Giftology by John Ruhlin

John Ruhlin didn’t set out to become the world’s foremost authority on corporate gift giving.

He grew up on a farm in Ohio, and to help pay his way through university he became a Cutco distributor on the advice of one of his friends.

After applying the principles of generosity he learned from “Attorney Paul” (the father of a girl he was dating at the time), John started selling the largest deals in Cutco history out of 1.5 million other reps and distributors. Yes. 1.5 million.

His strategy worked so well that he founded The Ruhlin Group at the age of 20. He’s gone on to build a thriving business showing people how to gift “practical luxury” items as a way to open doors, appreciate the people around them, and generate an amazing ROI.

Join us for the next 10 minutes we explore what a great gifting strategy looks like, and how you can use it to grow your business.

Doing Giftology Right

Ruhlin is the kind of guy who practices what he preaches.

Cameron Herold was the former COO of 1-800-Got-Junk? and the driving force behind the company’s spectacular jump in revenue from $2 million to $126 million in just six years—without a dime spent on advertising.

One day Ruhlin was attending a conference where Herold was giving a presentation. After waiting for an hour in line to speak to him, Ruhlin invited Herold to be his guest for a Cleveland Cavaliers game which happened to coincide with a speaking engagement Herold had. Knowing that Brooks Brothers was Herold’s favorite clothing store, he also asked him what he shirt size he wore.

When opening day finally came, Herold texted Ruhlin saying that his travel plans went sideways, and that he’d contact him when he was settled in his hotel. Fearing that Herold would back out once he landed in Cleveland, Ruhlin rushed out to the closest Brooks Brothers store with a crazy plan.

He told the sales associate that he wanted one of everything from the new fall line in Herold’s size. $7,000 later, he walked out of the store, drove over the Ritz Carlton where Herold was staying, and convinced the manager to let him set up Herold’s room to look like a Brooks Brothers showroom.

Ruhlin left a message that said Herold could keep whatever items he saw that he wanted to keep.

Long story short, Herold called Ruhlin when he got into the room, and said “whatever you want to talk about for as long as you want to talk about it, I’m all ears.”

Fast-forward to present day, no matter what client Herold has, he asks Ruhlin if he either wants an introduction to them or wants to give them a gift. Keep in mind that these are billion-dollar CEOs, who are impossible to get in front of for most people.

As Ruhlin says in the book, this one relationship has done more for him than $10 million in slick advertising and marketing could have ever done. Herold has also become a mentor, advocate and friend to Ruhlin. And it wouldn’t have happened unless he was able to create such a unique, memorable experience.

Oh, and Herold ended up paying Ruhlin for all of the clothes he kept, so this outrageous gifting strategy actually cost him nothing.

Of course, this is an extreme example. But what we are going to show you in the following sections, you can create an impactful gifting strategy no matter what your budget is.

Why Giftology Works

Giftology works for a number of reasons.

The first and obvious reason is that gifting help you fight through the proverbial clutter. Important people get bombarded by advertising on social networking sites, their inboxes are filled with emails from other less creative suitors, and their assistants fight off cold calls like it’s a full-time job. You literally have to stand out if you want a chance.

A second reason it works is that by going out of your way before you even meet an important client gives the impression that you’ll be willing to go out of your way to impress them after you meet. Those are the type of people we make exceptions for.

Third, if you do it correctly, gifting fills a primal need we all have to feel important. When you send a gift that is personalized and meaningful, the other person is hard-wired to appreciate it. They are also hard-wired to reciprocate that act of generosity by giving you something in return – which, in your case, is a few minutes of their time.

Fourth, many of your gift recipients will end up becoming advocates for you. Ruhlin tells the story of how he sent a unique gift to an executive of the Cleveland Indians. After becoming a client of The Ruhlin Group, the executive sent out a personal introduction and advocacy email to twenty MLB teams that he had the deepest relationships with. Within five weeks, the Arizona Diamondbacks signed on as a client.

As Ruhlin points out, it can cost him $1,500 to take clients out to dinner, and they never mention it again. But when he sends someone a thoughtful, uniquely personalized gift that costs him $200, ten years later they still thank him for it.

Simply put, Giftology is as close to a magic formula you’ll find for snagging a spot on an important person’s calendar.