Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Client Retention

These were some of my favorite passages from this book about thoughtfulness and gifting.

“It is rare in our very fast-paced and digital world to see people pay attention to details, such as by sending a handwritten note or a personalized gift; instead, many things are taken for granted. We think it costs too much or that we don’t have the time, and so thanking someone gets put on the back burner, never to be followed through on.”

“He was the kind of person who everybody seemed to gravitate toward, a master at fostering relationships. I remember going into his office and seeing a stack of handwritten notes he was sending to people, congratulating them on something or just saying, “Hello.”

Page 19 

“I got it: make the family happy, and you make the client happy. Paul Miller was a genius. “

Page 31 

“Focus on what you can do to make a lasting impression. Maybe you’re just starting out, and all you can do is take the time to send your dream client a handwritten note. You’d be amazed at how much a little thing like that helps you stand out from the crowd. “

“Gift giving and those “little touches” commemorate not just certain events, but people, places, and things that are important to us. In essence, they become the symbols of the value you place on the relationship. “

Page 33 

“It’s a great question that I’ll provide a simple answer to: it’s pretty easy to sniff out when someone’s actions are being fueled by a negative motivation—especially when it comes to gifting. Radical generosity doesn’t involve your constantly reminding the recipient of the gift you gave, or holding it over his or her head. It is unconditional 

—which is a concept that goes hand in hand with my faith. I truly believe in loving unconditionally and in giving unconditionally, too. “

Page 34 

“It’s old-school, but because we’re in such a digital age and everything is so fast-paced, transactional, and seemingly all about “me, me, me,” those little touches become meaningful again. “

Page 37 

“One of my favorite sayings is: “How you do anything is how you do everything.” 

Page 41 

“Of the various kinds of intelligence, generosity is the first.” John Surowiecki 

Page 43 

“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.” Lao Tzu 

Page 47 

“Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth.” Gautama Buddha 

Page 48 

“Would it shock you to know that I’m all for killing Christmas? It might seem odd, especially given my Christian faith. But here’s what I mean: I’m a firm believer that you get the best response from people when you gift them at unexpected times.”

Page 51 

“There is a very real relationship, both quantitatively and qualitatively, between what you contribute and what you get out of this world.” Oscar Hammerstein II 

Page 51 

“The concept of “surprise and delight” is one of the key differentiators in the successful execution of corporate gifting, and—to your benefit—is often completely untapped. “

Page 53 

“You would never go to someone’s wedding and give them a crystal vase from Tiffany & Co. engraved with your name on it. So why would you give a corporate gift with your company name on it?” 

Page 56 

“Strategic, thoughtful gifting provides that opportunity. If you have a great product or service, treat your clients like gold, and give them cool things that they’re going to use around their friends, family, and circles of influence, you’ll have a recipe for inspiring opportunities where your name, products, and services are brought up naturally. “

Page 61 

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston S. Churchill 

Page 70 

“I’m talking about making a first-class impression before you’ve met face-to-face.”

Page 74 

“This is an extreme example of “shock and awe.” It’s certainly not the only way for Giftology to work. As we’ve talked about before, what matters most here is the thoughtful intention of the gift. Do some research, tap into an area of interest for that person, and make sure your gift reflects it. “

Page 79 

“I don’t have that many employees, but it is a top priority for me to treat each of them, and their families, like gold. In fact, we send a gift to his or her spouse right after we hire a new employee. This is another one of my soapboxes. You should never treat your employees in a mediocre way. It amazes me that budgets don’t allow for $100 to spend on employee appreciation, yet we willingly blow through tens of thousands of dollars on trade shows and logo shirts. “

Page 86 

“A good exercise is to practice the act of being intentionally grateful throughout the day. Once you really start thinking about who these key relationships and stakeholders are, you’ll be amazed at how long that list becomes: employees, clients, referral partners, industry influencers, media, suppliers, mentors, and your board of directors or advisors. “

Page 87 

“Lifetime value, on the other hand, is the actual dollar amount that person could potentially contribute to your dream growth plan. For example, when someone buys from a car dealership, he or she has the potential to become a customer for life. If the experience is positive, chances are good that his or her spouse will also purchase his or her next car there. “

Page 91 

“It’s easier to take than to give. It’s nobler to give than to take. The thrill of taking lasts a day. The thrill of giving lasts a lifetime.” Joan F. Marques 

With everyone competing for that executive’s attention, it’s easy to forget who’s standing behind him or her— namely, significant others, kids, and assistants. 

Page 92 

“Again, I have to thank Paul Miller for opening my eyes to the fact that, when you take care of the family, everything else seems to take care of itself. Furthermore, it’s a way to stand out and be memorable as you seek to deepen those key relationships.”

Page 93 

“Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant. See, most people tend to play in the shark-infested waters of the red ocean along with everyone else, fighting over the same scraps of meat. There’s another ocean, however—one in which few people are playing, where profits are higher, life is easier, and there’s less competition. That’s the inner circle: your own blue ocean. “

Page 98 

“he had three young kids. I’m sure, like anybody, he experienced a certain amount of guilt for being away from home so often, which isn’t unusual—every executive feels that tug. “

Page 102 

“Okay. But is the gift for you or is it for your client?” At which point they usually respond with a sheepish grin. We’ve all been guilty of doing the exact same thing. 

One of the greatest gifting sins is not tailoring the gift to reflect the receiver. When you don’t, you end up with something that’s devoid of feeling, making that person feel like just one of a million, not one in a million. 

Page 105 

“Your gifts should always align with your core values. Because in the end, giving something that reflects the personality of your client in a thoughtful, meaningful way will ultimately reflect on your own character—from both a personal and a business perspective.” 

Page 118 

“If you choose wisely, you can often tap into someone’s deep, emotional memory bank. That’s what makes the difference between a lasting impression and a flash in the pan.” 

Page 119 

“It’s why we rely so heavily on practical, everyday luxuries—leather laptop bags, toiletry bags, golfer’s accessories pouches, and portfolios; over-the-ear headphones; metal canteens that can keep liquids hot or cold for twenty-four hours; or custom-fitted clothing.” 

Page 120 

“Again, it’s not the thought that counts. It’s the thoughtful thought that counts.” 

Page 123 

courteous, considerate and generous— not just to some people in some circumstances— but to everyone all the time.” Thomas J. Watson 

Page 130 

“Lindsay had become a bright light in my life. She was invaluable to me, having stood by my side while I went through the valley of all valleys—both professionally and personally. I desperately wanted her to experience a proposal that would blow her mind—better than anything I’d ever done for a client.” 

Page 135 

“marriage, and for the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why. Until it dawned on me: she hates surprises. It’s me who loves them. Lindsay would have been perfectly happy with an intimate proposal, something sweet and sentimental shared between the two of us. 

I was so focused on showing the world how cool and clever and great I was that I completely lost sight of what would have made Lindsay happy.” 

Page 136 

“Giftology isn’t about stepping into the spotlight—it’s about shining the light on someone else.” 

Page 140 

“cases like this, send those prospects three gifts over the next three weeks. It will keep the momentum and connection alive and keep you top of mind.”

Page 140 

“That’s when referrals and opportunities happen. Be unexpected, creative, and meaningful with your giving. Avoid Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.”

Page 146 

“Remember that slow and steady wins the race. Be patient. Invest in strategic gifting with a long-term view of the future, as you would with a growth stock or asset allocation. Over time, your investment will naturally compound.” 

Page 147 

“Again, it’s all about minimizing risk: people need to see that your intentions are genuine, with no strings attached.” 

Page 149 

“That was the card I had envisioned! But I took it a step further and had mine made out of aluminum.” 

Page 149 

“met the CEO of Lowe’s at a NASCAR event and was explaining what The Ruhlin Group was, our gifting strategy, and how it tied into relationship building. It was obvious, though, that he was completely glazed over, barely listening. 

That little aluminum square completely changed the conversation. Imagine what would happen if you approached gifting in the same light.” 

Page 150 

“they cost around three dollars each to make. Inevitably, people will say, “That’s insane. How could you spend that much money on a business card?” It’s an ironic question because I see companies spending $10 on a brochure that will inevitably end up in the trash can. To me, a three-dollar business card is a tremendously good investment because I know for a fact that the recipient will show it to twenty other people before he or she gets home. 

Plus, when I follow up with an email and write “Metal business card” in the subject line, people know exactly who I am, when we talked, and what we talked about.” 

Page 152 

“Business cards, letterhead—we strive to be world-class in everything we do, right down to the minute details. By taking that kind of approach to two seemingly inconsequential necessities, our response rate has gone up significantly.” 

Page 153 

“To do more for the world than the world does for you—that is success.” Henry Ford 

Page 154 

“If you cannot handle the logistics of gifting on your own, then outsourcing is a great option. Relying on the expertise of a company that specializes in gifting can end up saving you a vast amount of time and money in the long run. If you want to evaluate your plans and talk to an expert on gift giving, go to www.ruhlingroup.com, and fill out a request form to chat.” 

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