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John Ruhlin (@ruhlin), founder of The Ruhlin Group, a professional gift giving service that’s worked
John Ruhlin (@ruhlin) returns to share some of the best network-enriching tips from his book Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention — just in time for the holidays!
I’m going to open up with a pretty harsh statement: Bad gifters are often careless people. Is that you? Are you a bad gifter? Are you the guy or girl who shows your appreciation of others through bad ideas and weak gestures? If so, today’s guest is going to give you a lesson in thoughtfulness.
The outlook is pretty grim for professionals seeking work-life balance. Thirty-three percent of business owners report working more than 50 hours per week, while an additional 25 percent say they work more than 60 hours a week. Seventy percent also work at least one weekend on a regular basis. The average executive keeps a similar schedule.
Who are the most important people in an industry? Some would say the CEOs of leading companies, but for me, it’s the authors, experts, and consultants.
Building solid relationships is the cornerstone of every career, regardless of industry, and gifting is a great way for leaders to nurture those relationships. But entrepreneurs who last sent or received corporate gifts around Christmas are on the wrong track.
Decades ago, sales professionals hit upon a mantra to understand how to woo prospects: “What’s in it for me?” But too many salespeople today forget that this question comes from the customer’s point of view, not their own.
March 2018 was a lousy time to be a Facebook executive. As the Cambridge Anaytica data fiasco unfolded, the world held the social media giant under a microscope.
John Ruhlin, gift-giving expert, professional speaker, author of Giftology and EO St. Louis member, was a recent guest on EO 360°, a podcast by Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). We asked Levi Pruss, EO South Florida member, CEO of Yzag and co-founder of MindOS, to review the episode and provide his biggest takeaways. Here’s what he had to say.
If you follow department store legend Harry Selfridge’s example, you’ll see that the key to building strong relationships of all kinds is thoughtful gift-giving.
Nothing in business happens in a vacuum. Actions inspire reactions, and success relies on the quality of the relationships we build. Modern companies want to be more than just faceless vendors, with 56 percent of U.S. consumers saying they want brands to understand them and their priorities, according to a Wunderman study. And entrepreneurs need to build networks to get their feet in the door.
You might run an online company, but don’t assume that means you can skirt your customer service duties. Offline word-of-mouth can be more powerful — and profitable — than all the Google ads in the world. Just ask Expedia.
Gifting isn’t a new concept, but a recent Bloomberg article highlighted just how effective the strategy remains. According to Bloomberg, businesses in Japan spend hundreds of dollars per arrangement on exotic orchids. They present these beautiful plants to one another not only because gifting is a cultural custom, but because it makes a strong connection between the giver and receiver.
In 1985, one of the poorest countries in the world became known as one of the most generous. Despite nearly 50% of its population living below the poverty line the Ethiopian Red Cross sent $5,000 to Mexico for humanitarian aid. Our neighbors-to-the-south had experienced an 8.1 magnitude earthquake which left 10,000 people dead, 30,000 people injured, and 250,000 homeless.
Employers have long sought workers who can follow instructions and get a job done. That’s not enough anymore. Many bosses are now looking for employees who exhibit creativity, passion, energy and the ability to solve problems.
Richard Branson represents the best-case scenario for most entrepreneurs dreaming of becoming society’s next billionaire CEO at a thriving company.
Those at the top didn’t get there overnight, however. They faced the same struggles as you have, the same as the rest of the entrepreneurial crowd.
Do you think of philanthropy as a worthy obligation or an opportunity for investment? For many business leaders, it’s the latter. They’re happy to write checks, but that’s where their philanthropy ends. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is different: He may be poised to take his philanthropic deeds to the next level.
As the world becomes increasingly connected, many executives are considering moves into the global marketplace. That can be a daunting thought, as many moving parts are involved in such a change.
Picture someone in your life who shares your sense of humor. What adjectives other than “funny” would you use to describe him or her? Undoubtedly, you’d choose words with positive associations, at least to you: quirky, sarcastic, subtle, witty.
Lies. Cheating. Stealing. All are heralded as the way to millions in the Netflix series Girlboss. Although the network peddles the story of Sophia Amoruso’s climb to the top as a comedy, it should be touted as a modern morality play about being a selfish jerk.
Creating strong relationships in business is vital to keeping projects alive, and it can sometimes be tough. But growing a network can also be as easy as a gesture of goodwill.
Money no longer rules where talent will end up, a fact evidenced by news anchor Megyn Kelly’s highly publicized exodus this past January from Fox News to NBC.
Valentine’s Day is coming up, and you might want to consider that day of flowers and chocolates as a gift-giving opportunity — not just for your sweetheart but for your business clients.
Entrepreneurs attempting to make good impressions often falsely assume what networking contacts would like. To find out, they sometimes use the “catering” strategy — steering conversations or opportunities toward the other person’s interests — at meetings and in gift-giving situations.
By now, you’ve probably ordered and shipped gifts to your clients, joint venture partners, and other stakeholders.
But that may not be the best way to give gifts, according to John Ruhlin, strategic gifting expert and author of Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention.
When Xiaomi launched its Mi Max phone in India over the summer, it warmed up the crowd with a little gift. Event organizers handed out free T-shirts, and the swag was a hit — until the supply ran out. Those who hadn’t received shirts were irate and refused to calm down until the New Delhi police intervened.
Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Many companies try to harness that feeling — especially now, during the run-up to the end of the year and the holiday season. That’s why so many companies use gifts to incentivize their teams.
“Gift-ology” is more than a best-selling book about good gifts. And the Ruhlin Group of North Canton has a bigger goal than being a corporate consulting firm.
John Ruhlin is in the business of giving gifts. But not just any gifts. John gives the kind of gifts that can change an entrepreneur’s fortunes forever. Here’s a story to explain: One of his clients needed to get a business meeting with the President of Target’s electronics division. They’d been trying to get a meeting for years with phone calls, notes, fliers and everything else with no luck. So John and his team at The Ruhlin Group got to work.
When building partnerships with other businesses, most entrepreneurs naturally target the C-suite leaders first. That’s understandable: CEOs, after all, are the decision-makers, so naturally you and every other entrepreneur is going to clamor for a meeting with the top brass.
December has hit, and everybody is getting into the swing of the season. “Jingle Bells,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and “Let it Snow” are playing on repeat in stores throughout the land, and every commercial break features the latest must-have toy.
Referrals and gifts are huge in business, but they’re often handled in all the wrong ways. Attempts to elicit referrals sometimes seem forced or in poor taste and can do more harm than good.
When you pull up to the headquarters of a Fortune 500 company to make a pitch, you may feel a twinge of panic. That’s completely normal; after all, landing this sale could be a big win for your company. The budget for just one of its side projects could cover your payroll for the year.
When I was first getting started in business, I regularly struck out. I sold knives to companies as gifts, and while I closed my first corporate sale within two weeks, it was to my girlfriend’s father — the sale didn’t feel like it really counted.
During my company’s early days, an NBA CEO hired us to send unique gifts to some of his key partners. I coordinated with the CEO’s secretary often during the process, so when we sent thank-you gifts to the client, I included a custom piece for her.
You’ve handpicked the perfect gift. You’ve written a thoughtful note. You’ve presented it to the client — only to see your generosity rejected.
While growing your startup, metrics serve as your markers for success. When you can command a sizable market share, you know you’ve made it. Right?
In the business world, gift-giving provides incredible intrinsic and financial rewards. But finding the perfect gift takes a considerable amount of thought — even for those of us who develop gifting plans for a living.
For all the innovation most companies preach about in board meetings, they sure do find a way to fit in during trade shows. You’ve seen the standard approach: a company buys the biggest booth it can afford, gets its logo printed on some trinket and sets up dinner with a key client at a local steak house.
Giving gifts to clients can be tricky business.
You need to show your appreciation if you want to stay top of mind, but you don’t want to make a mistake by giving a gift that is too lavish or unacceptable.
Every businessperson needs allies. That’s why successful industry experts, authors and consultants don’t operate in a silo; they have a following and tribe that surpass company and industry lines.
They say money talks, but what does it say? In theory, cash bonuses should boost employee motivation and morale. In reality, however, bonuses often evaporate almost as soon as they appear, especially if they’re simply included in employees’ direct-deposited paychecks.