Giftology: Make People Feel That They Matter with John Ruhlin

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TSP 139 | Giftology: Make People Feel That They Matter

Episode Summary

Making people feel that you care and think about them through personalized gifts is the best way to make a connection. Not just because it is your obligation but because you feel it is the right thing to do to show your gratitude. Learn how to give great gives with Giftologoy author John Ruhlin. The gift-giving bar may have been set low by the advancements of technology, but this is the best time to go against the flow and make people feel one-in-a-million.

Today’s guest on The Successful Pitch is John Ruhlin who is the author of Giftology. Do you know what the ten worst gifts are to give? John does, and he has ideas on how to give great gifts that are thoughtful and consistent. One of the secrets is personalizing the gift and making it so memorable. He also has a secret about the best time to give a gift and the best time not to give a gift so they’re not lost in the clutter. He really is the master of storytelling, and he says give when it’s unexpected, and more importantly, make what you give something that people are going to talk about. It’s really worth the investment in coming up with a thoughtful gift. I can’t recommend his book and this episode enough. Enjoy it.

Listen To The Episode Here


Giftology: Make People Feel That They Matter with John Ruhlin


If I could show you how to cut through the noise, increase referrals and strengthen the retention of your clients, would you want to learn how to do that? I don’t know about you but I do, that’s why I’ve invited John Ruhlin who is the founder of the Ruhlin Group. He’s the author of the book called Giftology, which I have given out as gifts. His company is trusted by leaders of fast-growing companies to develop relationships, building strategies and VIP gifting programs that do all these important things about getting more referrals, getting the most important clients and employees, and even prospects to be personally engaged. He writes regularly for Entrepreneur, Forbes, Success. He’s literally spoken all over the world for big clients like Google and EO and countless others. John, welcome to the show.

John, thanks for having me.

I always love to ask my guests to tell their own story of origin, and you do that in Giftology, your great book. Would you give us an abbreviated version of how did you become such an expert in gifts and what you did with knives? 

TSP 139 | Giftology


That’s how most people would assume when they hear that we have the Cubs or Google as a client, they assume that I grew up either in Silicon Valley or New York or some place that’s hip and cool. The exact opposite would be true. I grew up on a farm in the middle of Ohio, one of six kids, doing the sexiest thing on the planet, milking goats every day. I learned very quickly what I did not want to do the rest of my life. I was splitting wood to heat our house. Literally our whole house or our whole farm house was heated with wood. I worked really hard, got great grades because I wanted to get out of dodge. I thought I’d go be a doctor because you’re poor and you’re trying to make a lot of money. You think, “I’m going to be a lawyer, a doctor.” I went to school to go make mom proud. She was in the health and wellness even back 30 to 40 years ago.

My life changed when I interned with a company that you referenced, the knives. I was desperate to make money and I knew enough to not graduate from school, I went to a private university with a bunch of debt. My goal was zero debt when I got out of school, which is very difficult to do because school’s expensive and how do you do that? I started interning with Cutco, the knife company, and they’ve worked with like 1.5 million college kids. They literally have some of the best sales training on the planet. I was just desperate to make money, and so I started the process. I was scared to death because I didn’t really know sales at all. My life changed because I was dating a girl at that time. Her dad was an attorney. Even though he’s an attorney, he seemed to be involved in every business deal in town. He never seemed rushed. He had more referrals than he could possibly handle. He was always giving things away, super generous, radically generous.

He’d find deals on silly stuff like noodles and he’d buy like a semi-loaded noodles and everybody at church the next Sunday, 200 people would end up with a year’s supply of noodles. I’m like, “Paul, that was $20,000, that’s crazy.” I worked up the courage to pitch him Cutco. They had pocket knives and I thought all of his clients are men, they’re CEOs of companies, maybe he’ll give away pocket knives to his clients at Christmas. I remember pitching the idea and I’m sweating because I’m nervous. He’s like, “What about the paring knives? Could we engrave those?” I’m like, “You’re going to give a kitchen item to a bunch of grown men that are running companies, like home builders and lumber yards? Paul, I’ll sell you as many paring knives as you want, but why?” He said, “In 35 years of doing business, the reason I have more deal flow that I could handle is I found that if you take care of the family, everything else in business seems to take care of itself.”

For me, it was like this lightning bolt moment. I had never heard of Robert Cialdini, Pre-Suasion and Influence and reciprocity or any of these things. I started to learn very quickly that it wasn’t really about the knife. All the knives are amazing and we still move millions of dollars of the knives. It was about the psychology of relationship building, how you invest in people, how you stand out, and how you engage with what we now call the inner circle. I started to apply these principles to the knife business and realized even brutally successful company leaders, big companies, billion-dollar companies, they suck when it comes to showing gratitude in a very thoughtful way and a consistent way. By the time I was a senior in college, I was Cutco’s largest international distributor. I have about 1.5 million people in their 70-year history by selling these knives because of these principles that I now write about seventeen years later. Like anybody else, seventeen-year overnight success, the book came out nine months ago and it’s opening doors with MIT and just insane places. A lot of what I write in the book are these timeless principles that I learned from this small country attorney back in Ohio.

[Tweet “Be thoughtful and consistent with your gifts”]

I love that story for so many reasons. It’s the ultimate rags to riches story, and there are so many life lessons in there. I’ve actually had Robert, the author of Pre-Suasion on the show. We can certainly connect what he’s talking about edifying people and planting seeds before you even ask them for anything and how that ties into gift-giving. The thing that you said now, John, that really resonates with me is you’re solving a big problem, which is even huge companies are really bad or AKA suck at giving gifts. Maybe they give gifts on a consistent basis or every holiday, but they’re not very thoughtful, or maybe in some blue moon they might have to come up with an idea that’s like, “It’s somebody’s anniversary, I’ll give them something,” or “They’re getting married and I’ll go to the registry and pick something.” It’s somewhat thoughtful to remember that, but it’s not consistent. It’s either one or the other but rarely both. Is that an accurate analysis of the problem?

Yeah. In the book we talked about the ten core things, what makes a good gift or not a great gift. The thing is, you don’t have to have all of them but if you do, it’s a home run. I think that the bar is so low right now because people just think it’s easier to send a text message versus a hand-written note, it’s easier just to order something on Amazon versus hand-selecting it or picking it and then making sure that it’s wrapped properly or that it’s personalized. There are a lot of people that are like, “I tried that gift thing, it doesn’t work.” I’m like, “You sent this piece of crap with your logo on it at Christmas.” They did everything wrong and they’re like, “Gifting doesn’t work. We cut it out of our budget.” I’m like, “Of course it didn’t work because you didn’t put any thought or strategy into it. You just randomly tossed your assistant a few dollars and said, “We made money this year, we probably should say thank you.'”

I see that from startups all the way up to $40 billion-companies. They put all the strategy in the marketing and operations and trade shows and all the same stuff that all of their competitors do, but when it comes to time to deepen relationships, and everybody says relationships are important, there’s an incongruence between what they say and what they do. They don’t realize internally when somebody gets something that’s crappy or is not personalized, it’s seared into their memory that that person doesn’t really care about me. They’re not really thoughtful, they’re not caring, that I don’t matter. People ask, “John, how did you get referred to the Cubs?” I’m like, “I planted a lot of good seeds for seven years straight and eventually timing and everything aligned together, and people went out of their way to stick their neck out and the deal came.” Most people aren’t willing to put in all the extra work to do it because they don’t think it matters. When you think something doesn’t matter, you don’t put in the effort and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I was born in Chicago and grew up in the suburbs so I’m a big Cubs fan. It’s just a requirement if you live there. What did you do for your clients at the Cubs when they won the World Series? I’m sure that was an interesting thoughtful experience.

TSP 139 | Giftology

You have to pick your times of how you wow somebody.

What’s interesting is when you are the Cubs, you have to pick your times of how you wow somebody. A lot of what we did really led up to landing them as a client. We reached out to them and obviously sent over a nice note, congratulating them. There is so much fanfare around the team that hadn’t won in 108 years. What I love about what we do is we gift when it’s unexpected. Everybody was wanting to just flap their back and congratulate and do cool things for them after winning the World Series and then it became noise. It’s like giving gifts at the holidays. We waited a little bit and we started to put together this cool package. We’ve done a project with them where we took the Wrigley Field locker room where they’re ripping out and they didn’t know what to do with it. We built these amazing Bluetooth speakers made from the wood, 400 of them. We ended up making extras on purpose. We knew they would run out, and so we ended up sending an extra set of the speakers and we ended up making custom headphones for all the decision-makers and all the different people and even their teams. They were able to have a piece of history that was tied to our project but in a way that they weren’t expecting. Surprisingly enough, now that they’ve won, they’re like, “What can you do with these old batter circles? Can you do something with those?” I can’t say what we’re going to do with the batter circles, but it’s going to be for their top relationships.

Most people give gifts when they’re expected and it’s obligatory. That’s what ruins the gift. We don’t give gifts after referrals. “What do you mean you don’t give a gift after referral?” If somebody sends us a $500,000 referral and we send them a Starbucks gift card, it feels a little hollow. It feels like, ”I just gave you a $500,000 referral and you’re going to send me a restaurant gift certificate?“ That doesn’t feel very thoughtful.” We hand-write a note, I give gifts just because out of the blue and then that’s when they matter. People are like, “John was just thinking of me,” not “John wants something,” not “I just sent them something so now it’s a tit-for-tat transaction.” Everybody wants to be acknowledged just as being a human being, not because they did something.

In one of your chapters in your book, you talked about one of your favorite sayings, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” I personally also really like that quote. Can you bring that to life about how that relates to you and what you do with Giftology

Yes. I think that it’s like going into an interview and your shoes aren’t shined. People notice the details, especially the higher up the food chain you go. I referenced the idea that for most people, it’s just easier to send a text message versus a hand-written note. Gifting is one of those things where the bar is really low and so it’s easier to send Harry and David Fruit of the Month Club and just put something on auto-pilot. I think that when you take the time to say even a gift matters, all of a sudden people are like, “If he put that much attention in detail into gifting, imagine what he does in his other parts of his business.” We see that halo effect over and over again. We spend $3 on our business cards and people are like, “That’s insane, why would you do that?” I’m like, “If we pay that much attention to a business card, imagine what we do when we outsource your gifts.” They’re like, “That’s true. I didn’t think about it that way.”

If you’re willing to take the minor details that most people think don’t matter and you go all in and go not 1% or 2% better but you go a 1000% better, all of a sudden people are like, “Wow.” It’s like going to a restaurant and have a nice steak dinner. You expect a good steak dinner and you expect great service and whatever else. All of a sudden the waiter knows your wife likes a certain kind of chocolate. A dessert comes out and it’s made with that chocolate. You just spent $300 on wine and dinner and steak and whatever else, and they spent $5 probably on that dessert. What do you go tell all of your friends? Do you talk about the steak was cooked perfectly and the ambiance and the mahogany wood? No, because those are all the normal stuff. You’re going to say, “They found out that my wife likes this kind of chocolate and they made a dessert that blew her mind.” You’d bragged about the $5 thing, not the $500 thing, because the $500 thing you’ve come to expect. Maybe they’re exceeding your expectations by 1% or 2%, but they took a detail and they went all in and they surprised you with it and made you look like $1 million to your significant other. All of a sudden, this $5 thing becomes the entire focus. That’s where I tell a hundred people about it.

I’ve seen people do that with mugs. I used to make fun of mugs on air. Every company on the planet gives out mugs. This gift maker, it’s what he calls himself, he makes things out of clay. He made this handmade mug for me that was a $250 mug that told my entire life story, and then he made one for my wife and he drove eight and a half hours to hand-deliver them to me. He’s a 23-year old kid. Guess who gets all of my business anytime I need to create this amazing gift experience for clients and financial advisors in startups? It didn’t matter the client. If I want to do something amazing, I call this guy up and he makes me a $250 mug. The way that he paid attention to detail and he took something mundane like a $3 mug and made it a $300 mug that became an artifact of my life, now I can’t stop talking about him. How you do anything is how you do everything. Most people are like, “It doesn’t matter,” and I’m like, “That’s exactly right, it doesn’t matter for you, but for the 1% that latched on to it, that becomes the game changer.”

[Tweet “Give When It Is Unexpected”]

Let’s talk about the detail that you did on your book cover. It’s got shiny topography on it. It looks like it’s got a black ribbon on it. It’s got the knife. I’m sure some thought and effort went into that because I’ve seen a lot of books in my day and I’ve never seen a cover like that. 

It costs three times as much to print that book as it does any other normal hardback. We actually have started to convert a lot of our books over to when somebody personally orders books from me. They don’t know this but for our first 50, for guys like Michael Hyde and Darren Hardy and Seth Godin, guys that read our friends, mentors or people I wanted to be, I made 50 of these books that look just like that but they were handmade. The book was handmade and then it went into a handmade leather bag. Then that went into a linen box that was padded and it was all color-coordinated with red. It was a $200 package and with a $9-metal letterhead, and hand-wrote notes to 50 of the top relationships. That’s a $10,000 expense. People are like, “That’s insane.” I’m like, “Let’s put it this way, Michael Hyde has one of the biggest audiences on the planet. He invited us to be on his podcast as a direct result.” He’s like, “I get thousands of books sent to me per year, yours is the only one I kept this year. It’s the nicest book I’ve ever seen.” He actually read it, as well as his twenty employees. People are like, “$200, that’s insane.” I’m like, “You’ll spend $200 on freaking flashlights and pass them out like they’re candy and not thinking anything of it. I’d rather spend $200 on one thing. Basically I call it shooting with a rifle versus most people shoot with shotguns. I’m going to go blow somebody’s mind with one thing versus sending out a thousand things that are just part of the noise and just vanilla and are nothing.”

We now have a VIP version of the book. That’s not $200 a piece but they’re very expensive; a leather bag, a linen box. When people get it they’re like, “Holy crap.” They only have to read the book and they understand what we do and what we teach and what we talk about and that we actually walk our talk. There are a lot of people that are big talking heads but are you willing to put your money where your mouth is and walk it out? For us, we’re this small little firm out of the Midwest, but we’re talking to the Washington Nationals right now about doing a big project with them. One of the reason is it’s because they’ve seen that we’re willing to walk our talk and they’ve heard about it from other people. It’s not that we don’t ever screw up. There are times that we drop the ball, we’re not perfect. Our intention is to fully play full on and do things that will level it, that most people are like, “That sounds great, but I could never do that.” They talk themselves out of it before they even engage.

That has so many layers; walking your talk, being authentic. It also reminds me of how the Italians wear clothes. They’d rather have one really wonderful handmade suit and wear that every day of the week than five so-so made suits. We go visit there and you think these people are really rich. They’re wearing these multi-thousand dollar suits and they’re like, “No, that’s all they wear. That’s their one suit.”

That’s their one suit. That’s their one leather bag. That’s their one watch. I’d rather have one really nice thing. My wife is the same way. She grew up in a farm and they took care of things. She’s like, “John, I don’t need a bunch of crap.” We don’t need more stuff, but everybody has room in their house for an artifact. I think that’s where people are like, “How do you send gifts? Doesn’t everybody just want experiences?” I’m like, “Experiences are awesome, I love experiences as gifts but I like to combine it with artifacts. Every time they see the item, they’re reminded of the amazing experience that they had with you or on their own or with their family or whatever else. I’m a big believer in do one really nice thing versus a hundred mediocre things.

TSP 139 | Giftology

I’m a big believer in do one really nice thing versus a hundred mediocre things.

Speaking of your wife, you talked about her throughout the book. You dedicate the book to her, you talk about how your favorite movie was The Notebook and that you weren’t around so much. Can you tell everybody what you did for your wife since that’s one of your favorite movies together?

Telling the whole story will probably take 30 minutes and usually that’s my wrap-up story when I give keynotes. The summation of it is I was broke as a joke when I started dating my wife. I had invested in a bunch of companies and real estate and I had an employee that was stealing from me, IRS audit. It was my lowest point. It was 2007, 2008. The world melted down financially on top of that. I went from sending saunas to people and Brooks Brothers and crazy over-the-top gifting experiences to living on $1,000 a month take home. The first two years of buying the company, didn’t take a salary, not one dollar.

I wanted to out-do myself of anything I’ve done for a client. I basically recreated The Notebook’s story. I was going to be on the plane with her in disguise, had arranged with Continental at the time. At 30,000 feet, she had read this notebook that I put together of 70 pages of our story. At the end it starts talking about, “Will you love me when I get older and when I’d gained 150 pounds?” There’s this old fat dude sitting next to her. She starts to realize, I’m the old fat dude, this is her boyfriend, I get down on one knee and pulled out the ring and proposed. Our 200 closest friends were waiting to celebrate in Cleveland where she was flying to, which is where I was living at the time. Her family had driven up. That was what was supposed to happen.

Unfortunately, I ended up collapsing in the airport, having to get on life support breathing machine. The FBI showed up because there was guy in disguise in an airplane in an airport. Everything that could go wrong with the story; they took me to the hospital, I was on breathing machine. It was like Romeo and Juliet. Fortunately, I didn’t die. I woke up the next morning and six days later got out of the hospital and was able to propose with no disguise. We read the notebook together with no disguise on the airplane and fortunately she still said yes after basically putting her through hell. It’s one of those stories that was told and written about. It wasn’t the version I thought it was going to be. It took a little bit of a U-turn, but it taught me some very valuable lessons along the way. It gave me an insane story involving FBI and TSA and hospitals and breathing machines. It’s probably the craziest thing in 37 years of living that I’ve lived through.

You’ve come up with this great term. Instead of an entrepreneur, you talk about being a giverpreneur. Can you define what that is for people in a way that they could start incorporating that into their business?

Yes. I came up with the term after reading Give and Take, Adam Grant’s book. I think that everybody is wired one of three ways. We all can be all three but we tend to have the tendency towards one of the three: a giver, a taker or a matcher. I think most people are matchers. If you do something for them, they’d do something for you. There are a handful of people that are givers in business, whether you’re a sales rep, an entrepreneur, an owner, that you give without expectation of anything coming back. Then the taker is obviously somebody that takes and is just looking out for themselves. What’s interesting about his book is the best performing entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, everybody, are givers. They’re also the worst performers. I think that it depends on how you give and there is a strategic way to give.

As an entrepreneur, we’re all looking for ways to grow our business and invest $1 and get $5 back. To me, a giverpreneur is somebody that has that giver mindset from Give and Take that gives with no strings attached. I think that a lot of the companies that scale the fastest are those that have the best relationships and have poured into them over and over and over again. Oftentimes, your first idea as an entrepreneur doesn’t hit. It’s the second, third, fifth, tenth, whatever idea, but if you’ve given along the way and poured into people, you start to stack up relationships and doors and opportunities and resources that by the third, fourth, fifth, tenth time, the idea is right, the timing is right, you have the right people on the team. I like to surround myself with other givers, whether it’s entrepreneurially or just in general, and have contests to see who can outgive each other. It’s amazing the things that start to happen and the doors that start to open and the people you start to meet.

To me, it sounds cool, giverpreneur. Really it’s just having a giving mindset and being strategic about surrounding yourself with other givers to grow whatever the business is, whether it’s the business you started or it’s operating as an entrepreneur or somebody that’s inside another company but acts like an entrepreneur. I want to surround myself with givers because those are the best performing people on the planet. Adam’s got the research to back that.

You’re also an investor so you hear a lot of people pitching you to possibly fund their startup. What do you look for in an entrepreneur, giverpreneur when you hear a pitch? Any tips on what a good pitch is?

TSP 139 | Giftology

Having some alignment from a core value perspective is really important to us.

We have pretty strict rights here. There are a lot of people that invest in tech and these different things. We do a little bit of tech investment but in general we’re looking for companies, one, where we trust the founder and that goes without saying. There are certain industries and arenas that, just based on core values, we’re just not going to get into. That’s just not the direction that we want to take even if it’s a massive opportunity. It’s just not who we are from a faith perspective and whatever else. Having some alignment from a core value perspective is really important to us. For us it’s not always, “Is the company going to grow to be the biggest?” but “Is there an opportunity to serve a niche and do something really unique and different and serve people?” At the end of the day, even if things don’t go perfect, we like companies where there’s not a huge amount of capital needs.

There are a lot of opportunities. Look at Amazon or Zappos. We’re not looking for companies to reach $1 billion in revenue before they’re profitable. We want the old school businesses where it’s like, “If this idea gets to $5 million, it’s going to throw off a lot of cash and help a lot of people.” If they can do those things and we feel like the niche is unique enough and we really trust the founder, then we’re open to invest in it. If not, it may be a $20 billion opportunity, at the end of the day that’s not necessarily why we’re investing. We’re not looking for unicorns. I know that hedge funds and all these other companies, they’re looking for the one unicorn. We’re looking for guys that can go out. I’d love home runs but base hits are just fine too. We invest in things that we understand as well. Like the one tech company we did invest in, it’s a gifting platform. I can add value to it and I understand it. Even though we don’t normally do tech, it was an area where we were like, “This could be really cool,” so we invested.

Movie studios have that same philosophy. They can’t all be blockbusters, some of them have to be base hits, as you described, back to the baseball analogy a little bit there. 

Some of the movies that are consistently profitable are the ones that go directly to DVD or to Netflix or whatever else. They’re not the sexiest thing, they’re not going to do $100 million revenue, but they cost like $1 million to make and they produce $5 million in revenue. I’ll take a 5 to 1 ratio. It may not win an Oscar but I’m okay with that.

John, let me ask you about this situation. A lot of companies are invited to come and pitch, whether a magazine coming to pitch or brand to advertise or they’re an architect firm coming in with other architect firms to pitch to get the business to build the skyscraper or airport or whatever it is. They’re not quite sure if they should give a gift when they come to present or as a follow-up gift. They don’t want to have anybody accuse them of trying to “buy the business.” What are your thoughts on the best time to give a gift when you’ve been invited to come in and pitch, or should you give a gift at all at that time? 

I think it’s a case by case basis. If it’s an RFP with Walmart or somebody like that where they can’t even accept a pencil or going out for coffee, then a gift isn’t appropriate. If you know those are the kind of people that you could take them to a ballgame or you can take them out to dinner, or there are more social experiences that are acceptable, then I would look to amplify. Let me take somebody out, if we were to take him out for a steak dinner, we might have personalized steak knives waiting for them when they got to the dinner that they could take home with them. It’s a cool thing that they can take home to their spouse and use. It was part of the experience, it elevated the experience, but nobody’s feeling like they’re being bought because there’s a $200 set of steak knives that they used at the dinner table. It was part of the experience. It was cool. It showed an attention to detail and personalization and class.

We do a lot of those things for clients when they’re in pitching stages or as a follow-up like we appreciate the time. We used the knives in that way like, “Thanks for carving up the time for us to be there and be a part of the things.” I think a lot of times, it’s sometimes those little things that show an attention to detail are huge. Sometimes, you’re pitching from afar. I know one of the guys that’s a client of ours, it’s an engineering firm, I was the only one that actually dropped everything, flew out and met with them to see what their real needs were, and that’s why I got the business. I wasn’t the cheapest but I was the only one that flew across the country to meet with them and really understand their needs. That’s why I won the RFP and the pitch.

TSP 139 | Giftology

If you don’t feel comfortable, like I can’t take them out for coffee, then don’t send a gift.

I think every industry and situation is different. If you don’t feel comfortable, like I can’t take them out for coffee, then don’t send a gift. The last thing you want to do is consistently spend money and have a negative consequence. What I will say is that most people play fearful when it comes to gifting. I would rather lose one of the ten pitches because they’ve misinterpreted the gift and stand out head and shoulders above on the other nine out of ten because I did. I think most people, all they remember is the one out of ten that got sent back to them or somebody was pissed off or upset or misinterpret it. I’m like, “Focus on the other eight or nine that loved it.” I love that people play scared because it means they won’t do what I’m teaching them to do. Five out of a hundred companies that we work with, they stand out head and shoulders above because even if their competitors know our playbook, they won’t do it because they play scared.

What’s interesting is my big takeaway, there are several, but the two that really stand out is the personalization combined with going the extra mile. There’s the young boy you described who drove so far, you getting on a plane, the personalization with the names on the steak knives, not just steak knives, that’s really key. My final question for you is, you talked about if you really get to know somebody, you can even really connect with them if you come up with a clever gift for their children. Have you ever done anything for someone who may not have children, but talks about their pets all the time?

I actually just sent one to Gary Vaynerchuk‘s former assistant who now runs Vayner Capital. We hosted Gary for the day. In Saint Louis, he toured our leather factory. He was like, “This is really cool stuff.” He’s like, “Phil, that’s this company.” I looked up and saw that he had a dog named Chloe, the dog loved peppers. I sent him a knife that was handcrafted exclusively for Chloe. It said something about Chloe’s pepper slicer or something like that. Sure enough, he responded. He was like, “That’s awesome,” because it was for his dog. We’ve done that with customized collars and leashes and beds and other things that are nice, classy, useful, high-end things for somebody’s pets absolutely. In many cases, people treat their pets better than they do their kids, it’s crazy. What lengths people go to. One of the few recession-proof industries is the pet industry. People eat Skippy peanut butter and be serving their dogs filet mignon. It’s amazing to me the level that people go to for their pets. Absolutely, that sets definitely a relevant angle to take.

Any last thoughts you have you want to leave us with on how we can be a giverpreneur?

[Tweet “Be A Giver-preneur”]

I would just say that a lot of times, people don’t think they can afford us or they get afraid on outsourcing and gifting to us. The reality is there are a lot of small companies that work with us. It’s like I’m going to take my three girls bowling. You just try to keep them out of the gutter and they have the bumpers that keep your balls over. We did create a PDF that has the ten worst gifts to avoid giving, just to give people a way to say, “At least it’s not one of these ten.” It eliminates. Most people are like, “Those are the ten I normally send, so I need to avoid those.” We confirm why they’re not great gifts. If you go to, they can go download it for free and it summarizes some of what’s in the book. Obviously the book goes into detail on strategies, percentages, follow-up, case studies, and all that stuff. Sometimes people just want a little cheat sheet for them or their marketing team of like, “Keep these ten off of the list,” and it’s usually pretty helpful. I would say that that’s what I would wrap up with as far as a, “Go do this.” If you like the book, go download the book, and if you like the book and whatever else, you can reach out to us and I’m happy to help. That’s a good first step.

Thanks, John, so much. You’ve been a great guest and a giver. 

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Tags: Giftology, Giver-preneur, John Livesay, John Ruhlin, Pre-Suasion, Ruhlin Group, sellingsecretsforfunding, Seth Godin, successful pitch

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