50x Your Revenue By Focusing on ROR (Return on Relationships) with John Ruhlin

You wouldn’t think that a farm boy from Ohio would be spending hundreds of thousands if not millions on expensive clothing, high-priced whiskey, and expensive knife sets, would you? Only, he’s not buying these things for himself, he’s buying them for his clients, many of whom are some of the biggest names in business and entertainment. What does John Ruhlin from Giftology see in gift-giving that we don’t?

First, John realized that giving regular corporate gifts, like a stress ball or a free pen, wouldn’t cut it when trying to build long-term relationships. He even went as far as to get courtside NBA tickets paired with a $500 steakhouse dinner to get Cameron Herold (a past guest of ours) on his team, only to find that Cameron was severely disappointed. So he started turning up the personalization of his gifts.

Now, John sends out personally engraved knife sets, world-class food and wine pairings hosted by the best sommelier in the country, and video messages sent in physical boxes (seriously). He’s discovered the art and the science behind gift-giving and wants everyone to know what is, and isn’t an appropriate gift. As he puts it, you need to focus on your ROR (return on relationships) more than your ROI.

Brandon:
This is the Advance Guide Podcast, show 475.

John:
And that’s where people, they’ll add overhead on employees. They’ll hire a couple of employees, add half a million dollars on overhead. They’ll invest in Facebook ads, a quarter million bucks. And they’re like, “John, two grand for a gift or $200 for a gift?” I’m like, “You’ll pick up a bar tab in Vegas for two grand, nobody cares. They don’t remember a week from now, but you won’t spend $2,000 on one of your most valuable relationships? Are you insane?” It’s a math equation, and that’s where it’s not a woo-woo, like just hold hands. What you’re doing is brilliant because nobody freaking does that kind of stuff.

Intro:
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Brandon:
What’s going on, everyone? It’s Brandon Turner, host of the Advance Guide Podcast, here with my co-host. Mr. David “TheSurfboardGiver”” Greene. What’s up, man? How’re you doing?

David:
Funny that you mentioned that, I thought about bringing it up in the podcast, but I didn’t want to be self-congratulating, so I didn’t say anything about it.

Brandon:
I thought I’d bring it up right now in the beginning of this show and say, actually, I own three surfboards, one that I bought myself, one that David Greene here bought me, and another one that I got from another gift from a guy named Adam from My Body Tutor. And I ride all three of them, but I mostly ride the two that I got as gifts because they’re way better than the one that I bought for myself. Which leads us to today’s conversation about gift giving. Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Well, why do I care about gift giving? Go give me some real estate education knowledge.”

Brandon:
Trust me, this show could change your life, I really believe so. It will help you land more deals, it’ll help you land more private investors, it’ll help you have smoother transactions, work with your contractors better, everything. So really important show with an amazing guest named John Ruhlin. I saw him speak years ago. He was amazing and I’ve been begging to do him on the show since. So anyway, yeah, looking forward to letting y’all hear the interview we did with him. But first, let’s get today’s quick tip.

David:
Quick tip.

Brandon:
Quick tip is send me a surfboard. I’m just kidding, I got enough. But the quick tip is send… Not even sending it. You’re going to hear about gift giving today. What I want you to do, I want you to think right now about the top five people that you believe you need to build a deeper relationship with. And don’t just think like David Greene. Because David Greene doesn’t like you. David Greene likes everybody. What I’m talking about is like, is there a contractor in your area that you would love to work with but he’s always too busy? Or is there a real estate investor in your area who’s a wholesaler who’s getting a lot of good deals, but you can’t seem to connect with him? They’re not giving you the deals.

Brandon:
Who is that person in your life? Think of five people, write it down, that you want to build a deep relationship with. Have those people in mind as we’re listening to today’s show. And that’s today’s quick tip. All right. Well, with that said, I think it’s a perfect time beginning into the show. Anything you want to say before we jump in, David, besides how awesome you are for sending me a surfboard?

David:
My two Hawaii rentals are pretty much up and running and just about ready to go, so I’m going to be in your market doing the short term rental thing.

Brandon:
Look at you.

David:
I’m looking to buy more of them, so if anybody out there has experience managing short-term rentals and they would like a job, please reach out to me because I’m looking to hire somebody to help, actually a couple of somebodies, to help grow my portfolio. And we’re going to be using some of the strategies that you will hear about in today’s episode in my business personally. So this will be a great one to listen to if people are thinking about how they can expand their reach.

Brandon:
There we go. I love it, man. Well, I’m excited for your vacation rentals, and we’ll have to compare some notes. Let’s get into today’s show with John Ruhlin. All right, John. Welcome to the Advance Guide Podcast. How’re you doing, man?

John:
I’m doing great, man. Thanks for having me.

Brandon:
Yeah. So you’re one of those guys that I heard you speak like, I don’t know, four years ago, maybe five years ago, a long time ago. And I was like, “Dang, this guy’s awesome. I got to get him on the Advance Guide Podcast.” And then we finally just made it happen now after four or five years, so I’m pumped. So, today, hopefully our listeners can hear why I was excited to get you on. So why don’t we start with who are you? Where’d you come from? What’s your background?

John:
Yeah. Well, I think a lot of times when people hear Giftology, they’re like, “How? Really? How did he end up on Advance Guide? And Brandon, why would he give two rips about this Giftology guy?” And so the honest truth is I grew up, not around nice gifts, not around nice things, not around country clubs, I grew up in Ohio. I’m a farm kid at heart. I grew up on 47 acres in Ohio, milking goats every morning. So not one of these most sexy things on the planet, but I learned work ethic and grit, what I didn’t want to do the rest of my life. And so like a lot of things that comes out of desperation, I wanted to get out of Dodge, in my case it was Dellroy, a town of 417 people. And I was going to go make my mom proud, be a doctor, be a chiropractor.

John:
And my life shifted because of a mentor. And that mentor was radically generous. He was a rainmaker, who’s a deal maker, and he was always giving things away. And so a lot what I teach now started from modeling what I saw in Paul. He would find a deal on noodles and everybody at church the next Sunday would walk away with like 200 cases of noodles, and I’d be like, “Paul, dude, that was 40Gs, are you nuts?” And he was like, “John, it’s just who I am. It’s how we show up for people.” Yeah. So that’s a lot of my history goes back to being a farm kid in Ohio.

Brandon:
Where did the inspiration for giving gifts, where did that come from?

John:
Yeah. I’m introverted by nature, and I grew up insecure, I was the fat kid, the chubby kid. Back when JC Penney’s had Husky pants, I was that kid. I played basketball, but I was the hustle kid, I was the guy who was covered in sweat within like two seconds of working out. And so I was insecure. And when I saw Paul who had these amazing relationships, I looked at him and I wanted to be him when I was 16. I was 20 at the time. And so I pitched him the idea, he had all these clients that were like CEOs of million-dollar and billion-dollar companies. They’re all dudes, they all like the outdoors. So I interned with Cutco out of desperation to pay for med school, so the cutlery company.

John:
I had no idea what Cutco was and I thought maybe he’d have mercy on me and order pocket knives are 100 $200 pocketknives. So it’s not like ones from China for 50 cents. And he got this twinkle in his eye, and he’s like, John, can I order 100 of the perry knives?” And I’m like, “You want to give 100 dudes that are CEOs of like million and billion-dollar real estate companies and law firms and whatever else a kitchen tool?” I’m like, “Why?” And he said, “John, the reason I have more deal flow, the reason I have more access reason, I have more referrals than I can handle is I found out 35 years ago when I opened up a law firm that if you show up for people and show up for their family and take care of their family, everything else in business seems to take care of itself.”

John:
So for me, I realized in that moment that it wasn’t about the stupid knives, although to this day, our gifting agencies still does millions of dollars in the crazy knives, the knife was the delivery vehicle for an emotion. And it was how Paul remained top of mind, it was how Paul built a relationship with somebody’s wife or their assistant. He understood the psychology, like Robert Cialdini’s concept of influence, or Pre-Suasion, all of these psychological things, it wasn’t tactical for Paul, but he got it. And so I was like, “I want to have the relationships, the success, the access that Paul has.”

John:
I didn’t grow up around country clubs that he grow up around affluence, so I started to mimic Paul just to see if it worked. So I would find like a $200 million company I’d want to get a meeting with, I’d engrave like a three, $400 Cutco set, a couple of knives with the CEO’s name, his family name. And I’d put a little handwritten note inside that said, “Carve out five minutes for me. I promise to be worth your time.” And two weeks later, I get the meeting. I’m 21. Wear the one suit I have on, walk into these boardrooms, and the CEO’s jaws hit the ground. They’re like, “I thought you’d be like 55 years old, like some seasoned sales executive. What the hell are you doing here?”

John:
They’re like, “Are you the John Ruhlin that sent the knives?” I’m like, “Yes, sir.” They’re like, “Are you here to sell me knives?” And I said, “No, I’m here to help you and your 1,000 sales reps do exactly what I did to you to your top 10,000 investors or relationships or clients.” And I started to land the largest deals Cutco had ever seen. They actually thought the orders were fraud. The CFO of, Cutco, it’s a $300 million company, they’ll call me saying, “John, what the hell are you doing with all these knives?” They thought I was selling them on eBay or overseas.

John:
I said, “No, we’re using the knives as a delivery vehicle to use gratitude, generosity, not as this like woo-woo check the box at Christmas thing, but to actually 1000X somebody’s business or 100X their referrals, or get access to investors.” And they’re like, “John, we’re a knife company. What are you talking about?” And I’m like, “I’m using your product, I’m plugging it into this strategy.” And so by the time I was a senior in college, Cutco’s worked with about two million sales reps in 70 years worldwide, we became their number one rep and distributor in the history of the company.

John:
And that was when I decided to do the agency. I was like, “Screw med school and going half a million dollars in debt and going to school for another 10 years.” I’m like, “I don’t know what an entrepreneur is, but I think I’m going to be one and I’m at least give it a shot.” So that was 20 years ago. I’ve been doing it now. We call it Giftology now, but a lot of it started back in these grassroots levels of working with these smaller companies and financial firms back 20 years ago in Ohio.

Brandon:
Giftology is the name of the company, right? But how do you define that word giftology? What does that mean?

John:
Giftology is a fancy way of saying love on people. I think that every business, whether you’re a solopreneur, whether you’re in real estate, whether you’re in investments, whether you’re a widget manufacturer, most people’s businesses and lives rise, and fall on relationships. It’s like a cool buzzword to say, “Oh, I’m all about culture and building people and pouring to people.” But there’s a huge disconnect. It’s like saying you’re all about building a relationship with your wife, and then you only show up on anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas. You don’t earn brownie points showing up your wife on like… Those are table stakes times. And so if you say you love somebody, if you say you care about them, then your words and your actions, show me your calendar and show me your dollar, your bank account, your checking account, and I’ll tell you what your priorities are.

John:
And so really giftology is saying, if you have a marketing plan, you have a financial plan, you have a workout plan. What the hell is your relationship plan? And most people, if they’re honest with themselves, they don’t have one. Even when I spoke at Google, they had like a deer-in-headlights look like, “What are you talking about?” I’m like, “How are you going to show up for your relationships? Not at Christmas, not because they gave you a referral, those are transactions, that’s a transactional thing.” You show up for people because you wanted to, you show up for people because you chose to you.

John:
You don’t give them some crappy trinket with your logo on it, that’s not a gift, that’s not love, that’s a manipulation. You’re trying to get them to advertise for you. That’s not gifting, that’s not giftology. Love is showing up for people and putting them first, not yourself. And when you do that, guess what? People send you referrals, people like Cameron Harold go out and sell you on the stages you don’t deserve to be on. So giftology is really just a fancy way of saying, love, but love and action and love with intention. It’s giving, like you mean it not as like, “Oh crap, we made money. We should probably do something this year.”

Brandon:
That’s so good. All right. I want to unpack everything and do it in reverse order of what you just said, because I want to touch on Cameron Harold, I want to talk about the transactional and like the logos on trinkets, which I can’t stand. By the way, when I read your book, I was like, “This is it. This is what everybody does wrong because they’re always just throwing their own company logo or they’re giving me a t-shirt with their company on it.” I’m like, “I’m not going to wear your company t-shirt, I’m going to wear my company shirt, right?

John:
Exactly, yeah.

Brandon:
But anyway, before we get all there, somebody listening to this show right now going, “Wait a second, this is generally a real estate investor show. A lot of real estate investors listen to the podcast. Why should we care? Why should business people care about gifting? What is this about, giving your wife a gift?” Maybe we go there, why is this important for business owners, for entrepreneurs, for real estate investors for real estate agents? Why is it important for that?

John:
Yeah. Well, I alluded to it, but we all have people, clients, investors, mentors, employees, suppliers, vendors, we all have people that we need them to act on our behalf, whether it’s showing up on time to finish a project or projects up against the wall, we want our key investor that invested 50 grand to invest 100 grand the next time, or to bring their family and friends along. One investor turns into five investors. We all want the real estate agent to talk to somebody else about us. But right now in 2021, there’s so much digital noise. Like we get TikToks and videos and texts and Facebook ads, most people are overloaded, so the noise is crazy.

John:
And if you try to have a pissing match and compete with other people in your industry and do the same things as everybody else does, which is dinners, rounds of golf, ballgame tickets, Facebook ads, we all follow the same playbook to try to stand out and build relationships. And so if you do the same things as everybody else does and try to compete there, it’s just noise. Most people, gifting is just showing up for people, it’s saying, “Hey, I say you matter, I say I value… ” Most people are like, “Oh, I appreciate your time. How did you show me that you appreciated your time? Did you hand write a note? Did you actually send me a check for the consulting that I just did for free?”

John:
When people say, “I want to pick your brain,” I’m like, it’s basically I want your time for free, which is the worst thing you could ask for somebody. So to me, the gift is a tangible representation of, “Do I say in what I do, am I congruent? Am I consistent?” And so whether it’s your investor, whether it’s your spouse… As business owners we all want people to go do something for us or to work for us or to advocate for us, and most people think there are seven out of 10 on gratitude and appreciation, and really, they are negative three. Really, they suck at it but nobody’s telling them that the trinket with the logo, the polo shirt with a logo on it, actually annoyed, frustrated, pissed off the person, like, “Seriously, I did 100 grand with you and you sent me some piece of crap from China with a logo on it? That’s how you show gratitude and appreciation that you value me as a human being?”

John:
Go back 5,000 years ago to the Old Testament scrolls, kings would give other kings like 10,000 head of cattle. Why? Because they understood the value of the relationships shows like what you place with that person. And if you want to get treated like a king, guess what? You should give like a king. And so gifting, nobody cares about gifts, nobody’s waking up at 4:00 AM to do their miracle morning saying, “If I had a gifting strategy, my business would 10X, but we all would say like, “Here’s the dream 100 of relationships I’d like to have. Here’s the dream clients. Here’s the dream vendors. Here’s the centers of influence.” Well, those are just people. And if you show up for those people in a unique, classy way, guess what? They want to go reciprocate. They want to show up for you.

John:
But if you do it the wrong way… I was just with Vaynerchuk talking about this, and most people give to ask to get. That’s not how you show up for people, that’s a manipulation. It wasn’t a gift. You gave and then you said, “You better refer me.” His book was called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, because it was give, give, give, and then you earn the right to ask. You don’t earn the right to expect. So many people are like, “John, I did giftology, it doesn’t work.” And I’m like, “Did you really do it?” And they’re like, “Well, we did. giftology-ish.” I’m like, “That’s not the same.”

John:
If you bake bread 100,00 times, but every time you don’t put yeast in, guess what? You don’t get? You don’t freaking get bread. The little things in relationships determine whether or not you get the extra deal, whether you get somebody from 50,000 to 500,000. It’s the little things that determine whether or not somebody trusts you or likes you or really wants to have your back. So that’s why it matters. It’s not about the gift, it’s about what it communicates to the relationship.

David:
When I read your book, Giftology, I remember what went through my head was Proverbs 18:16 in the Bible, where it says, “A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him before great people.” And there is absolutely something about, it changes someone’s heart when they receive a gift. That’s why kings would do it before the kings, is it was valuable things that cost the person who is giving you something. That’s really what makes it effective, is that I know if you did something for me that costs you something, that involved a form of sacrifice, now I feel obligated or compelled to listen to what you have to say.

David:
My heart opens up, because I saw, “Man, that stung, what that person did,” whether it was money or time or creativity, whatever it was they did, as opposed to a trinket with the logo. There’s no sacrifice to that. It doesn’t have the same effect. And I remember John, you told us a story about what you did in Cameron Harold’s hotel room that blew me away and has stood with me to this day. I think about that story frequently. Would you mind sharing how you expressed giftology with Cameron that opened the door for you to get into that relationship with him?

John:
Well, I think we all have the Camerons in our world. It doesn’t matter the industry. We have the pillar of the community, whether it’s media, whether it’s some wise age, whether it’s some major investor like that. We want to just not have as a client, we want them to be a mentor and advisor, a referral source, somebody that’s in our corner. And so Cameron was that for me. He has written five books. He coaches the Sheikh of Qatar and the 300 companies. And I knew when I met him 15 years ago, I couldn’t afford his 20 or $30,000 a month coaching. And so like a lot of us, I did the dumb thing. I said, “Oh, he’s coming town. Let’s take him to dinner and a ball game.” That was the initial Bali.

John:
So I invited him, I had LeBron seats, lower level with the Cavs. I’m like, “We’ll go to, Morton’s, have this $500 steak dinner, we’ll go to the Cavs game and we’ll be brothers.” But when I asked him to go, his response was the most underwhelming response ever. He’s like, “I guess I’ll go, nothing else is going on.” And I’m like, “Duh, John, he’s going to go on 100 of these dinners. They all blend together. Nobody cares.” They’re fine, but nobody’s like, “oh my gosh, you took me to a steak dinner and a ball game.” If you’re dealing with a person of affluence, they do that all the time. So I found out his favorite store was Brooks Brothers. And he was going to come into town and not have time to shop there.

John:
And so long story short is, I ended up going to Brooks Brothers. Most people say, “Oh, John, do you give him a gift card?” I’m like, “No, you don’t tell somebody to go buy their own gifts.” I went and bought everything in the new fall collection in his size jacket, suits, belts, pants, everything that Brooks Brothers made, and then I went to the Ritz-Carlton and had it outfitted in his hotel room to look like a Brooks Brothers store. And I’m downstairs, drinking a triple on the rocks because my business partner was like, “If this doesn’t work, the seven grand comes out of your draw.”

John:
Because he thought it was nuts. His chiming on my ears, “He’s going to think you’re a stalker. This is the dumbest idea that we did this.” This is like what we would spend on like 10 people, not one person. And so when Cameron got in, you could tell he didn’t want to go to dinner or ball game, he wants to go take a bath and shower, go to bed. And so when he came back down from the hotel room, 20 minutes later, his eyes were the size of silver dollars. He’s like, “John, whatever you want to talk about for as long as we want to talk about it, I’m all ears. I’ve never had anybody that’s treated me this way.”

John:
Now, the kicker is, most people would stop there. The rest of the story is, I ended up for the next decade, I invested about $25,000 into that relationship. Full 10, 12-grand knife, set, wine tools, whatever else. People are like, “John, why would you keep going? You already had them at Brooks Brothers.” And I said, “Well, two things. One is, when you show up for people long after you have to is when it means the most.” Most people do the crazy thing and then once they get the wife, the client, they stop trying. They’re like, “Oh, we got them.” I wanted Cameron to go and run through walls for me. I wanted him to be there when I needed him to pick up the phone.

John:
And so before I was begging speak for free, Cameron started to say, when he’d get double booked for speaking gigs, he’s like, “You got to book John.” And so, Facebook ads, maybe we hire a couple of sales reps. We’re hoping to get like maybe a three X on our money, a five X on our money, a return on investment. We were looking at things and saying, “Hey, the return on relationship dominates ROI. ROR dominates ROI.” Because Cameron went and opened these doors, the ROR of that relationship over the last 10 years is 50X. Show me a place in your business where you can invest a dollar and get $50 back out, and I’ll wait. There’s no other place other than human beings, not a software, not a whatever.

John:
It’s humans that allow us to open doors, to get other investors. It’s a human-to-human connection. I don’t care if you’re in real estate or if you’re a widget or insurance or pro sports, it’s human beings. And so Cameron, like literally today, he was like, “Hey, here’s another speaking gig. I can’t do it. You should do it.” It’s been 15 years, but that relationship, I want to turn every single client I have into a Cameron. I want them to go, not just be loyal, I want them to go be actively loyal, which means they can go sell with five words better than a sales rep that I paid 200 grand to go sell could ever do with 5,000 words. And so that’s the power of loving our relationships and playing the true long game.

Brandon:
I want to make a quick example in the real estate space, how we’re applying this, because again, I read your book, loved it. And I’ve tried to find little ways to put this in, but just recently, we’ve done a lot more of this. I almost don’t want to say this because I hate to give away what’s working so good for us, but what we’re doing is… I have a company called Open Door Capital. We mostly buy mobile home parks, but we’re getting into some other big things like apartments. And that world is closely guarded by like a number of brokers, guys who are, not like residential real estate, there’s a million real estate agents, but brokers who sell mobile home parks, there’s like a handful of good ones, like a couple dozen.

Brandon:
So we just wrote the guys down, like, they are our guys. So now, we send them stuff. And again, I hate to say it, but I’ll say it. We send them like painted coconuts, and it’s a stupid thing. But do you know the US Postal Service will send a coconut. I live in Hawaii. So it’s this funny, stupid thing where they get a coconut, they open their mailbox, and there’s just a coconut sitting there with a sticker on the outside from the postal service. And it’s ridiculous, but they always call us and they laugh and they take pictures and they post it on their social media and they put it on their shelf. And they’re like, “This is a painted coconut,” with like a sunset on it.

Brandon:
It’s ridiculous, but it works. And now when they’ve got a deal across their plate, they look up and they see the coconut and they call us because it’s not a stupid trinket, it’s not our logo, it’s just a cool, funny thing. And it costs us a lot of money to send that, to find the coconuts, to get them dried out and the paint them and do all that work. If I’d had an intern, that was his only job, basically, one of his only jobs was to do the coconut thing. And it works.

John:
Yeah. It’s a purple cow, it’s Seth Goldin’s concept of being the purple cow. Even if it costs $2,000, even if it costs two grand-

Brandon:
Yeah, it wouldn’t matter.

John:
And that’s where people, they’ll add overhead on employees. They’ll hire a couple of employees, add half a million dollars on overhead. They’ll invest in Facebook ads, a quarter million bucks. And they’re like, “John, two grand for a gift or $200 for a gift?” I’m like, “You’ll pick up a bar tab in Vegas for two grand, nobody cares. They don’t remember a week from now, but you won’t spend $2,000 on one of your most valuable relationships? Are you insane?” It’s a math equation, and that’s where it’s not a woo-woo, like just hold hands. What you’re doing is brilliant because nobody freaking does that kind of stuff.

Brandon:
Really does work.

David:
Can I play devil’s advocate here?

John:
Fire away man.

David:
I think John has probably more experience than anyone we know dealing with this study of gifts, giftology. What many people will do is they will hear this and they will see the logic and say, “That makes sense. I can buy a coconut and I can get $10,000 return on it.” The problem is, the gift opens the door, it does that guarantee that what is behind that door is actually a value to the person you’re talking to. And that what I wanted to ask you, John, is, do you have stories of people who’ve done this the wrong way that tried to substitute a poor product or a poor value and say, “Well, I’m going to make up for it with a great gift”? So they get the meeting and then they freaking crap the bed because they weren’t prepared for it. Have you seen that?

John:
80% of the gifting that we do is warm market, 80% of the people that come to us want to do cold market. And here’s why? Cameron’s a great example. I had the open door with Cameron, he was going to go have dinner with me. Most people use the gift to get the access, but the specialness of it is when you already have the access, there’s already a fire there. The goal is to make that a bonfire. Most people want to do like the Dream 100, like The Ultimate Sales Machine. I love his book, and it works. The one part of that book that I think is wrong is he says for 18 months, send a trinket every month or every two weeks. It’s a church key, it’s a stress ball, it’s a cousy. It’s a whatever.

John:
And to me like, if you’re a world-class brand or you say you’re first class or best in class, which everybody says, nobody says, we’re mediocre for the masses. No, we’re the best of this. Whether it’s financial advisors or whatever else. And then we send somebody a [cousy 00:25:42] or a box of peanut brittle, or a gift card or something stupid. It’s not congruent with what you say that you are on the prospecting side, and then on the client side, it’s the same thing. So 80% of the clients that we work with it’s, how do we take… Even like my employees, most people, they’ll treat their clients or their prospects to Ritz-Carlton and then their clients or their employees get like the Motel 6 level treatment.

John:
I’m like, “That’s the dumbest thing in the world. Why would you not treat your employees… “You can’t expect them to give Ritz-Carlton service if they never stayed at the Ritz-Carlton. So our employees, we send them to the Four Seasons or the Ritz so they can experience what that’s like. We do crazy things for them. Like every employee that works for us, every other week, they get their house cleaned. They can’t take the cash, it’s just how we show up for them. Costs us $2,500 an employee, it gives us $25,000 worth of value, because they would never do it for themselves.

John:
So to me, yeah, I see people all the time that will try to use giftings, to your point, they’re not that great of a financial advisor or whatever. So I’m like, “How about you answer your phone when the client calls before… Gifting is just going to piss people off and say, “Why are you doing this?” Have a good product, have a good service. The gifts should be the cherry on top of the sundae. It should be the thing that’s like, “I already liked you, now I love you.” And whether that’s an investor or whether that’s a supplier, like I buy Cutco tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts every year. And people are like, “But you buy millions of dollars from them.”

John:
I’m like I learned from one of our clients, O.C. Tanner, they’re like $800 million company out of Utah. When Rolex comes to town, they buy tens of millions of dollars of Rolex. They buy dinner. And I said, “Why?” And they said, “We don’t have a business without Rolex. We don’t have a business without Bose. We don’t have a business without… ” And so they treat, even the people that they’re spending money with like gold, because they want their best. They want to treat them and flip the script. And so I’ve done the same thing. Anybody that we spend money with, we buy them gifts. I want their best ideas. When I’m in a pinch, back’s against the wall, I want them to advocate for me.

John:
Some of our best referral sources are suppliers because they’re going out of their way to make sure that we win because we show up for them in a way. We don’t treat them like crap because they’re our supplier, we treat them like gold because we want them to be our supplier and we want them to run through walls. So I think most people use this as an external prospecting campaign and they leave billions of dollars on the table by not taking care of the people that are already in their camp and pouring gasoline on that fire.

David:
What about someone like me that’s a little more introverted, a little more focused on our goals. I get gifts from people, they’ll send me a book they think that they’d like me to read, a coffee mug. It’s very nice things. I’m not trying to sound rude at all. But when it comes in, it’s a blip on my radar, and I almost get a feeling like, “Oh man, now I talk to this person because they sent me something. I don’t want to feel bad.” But it had nothing to do with what my goals were. What I would really love is, “Hey, I know an agent who’d be great to work on your team,” or, “Hey, I know someone who wants to sell their house,” or whatever it is that I’m currently focused on in the moment.

David:
Do you have any advice for those people who are trying to get in the door and they’re sending Cutco knives to a person who like never is even home, they Airbnb their way through life and they’re never at someplace so that they can make wise decisions with their money.

John:
Yeah. So the knives were, in most situations, if somebody is married, has kids or spends time at home.

Brandon:
That’s so true.

John:
We work in a lot of dudes’ markets, finance, real estate, investing, oil and gas, sports teams. So it’s a married white dude club, but most of those people have spouses. I don’t care about the guy, the guy likes bourbon. I don’t care. Everybody sends him bourbon. I don’t care if he likes golf, everybody sends him golf stuff. I want to know, is he married or is she married? I want to take care of what I call the inner circle. So David, if I was trying to get to you, I would say, “Who’s on David’s team that I can love on that’s way underappreciated? Is he married? Is he this? Is he that?” Because I could invest $1,000 in those people and have it translate to $100,000 on the backend because the bar is really low for the inner circle.

John:
There’s four buckets, spouses, one of them, kids, pets, and team. So the reason we’ve landed almost six-figure speaking gigs isn’t because of the CEO, it’s because I treated the event planner or the assistant or the chief of staff at the same level as the CEO. And they’re like, “We’ve never been treated this way before.” What do they do? They become a sales rep for Giftology. They become a sales rep for our client because they’re being treated like a peer, not a pawn, not a gatekeeper. So yeah, if you’re, if you’re sending knives to somebody that’s never home, that’s a dumb move. But if you send something to somebody’s assistant who is always home.

John:
And you don’t use it as a manipulation, you’re saying, “Hey, I realize that you’re probably wearing the hat of three different people, and I know you’re busy. I want to acknowledge the fact that… I would love five minutes of so-and-so’s time. And if there’s ever a gap in his calendar, I’d love to get on that. But in the meantime, thank you for the time that you’re even considering opening this package and reading this.” Basically, it’s like Vaynerchuk, you’re pre-buying their attention. You’re saying, “What I’m saying and what I’m doing actually shows that I’m probably different than everybody else that’s trying to get around you and bribe you.”

John:
I’m trying to say, “Hey, your time is valuable. I respect that. I’m going to treat you like a person.” And so even the way you communicate with your note that comes to somebody shows you that you either have the emotional intelligence to put yourself in that person’s shoes or are you just really trying to be a douche bag and trying to bribe to buy your way into things? People can feel and tell the intent, even based upon when you’re sending it, what’s in the note, all that kind of stuff. And that’s where people completely crap the bed and say, “I did Giftology, it didn’t work.” I’m like, “No, you didn’t. You were manipulating and being a dick.” You can’t be a dick give great gifts and think that that’s going to cover things up. It’s just not how life works.

David:
That was brilliant.

Brandon:
That’s really good.

David:
Because I think Brandon and I, our businesses are really built on these pillars of team members that support us. So we stand up and we deliver this message, but the higher we are, the more people we can reach. So we’re always looking for pillars to stand on to get higher. And our fear is that that pillar is going to give out. They’re going to get over worked, they’re going to get burned out, they’re going to feel unappreciated and we didn’t realize it. It’s hard to know. So if you go and you strengthen one of my pillars, oh man, that is exactly right, John. You’re good at this. I’m glad we have you on the show because that was pretty good answer to that question.

Brandon:
I love the idea.

John:
Yeah, man. You want to make the hero. You want to help them be the hero and the people that they value most. It’s why the knives work, it’s why the crazy $1,000 mugs work. You’re trying to tap into the people around them and strengthen them because we all have our inner circles and most people do the opposite, they treat them like crap versus edify and build them up and love on them.

Brandon:
One of my team members, Mike Williams, he’s my investor relations guy. He always says, “Yeah, you can send me… ” Wait, I always say it. He said to me, “You could buy me a gift and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, that’s great.’ But if you bless my kids, if you change my kid’s life somehow, I’m going to remember you forever.” And it’s such a true thing. When somebody does something for my wife or my kids or something… I’m not saying, please get this, everyone listening to the show, please don’t go and send my kids a bunch of gifts, they don’t need anything right now.

Brandon:
But the idea of being, yeah, when you honor someone else’s family, that’s really powerful. But on the other hand, I have a question related. How do you send a good gift? And then what’s the next step? How do you make sure? Because you’re not putting your logo all over, it’s just a knife. How do I make sure that that relationship would have worked, that gift would have worked?

John:
Most people think they know they did the Giftology thing by sending one night. And what I would say is that most of our clients are looking to show up for people repetitively, because if you show up for somebody once, it’s like the jab, but you’ve got to jab again, you’ve got to jab again. So our biggest clients, the guys that are hiring us to do things for all their employees or all their investors are saying, “Hey, we want to show up more than once a year.” Because it’s check the boxes once a year, our best relationships are doing things once a quarter. So in that instance, I’m never sending one knife. I’m taking the full five, $10,000 Cutco set for a client and there’s one knife. And then three months later, another knife. We might build them the whole Cutco collection, but it might be…

John:
Jeffrey [Gerrim 00:34:04] is a great example. I sent him 18 gifts over 18 months. I’d built him the whole $5,000 knife set, but I dripped over. You get 18 gifts from somebody and you have the whole set sitting on your countertop, that’s different than one thing. And also, like if it’s engraved a certain way. So like Tony Robbins, we did a gift for. A client wanted to honor him. How do you take care of Tony Robbins? He’s got everything in the world. And so we took a knife set, a $7,500 knife set. What made it special and unforgettable was, on all 40 knives, we engraved 80 of his quotes of wisdom that he had spoken over 40 years. And so now it’s an artifact. Now, it’s an heirloom.

John:
And sage, Tony’s wife reached out to the client of ours and said, “This will be fought over someday by our kids and grandkids based upon, not the knives although they’re awesome, it’s the meaning and the story that’s put into every single blade that made it irreplaceable.” And then we put it inside a crazy box with a video screen and all this other stuff to make it really a production value over the top. But to me, you don’t do something once if relationship’s important. It’s with your wife or your kids, you’re showing up for them over and over again. And so to me, you have to have a continuity plan. You have to have a true plan where you’re saying, “I’m going to drip on these people three times a year.”

John:
And if you do that, you don’t have to put your logo on it because you’re basically making deposits in that bank account to where every time they see the knife without a logo or the mug or whatever, they’re subconsciously remembering who the relationship was that gave it to them.

Brandon:
Let’s just say we’re in the real estate space, let’s say we close a big deal, and a real estate agent helped me close this deal. So I send the agent something really nice, a Cutco knife set is. That’s what you call transactional. That’s not what you’re talking about, is that correct? Or is that part of what you’re talking about? How does “Thank you for doing something nice for me, here’s a gift,” what’s the difference?

John:
To me, the timing matters. So what I would do is send the handwritten notes, send a thank you if you want to do something small then, great. But when you show up for people at a time that they’re not expecting it, for me, I’m trying to love on the relationships before they send me a deal, before they would refer me, or if I was building a home or if I was doing something for a realtor, I would do something small then, but six months later, I’d do something else, where I would continue to add onto the set for 12 months or 18 months. So we have a home builder that builds a few hundred homes a year. They do the typical closing transactional gifts, which is like a basket of some stuff, and then we hit every single person for them at month six.

John:
And nobody is expecting something from their builder at month six. The transaction happened, we moved in paid a million dollars or half a million dollars or whatever for the house. And so I would time it out with the realtor, do something thoughtful, handwritten note, whatever else, but then say, “You know what, I’m going to budget five or 10% of this deal, and I’m going to love on them for the next five years.” Because if you can show up for people way after the deal’s done, they realize this wasn’t a transactional relationship, this was, I wanted to show up for this person because I chose to not because I had to. And so that’s where people mess up is they do something right after the deal, right after the referral, and then it feels a tit for tat which completely ruins the impact of what you’re trying to get accomplished.

Brandon:
What type of gifts make the best gifts have you found? I know we’ve talked about Cutco knives and some things are not trinkets, but are there some examples that you’re like, yeah, this is a type of gift, as we’re thinking about gifts?

John:
The reason that I always work is because almost everybody, whether they make 50 grand a year or $5 million a year, if you think about what’s common amongst humanity in 2021 is if somebody is close to you, a family, a friend, a client, anybody else, where do you invite them? You invite them over to your home and you break bread with them. You have food, wine. It’s still very central to us as humans. So anytime I can tie something to somebody’s kitchen, into the hub of the house, it’s a win. But most people when they do the knives, they’d mail it in, they don’t do the handwritten note, they don’t do the engraving, they don’t package it well. They’re like, “Oh, Cutco is fine, but it’s too expensive. I’m just going to get the knockoff set from Target.”

John:
They don’t go best in class with the item. If you were going to go to somebody’s house, you would not expect a million dollar house to have some generic stove, it’s going to have a Wolf or a Viking or whatever else. So whatever you’re giving, it needs to be best in class in that category. So if I’m going to do a wine tool, I’m not going to do a $25 wine tool from Bed Bath & Beyond, I’m going to take this beautiful bottle of wine that might cost, maybe it’s an Opus One bottle for 500 bucks, but I’m going to pair that with a Code38 Wines, which is like five to $700.

John:
And then I’m going to take the extra step to make sure that the person’s autograph, their signature is carved into the titanium. And I’m going to make sure there’s a handwritten note with it. So many people focus on the what, and the what is step number seven. Guys are the worst at this. It’s like, “Hey, what’s cool and sexy and hot to give as a gift?” And I’m like, “That’s step seven.” The who you’re giving it to, who’s their inner circle, when would it mean the most? There’s a methodology. There’s a step-by-step process to get to the what, what’s the delivery vehicle. And so if your tribe wants to go steal our entire methodology, I don’t even know if you guys know this, but we’ve created this whole blueprint.

John:
If you go to giftologysystem.com, they can download the entire blueprint of what we walked the cabs through, what we walk realtors through, it doesn’t matter, but all the little things leading up to the what matter more than the what itself. And what I would say is, I would rather… People are like, “Oh, I want to give a watch. I want to be on somebody’s wrist.” And I’m like, “That’s cool. What kind of watch are you going to give?” They’re like, “Oh, we’re going to get this really nice $200 fossil.” And I’m like, “Tell me about your clients. Tell me about your employees.” They’re like, “Oh, they’re ballers.” And I’m like, “So they wear like Rolex or Breitling.” They’re like, “Yeah.”

John:
You think your $200 fossil, you think they’re going to take their Rolex off? Even if it’s the nicest fossil in the world, I’m like, “I would rather take instead of a $500 watch to an affluent client or 100 of them, I’d rather give somebody $100 luggage stack.” And they’re like, “Why would you do that?” I’m like, “Most people have a $2 luggage tag at best. If you go and give them a $100 luggage tag that was handmade from this leather, it has a story, it’s whole in leather and it’s brass and their name and their family name and one for their spouse, $100 luggage tag is going to be more valuable to an affluent client than a $500 watch because it’s way above what they currently have, and they’ll actually use it.”

John:
I want a practical luxury, I want scalable thoughtfulness. It’s both end. And I it’s not hard to give one gift really well. It’s difficult if you want to try to scale this and have the impact when you’re giving it to 100 people or 500 people. Most people don’t need more crap in the US, so even globally. Most people during the pandemic, they’re cleaning out their house and they’re going to Goodwill with all this crap, they just that stuff. But we all have room for an artifact. If somebody sends, even Tony Robbins, you send him a set of knives with all of his quotes on it, and that’s an artifact. That’s not going, that’s not getting re-gifted. You send somebody a $100 luggage tag that’s personal to them and their family, not getting re-gifted.

John:
And so, it’s going all in on things and making it the best possible that you can make it and making sure that you’re not forgetting the ingredients of the handwritten note which provides meaning and thoughtfulness and context, so it doesn’t feel it was just automated on Amazon. Nobody wants things that are automated, we all want to be treated an individual, even if we are scaling it. So if that answers your question or not, but if you can go all in on the little things and make it actually useful versus a paperweight, if you’re like, “Oh, I want something in our office.” I’m like, “People have all kinds of crap in their office, like the coconut, maybe that sticks around, but I would much rather get into the family’s hands where they’re talking about it every day at home.”

John:
Now, the client’s talking about you with their family and their friends, and you’re getting woven into their bar mitzvah or their first communion or Christmas. You want to talk about destroying the competition, if you can get the family buzzing about you and they’ve never even met you before, and guess what, you’re probably going to get invited to holidays, you’re going to vacation together. That’s how you get really, really deep with this and destroy people and be like, “How the hell did they get in with that broker?” Well, they connected at an emotional level, not just at an intellectual level.

Brandon:
What about things like, I’ll give you a few examples, I’m curious what you think of these as gift ideas. Like a book, finding just a book “Hey, I think you’d like this book.” Is that a good idea? And then secondly would be, what about an expensive gift card? Hey, $1,000 gift card on a Delta airlines, let’s say. Or what about like, “Hey, I’m going to take you golfing.” One of those, three types of things, an experience, expensive gift card, or a book?

John:
I have a top 10 list of the worst gifts to give gift and gift cards are one of them, promotional product is one of them, food is one of them. And it’s for different reasons. Food, you spend 200 bucks or 50 bucks and it’s consumed, you get one impression from it. That’s not a good investment. I want somebody to get 1,000 impressions. That’s why I also don’t like experiences by themselves because they go out to dinner, they go on a trip, whatever, what’s the trigger that reminds them of that? Most people are visual, they need something tangible to be reminded of. So I like an amazing once in a lifetime experience, combined with a couple artifacts that remind them of the story, remind them to tell the story and whatever else.

John:
Because at the end of the day, it’s the story that spreads and implants into their head. So a book for some people is great, but most people here’s what I’ve found, and maybe you guys have this, almost every executive person you want to influence has the should-read list either in their office or on their nightstand of like 37 books.

Brandon:
On my nightstand. yeah.

John:
There’s guilt of like, “I should be getting through all these books, but I can’t get through all of them.” So you’re basically giving them gifts guilt or obligation of like, “Oh I got to say thank you for this book, but now I got homework.” You just gave me homework. So the way that I’ve superseded this, and this is before we met, or this is after we met, but I realized that everybody has the should-read list and there’s 30,000 books published on Amazon every week, 30,000 new titles. I’m like, “I want my book to jump the list. I want somebody to be so intrigued to want to read the book. This is my like Bible, it’s not a vanity plate.”

John:
Giftology was made to be my playbook for the next 50 years. And so I’m like, “How can I make it something that people want to read?” And it was self-published by the way. And so my first 50 copies were $250 each, and they were handmade, monogrammed to the person, to their spouse. They were in a leather bag, they were in a linen box and they went to Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, John Maxwell, guys that we’ve either clients, friends or people I wanted to be my friends. And I didn’t ask them for anything, I wrote on a piece of steel, “Thanks for what you’ve done in the world and what you’ve contributed. I just want to say thank you.”

John:
Michael Hyatt, who has a huge following, he’s like John, I get four or 5,000 books sent to me every year and I don’t read any of them, they all go to Goodwill or the library. Not only did I read your book, my wife Gail has already read it, and I ordered 25 copies for my team. It’s the best package book I’ve ever seen and it’s actually really good. So what I would say is, if you’re going to send a book, we now wear those by the way, thousands at a time. Anytime my client wants to send books to their relationships now when they get it, they look cool because they’re sending a book in a way that’s never been seen. So we actually have two versions higher than that. One is $300, has a video screen built into it. One is $2,000, it comes in this crazy chest, wood, mahogany. It’s crazy.

John:
So what I’d say about the book is if you’re going to send a book, make sure that it’s packaged in such a way where they know or a video or something that makes somebody feel special so that it’s viewed differently than the other 20 books they got that year. That’d be number one. The gift card, to me, it would be better… If you’re going to do a gift card or if you’re going to do the Delta, a 1,000 bucks, anybody can afford the 1,000 bucks. What I would do is, if you’re going to do that specifically, say one of your clients is having their 50th birthday party, go fly their kid in from Alaska to the party. That’s a better use of 1,000 bucks because you’re trading experience and maybe the kid wouldn’t show up or whatever else.

John:
That to me is a better use of tho$1,000 versus, “Hey, here’s a piece of plastic.” Now, you’ve got to remember to use it, once again, it’s guilt because we all have our Starbucks and our Amazon and our whatever cards that we forget to use and we lose them. And it’s just pain in the butts, it’s a hassle. What was the other one that you asked about?

Brandon:
Book experience and gift card.

John:
The experience, I think is awesome if you do it world-class with an artifact. It’s not one or the other, it’s both. Most people do like, “Hey, we’re going to take all of our clients out for wine.” And it’s like, “How is that different than every other wine experience they’ve had?” My buddy, Eddie Osterland, the first Master Sommelier in the US ever, when I do a wine event, I bring him in because anybody that’s into wine, sits at the feet of Eddie and they’re basically foaming at the mouth that they get to hang out with the Master Sommelier. And then he plans the whole food and wine experience, it’s like eight courses. And then he’d speaks on his book called Power Entertaining, and teaches people how to use food and wine as a competitive advantage.

John:
That combined with an artifact makes somebody say, “I don’t ever want to go to another wine event again unless Eddie’s there.” That to me is a way that you take an experience that most people are like, “Oh, we’re going to do a food and wine pairing.” Who cares? What makes it special? What makes it worth telling a story about? And it’s usually dialing it up and doing it instead of for 200 people, do it amazing for 30. And don’t be a cheap SOB when you do it, do it well or don’t do it at all.

Brandon:
My buddy, Yeshua out here in Hawaii, he has a company called Kiawe Outdoor. And that’s what they do. He’s like a somm as well. And they do these fine dining on a field on the side of a volcano. It’s like 25, 30 people. And the thing’s stupid expensive, just stupid expensive. But I think I’ve hired him now seven or eight times, I’m doing another one tomorrow night, just for my real estate team out here because I just love doing it and it’s such an amazing experience. And everyone walks away going like, “That was…” Because it’s food and wine and a small group of people. It’s amazing. So yeah, I think my buddy would get along with your buddy well.

John:
It’s a once in a lifetime experience.

Brandon:
It’s once in a lifetime experience, yeah.

John:
It’s not, “Hey, I’m going golfing to the same place we always go.” It’s, “Hey, I’m going to fly you in on a helicopter to Pebble Beach and we’re going to do this thing. And you’re going to be still be talking about 20 years later.” To me, that’s how you do an experience and make it pay off because now everybody else, there’s a waiting list of wanting to come hang with you at that thing, because you made it such a unique experience that they would normally never spend the money on or whatever else, it seem crazy, expensive. But yeah, volcano dinner, dude, if I’m in Hawaii, I want to come to that.

Brandon:
Last thing before we move on maybe, you mentioned a book with a screen in it. Can you explain that real quick, is that like an iPad, like play something? What’s that?

John:
We ordered a 500 of them. So it’s the same VIP $250 book that we built, we ordered a bunch of them, but when they open it, immediately, there’s a seven inch screen Sturm in the face and it has a light sensor so it automatically starts playing. Well, most people would be like, “Oh, I’m just going to put some same video, generic video, sizzle reel on it.” What I do is the client or I myself uploads a custom video. So for you, it’d be like, “Hey Brandon, super excited to be on the show. I can’t wait to cover these things in the book. This is going to be amazing.”

John:
And you’re like, “Damn, this was made for me.” And so that to me makes somebody get excited about what the book is even about. To me, how the cover feels. We do a $5 metal… Now, we do a bookmark that’s made out of metal in it. People like, “Well, how would you spend that much on a bookmark?” And I’m like, “Well, after they’ll read the book, most people want to bookmark. Now, they’re taking this, something that has my stuff on it and actually using it because it’s the nicest bookmark they’ve ever seen.” And so the video screen to me makes it stand out from all the crap that we get and being able to upload a custom video to it guarantees that my message is going to get across to the busy executive or to the client.

John:
So I sent a couple of them to a couple of Vaynerchuks team, his assistant directors of marketing, and they reach back out, they’re like, “John, we’ve seen a lot of stuff, we’ve never seen a book packaged this way.” Magically, guess what happened a week later, John Ruhlin shows up with the CMOs of Fortune 500 companies on Marketing for the Now. I’m sure everybody that was watching is like, “Who the hell is John Ruhlin, and why is Gary interviewing him?” Well, we showed up for six years differently and eventually people like,, “Yeah, we want John on the show.” People are like, “$300 for a book is a lot.”

John:
And I’m like, “No, it’s not. You can’t even take somebody out to a nice dinner with wine and an okay restaurant for 300 bucks. $300 to get your ideal relationships to take notice and actually consume your content, it’s a rounding error.”

Brandon:
This is the funny thing about us, it’s human nature, is we look at things like, that apple is $4. I’m not going to buy the apple for $4 because normally they’re only a dollar, because we put these percentages to things like, ” I’m not going to pay four bucks for an apple,” when you’ll go spend $100 on dinner. So the idea of being like yeah, it might cost $2,000 like you said earlier, you might spend $2,000 for a gift for somebody, but you’ll spend 50,000 on an employee. And the 50,000 is okay to spend on an employee because of our preconceived, it’s all expectations.

John:
All expectations.

Brandon:
Yeah, I expect this. But that’s where the gift thing comes in so powerful is that if you can completely blow past people’s expectations of what a gift should be, it makes an impact.

John:
You can spend less money on your company as a whole, if you would redirect marketing dollars and HR dollars and advertising dollars and just take a sliver 20% of it and spend it.. We spend $5 on a cup of coffee, but 50 years ago, that would have been an impossibility, that would have been like a million dollars, but we’ve become used to spending $5 on a cup of coffee so it’s not even a consideration. Most people’s conceived notion of what a gift should be is 50 bucks. What do you have for $50? I’m like, “You just spent a half, a million dollars on advertising hoping to reach people, how about you spend half that on the people that you actually do want to engage with and you’ll save a quarter million dollars?”

John:
The math is so silly, to your point, it’s perception. It’s all of it is. Yeah.

Brandon:
I think about contractors, as a real estate investor, we deal with contractors constantly. And it’s the hardest part of our job probably is contractors, because they don’t show up on time and they’re lazy, blah, blah, blah. But if If I gave my contractor a $5,000 gift regularly, I’m spending hundreds of thousands of dollars with them all the time, massive amounts of money, but that contractor is going to love me. And then when they need something done, who are they going to go and show up for first? The guy who gives them the stupid, good gifts or the guy who gave them the $50 gift card to Starbucks?

John:
You say jump, they say how high. And you can take advantage and you can hold that over their head or you can do it the right way, and love on people and invest in them, and they’ll want to do it anyway. I’ve seen it happen with a logistics company. They’re buying shipping from UPS and FedEx, all these big companies. So they’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars, but their competitors are spending billions, and they would hold this event and they would send gifts to these guys at these shipping companies. And guess who got the best pricing in the industry by about 1%? Well, 1% is not a big deal until you multiply it times $200 million. Now, all of a sudden, what do they have dropped into the bottom line? Two million bucks.

John:
So even if they spend a half a million dollars on those relationships, they just put an extra million and a half dollars into their pocket by being a good person, by being thoughtful, by being loving, by being generous. And to your point, the level of service that they got, crushed everybody else. It’s not rocket science, but we don’t ever connect the dots of where we should be showing up and where we should be redirecting our focus and our dollars, because it seems like a weird, cheesy like, “Really, I’m going to become a great gift giver, how does that apply to business?” But your contractor example in real estate is a spot on one.

David:
What I love about this is when the gift is expensive and it costs you something, it forces you to be intentional about who you’re going to give it to, how you’re going to follow up and actually forming the relationship. If I spend $5,000 on this gift, I’m going to form a relationship. That’s what it’s opening the door, as opposed to the business card model, which is, let me spend a couple of hundred bucks on something meaningless and just throw it around to everyone I know. There’s something psychologically relevant about forcing yourself to be intentional about what direction you’re going to take, why you want that relationship, how it’s going to benefit you, how you’re going to benefit them, which is frankly, just a better way to run business and live life is with the tension.

David:
I say all the time, I can’t think of one good relationship, friendship, anything that I fell into accidentally that I did not look at this person and say, “I want to be in a relationship with them,” that was good. All of my best relationships was I saw something in someone and I said, “I like them. I like their character, I like their style, I like what they stand for.” And I pursued it. And when the gift cost you something, you get a lot of clarity really quick about who you’re going to be giving it to.

John:
Yeah. It’s like, what you pay for you pay attention. And that goes for masterminds, that goes for coaching, that goes for consulting, that goes for gifts. So 100%, when you are investing thousands or tens of thousands or millions of dollars, you’re looking at those and saying… And you can overanalyze it, I do see people do that where they’re they get paralysis of like, “Oh, should I give this out?” And I’m like, “Let’s just say you do it for 100 people and 10 of them pay off, what would that produce in revenue or income?” And they’re like, “Oh, it’d be millions of dollars.” And I’m like, “Then don’t over…” If you give an extra, we have this all the time where somebody is like, “Well, at this company, we have 30 relationships.”

John:
I’m like, “What’s that company worth to you?” And they’re like, “Uh, $3 million.” I’m like, “Then invest in 30 gifts, show 30 people that you love them. Who cares if you added one person that should be on the list for 500 bucks?” If you were taking them out to dinner, you wouldn’t say, “Oh, we can only take 18 people, but 20 is too much.” No, you’d say, “Who else wants to come?” We want to have wide and deep relationships within this company, within this contract, within this provider. And so, so many people get so cheap and they’re penny-wise and pound-foolish, they’re like, “Oh, I don’t want to send too many gifts.” And from us, I’m like, “Add another five people on.”

John:
My personal gifting budget went from $500 a month when I was in college to now, this year will be about 650 grand. And when I can add more people to the list, I get excited because I’m like, “If that person is a key contact lead, I want three other people there to still be buzzing about the relationship.” And so if you spend money on people, you’re way more intentional, you’re way more thoughtful, the payoff is way greater.

David:
Yeah. Especially if you’re trying to get Brandon’s daughter, Rosie to not run away from fear every time she sees you. That’s been my one Trojan Horse that I’ve used to get that little girl to like me. You show up with a present and she remembers it. She is like, “Oh, you’re scary, but that toy is not so scary, maybe I’ll give you a second look.” There’s something to that.

John:
Bald man is good. Bald man good.

David:
Yeah,

Brandon:
John, is this what your company does, because when I first heard you talk about this, I was like, “Yes, I’m going to start doing this.” And then I just didn’t. Once in a while I’ll bring it up like I said, the coconut and I’ve done some contractor stuff and some title companies stuff, but not much. Is this what we hire you for? Is you take care of that stuff for us I don’t have to think about it? Is that the idea?

John:
Yeah. Most people have good intentions and those never get executed upon. So people are like, “Oh yeah, we should do this. But how do I hand-write those notes? How do I engrave 200 gifts or 20 gifts?” It’s not hard, anybody can be great at this really. If go nothing farm kid can do this, anybody can do it, but most people focus more on their fantasy football league than they do on their relationships and their love bomb strategy. So the core of our agency is saying, “Hey, we’re going to walk you through the process of developing, making sure that whether you’re investing 10 grand or 100 grand or a million dollars or more, that it’s going to be intentional. We’re going to be focused on these 50 people, these 25 people, these 5,000 people.”

John:
But then the hard thing is, how do you actually scale that? We work with a logistical arm, a trucking arm of UPS. They hired us to send out all their gifts, and they’re a logistics company. Well, they’re not set up to hand-write 200 notes. They’re not set up to wrap beautifully 200 pieces or 50 of this. So really the execution on the backend, it’s not hard to be thoughtful, it’s hard to be thoughtful at scale. And so the core of our agency is whether somebody is doing 10 million in revenue or whether somebody is doing 10 billion in revenue, they still have the challenge of, “How do we send all these out year round to people and have them not feel like it came from Amazon?”

John:
Because if something comes from Amazon, guess what? David talked about at the beginning, it didn’t take sacrifice. Maybe it sacrificed a little bit of time or a little bit of money, but if it feels it just came automated, then it doesn’t feel the same as wow, this person went out of their way to send me this really thoughtful thing that included my spouse, that included my kids, that now all of a sudden you’re like, “Dang, how did they do that? They’re so busy with their relationships, and their contractors, and their investors, but they thought of me. They thought of me and my family.” That burns into somebody’s psyche.

John:
So the execution and hiring somebody to do the details well at scale is why we exist. That’s the core of our business is scaling the thoughtfulness. It’s sending the things on a consistent basis. It’s not doing it at Christmas. It’s all of those little things allow for us to help somebody stay in their sweet spot of getting the FaceTime on the side of a volcano with somebody, I can’t do that for you, but I can help somebody hit 1,000 cities in one day. And I have every single person that gets it to say, “Wow, I can’t believe Brandon was thinking about me. I can’t believe Brandon did something for my family.” And that’s where you get people reaching out in tears, billionaires.

John:
I’ve seen billionaires cry from the gifts that we execute, not because they couldn’t have bought it, but because somebody felt, “Holy crap, somebody gave a rip about me and they cared about my family, and they care about my legacy.” You can’t replace that. That’s difficult to scale, and that’s the core of what we’re stamping.

Brandon:
I love. I love it. Well, with that said, let’s go to the last segment of the show it’s called our-

Voiceover:
Famous Four.

Brandon:
Our Famous Four is the part of the show where we ask the same four questions every week to every guest. And we’re going to throw them at you right now. So question number one of the Famous Four, is there a habit or trait you’re currently trying to work on in your life, you’re trying to improve, trying to build, trying to add to your life?

John:
Two, I’m continuing the fasting, which I’m doing from 22 hours to 108 hours.

Brandon:
Like fasting 100 and some hours?

John:
Yeah. Five day water.

Brandon:
You can’t just go past this. I’ve never heard of anybody doing this. I’ve heard of intermittent fasting, which is eight hours of no eating, but you’re talking about days.

John:
Yeah, intermittent fasting, to me, that’s not even pre-school. And the reason is not even pre-school because for me, I did intermittent fasting for a couple of years and the scale didn’t move. I would not eat for 16 or 18 hours, but then I would consume all these calories, whatever else, grass-fed meats, whatever else. I didn’t gain weight, but I never lost weight. And then the last three years, I’ve lost over 60 pounds, and cut my body fat from 38% down to 17%. And it’s from fasting. Now, I did other things, I worked out I’m using era machine, doing other things, but the number one thing for me is fasting

John:
And then I wanted to take it up another level because I love sauna, but I started reading Wim Hof, and a lot of my friends were getting into prior therapy and all this other stuff. And so there’s a company out of Arizona that makes these cold plunge tanks called Morozko Forge. And I’ve heard all these health benefits, and I do believe that how you start your day, carries through and doing the sucky things first. So coal plunges every morning for four minutes at 40 degrees in the tank, I just literally started two weeks ago and it’s freaking intense, but it’s amazing. So between the fasting and the cold therapy, those are the two that are front and center for me.

David:
That’s like Buddhist monk level awesome. I’m going to survive off a single drop of do for a full week.

John:
If Jesus can fast for 40 days, I can do four.

Brandon:
You can do it.

David:
That’s the key to success. Find someone that did something harder, and just compare whatever you’re doing to that.

John:
And there are other people that have done 20 days, and I’m like, “I don’t know if I can get 20 yet, but I can do five.”

David:
What are you going to start off with to be able to go 20 days without food? How much weight were they holding when they went into that?

Brandon:
Oh, I don’t know.

John:
I don’t know.

David:
I would imagine if your reserves are high enough, if you’ve got a couple of million in the bank, you can go 20 days without rent or whatever the equivalent should be.

Brandon:
Yeah. It’d be like, they’re hibernating.

David:
That’s exactly right. You just roll from the couch to the bathroom every once in a while and roll right back because of the calories. Next question. What is your favorite business book?

John:
Give and Take, Adam Grant.

David:
We just saw another one.

John:
I’ve not spend any time with him, but I respect him dearly from afar. And that really changed my thinking.

David:
You guys would get along, for sure. He does the same thing as you. He followed up after the podcast, he was very complimentary when we interviewed him. You guys are cut from the same cloth.

Brandon:
We had Cameron Herold on the show, and we also had Michael Hyatt a couple of times. So we had a lot of mutual friends here. it’s great.

David:
All right. Next question, other than avoiding food, what are some of your hobbies?

John:
What’s ironic is I fast, and then I feast. So if somebody saw me in the feasting state, they’d be like, “Wow, that dude loves steak and macadamia nuts.” And so I enjoy good food, I enjoy good beverages, so bourbon and wine, and tequila is a new thing for me. I didn’t realize that there’s all these different types of tequila. And so I’ve really gotten into try Clase, though I had no idea what that was like, “Dang, that’s just as good as bourbon.” So I enjoy nice things. I would say, I also enjoy spending time with my, with my daughters and wife, going hiking or walking. I try to stay active with them as much as possible.

Brandon:
What do you think separates successful entrepreneurs from those who give up, fail, or never get started? If you could boil down one piece of advice?

John:
I think I learned early on being on the farm, that there were consequences to not pushing through the stock. If you don’t milk the goats, they get mastitis and die. If you don’t show up for the animals when it’s negative 20 degrees out, and feed them or water them, or take care of the ice that you have to crack open and your fingers feel like they’re going to fall off. So I think for me, people talk about grit, but I learned that there’s consequences and at the same time, there’s a reward to push through and push through the pain and the suck.

John:
And so I think most people, having the grit and the perseverance to get through and realize that some things are just in a suck, and even to this day, you’re like, “Oh, John, you must have this dream life.” I’m like, “There’s still sucky things every day that we still have to push through. Yeah, I have more means or relationships, but the problems actually get bigger.” And that’s why the cold plunge tank and the sucky things I’m intentionally doing, because I want to… I’m not quite David Goggins level of Embrace The Suck, but I think it’s powerful to be able to be intentional, to put yourself and push yourself to grow and to have those challenges because we all need it, or else we become complacent and somebody is going to take us out.

David:
I was just thinking about this the other day, there is a person that I was observing going through some suck. It was weather outside that they didn’t like. And I noticed that they started moving slower the hotter that it got, and complaining about it more. And I was thinking, “Yeah, it’s hot, let’s get this over with so I can get out of the heat.” To me, that’s common sense, the more it sucks, the more intense I’m going to respond to get out of it. And I noticed that there’s a lot of people around me that don’t do that. and I just was wondering, what makes people sabotage themselves where, “Oh, the situation’s bad. Let me make it worse by staying here even longer and just dragging my feet.”

David:
Or, “I’m in debt, this is miserable. I hate life. Let me just quit and see if the debt will go away on its own.” No, that means you should work overtime so you have less time to spend money and you can make more money and pay it off. But there’s something about human nature that either triggers people to go harder when they don’t where they’re at or actually make it worse. And I was just curious before we get out of here, if either of you have any insight on why you think that happens.

John:
I think a lot of it is your peer group of who you surround yourself with. If you’re hanging out with the Goggins of the world, and you see them leaning into things, it’s hard for you not to lean into them. That’s why GoBundance is so powerful, it’s why masterminds… We all know that the people we surround ourselves with and the books that we read, we become like those things. If you’re around generous people, you’re probably going to become more generous. If you’re around people that overeat, you’re probably going to overeat.

John:
At least that’s my answer is when I’m around other people that are pushing the limit, Ben Greenfield, I don’t know if you guys have had him on your show, but he’s a biohacker, and you talk to that dude and you’re like, “Man, I’m only scratching one tenth the surface of what’s possible with my body.” And so it causes you to lean into those things versus pull back or settle.

Brandon:
Yeah. I couldn’t add anything to that. That’s perfect. John, last question today, where can people find out more about you?

John:
I would say that this is my personal email address, it’s not a dummy one that goes to my assistant, [email protected] is my personal email. Giftology Group is our hub for speaking and consulting, and The Done For You Gifting Agency. And we’re on all the social channels @johnruhlin on Instagram. But we share some of our ideas and thoughts and peel back the onion a little bit on social, but Giftology Group is the core.

Brandon:
Well, appreciate having you here today. This is a phenomenal, as I knew it would be, so excited to finally pull this thing off and get it going. So good luck to you, man.

John:
Hey, thanks for having me guys.

David:
Thank you, John. This is David Greene for Brandon, “The only gift horse you can kiss on the mouth,” Turner signing off.

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