have the emotional intelligence to understand the little things matter, the little details, the packaging, how it's presented when it's given, all that stuff communicates whether or not other person actually matters.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:55] Yeah. I hadn't really, of course, also being a guy, I never actually really thought about this until you mentioned it, until we started talking about this. Of course, the gift has to be all about the recipient, not the giver, no logos, no walking billboard. But people will come up with a counter argument like, “Well college football teams, their stuff is all logoed up.” Or a lot of people wear logos and they wear them proudly. Look at Apple. Look at Atari. People are buying reprinted retro Atari t-shirts or their favorite band or something. So separate this for us because there's an element of identity that goes into the guy who wears the Apple shirt. There's an element of identity that's worn by the geek that wears the retro Atari shirt or the Guns and Roses retro ‘80s, ‘90s t-shirt. That's different than the person who's like, thanks for the Raytheon windbreaker, right?
John Ruhlin: [00:12:46] Yeah, exactly. So the differences is the question that you have to ask yourself. Every person's different, there are anomalies and there's times to break the rule. But you ask yourself, does the logo add value, stay neutral or take value away? And if you're honest with yourself, most people's brands, whether you're dealing with a financial advisor, an accountant, Raytheon, even billion dollar companies, Walmart, Apple. There's a certain percentage of people that when they get that logo it is taken value away. Now there is a subset like we do business, they the Cubs and even small companies, they'll hire us to do all of their gifting for them. They'll give us the list of people and say, “Hey send gifts four times a year to these people.” This is the value of them, whatever else. And even the Cubs, I’ll coach through and say, hey, like when you're dealing with the CMO who gets logo stuff all the time, even though you're the Cubs and your logo adds value. If you notice like Gucci and some of the bigger high level luxury brands, their logo is what? It's like tone on tone. It's not even seen. It's small. And I'm put the logo as small as possible. The logo add value, but make it tasteful, make it classy. And so really at the end of the day you have to know your audience well enough to say like, is this logo -- be honest, like is this logo going to add value or take value away from the gift? Is it going to ruin and deface it or is it going to amplify and make people feel special? If you're giving things out to people that love Harvard and they graduated from Harvard, then yeah, put the Harvard logo on it.
[00:14:11] And if you're giving it out to a bunch of guys that like grew up in the ‘80s and they love Atari and like they've self-selected themselves as being like raving fans of that brand, then by all means put the logo on it because that that's personalizing it to them. But in most cases in corporate America, whether you're a startup or whether you're a big company, your brand does not add value to it. And I'm sorry to say that, like you haven't spent billions of dollars to make it cool with Michael Jordan or LeBron wearing it. Like it's fine as a brand, but if you're trying to get somebody to use the gift and that's the thing, like people don't think gifting is just like a check the box. If you give the right, I just talked to somebody who runs a $20 million company today and he said, “John, you sent me and my wife these knives, and my wife last night was raving about them and I had to laugh out loud. He's like, “You’re getting my wife who you've never met before to advocate and keep you top of mind at my dinner table with all my friends and family.” Now I'm like, you SOB. I can't believe that you weaseled into my home.
[00:15:14] So people don't understand, gifting isn't done just for fun. It's not just done to make you feel warm and fuzzy and generous at Christmas. If you do gifting well in corporate America, I've seen people put in a $100,000 and get $1 million out. I've seen people put $1,000 and get $100,000 out like this. If you do it well, it's an ATM machine. And the reason companies hire us isn't just to get something off their list. They hire us because they've started to understand that like what's a referral worth to you?
Like wow, it's worth $50,000. Well, if I gift these gifts to the right people and I get an extra five referrals next year, that means that's worth an extra quarter million dollars to my bottom line. And most people, especially dudes, they think like in very like ones and zeros, they don't realize like, man, if relationships matter and how I gift matters and how I show people appreciation matters, then I'm leaving hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars on the table by not gifting well because it really is an artifact. It really is an item that could trigger top of mind awareness and it could trigger referrals. It could trigger somebody going out of their way to recruit their best friend who's at another company to come work for my company. If you think about all the times where one conversation changes a year or a company for forever, and if you can control that and be proactive with it, gifting is one of the few marketing things out there that you can actually be very strategic with and pick off and say, “Man, these a hundred people mattered to me and I'm going to be super intentional. I'm not going to wait for things to happen. I'm not going to put a billboard out or a bunch of Facebook ads and wait for people to come in.”
[00:16:54] You can be very targeted and one of the reasons gifting frankly works is people suck at it so bad that when you actually receive something like the guy who was talking to today is like “John, I've never received anything like this before.” Now, if he had received a hundred of those kind of gifts before, it would've been nothing. It would had been black like vanilla, but because most of the stuff he's received in 40 years of owning a company have been like the typical gift cards and honey baked hams and bottles of wine or whatever else. He was like, “I can't believe you sent me this gift that had my name on it.” And the kicker was, I mean one of the key things that we talk about is the inner circle. Most people don't understand what the inner circle is. They think, Oh, I'm just a bunch of my clients like bourbon, so I'm going to send bourbon. They really miss a huge opportunity to personalize it, not just to the person, but to their inner circle.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:44] Yeah, right. I can see it being like, “Thanks for the bourbon. I'm a Mormon. I'm just going to put her out where this goes.”
Jason DeFilippo: [00:17:53] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest John Ruhlin. We'll be right back.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:57] This episode is sponsored in part by Calm. A new year brings opportunity to reset and establish new habits for our happiest, healthiest selves and joining a gym, eating better. We're all kind of doing that, but physical health isn't the only resolution to consider. You can really improve your well-being as well and I'm excited to partner with Calm. I've been using this app for a long time. It's the number one app to help you sleep, which is one of the primary uses I have for it. It's a meditation app of course, and you can also just use it to relax. If you go to calm.com/jordan, you'll get 25 percent off a Calm premium subscription, which includes hundreds of hours of programs including guided meditation on issues like anxiety, stress, focus. There's a brand new meditation each day called The Daily Calm and what I love are these sleep stories, which are essentially bedtime stories for adults designed to help you relax before you doze off. Head to the lavender fields of France with Steven Fry, if you know that is or explore New Zealand with Jerome Flynn from Game of Thrones. Bob Ross is in there. Of course, now we've got some happy birds. There's soothing music, breathing exercises, gentle stretches to relax your body. Really, really interesting stuff. If you have any trouble falling asleep, Jason, tell them where they can get that.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:25] This episode is also sponsored by Blinkist. Blinkist is super freaking useful. It's a book summary app, so if you're not sure that you want to read a book or if you're not sure that you have the time to read a certain book and you want to learn more, this app Blinkist is kind of a solution to that problem here. It's the only app I've found that takes the best takeaways. The need to know information from thousands of nonfiction books condenses them down to about 15 minutes so you can read or listen to them. So it's made for busy people and it's really good for me for the show. It'd be like, “Okay, do I want to read this whole book and decide if someone's a good fit or do I kind of want to get the gist of it?” And I don't just want to use online reviews. Blinkist is really made for busy people who want to get the main points of the book quickly without reading the entire book and the audio feature, of course, I love that. You can finish four books a day if you want it to while you're on the go.
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Jason DeFilippo: [00:20:53] Right now for a limited time, Blinkist has a special offer just for our audience. Go to blinkist.com/jordan to start your seven day free trial. That's Blinkist, spelled B-L-I-N-K-I-S-T, blinkist.com/jordan to start your seven day free trial. Don't forget we have a worksheet for today's episode so you can make sure that you solidify your understanding of the key takeaways from John Ruhlin. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. Thanks for listening and supporting the show. To learn more about our sponsors and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. If you'd like some tips on how to subscribe to the show, just go to jordanharbinger.com/subscribe. And now back to our show with John Ruhlin.
[00:21:32] I'm just going to tell you guys right now, you guys missed the mark on the Raytheon windbreaker. I would totally wear the crap out of that. If it said like death from above since 1925 that would be awesome.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:41] Yeah.
John Ruhlin: [00:21:44] With the right tagline, maybe any logo works. I mean that's possible. I mean, if you make it made it funny, I might wear that too. I might wear that too.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:52] Yeah, that could be some unbranding, but I know that not every gift has to be something super fancy or whatever. You have this sort of artifact mug story that illustrates, you don't have to spend 50 grand to impress a billionaire.
John Ruhlin: [00:22:08] Yeah, yeah. So I used to make fun of mugs as being like the worst gift on the planet to ever give. I remember like people say, “What's the worst?” I'd be like “The corporate coffee mug.” Like everybody has mugs in their cabinet that they'd never use because they just are around and they get more and more of them and people think they're creative because they put like M&Ms or Hershey Kisses and I'm like, “Oh that's so cute and sweet,” and it's like they're the worst. And so out of nowhere, this guy reaches out to me and says, “John, I read your book like 10 times. I listened to like 50 of re interviews. I love what you do. I want to help you bless your wife,” and I answer these seven questions. I'm like, “Oh man.” This is guy using my own playbook against me. I'm like, “All right, this is interesting.” So I answered the seven questions. I email them back and a week later he's like, “John, the gifts done. I want to hand deliver it to you.” And I'm like, “Okay, that's interesting. You're using the playbook against me to get Facetime.” All right, so I am public place in case he's like this crazy stalker at my favorite restaurant. I get there a couple hours early and in walks this kid, he couldn't be 22 years old and he's carrying this Tupperware container, this huge Tupperware container that has like claw marks on it.
[00:23:15] And I'm like, “Is there a freaking animal in this thing?” Like what is going on? Like this is just getting weird. And he's like, “Hey, I'm an artist. My wife is a senior in college, she works at Chick-fil-A, we have our first kid on the way.” He's like, this is the soul of the Earth person. And he proceeds the pullout, this mug, it's like a $600 mug, which sounds crazy, but people pick up $600 bar tabs all the time and don't think anything of it. He pulls out the $600 mug and carved into it as my wife's whole life story, her on the farm with her dad, who passed away cancer 12 years ago, and instantly I'm in tears. I'm like, this is like one of the most thoughtful things anybody's ever given to me. And he proceeded to pull out another one for me, that had my whole life story on it and the Brooks Brothers’ story and all these other things. And then he pulled out two, like we call him jars of awesome and it's like carved into, it was my wife and I’s whole life story together. And another one that had every Bible verse old and new Testament, 50 lines handwritten that talked about giving or gifting. And the kicker was he drove nine and a half hours from Atlanta, Georgia for a five minute meeting to hand these to me. And so I was like in tears. I show them to my wife who super private and she ends up saying, “John, he has to stay at our house.” So I call him back up and I got home and he's like, I said, “Hey, do you want to say at our house?” And he's like, that makes the story better. And I'm like, he sure does. So he came over, he spent the night, we ended up becoming a partner with him in his business.
[00:24:36] But we've made these mugs and what makes them special? It's just a piece of clay that gets literally the raw materials costs like three bucks to make it. But over three days, he crashed these things and because of the questions that are asked, we're able to get into like for David Bach who like is written with like 20, 30 books. We found out that like his grandma believed in him and was the one who influences interest in finance when he was like eight years old. And so we included that in the mug and you find out their legacy and their character traits and I gave one the other day from a stage for $1 billion company and the guy was crying because I tied in the fact that he had beat cancer and I talked to his son to get some of these inside information on who he was and what made them tick and what he wants his legacy to be, and so they're almost like, it's almost like winning the Oscars and looking at your life through a lens of like, “What did I accomplish and what was really important to me?” And you put that into, it's almost like a usable, like Oscars or usable trophy where almost everybody drinks coffee or tea every day. Most people have bunch of cheap mugs that maybe they cost five or 10 bucks, but because of what goes into these, I've given them to people and they'd been more impactful than a $25,000 Rolex. Gave one to Yanik Silver, the founder of Maverick, and he was like “Dude, this is the craziest thing.” And we're now making them for some of his mentors and influencers of people that have invested in him that they could afford anything that they want. They're worth hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars. But when you give something to somebody that they can use in that honors, that person and encapsulates who they are and what matters to them, like $600 yes, it's not inexpensive, but there's a lot of times where you could take the same principles and probably make it yourself if you were willing to do the hard work of really encapsulating and honoring that person because really that's what it does. It's like a reflection of them and reminds them every single day that they use it, who gave it to them, number one, which is invaluable. And number two, it reminds them who they are, and it's just a beautiful thing. I gave one to the best man in my wedding and he's like, “John, you'll never beat this gift.” Like he's like balling, and it's a guy, who’s chief of staff for a big company, $300 million company and he gets wined and dined to flown to Africa and all these other places like “John, this is the coolest thing. I'll use this every single day.” He's like, “You don't understand what this means to me.” And that's, I mean I light up when I'm able to do that for people and help other people acknowledge the most important people in their life.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:04] That's an interesting point because you're mentioning there's these people that are kind of unreachable or really hard to access and they're getting flown -- their gifts that they're getting are like, “Hey, come stay at the Four Seasons’ private villa in Hawaii for Christmas and my family will be next door because I want FaceTime and it's worth my company spending $58,000 to get you down here because if we can get this $2 million deal from you, then it's a drop in the bucket. And then the us little guys are like “Uh, here's a branded pen.” Right? We don't stand a chance or we just can't compete with the budget. But it sounds like what you're saying is you don't have to invest two grand on the decision maker. You can invest some smaller amounts in more meaningful ways that have the same effect or greater.
John Ruhlin: [00:27:56] Yeah. Most of the clients that reach out to us are doing a few million dollars a year, or they work for a company that is, or that might go up to a billion in revenue, but they're privately owned companies going up against publicly traded companies and their budget is one, 100th the size. And so they're like “John or my competitor spent $5 million on a trade show last week. Our entire budget for this entire year to entertain clients and market is 1 million bucks.” I can't compete when somebody has $200 million to spend and I have a million.” And I'm like, “Yeah, you can, but you can't compete. You can't have a pissing match. You can't go and try to compete at the trade show. But what you can compete on is relationship and you can compete on thoughtfulness and you can compete on, and that's really what we help companies do.
[00:28:40] I mean, we work with some of the bigger brands, but I love working with the underdogs of companies. They're like, “Hey, I have a budget, a marketing budget of biz dev budget, relationship budget, but it's not infinite, and they're already givers. Like I love working with CEOs and founders and VPs of sales and even solopreneurs, authors, guys that already, they love to love on people. They've just never been shown and they've never had a company that they could outsource things to that would actually help them think strategically and say, hey, if you invest -- and that's why one of the reasons we take care of the inner circle is, even you and I like we're little guys, but like when we stay at like a mastermind talks event, it's at a beautiful resort in Cabo or it's at a beautiful resort in Napa or Ohi, like we get treated really well. Guess who gets the worst side of being in business when I travel? My wife.
[00:29:31] So if somebody wants to get to me, I like bourbon and I like golf and all these other things, they got to spend a lot of money on those categories. But if somebody wants to get access to somebody, oftentimes it's taking care of the people around them that get treated like dog crap. They get treated like peers or they get treated like pawns and gatekeepers and arm candy and my budget last year was three, 400 grand for gifts. 80 percent of what I send out is not targeted always at the billionaire, the decision maker, is targeted at their wife. It's targeted at their assistant. It's targeted at their kids or their pets because those people oftentimes aren't included in the trips to Napa or even the ball games that are local, all these cigar outings and whatever else.
[00:30:15] So a lot of the things that we do or are looking at it from a completely different angle and saying, “Hey, how can we make that person look like the hero to their family? How can we spend a dollar and get $10 of value?” And so it's not the person who spends the most that wins. It's the person who's most creative with the dollars that they're spending and that's really, we push hard on people whether they want to do it themselves. Like I'm like, just go do it. Put in the time, focusing on at that same level that you focus on your fantasy football league and you'll do just fine. I promise you. My love language isn't even gift-giving. It's words of affirmation. I'm naturally an introvert. Like if I can do it, if a freaking farm boy from Ohio is milking goats, most of his life can pull this off. I guarantee you have the ability to do it, most people just play scared and they never had anybody believe in them enough to take the leap and start doing it.
Jason DeFilippo: [00:31:07] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest John Ruhlin. We'll be right back after this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:12] This episode is sponsored in part by stamps.com. Postage rates have gone up again. Thankfully stamps.com can ease the pain with a big discounts off of post office retail rates. With stamps.com, you save 5 cents off every first-class stamp and up to 40 percent off priority mail. And that stuff really adds up, especially for small businesses. We're using this to mail countless things, swag for the show, letters, all kinds of, I can't believe how much I still mail. Plus stamps.com is completely online, which saves you time. No more inconvenient trips to the post office itself. Stamps.com will calculate and print the amount of posters, the exact amount I'll have you know that you need for every letter or package you send so you never have to overpay and you never underpay, which is actually worse. Again, you can buy and print official us postage for any letter, any package, any class of mail using your own computer and your own printer, and like I said, you're getting discounts so there's really no reason not to use this. Jason, tell them where they can get more from stamps.com.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:41] I think for me when I get, and I get stuff like every day because it's either from a sponsor or it's from some other person or show fan, whatever. And I love that stuff that I get, especially from show fans, sponsor stuff is more just sort of corporate. But very few people, if any sends stuff for Jen, and so I'll get something and I'll be like, “Oh that's cool,” and Jen, I'll be like, “No, it was really nice of them to send this thing.” And I'm like, “Oh yeah, you're right.” She has to kind of be like, “Hey, snap out of it.” You just got some nice thing from somebody because it's like if you had a birthday every day and people were sending you stuff, you're just like whatever, right? And it's not that you don't appreciate it, it's just how much energy can I muster on my way to the kitchen for my five minute break to get some water between shows? How much energy can I muster to be like, thanks for the copy of your book.
John Ruhlin: [00:34:36] People don't put themselves in other people's shoes and realize, yeah, I mean especially with Amazon, even people that aren't like running world famous shows like yourself or like even me. I get gifts sent to me because everybody wants us to start carrying their product as a gift and so my wife does the same thing. She's like, “John, they took the time to send it to you, acknowledge it. But part of me is like, “They just sent me a Starbucks gift card and one of the 10 worst gifts that I talk about everywhere is gift cards.” So on one hand, I want to say thank you. On another hand I want to say, did you not listen to anything I said or read or that was in the book? But which sounds a little bit like I'm a jerk, but part of me is like, “Man, I want people to, to give more thoughtful gifts and I want people for that to resonate.” And I want people to feel loved. And when things just show up nonstop and it's just the normal vanilla stuff like I'm with you. You don't want to be fake and say thank you when you're not really thankful for something that was like, “Man, you sent me something promoting yourself.” It’s not really a gift.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:44] Yeah. I think the bad gifts are actually quite funny. They make for good stories. I definitely want to hear about the Orlando Magic Story that you alluded to and when we talked before the show, but before that, I will say the worst one I've ever gotten, the worst gift was this guy wanted me to read his book manuscript, which by the way, there are people that get paid to do that. They're called editors. And he wanted me to like go through and see what was missing from this book manuscript, and it was just unbelievable. He told me about this at a lunch where I thought we were going to hang out and all he did was talk about himself. My wife couldn't stand it. He shows up later without sort of being invited and he has a bottle of wine and the manuscript and I was like, “Hey, I can't hang out right now. Just leave this here I guess.” And he was like, “Okay.” And I was just like, does he really think that this $9 bottle of wine is going to warrant me spending like 20 hours reading this and editing this manuscript? I just couldn't believe it because I like to help people and I really wanted to do this, but it was like I'm trying really hard enough to come across as like, “Oh, I'm so important. My time is so valuable.” It wasn't that, it's just this is, there's so much work involved in going through something like that and to have this random dude who's not a close friend or anything drop off, maybe it's a $20 bottle of wine, I don't know, with this huge piece of work was just like mind-blowingly. The lack of self-awareness was just next level. I'd never really seen anything like that.
John Ruhlin: [00:37:21] Yeah, it's definitely B level of giftology. They don't understand. I mean maybe they've never been asked to do something like that and been in your shoes before. But yeah, if you could take a step back and say, “It doesn't matter what level of wine. I mean, I don't even want be that way with my closest friends.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:38] Oh, I don’t drink wine by the way.
John Ruhlin: [00:37:41] Oh, that's the kick. Oh wow. So I didn't even know that. So yeah, it's people -- but I mean, you didn't chastise him like he did that, he thought he was doing a good thing. Maybe he saw somebody else do that or whatever else. And I think that's where people, they miss out as they use gifts -- like it's one thing to give a gift and hope for a good result. It's another thing to use a gift, and this is how most people use it. They use it as a carrot and stick method or they use it--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:07] Quid pro quo is what came to mind when I saw it.
John Ruhlin: [00:38:09] Yeah. Tit for tat. They want to use it as a manipulation. Like I gave you something, now you owe me something, and I don't care who you are. Nobody likes to feel manipulated. We all want to be appreciated and it's Vaynerchuk, the keys made it popular like the whole jab, jab, jab, jab, jab, right hook like you got to -- it's not jab right hook, it's giving value over and over again and then you earn the right maybe to ask, but you don't that the other person, you don't make the other person feel like the gifts were given with or whatever it was given with strings attached.
And that's where people completely mess up. It's like, yeah, I'm going to love on people and I hope that that brings me good things and oftentimes it brings me insane things. But oftentimes people, they think that they can give the gift and then do the ask and they completely ruined the gift. Even if it was a great gift, the $9 dollar bottle of wine. I actually, I was at a conference, Verne Harnish has a conference called Fortunes Gross Summit and we spoke there and somebody came up to me and said, “John, I hired a firm, like a placement firm and paid them $80,000 to find me a sales rep,” and they sent me a $7 bottle of wine with a printed card in the mail. That was their thank you gift. And they think they lost the business because we found somebody cheaper for our next placement.
[00:39:30] I actually refuse to do business with them because they sent me such an a cheesy, like thoughtless, I couldn't believe that they sent me that -- it wouldn't even a handwritten note. If they sent me a handwritten note, it they send me a hand written note it would have been really thoughtful, but they mailed it in, it came from Amazon or some online eCommerce company. A $7 bottle of wine showed up with this printed generic card and I was like, “I just paid you $80,000,” and that's your way of showing gratitude. That's your way of building the relationship. They're like, “We'll never do business with them again.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:01] That's really funny.
John Ruhlin: [00:40:02] So they spent 7 bucks to piss off a really good client and they didn't know that though, because they didn't write a note and say you're such an idiot. Here's why we're not doing business with you. And I think there's a lot of those subtle cues, like people aren't picking up on it. Like when they give things out, they're like, well people said thank you or we didn't hear anything bad. And it's like, “Well nobody's going to be rude and tell it like it is.” Like that's the challenge is nobody's honest with gifting because it feels like such a jerk move.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:30] That's really something, I think, you know I said the worst gift was that bottle of wine and the manuscript. Actually, I take it back. I had a girlfriend. It’s so funny. I broke up with her shortly after this. No big surprise. For my birthday, she got me an edible arrangement. Do you know what that is?
John Ruhlin: [00:40:49] Yeah. A bunch of fruit cut up. It didn't look like flowers.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:53] Right, right. I am not your secretary. I'm your boyfriend. You got me a bunch of strawberries that are cut to look like roses. What did I ever do to you, right? It was so funny.
John Ruhlin: [00:41:10] Yeah, food is definitely on our 10 worst gifts to give lists. And I break the rules occasionally on food, but 99 out of a hundred times, there's so many things that can go wrong with giving food, especially in corporate America. People in 2019 are on every diet on the planet with gluten and paleo and anti-dairy and anti whatever. It offends people. People won't eat it. Even if they do eat it. You spent $30 to get one impression and people are like, “What are you talking about?” You sent that edible arrangement or the bottle of wine or the chocolates or the brittle, it's like, “Oh, we've got famous peanut brittle.” I'm like, “Great.” People eat the peanut brittle. They spent 20 bucks on it thinking you're like this really like gifting shark and you spent $20 for them to think of you one time. I'm like, if you would've sent them something like the mug, it costs more, but they're going to think about you once a day for the next 10 years. That's 3,000 thoughts. That's 3,000 impressions.
[00:42:10] People measure everything in marketing, but when it comes to gifting, they don't realize when they give stuff like food, boyfriends and girlfriends like that's different. But in general, they don't realize they can offend people. It's going to be gone in 24 hours. That's not how you make a lasting impression. Everybody says, “Oh, we're all about being memorable.” I'm like, well then give something that people will have five months from now or five years from now. Like that's how you trigger thoughts and emotions and memories, not by giving stuff that's gone and in 20 seconds.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:41] What about the timing? I know you recommend don't do birthdays, don't do Christmas, but people do this all the time and you've got some reasons to do gifting and business. You've got like your three reasons. Can you go through these?
John Ruhlin: [00:42:55] Yeah. Yeah, so timing is just as important as the gift. Like it holds the same amount of weight. Most people come to us and say, “John, let me see your catalog.” I'm like, “We don't have a catalog.” Like what do you mean? I'm like, our team of giftologist pick the gift for you. You thought about gifts for 15 seconds. My team's been thinking about for 15 years. We pick the gift, you're going to shop with your own Rose colored glasses. And they're like, “Well we want to send a gift after referral every time.” And I'm like, “Well you say you're in the relationship building business. If you send a gift after referral, what did you just turn that referral into and that relationship?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:29] Yeah, it’s transactional.
John Ruhlin: [00:43:30] It's transactional, it's a tit for tat. And so the timing they gift showing up. That's the reason that I can send the same gifts to a thousand people, but because it shows up just on some random Tuesday in the middle of April, and that's the reason that you send a gift. There's three main reasons. One is just because, and people are like, “What do you mean?” I'm like, “Nope, not a birthday.” I call him, you're not allowed to be an ABC gifter. Now it personally, you need to be an ABC gift or like you can't forget your wife's anniversary, birthday, and Christmas. But in business, people are getting things all the time, and anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, it's just noise. But if the gift shows up just out of the blue and says, “Hey man, I was just thinking of you. Hey, I really appreciate the relationship, appreciate who you are.” Like that's thoughtful. That's like, “Wow.” That person, like in our day and age with Facebook, it reminds you, everything reminds you of birthdays and people have their Facebook page that they haven't heard from people in 20 years except on their birthday. It's become this like running joke. It's not impactful, whereas a gift shows up just out of the blue just because that's super important. The other big reason, the Sunday gift, and I do this a lot, if somebody gives me five minutes of their time, their time is their one asset that they can never get back. And you talk to Warren Buffett or anybody like, they're like, that's the thing they value the most.
[00:44:53] Everybody should value it the most. It's an asset that once it's gone, it's gone. Like you're never going to get those five minutes back. So if somebody takes the time to get coffee with me or like, I hate the word, pick your brain, by the way. Basically it says I want your time for free and I'm going to give you nothing of value. So I hate phrases like that that I basically asked for somebodies most valuable asset with nothing in return, but the time is their most valuable asset. So somebody gives me five minutes of their time, 50 minutes of their time. I'll send them a two, $300 gifts. And people like, that's insane. I'm like, if they're a busy CEO and they gave you 30 minutes of their time, what was their time worth? What was that 30 minutes worth to them? Just monetarily. And then they're like, “Oh, I don’t know, a few hundred dollars,” and I'm like, “No, it's probably a few thousand dollars.” So I still feel indebted to that person. They give me 30 minutes of their time, I send them a two, $300 gift. That sounds radical and crazy.
[00:45:47] But when you acknowledge somebody who has a lot of people pulling on their time and asking for their time for free. And it's one of the reasons why we love sending gifts ahead of time. If somebody wants to get access to somebody, it's basically taking Vaynerchuk's approach of being an attention broker and I'm pre-buying their attention. I'm basically saying, I know your time's valuable, I want to show you that I'm wanting to put my money where my mouth is. I'm willing to send you gifts ahead of time to show you that I value what you're doing and the value your time and I'm willing to put it up front to show you that. And I know that that doesn't earn me the right to get your time, but I'm willing to show that I'm different than almost everybody else that's asking for your time.
[00:46:26] So when you can give gifts and have them show up just out of the blue. For us, I'll send to my top 250 relationships. I'll send it four times a year, once a quarter. So it doesn't feel like the Chevy chase jelly of the month club. Like people are like, “Oh, I want to send a gift every month.” And I'm like, “That's trying too hard.” You're going about it the wrong way. Like, if you can afford to do it every month like that, like put it into other things. But something showing up in February for us, the next year I'm going to send it in in March. Otherwise the other person starts to feel like they're expecting the gift, whether it's an employee or a client. You start to give gifts out of obligation. And that's the reason that Christmas gifts are so bad as it's become, if nobody gave Christmas gifts, Christmas gifts would be an awesome gift. But everybody does it be out of guilt and out of tradition and out of obligation. And so it just becomes noise. Like most people's conference tables are ready to collapse from all the crap that they're getting.
[00:47:23] And so for us, the timing is, is one of those magic things that most people get wrong and you can get that part right. You can even give sometimes a crappy gift, but when it shows up just out of the blue and it's the only box that they opened that day, you might get lucky and actually like really impacts somebody b3cause they're like, “Wow, this gift isn't great, but at least they were thinking of me,” and it's the one thing that they open up that day.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:45] That's really funny. I can imagine that to be the case. I love the idea that timing is important and that you should try to not be in with all the other noise. In fact, I used to back in the day go through my Facebook connections and wish everyone a happy birthday, but I did so about a week prior or two days prior and I had a calendar set up to do this and I still do. I just don't do it with everyone. And I get an alarm 48 to 72 hours prior, which means I'm the first person to wish them a happy birthday. But it's not inappropriately early unless you're rushing, in which case you're not supposed to do it early for some reason, but you wish them happy birthday and it's great because people go, “Oh, it's a little early.” And I'm like, yeah, exactly. Because day of their Facebook, their inbox, all of the automated systems where they've put in their birthday for the last 20 years online, all of those are sending notifications and you can't cut through the noise. And then of course, it's like your birthday posts on your Facebook wall. So people start writing like, “Hey, happy birthday,” and all this stuff on the wall. And then you put your comment in there and it's like surprise. They never see it, right?
[00:48:53] So if you're the person that calls or sends a text 48 hours beforehand, you're first and you're sort of above the fold in terms of attention because it's not in their email inbox. It's not in their social media, it's on their phone, and that's not even a gift. But the timing concept holds up in that the ABC gifting, right? It's like, “Oh, I got a card here from Waikem Ford in Daly City. I've bought a car from them in 98 you know. Thanks. Merry Christmas. Hoping you are in yours have a great holiday season. I'm just like immediate recycle bin, right?
John Ruhlin: [00:49:31] Yeah, yeah. The timing matters, man. And that's smart to hit them up 48 hours. Yeah. Being first. Well it's like when you're raising money and like Gaignard are some, some of the guys talked about like you didn't want to be the biggest gift, that donation. You want to be the first one to jump in and say and make a donation or you want to be the last one to help them hit their goal. Everybody else, like they're appreciated. But as human beings, we can only focus on so many things. And so the timing, scheduling your timing properly and saying, “Hey, if I'm going to do this, make sure it actually makes an impact and matters.” And there's some people like, they just feel good about wishing happy birthday, but I mean you're in business like there's dollars and cents attached to it. Like do you want to be strategic? We only have a certain amount of time and so if you're going to take the time to do it, like that's brilliant to schedule the 48 hours ahead of time. I may steal that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:23] What about the budget for this? Because a lot of people are going, okay, I get it. Expensive, doesn't necessarily have to be expensive, but you're paying for impressions. Do you have kind of a rule of thumb, especially for businesses where they're like, “Oh I can't spend 10 grand on gifts,” or sure, how much do I spend? Do we try to while everyone, I mean, what's the rule of thumb here?
John Ruhlin: [00:50:41] Yeah. I don't care if you’re -- when I started this, I was selling knives exclusively, intern with Cutco, just trying to pay for med school and I invested my own dollar. So a lot of times people are like, well my company won't sponsor it. And I'm like, “Do you make a commission from sales?” And they're like, “Yeah.” And you can reinvest a percentage of your own money because if you're making money off the relationships and you're probably going to be at another company five years from now, do you want those people to still be in your network? They're like, yeah. And I'm like, well then invest in them like it's your own business. Treat it like you're an intrapreneur, because those relationships, if you're playing the long game, which everybody sexy to talk about, I'm like, then I don't care if you're a sales rep, I don't care if you're an employee, I don't care, whatever. Like anybody can do this principle with their key business relationships. Even if those relationships are only three people, maybe it's mentors or advisors. But our rule of thumb for any business is to reinvest somewhere between five and 15 percent of net profit from that relationship, and so we're five to 15 percent of the net of the business. So if you're a small business and you made a hundred grand last year, that means you could reinvest between five and $15,000 back into your relationships and sometimes people push back and I'm like, “That's a lot.” And I'm like, “You get to keep 85 to 95 percent of the profit.” They bought their own gifts basically, you're reinvesting money that you already made. It's a small amount to keep that person as a client or a relationship or as a referral partner or as a sponsor or whatever it is. You hopefully, if you reinvest back into them, guess what happens when you love on people? They reciprocate and that relationship grows. So your sales grow typically, and the sexy part is people will say, “John, how many sales reps do you have?” You have like 50 sales reps? And I'm like, “No, I have about a thousand.” So like “You have a thousand sales rep.” And I'm like, “Yep.” I take all of my clients and treat them so well. CEOs of billion dollar companies, I love on them so well. I inspire them to be actively loyal and go advocate on my behalf and they're like, “Really does that work?” And I'm like, “Well, let's put it this way.” I have one client, the Cleveland Indians, I loved on them for about six years and in one day they referred me personally one on one to 38 other teams.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:51] Wow.
John Ruhlin: [00:52:51] In one day. Most people will give a gift or two and say, I doesn't work. I'm like, how many of you are willing to play the long game and invest in relationships, a percentage of your profits? And I say take out like whether you're a giver, you're thoughtful, you're somebody that you consider yourself a good person. Like casinos invest 20 percent of revenue back into their high rollers and into their whales, not of profits, of revenue. So you're talking like they are willing to invest. If it's a $1 million client, they'll reinvest 200 grand because they know if they don't reinvest in that relationship, where are they going? They're going right down the street to another casino. They're going somewhere else.
[00:53:33] So if a casino and they're like in the business of what? Printing money. They want to make a lot of money. If a casino understands that you reinvest back into your relationships, 20 percent of revenue. I found that out. I was shocked. I was like, “I'm actually low balling it at the five to 15 percent of net. We do 20 percent of that. That's our rule. And I'm like, the reason we can get access to the people that we do and like a farm boy can get the Chicago Cubs, his clients is 18 years of doing this for companies. Like we've learned, you oftentimes you can't outspend when it comes to relationships, there are times that you're like, “Man, that's a lot of money.” But then three years later like, “Wow, I'm so glad I did that. I'm so glad I invest in those relationships. I'm so glad I invested in those employees because you start to bear fruit and reap the rewards of doing so.” But that five to 15 percent numbers is kind of our rule of thumb.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:25] Funny about this, I just have a memory that's so sticky for bad gift experiences, which probably illustrate some point here that it's like better to not do it than to do it poorly. But I remember watching this a Louis Theroux documentary, if you know who that is, and he was doing some kind of special about gambling and he interviewed this guy and the guy was, but he was some mattress mogul from Canada if memory serves and he's shoveling 50 or a 100 dollar bills into these dumb gambling machines. And he's like, “Are you even having fun right now?” And the guy's like, eh, it's all right. Whatever. He just clearly got some sort of issue where he's spending like $1 million at this casino, and they filmed this little throwaway B roll segment of him talking with the concierge of the casino where he is. And they're like, he's like, “Hey, am I going to get some, gifts or what?” My wife wants to go shopping. And the concierge was like, “Yeah, I'll get you something tomorrow.” And the guy's like, “Well, hurry up. She's getting bored.” And then the next day comes by and he's like, “Where's the stuff? She's really bored. She's running around on her own and she wants to some sort of spa stuff for whatever or some stuff.” And they're like, “Oh, we'll get it tomorrow.” And I'm thinking, “Ooh, this is not good.” Like this guy has probably already spent 20 grand a day in the past two days or more, I don't know what's going on. And then on day three, they're filming him and they show the concierge come up and go, “Here's a $600 gift certificate to Coach.” The Coach store for the handbags or whatever in the casino. And he goes, “That's it. Are you kidding me?” And he was super pissed and he was on camera. So they embarrassed him and they basically said, “Yeah, we're not investing in you at all.” And they did it in a way that was super public and they didn't probably be think much about this when they were filming it. But now it really struck me as they would have been better off not giving him anything than being like, here's what something that you consider to be a cheap gift certificate and it's embarrassing you on camera while you're doing this documentary about gambling, about you.
John Ruhlin: [00:56:31] It’s like a triple whammy, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:32] It's just a gut punch, you know, because he's like, I've spent so much money here and they gave me a $600 coupon to some purse store.
John Ruhlin: [00:56:41] Yeah, it happens. It doesn't usually happen on camera. So most people don't get a chance to see the impact of it. But I mean, I've seen casinos go and get three, four or $500,000 car custom made, flown over to Macau or China or some of the places where some of the guys that love gambling and the roll in and as a whale and then a couple million dollars a night is on the table, but rather than just, “Hey, go pick out a car.” It's like they went and made it custom personalized to that person and they understood, the host understood the importance of not just doing the gift but flying it over and delivering it to them and being there in person and took days, even weeks out of his time. But when you're dealing with your most important relationships, like people -- it sounds like a lot of money until that person goes away. And then you look at your year and you're like, “Man, I thought we were going to have a better year. What happened?” And like, “Oh, we lost those three accounts that were worth a quarter million dollars,” and like, “Wow, I guess the gifts and the love and the appreciating those people that that five to 15 percent looks really, really small when those people go away or when you lose a key employee. And they go down the street and they start selling for somebody else or whatever else and you're like, there's a vacuum created. Most people don't understand. And then they wait until it's too late and then like, “Gosh, we should have done something.” But in the moment it seemed like a lot of money until you lose it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:12] That's a good point. That's an interesting job. Can you imagine working for a casino or a company and your job is to think of amazing stuff to get for people and then you've got to travel to Hong Kong to show up with the gift.
John Ruhlin: [00:58:26] Yeah, we've done some pretty crazy radical gifts, but I haven't had to fly to Hong Kong or Macau yet to deliver any half a million dollar Ferrari's or anything. But yeah, I mean those guys that are in Vegas or Macau, when there's millions of dollars on the line, they're willing to do dang near anything to keep the person excited and happy and coming back and yeah, it'd be a wild job. No question.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:57] You've got this $100 Giftology Challenge. I'd love to leave us with this because I think this is kind of, this sounds really fun. I kind of want to do it because it sounds like something that would make me feel really good and possibly also illustrate some of the benefits of what we've been talking about today.
John Ruhlin: [00:59:13] Yeah. So I have a mentor and I think he learned it from, there's a guy in Kansas city who, he doesn't show his face, but he goes around with $100,000 of a $100 bills and just find random people at gas stations and it had department stores and grocery stores and just hand them a $100 bill or a stack, a $100 bills, and just basically play Santa Claus for that month. It's like a secret Santa. And my mentor said, “Man, I don't have a $100,000 necessarily to pass that every Christmas, but I'm going to start doing this to other people. And he inspired me to start doing it and I know a number of other people. And so I've actually -- it's just such a cool thing, but you basically get a crisp a $100 bill, which it's 100 bucks is still a 100 bucks. But a lot of times, you got to a club or whatever else and you buy drinks and you spent $100, you don't even think twice about it, but you keep $100 bill in your pocket, a crisp a $100 bill and you go find somebody that you have no connection to. So it's not somebody that can do a favor for you. It's a friend or family member.
[01:00:13] You go find a janitor, a person at the gas station person that you just feel like, “Hey, I just feel called like this person needs a little, pick me up, a little love, a little giftology. And you hand them the a $100, and you just basically say, “Hey, you're loved.” I felt like I wanted to give this to and see the response and walk off. I've done it to janitors. I've done to people at gas stations, and people, I mean, they're flabbergasted. But what I love about it is, all of us, I feel like we have a gratitude muscle. We all, a lot of people that are listening to your show, like maybe they're a sales rep or their startup or their business or whatever it is. Like we all could be doing better. We all are striving for more, but at the same time, we've all been given a lot, we all been gifted in different ways a lot. And what's interesting is when you start to take the focus off of yourself and you start to say like, you're willing to pour into other people and love other people, whether you're a person of faith or believe in God or not. I think that just the way the universe is wired that when you start loving on people and take the focus off yourself, like there's good things that start to come from that. You start to realize that like there's a lot of people out there that are worse off than you and that you've been given a lot. And it almost becomes for me and I've seen other people, it becomes addictive, like where you get excited and inspired to do more and you show up differently in your relationships.
[01:01:39] And so I think working that gratitude muscle and putting yourself out there and being willing to $100 a month, that's $1,200 a year. It's not a small amount of money, so maybe it hurts a little bit, but it's not so much that it's going to put you under. But I challenged people to do that for 12 months and come back to me and say it wasn't worth it. Most people end up saying, I'm going to do more. I'm going to do more gifts. I'm going to write more handwritten notes. I'm going to put more. I'm going to love on more people and take that more seriously and be more intentional with it versus just being a taker and waiting for people to give to me. I'm going to go out there and pour into other people and see what happens.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:15] And it doesn't count if you put it on YouTube, but while you do it, right?
John Ruhlin: [01:02:18] Yeah. I don't think it needs to be recorded. I mean I think just doing it anonymously is probably the best way to do it.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:29] Yeah. Because of course there's a part of me that's like, Oh that would make a really good video. And then it's like, that's not quite the point of what we're doing here, Jordan.
John Ruhlin: [01:02:36] Yeah, I think maybe that there's a ripple effect and inspires other people, but I think it kind of ruins it for yourself.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:44] Yeah, yeah. I think also it's a little bit self-serving. Look at me helping these poor people, because I'm imagining you giving it to a janitor and having them be like, “I don't need your money, dude. I have a job. Go fly a kite, man. Get out of my face.”
John Ruhlin: [01:03:00] I think if you present it the right way of saying, “Hey man, I respect what you're doing and I want to acknowledge the fact of the amount of people that you're serving and I feel called that you're supposed to have this. And I think, yeah, if you go up to somebody and treat them like a sympathy case, but I think most people that are out there, they're so shocked by it. They're so shocked by the generosity. They're so shocked by the a $100 bill, and what's cool, if you've ever read the book, The Shack, it's sold like 10 or 20 million copies. That book, the reason they got published, the guy wrote that to teach God to his kids. He had like eight kids. Somebody left five $20 bills in his mailbox randomly when he didn't have 2 cents to rub together. And it gave him enough money to go buy milk, bread, fill up his car with gas and he went to office max and printed eight copies of the book for his kids for Christmas, and one of his buddies ended up getting a hold of the book and seen it, and was so inspired by it, that they took it to a publisher, I think a self-published place and printed so many copies and cover the costs. And it was a self-published book, but it's literally like there's a movie made about it now and it's gone worldwide, like 10, 20 million copies of this book. It came from $100.
[01:04:13] It's cool to see -- now oftentimes when you do something like that, you don't necessarily get to see what that $100 turns into or that person's having a bad day. I mean, think about the times where you get the note or the text or the phone call or something that like, “Man, you're in a dark place or a bad place.” I know I've been in places before where something happened that that sparked something in me that said, “Hey, the world's not as bad as I think it is right now or I'm not in a bad place as I feel.” And so I think yet more and more people out there looking for opportunities to just bless and love on people. Like good things are going to happen.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:48] John, thank you very much, man. Where can people find more from what you're doing? Of course, we'll link to all that in the show notes as well.
John Ruhlin: [01:04:54] Yeah, as well. I think we kind of alluded to the question I get most often is John, like tell me the worst gifts to avoid giving. Can you give me like bumpers? Like if I'm bowling, like I don't want to go in the gutter. Can I give something to my assistant or my team to just avoid giving like the crappy gifts and then I'll be better off? And so we created a white paper that whether a client is doing a half a million in revenue or they're doing 500 million in revenue, we walk them through the 10 worst gifts to avoid giving. If you want to generate referrals, if you want to impact people, and it gives a little explanation, it's just a one pager. But if they then go to thegiversedge.com, thegiversedge.com and download that for free. And we also send some of our best articles and tips and kind of tricks and behind the scenes of what we do and how we do it. It’s all free resource, for your listeners, but that's a great place to start. They can also, if they get inspired, want to go buy the book on Amazon, it's like six different versions on Amazon, but take the free resources and run, and then if you get inspired and want to buy a copy of Giftology, our entire playbook is in that book.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:58] John, thank you very much my friend.
John Ruhlin: [01:05:59] Hey, thanks for having Jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:01] Great. Big thank you to John Ruhlin for today. If you want to know how I managed to book all these great guests and manage my network well, I'm not just gifting, not yet anyway. I'm going to definitely start that practice. I've been doing a little bit of it, but he of course is the master. Check out our Six-Minute Networking course which is free. That's over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Maybe that's a gift for everyone, right? I know you think you're going to do it later, but do it now. You can't make up for lost time when it comes to relationships. Dig that well before you get thirtsy. Once you need those relationships, you are simply too late. Look, four minutes a day you can do it. I wish I knew this stuff 10 years ago. It is definitely just been crucial to everything we've built here with The Jordan Harbinger Show. You can find that at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[01:06:44] Speaking of building relationships, tell me your number one takeaway here from John Ruhlin. I'm @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. This show is produced in association with PodcastOne, and this episode was co-produced by Jason “No Refunds, No Exchanges” DeFilippo and Jen Harbinger. Show notes and worksheets are by Robert Fogarty. And I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. The fee for the show is you share it with friends when you find something useful, which should be in every episode I hope. So please share the show with those you love and even those you don't. They've got a lot more. We're very excited for some upcoming shows here. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[01:07:23]By the way, a lot of people have asked me about social skills coaching. Some of the stuff I use to do, some dating stuff, some of them more sort of social geared, verbal and nonverbal communication. I actually, one of my buddies I've known for a long time, he is the best in the game for this period, hands down. So if you're interested in the social skills coaching or if the people are still looking for dating help, especially guys, I can refer you. Just email me, firstname.lastname@example.org. He's down in Austin. He can travel, you can travel to him. He is the best. I've never seen results honestly like this. So if you're interested in that, because a lot of people do email me about this, I'm happy to refer you. So if you are still on the hunt for that, email@example.com, and I'll get you an intro.
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