Ep 82: Unlock Loyalty and Strengthen Your Network with John Ruhlin, the Guru of Giftology

Relationships are the bedrock for most businesses. John Ruhlin, today’s guest, is a speaker, author, and master of giftology, a marketing strategy that solidifies your relationships and builds stronger networks. There are few better pitches for the power of giving gifts than John’s own journey. From Ohio farm boy to becoming the top performer for one of the world’s most recognized brands — John’s success has been propelled by the power of radical generosity. We discuss the ins-and-outs of giftology as a strategy that increases customer loyalty and referrals.

John explains why the essence of gift-giving is about honoring relationships and why gifting should never be transactional. John then brings up some personal examples to show that gifting is a long-term investment that can pay off decades later. And, when it does pay off, the results can be an exponential return on investment. John also shows how the devil can be in the details and that the thoughtfulness and timing of your gift is as important as the act of gifting itself. This is a valuable episode for those interested in discovering a unique form of marketing — one that directly nurtures your key business relationships, all through the act of giving.

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LISTEN TO THE EPISODE BELOW:

KEY POINTS FROM THIS EPISODE:

  • Why relationships are important to the success and failure of most businesses.  
  • How showing gratitude can make you stand-out, and drive referrals.  
  • Giftology as a systematic, long-term marketing process that also honors relationships.   
  • Rory shares a story about John throwing a party — and how it built memorable relationships. 
  • Investing in relationships opens up opportunities that John calls ‘return on relationships’.  
  • While it may take decades to get a return on a relationship, the results can be exponential.  
  • The importance of giving non-transactional gifts without creating expectations. 
  • Strategies can be applied regarding amounts to spend and who to target with gifts.  
  • How repeatedly investing in your relationships builds trust.  
  • Why timing is important when gifting and the effectiveness of ‘planned randomness’. 
  • Reasons to gift; just because or as thanks for someone giving you their time. 
  • How developing relationships with your competitors can turn them into your sales rep.  
  • See organizations as an ‘inner-circle’ — gift the CEO as well as their assistant.  
  • Using a percent of your net profit as a gift budget and revealing thoughtfulness by the details in your gift.  
  • Why giftology is hard work and can’t be automated.

TWEETABLES:

Everyone cares about relationships. Every business, every brand rises and falls on relationships with clients, employers, partners, you name it.” — @ruhlin [0:03:19] 

“If you do nice things for people, people want to reciprocate.” — @ruhlin [0:14:56] 

“Most people will consider themselves as a relationship person and not as a transactional person.” — @ruhlin [0:17:58] 

“You’re never going to send something to a high-level person that they can’t buy themselves. It’s not about the item. It’s about the thoughtfulness that goes into it.” — @ruhlin [0:30:38]

About John Ruhlin

John Ruhlin is the founder and CEO of the Ruhlin Group, a firm that specializes in high-level gifting plans to build relationships and acquire new clients. Ruhlin is a sought-after speaker on the topics of C-level selling, relationship development, and strategic gifting. He is also the co-author of the best-selling book, “Cutting Edge Sales.”

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

RV: (00:01) John Ruhlin is one of my favorite dudes. He’s one of my favorite guys. I would like a real life friend. And there’s several things that I love about John, which I’ll tell you about. So I’ll give you the officials first. So he’s the founder and the author of Giftology. He’s been featured in tons of major news outlets, Fox news, Forbes, fast company, and he is also the, the number one performer historically all time out over one and a half million sales reps for one of the world’s most recognizable brands and direct sales companies. And you’ll hear, you’ll hear a little bit about that as we talk. And so he speaks at big corporate events really about customer loyalty, about referrals without asking about just kind of like creating connections and relationships and trust. And the reason I’ve asked him to come talk about it is one because his expertise is really brilliant and it’s unique and it’s very different from something you would hear someone talk about. But the other thing is homeboy drinks his own Koolaid and he has built a massive personal brand and continues to be like this rising star, I think among influencers because he does what he actually teaches people to do, which is always like my number one litmus test. And so anyways, John, welcome to the influential personal brand podcast. JR: (01:31) Rory, thanks for having me, man. I wish we were hanging out in your place in in Tennessee, but this is the second best right now. RV: (01:38) Totally, totally. So yeah, tell, tell me first of all, what is Giftology? All right, so let’s start, let’s start there with like your normal expertise and, and, and why does it matter? And, and then we’ll talk about how do we incorporate this as a part of our strategy to building, you know, an influential brand. JR: (01:58) Yeah. Well people necessarily care about gifting like nobody, like wakes up in the morning and says, man, I gotta become a better gift or, but everybody cares about relationships. Everybody, every business rises and falls. Every brand rises and falls on relationships with clients and employees, partners, joint venture event planners. You name it. And most people, if they’re honest with themselves, they suck at showing gratitude and appreciation and a very meaningful way to those important people, whether it’s at home to your significant other. Most people just aren’t very good at that. And so the core of Giftology is really just a systematic marketing process. Makes it sound very calculated. But there are, it’s a recipe on how to stand out, be memorable. So if you want to drive access with people, if you want to drive referrals, there is a formula to it that’s been really followed for thousands of years. And I think in our transactional Western culture, we forgot what those triggers are, what those things are. And, and you know, there’s been a lot of people that have done studies on it, Robert Cialdini with influence and we’re just tapping into the psychology of things and do it in a way that’s not manipulative that in a way that really honors relationships and plays relationships for everybody says they play the long game, but most people it’s days and we play the relationship game for decades. RV: (03:16) Yeah. And so just to jump right in on this, like to give people a real life example of how serious you are about this. Hopefully you don’t mind me sharing. And if you do, I’m going to share it anyways. You, you, you, you’re a brand builders group clients. So we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re proud to have had opportunity to team up with you cause we believe in you. But the thing that you did that nobody has ever done or asked to do since you was, you, you know, you came to our house, you were one of our early clients and you know, we are doing stuff here, you know, in the, in the, in the work room at Vaden Villa and you threw a party. You were like, Hey, can I throw a party while I’m at your house? And so you invited, you invited. RV: (04:00) So, so tell people about this party and tell like, I’m convinced that you spent, you had to have spent more on the party than you spent with us, or close like close to it for a one night party as you did on the actual strategy. And now what I realize is you weren’t really interested in our strategy. You were really just trying to rent our house. And I got two for one deal out of it, but now I understand. So like tell us, tell us like, just as that night as an example, you know, I was just, it was so powerful to me. JR: (04:36) Yeah, well I think that there’s so much noise right there and, and, and a lot of times people will, you know, they do the same dinners, ball games, rounds of golf, like everybody re builds relationships the same way. And for us, like I would rather do a once in a lifetime experience for a group of five people than to do a mediocre experience for 5,000 people. And that’s what most people do. But they, they, they’re like, Hey, we throw a big party. The more the merrier. And it’s like mid tier, you know, wine, mid tier alcohol, low tier food, you know, like trinkets and, you know, a low tier band. And, and so when I was, I was like, man, I’m going to be with you. There’s a lot of, you know, this is kind of like the Nashville mafia and your area, like all these great influencers and people that are either friends or people that I would love to hang out with. Not with an agenda just to hang out with. And even people outside, they’re just looking for an excuse to to hang out in Nashville. And I wanted to connect them to you cause I wanted to, RV: (05:32) Yeah, we got great relationships out of it. I mean there were really awesome people there. JR: (05:37) Yeah. So most people would have their dinner at Morton’s or someplace like that and you know, they’re like, Oh, $150 a ahead. And I’m like, what if I’m going to throw an event? I want it to be something that people are talking about a decade later. Cause now like the story starts to transfer. Like if you want to become known, you have to do a once in a lifetime or I call it like a love bomb. Like something that’s like, it has RV: (05:57) Love bomb. JR: (05:59) Yeah. Like most people that shoot bullets, like I want to shoot, I want to, I want it to be an atomic bomb. And, and I was like, you have a beautiful house. What can we do that would be amazing. I’m like, everybody loves wine. And one of my friends is the first master SAMO yay ever in the U S there’s only like 220 of these guys globally. And it’s harder to get this certification than it is to become a doctor and a lawyer together. [inaudible] It’s crazy. And so Eddie Australis teaches people how to use food and wine as a competitive advantage. He calls it power entertainer. That’s what his book is. And to get them to come in and speak normally, like American express will pay 25 grand for him to come in and orchestrate a food and wine experience. And then that’s on top of the wine that you need to have that’s unique and the food that needs to pair with it. JR: (06:42) And so I’m like, Eddie is a good friend. I’ve opened up a bunch of doors for him. He’s a client. And and so we flew Eddie out to your house. We coordinated with the top caterer. We had Eddie reach out to his wholesale wine relationships to get some wine that nobody else would have access to. And because of that, Tucker max and guys from Texas and other places said I want to, I’ll fly in just for 24 hours Mark Tim just to hang out and be a part of this, this gathering. And so rather than opening it up for 200 people and have it just be okay, it was like what 22 people you know in the house. Like it was a very small group of people. But I would rather my, here’s my thing, I’d rather spend 20,000 hours on one relationship that is like a Cameron Harold who you know is literally like hit the 20 grand I’ve invested in him, which sounds crazy. Over 10 years that’s not at one time has turned into seven figures. So it was a 50 X ROI. People are ER, like brag about their three X ROI on Facebook, which is fine on ads. But I’m like the return on relationship. If you’re willing to do it the right way, played the long game for decades and do it with no strings attached. So there’s no manipulation. Like Jeff [inaudible] asked me afterwards, he’s like, dude, RV: (07:53) You didn’t ask me. There’s no pitch. You just did that just because you didn’t, you didn’t haven’t said this. And I just want to make sure people don’t understand. So first of all, RV: (08:01) Okay, so is that our house, which you didn’t have to rent, but you did pay us, you know, our normal handsome fee for private strategy session. So again, it was either rental free and it was worth it. And you flew this us, this master Somali AAN from catwalk, California bought all this wine, which was crazy, like amazing wine paid for this, you know, incredible like caterer, like all this like great food renting ch tables and chairs, like renting all the stuff and people to come and clean up and all this. And you didn’t see, nobody got charged. You didn’t like this was just a handful of people that you invited and no, you didn’t ask anyone to share. There wasn’t like pass a basket. There wasn’t like, Hey, can you have me on my podcast? You’re just going like, when I want people to really grasp what’s here. RV: (08:55) Cause it was like 20 grand. Is that, I mean it was maybe 10 grand. I mean it was, it was probably, it was at least five grand, probably 10, maybe even more than that. It was more than half. Yeah. So Mmm. And, and it wasn’t like, Hey, who can I be on their podcast or how, it was just like dinner. It was a love bomb. There was not, there wasn’t even, people didn’t even know who you were. Like some of the people didn’t even know you were the one throwing the party. There were people I invited and they thought I threw the party, which was awesome. And I was like, yeah, we, we, we spent, we spent for you, but so it is the thing that blows my mind is to go like, it’s one thing to go, yeah, you should do this. But to witness it with my own eyes of like, you going, this is like a big swing for the fence, but yet you’re not actually swinging. There’s no ask. It was like, it wasn’t like, Hey, I’ve got a business opportunity for y’all. It was just loving and friends and people flew in for it. It was nuts. Yeah. That was how I met Tucker max. I never met him. I mean there were some people there that were incredible. JR: (10:05) Yeah, well I think that’s the thing. I think in general, everybody says their first class best in class, world-class. Everybody says they’re, you know, they’re a plus this or their, their, you know, their bestseller of that. And I think that, you know, look, look at your calendar and look at your pocketbook and they’ll tell you what your priorities are. And you know, for us, you know, we make it, you know, like if you’re a person of faith, you reinvest 10% you know, as a tied back into your faith, into the church because that’s what God has called us to do, to multiply and to trust him. And, and I think that for me, like you should be doing that with your relationship. You should be reinvesting a percentage of your profits because if you’re not, you’re not reinvesting back into the people that allowed you to have a business. JR: (10:46) We’re a opportunity anyway. And that’s just silly. Like why would you not take 10% of your profits to reinvest back into clients and employees and partners and to keep them as a relationship to grow them. And hopefully the secret sauce is, is that I’ve done this with enough people, people like John, how many sales reps do you have? And I’m like, I have thousands. And they’re like, how do you afford thousands of sales reps? And I’m like, well, I take a percentage of my profits. I reinvest them back into guys like you or Cameron Harold or other guys that I couldn’t, I couldn’t afford you as a sales rep for a million dollars. And yet with being strategic, with my generosity and my gratitude and being thoughtful with it and doing it the right way, I get a thousand X ROI over time on the backend because I have people like you and others that I could never afford advocating for me in the corners of the world I would never get access to. And that’s, you know, we’ve been doing that for 20 years. I started when I was 20, I just turned 40 last month. And the people like, where did you come from? Like your overnight success. And I’m like, dude, I’ve been, yeah, I’ve been modeling this for 20 years and now some of the seeds I planted a decade ago are fruit. RV: (11:54) Yeah. I mean you were just on this virtual summit with Sarah Blakely and Dean Grasiozi and Daymond John that Pete Vargas put on and it’s like your face is right there with like all of these incredible people and it’s just awesome. It’s that concept. Return on relationship is such a, it’s such a cool idea. But yeah, like talk to me about the manipulation factor cause it’s, it’s like I really liked the power of that, but it also, not to misconstrue what you’re saying, you’re not actually measuring it. You’re not actually tracking the referrals that come from somebody. You’re, you’re not, you know, it’s not like a Facebook ad where you’re actually going, yeah. How many leads came directly from this ad or that ad? This is like by faith. JR: (12:48) Yes. Yeah. Well there is strategy to it. What I would say is that I will you find out over time who’s a giver? Who’s a taker, who’s a Matrixx. So Adam Grant’s concept of there’s givers, takers and matchers. I tend to surround myself with guys like John Hall and you and John Rampton and Bob Glazer and Pete Vargas, guys that are givers. Because I don’t have to keep like those types of people. I call it the light, the out-give effect. Like everybody’s trying to one up each other. But with generosity and when you hang out and surround yourself with and pour most of your generosity into others that you know, or whether they pay it back to you or they pay it forward, you know, like there’s going to be a positive ripple effect from that. And so I do think that there are times where I’m like, you give a few times, you’re like, gosh, that person’s yeah taking and they’re not generous and they’re kind of a douchebag. I will pull back in certain areas because I’m not tracking referrals, but I’m seeing well who they are as a person. I’m seeing what they’re up to. I’m seeing how they’re resigned to people. And so it’s not that you’re just like shooting shotguns of Willy nilly. Like we invited, you know, 22 people to your house. RV: (14:00) Yeah. You’re not going to the bar and man like drinks for everybody. Hey, come on over you. JR: (14:05) You know, you’ve got a boss. So there is thought put into it. But the thing is is that you’re not like when you put strings attached or you have expectations after that that somebody better have you on the show or better do this or do that. Like I think Robert Cialdini has proven it with enough research over 30 years that if you do nice things for people, like God’s woven it into our DNA to want to reciprocate. Now sometimes that plays out. Now, sometimes they’re in a position of power or timing a decade from now and you don’t know how that’s gonna play out. My original mentor, Paul, who is like this Rainmaker of an attorney, he was incredible because he like, he did this for 40 years. I saw him when he was 60 and I’m like, I want to be him when I’m 60 and he just did things naturally because that’s who he was. JR: (14:49) And as a poor farm kid was like, I want to be Paul when I’m 60 and I’m 20 at the time. So I got 40 years to get there. And so there is strategy to it. It’s not, you know, their strategy on the amount. They’re reinvesting in their strategy and who you’re, you know, who you’re targeting. But the, the, the kicker, the most people ruined it is with expectation and trying to give and then get give and then immediately ask and Vaynerchuck’s talked about it for decades. You know, it’s, it’s jab, jab, jab, right hook. It’s not jab, right hook. It’s, it’s give over and over again. Maybe you earn the right to ask after you’ve done it over and over and over again. But most people, they, they, they shortchange themselves and ruin the relationship by asking too quickly or, or with expectations. RV: (15:38) I want to talk about time of when to give actually. Because I think this is one of the things that you know, like you’ve taken this concept and built a whole career out of it. The book is like the book, the concepts, your keynote is fantastic, right? You’re, you’re, I always joke on this show that you’re one of the people I actually referred it to to clients and stuff and tell people, Hey, you should, because it’s really, really quality. Like of just your story. One of the things that jumps out to me is the concept of when to gift. And you really opened my eyes to this. And so can you talk about like when’s the raw, I mean, call it the wrong time or just like when, when do you recommend gifting and when do you not? JR: (16:26) Yeah, so when we walk people through our process and step-by-step, most people want to start with what they’re giving. And that’s like the seventh step in the process. Timing. Timing is just as important, if not more important than what you’re giving. And so most people, their whole focus is on what’s cool and sexy. And why I tell people is, you know, the timing, it has to be no ABC gifting. So no anniversaries, no birthdays, no Christmas. And really what that means is you’re not giving gifts out of obligation or expectation. So if you take your wife, for example, if you only did gifts on AOL Valentine’s day anniversary, you know, birthday, Christmas, like those are table stakes. Like that’s just gets you an even. RV: (17:06) Yeah, that’s what you do to not get fired for your marriage. You’re not getting promoted. That’s what you’re doing to not get fired. Exactly. JR: (17:16) So with clients or referral centers or joint venture partners, like most people, it’s like, Hey, I have a, I have a launch coming up. I better send a gift a week before that’s, that’s a tit for tat. Oh, I just closed a big deal. I better give a gift. Well, they give you a million dollars, here’s your $250 Starbucks gift card. Like it feels very transactional. And most people, if they’re honest with themselves, they consider themselves a relationship person. Not a transactional person. But most of the gifting that they do is, it’s Christmas, I need to send a gift. So I tell people it should be planned. Randomness. You should send gifts for two reasons. One is just because in wa when you do that, you set, you pick a time like you know the middle of July and you send out gifts to your top, say 20 relationships or top 200 relationships because you didn’t tie it to any sort of transaction or deal or trigger. JR: (18:02) You send it just because the other person. That’s how people are like, Johnny, you send all these knives. How do people not like, how does it not get old? And I’m like, well, when I, our clients send out knives to people, it’s not tied to Christmas or holiday or birthday. It’s sent out. Hey, I was just thinking of you. We’d love to carve out some time to be with you, blah, blah blah. So the person who receives it, even though there might be 200 of the same gift that went out, the person who gets it, it’s like, I can’t believe Roy was thinking about me. And it’s so there’s a, the timing makes it a surprise and delight. And so we, when we walk people through our process and lay out a plan, a relationship plan, everybody has a financial plan, a marketing plan, a health plan, an eating plan, workout plan. JR: (18:40) Nobody has a relationship plan. One of the things is I’m like, here, you need to have one to four times a year that the other person you’re sending the gift to is never that expecting it. And you’re not asking them for anything. You’re just sending it out as just because the only other time I’ll say that a gift makes sense is that asset. And the commodity that we’ll never get back is when you take somebody’s time. Like that’s the most precious asset. And yet most people were like, I want to pick your brain. Hey, I want to do this. I wanna do that. It’s like you want to waste my time and I, and that could be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars an hour. So if somebody gives me five minutes of their time, I’ll send them sometimes a $500 gifts and the other person, even a billionaire, I’ve had billionaires reach back out and say, John, your note, your thoughtful note and your gift after you, I gave you five minutes was nicer than what some of my relationships that I do $10 million deals with has ever sent me. JR: (19:30) And now guess whose phone call they will take six months, six years from now? Mine because I appreciated their time, their most valuable asset that most people waste. So the timing of surprising and delighting people. Like when we did the thing at your house, it wasn’t Christmas, it wasn’t our anniversary, it was theirs. I’m in town, I’m with my buddy, Rory. Let’s do something fun. Like it wasn’t tied to anything other than let’s do something cool. Let’s be generous. I’m grateful that Roy is pouring into my team. We’re all together. Why? Why don’t we celebrate? And I think that’s where people are like, Hey, I gotta wait till a 50th anniversary before I throw a party, before I got to wait until somebody leaves my company after 20 years to throw a party. Think that’s so old school and idiotic. It makes no sense. Like let’s, let’s be more proactive and find reasons out of the blue to love on people. And that’s where people are like, I can’t believe you did that. Yeah. That is wild. That, that, that is, that that is the part. And it’s like the timing is a lot of times it’s like whether it’s a $5 gift or a $5,000 gift like Mary Kay used to have, you know, my mom sold Mary Kay and they used to have this saying they were like a $5 gift but a $50. And RV: (20:48) They would say that as just like, it was a $5 gas card, but they would present it in this bag with like glitter on it and stand in front of the room and it made people feel special. It was like, it’s all about making them feel appreciated. Like you’re saying. So how do you use this as like a business? Like you’re using this to get keynotes or only as thank you gifts, like in a business setting, what are you doing? You know? Yeah. Like how does this, how does this play out in a, like you’re trying to get clients or you know, when clients are JR: (21:24) Whatever. Yeah. So, so we have clients of all sizes and shapes and we have half a million dollar authors, you know, too fortune 500 companies. But at the end of the day, people, you know, when we spoke at Google, they’re like, John does this work in technology? And I laughed. I’m like, are there human beings here? And they’re like, well, yeah. And I’m like, well then it works. I don’t care if you’re a solopreneur that you did a hundred grand last year or whether you’re Google, like if it involves human beings, it works. So, so one of the things that we take all of our clients, whether it’s professional service firms, financial advisors, speakers, ma, you know, widget manufacturers, I’m like, let’s do a 360 degree view of all of your relationships, your suppliers, your clients, your joint venture partners, your investors, your mentors, your board of directors, anybody that has allows you to either have a business or that you need to build a relationship with in order to grow your business. JR: (22:16) So from a speaking perspective, most people when they get hired to do a keynote, you know, seven years ago I was begging to speak for free and we just did a deal in and Australia with books and travel was an 85,000 our keynote. So seven years, we went from free too with guys like you pouring into us and understanding things. But part of that reason that that happened was I built relationships and poured into I gift other speakers I love on other speakers and people like, aren’t those your competitors? I’m like, no. Those are other people that are interacting with amazing stages. And if I do a great job and I love on those people and they bring me up in conversation, they become a sales rep for me. They have their tight, tight relationship. The other people that we’ve done gifts for for a long time, most people are like all of the CEO of the company that I’m speaking for. I got to send him or her a gift and I spend as much, if not more on the assistant and the event planner. I call it the inner circle. Why? Because the event planner oftentimes gets only the accredit if the event goes bad, you know, it’s oftentimes a person who is working their butt off and yeah, RV: (23:22) Yeah. They’re the one doing all the work they’re actually doing. So, so JR: (23:27) The event I speak on, I do these I surprised the event planner with this thousand dollar mug, like a thousand dollars per mug. I’m like, it tells, it’s, it’s, it’s like tells a person’s whole life story. And I just gave one to a group called forum 400, which is like all these top insurance brokers and I gave it to the event planner. I’d never met her before, but I heard she was amazing person, person of faith, and did the research to find out about her. And from the stage I gave her this mug and her name is Amy and she came up, I ugly crying in front of everybody, gave me a hug and I didn’t realize she actually works for an association management company and they literally represent a thousand associations and she’s become my biggest cheerleader and advocate because she was so blown away by how I treat her now. JR: (24:10) I didn’t ask for anything. I didn’t even know she worked for an association management company. I just knew she was working her butt off for this group and I thought she was employed by the group. And so what I would say is that if you can take an inventory of all the people that are important to you and then go out another layer deeper into their inner circle, you know, I started out when I was in college investing $500 a month in gifting and that was a lot for a college kid at 20. That’s six grand a year. This year our gifting budget will approach 600,000 for the year personally, RV: (24:42) 80%. I think we should throw a half million dollar party at Vaden Villa. If that’s the budget. Do I have a half million dollar party at Vaden Villa? Just putting that out there. Rounding error leave a hundred grand. 500 grand for JR: (24:57) Yeah, we could do a, yeah, I mean we could do a heck of a bash there. RV: (25:00) We got to get past that JR: (25:01) [Inaudible] 19 though because we yeah, we got to have bunch of people. Yeah. I’m, I’m not, I’m not afraid to push the envelope there, but we, that’s another conversation. So, so, so what I’d say what I’d say is 80% of of your relationship building budget or your marketing budget, your business debt budget. Think about the people that are important to you through review though more important than what you’re giving. So identify those people and then who’s their spouse? Who’s their assistant or chief of staff? Who’s the event planner? Who are the kids who are pets? Yeah. That’s okay. That’s where when people are like, dude, you still send stupid knives. And I’m like, as last time I checked, most people are married or have a significant other. Most people have a kitchen. Most people are foodies or cook or entertain. We’re sending more knives than we ever have. JR: (25:42) Like when the New York times interviewed us, they thought I was joking when I said the knives are our number one gifts. And they’re like, that was your college thing, right? And I’m like, we sell millions of dollars knives, because people still crave that practical, unique out of the blue. Something that includes their family. And so what I would say is focus on the event planners. Focus on the people that are lower in stature because oftentimes they’re treated like crap. And if you can honor them and treat them with respect and treat them like a peer, that’s how we landed the Orlando magic is a big client was not because of the CEO. He made the decision to sign off on the first order, but it was the assistant Cheyenne who became my internal sales rep and helped us land our first six figure deal with an NBA team. It was not, it was the person below that. I love Don for years and not in a weird manipulative way. It was just honoring the relationship. And she went and became my internal sales advocate. So I would say, do you want to build a personal, realize that there’s the influencer CEO’s, those are great, but take care of the people around them in a way that’s not weird or manipulative. And if you can do that consistently over time, those people will start to look out for you and start to open doors that you can. RV: (26:58) I mean, and this is just, this is so, this is just so true because like if somebody is nice to AAJ like they’re in, they will like if they’re, if they’re mean to Aja or worse, if they don’t, it’s like, it’s worse to not acknowledge her. I mean, she’s the CEO of arc, like she’s the CEO of brand builders group, but it’s like she decides where we go, what we do, who we spend time with, where I go like [inaudible] and and she’s a softie. Right. So you’re, you’re just, that’s just so true. It’s like that is, I is, is taking, taking care of their inner circle makes them feel special and it’s also in a weird way like, you know, if it was like the CEO and assistant, I think it actually makes the CEO feel good that somebody else is loving on their person. JR: (27:49) It makes them feel like the hero. They’re the King, they’re the queen and because of their hard work, other people around them are benefiting. Like any leader loves to see the people that they care about. Yeah. Kids, their spouse. Because oftentimes you feel guilty when, you know, like I travel away from my family and I’m at like pebble beach drinking, no nice bottles of wine and my, my wife is taking care of our little ones and they like the flu and yeah, anytime somebody can honor my wife or my assistant or my team or my kids, like I win too. So it’s, it’s such a simple concept, but yeah, RV: (28:22) So again, if we got, we have, we have to wrap up here, but like this is, this has worked so well for you. Like even, and I’ve known you now for, I dunno how many years, but it’s been many years and to see how you’re like, this is, you know, advanced your own personal brand. Like you’ve always been great at business. You’ve always been moving tons of knives and like building relationships with people. But some years ago you were like, I’m going to become an author and like I’m going to become in this community. And like now here, here you are sharing the virtual stage with Daymond John and Sarah Blakely and you know, all these crazy people. Because of your relationship with Pete and how much Pete, you know, adores you and loves you. How much money, how do you figure out, like if you were going to it, you said it’s a system, which is one of the things I also liked that even though you’re not like measuring the ROI, there is a system here. So, you know, you mentioned you had a budget. How do you figure out what the budget should the, like is it roughly a percentage of profit or percentage of sales or like just just as a starting point? JR: (29:30) Yeah, so what I’d say is we’ve perfected it over almost 20 years now and it, you know, starting with the who, the relationships, the, when, the while that kind of stuff like you to map out and identify the pool of people first of who that is. And every business, some people, it’s 10 people, some people, 7,000 people. But it’s still just human beings. We charted a lot of money to walk people through that process. Cause that’s the, you don’t get the foundation right, of who you’re going after budgeting properly. Like what you’re going to send and all the other stuff like is meaningless. And so if your tribe wants to go download the entire process of what we charge thousands to do, if they, if we do it, walk them through it personally and then go to Giftology system.com and download our entire ecology system.com Giftology system.com. JR: (30:18) All one word, all one word Giftology system. But the budgeting question, every company is different as far as what their margins are in general. I don’t care what somebody’s revenue is, I care what profit is. And so, you know, sometimes these companies, mortgage companies where it was like, Oh, we did 40 billion in revenue last year, but we did 4 million in profit. I’m like, okay, let’s work with a $4 million number, not the $40 billion. And so for us it’s a percentage of net profit or a percentage of gross profit, but we’re in the 15 to 20% realm. I think a good baseline is 10% of whatever your, your net profit is. So if you make a thousand dollars on a relationship, you know, reinvesting a hundred dollars back into them to say, to show them near that, Hey, you know, you were thinking of them, obviously you’re never going to send something to somebody that’s a high level person that they couldn’t go buy for themselves. JR: (31:07) So it’s not about the item, it’s about the thoughtfulness that goes into it. That’s why the engraving of the personalization, that’s why the handwritten note, that’s why all the details around it. People will say, John, I’ve done Giftology and it doesn’t work. And I’m like, what did you follow the recipe? And they’re like, why kind of did? And I’m like, it’s like baking bread either. If you don’t put yeast in, you don’t get bread. And so people forget the little details around it and they think they’re doing what we’re doing. But really they’re sending stuff from Amazon with a type letter and they’re like, the person didn’t even respond. I’m like, well, do you think you can automate relationships? Do you think something showing up from Amazon is going to work like that feels different than if it came from one human sent to another human. JR: (31:46) So the budgeting, so that’s not in the plan. Don’t send it from Amazon, from Amazon, send it to your house and then package it and then send it. And people are like, well that’s a lot. I’m like, why? Why do you think our agency exists? Like if it was easy, everybody would do it. If it was like, yeah, they’re there. It’s not that people don’t know what to do when they hear the recipe, they’re like, that’s it. And I’m like, yeah, that’s, that’s all we do. Like we do this, this, this, and this was like, well that doesn’t sound that hard. And I’m like, if you do it for one human, it’s not, but if you want to do it for a dozen humans consistently or for two dozen, and so the budgeting, figuring that out and saying, Hey, I make a thousand dollars, I’m going to reinvest a hundred or 10% of net profit is a rough, like, yeah, you can go higher than that. JR: (32:32) Like some of our clients were like, John, I’ll invest 20% like I invest 18% in, in revenue and expenses. Like if I can invest a percentage of profit back into my relationships and turn them into a referral source. So like, you know, like these speakers are like, man, my, my average stages, you’ll $12,000 like I would gladly do a grand or two if it ain’t even turned into three years from now another speaking deal or another consulting deal or another whatever. And so I think that’s where people don’t understand is they, they want the immediate, I invest the dollar, I immediately have to make the money and they’re not willing to, to build the re, you know, they’re not willing to plant the acorn that becomes this massive Oak tree over the course of five or 10 or 15 or 20 years. Like they want to put the money in. JR: (33:18) And so the budgeting, I tell him like, you don’t have to spend all of your marketing dollars with gift allergy, but if you take your entire pool of money of what you spend on building your business, just take a sliver of it and redirect it towards coring back into all of your people and do it for three years and do it with following the recipe and come back to me and tell me it didn’t pay. The biggest dividends of anything that you’ve ever invested into is to me the relationships are where like, especially in a Valley, we find out who has our back. We find out when we’re backed into a corner, you know, I know when I went through 2008 and almost lost the business, it was a handful of people that allowed me to survive. And I think that people forget that. Like you don’t need a thousand. It’s like, you know, Tim Ferriss has concept like you don’t need 10 million people. You need a thousand true fans. And I think you even need less than that. Like if you need, if you have 10 or 20 or 30 people that are raving true fans, like actively loyal you get those kinds of people behind you. Like it’s amazing what we can accomplish with a small handful of of people that are in our army and really willing to go to bat for us. RV: (34:26) There you have it. Friends Giftology system.com. This is John Ruhlin, author of Giftology. You can check out the book, follow him online, or go to Giftology system.com. John, thank you for being here. Thank you for this fresh perspective. And thank you for making me feel like crap for how bad I am at gifting as always. See, yeah.

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