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Giftology: Creating Loyalty Through Radical Generosity with John Ruhlin

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About:
John Ruhlin, Founder of Giftology, explains the science and art of radical generosity, and how his pride and insecurity as a young entrepreneur nearly cost him his business.
 
Bio:
Over twenty years ago, John Ruhlin got his start in sales at Cutco. By developing a system of generosity, John gained access to elite clients and referrals, becoming the top selling Cutco cutlery salesman of all time. He has since founded Giftology and become the world’s leading authority in maximizing customer loyalty through radical generosity.
 
Giftology has been featured in Fox News, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc and the New York Times. By automating this process of generosity for individuals and organizations, Giftology can help anyone turn their clients into their own personal sales force to drive exponential growth.
 
Quotes:
“You can’t just say ‘family’s a priority’ and then be gone 90% of the time.”
 
“Your results are really impacted when you spend time with other givers.”
 
“Go focus on the relationships that already get it, that really value who you are and what you bring to the table.”
 
Key Takeaways:
1. Your calendar and your checkbook indicate your priorities.
2. Timing Matters.
3. Take the time to be intentional.
4. Play the long game.
5. Practice what you preach.
 
Thegiversedge.com
Giftology on Amazon
 
Full transcript:
 
Ray: Well, hello everyone, this is a Ray Hilbert. I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith and we’d like to welcome you to the program where it is the intersection of faith, life, and business in the marketplace. We get a chance to travel the country and interview some of the most amazing Christ following leaders in the marketplace. Now. Sometimes we interview CEOs and entrepreneurs, athletic coaches, government leaders, educators, athletes and celebrities and all of these are high capacity, high impact leaders who are intentionally living out their faith in the marketplace.
 
Today our guest is John Ruhlin. John is the founder of the Giftology Group. This is an amazing company that works with organizations all across the country helping them to leverage this idea that they call radical generosity. John has been featured on Fox News, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc and New York Times. We’re going to learn a lot from him today. John, welcome to Bottom Line Faith.
 
John: Ray, thanks for having me. It’s exciting to be here.
 
Ray: Well John, I’ve been looking forward to our conversation. Recently, I was on a road trip and my wife called me up and she was so excited, so excited because someone that had sent this amazing package via UPS. And she opened it up and it was just this stunning, stunning knife set. And had a wonderful note and a copy of your book and it really impacted. And the note that came really impacted her. This person was expressing the appreciation for our relationship and you really were an inspiration behind that activity. So I’d like to just start a little bit, tell us about the Giftology Group, what you do and why you started it.
 
John: Yeah, so most people when they think of gifting, they think of warm, fuzzies they think of swag or trinkets or things you do at Christmas or promotional products. And if you look biblically, like there’s a lot of talk about gifting, especially in the old Testament. And Proverbs 18:16 says they gift ushers you before King. So a lot of what I teach in Giftology in our company, we actually own a gifting company. Companies and leaders will hire us to buy, source and execute all of their gifts. And when people think of gifts, they think of the trinkets. And really, we don’t use the word gifting anymore, we use the word artifact. Because everybody says relationships matter. The relationship with their employees, the ratio of their clients but there’s a big disconnect, there’s a big divide. It’s like the Grand Canyon between what people say and what they do.
 
It’s like the old adage, you tell me your priorities. Well let me, let me look at your checkbook and let me look at your calendar and I’ll tell you whether or not you value those things that you say that you do. And so really what our core messages is that if loving on people, like Jesus, whether it’s your employees or clients, if that matters to you, then everything that you do, even something as simple as an artifact that’s given to a relationship, that signifies whether you really believe that they matter or not, whether it’s a client, a vendor, or an employee. So the core of our message and the core of Giftology, the book, is really just shining a light on these biblical wisdoms and truths that have been around for thousands of years. But in our Western culture, we say we’re about relationship. But really, we’re very transactional culture as a whole. And so our goal is to shine a spotlight on that, inspire people to love on their relationships at a higher level.
 
Ray: I think that it’s so powerful and I love the fact that God has shown you, in scripture, that these are his principles. As he’s a generous and gracious and giving God, we should model that. So what happens to someone at the psychological level? Like what happened when my wife received that? She opened that up, had no idea what was in it, wasn’t expecting it. And then she called me. Just kind of walk us through what happens at the psychological level or the emotional level when that kind of gift or, as you call it, artifact appears?
 
John: Yeah. Well, a couple of different things happen. One is we have kind of like a recipe, a Giftology system. And one of the most important things that people they don’t understand is that timing matters. Most people give gifts out of obligation or expectation. They give gifts at anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, and people like, “Aren’t we supposed to send gifts then?” And I’m like, “That’s okay.” But if you think about your relationship, whether it’s in business, with a client or whether it’s your wife, if you only give gifts at the expected times of anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas, that really just gets you at like ground zero. Like no spouse, no client is like blown away when you give a gift after a deal is done, after a referral is done or at Christmas, those are done out of expectation and obligation. When something shows up out of the blue and we call it surprise and delight and we literally lay out with our clients what we call planned randomness, where I know and my client knows exactly what’s going to go out three years in advance.
 
So it’s being very planned. But the person who’s receiving the gift is blown away because it’s coming out of nowhere. So random day in the middle of July, a gift shows up and so when your wife got it, it wasn’t tied to a deal, wasn’t tied to referral, it was tied to one of those powerful things, I think, is, “I love you. I showed appreciation just because, not because you did something, not because it’s a holiday, just based upon the relationship.” And when you do that, whether it’s for your wife or whether you do that for a client, it shocks and awes them to the point like, “I didn’t deserve this. I didn’t know this was coming.” And so God’s wired into us, like we all love to be surprised and delighted. We all love to be acknowledged and appreciated. I don’t care if you’re a billionaire or you’re the janitor, we all crave that acknowledgement.
 
That’s how God wired us. It’s like one of the five love languages and so that surprise element was really important. The other part that’s super important is most of the time in business we ask ourselves, who’s the decision maker? Who’s cutting the check? And so all of the gifts tend to go to CEOs or VPs of sales or directors of marketing. And what we don’t acknowledge in business and what’s super powerful is to realize that person has a family. They have a wife or a husband, they have kids, they have a team, they have an assistant. And so when people hire us to do their gifting, I lay out their budget and I’m redirecting their marketing budgets and I’m like, “80% of your dollars should be invested, not in the so-called decision maker who’s treated like gold all the time, take care of their inner circle.”
 
That’s one of the core principles. And the spouse is one of them because they’re usually not included. They’re treated like arm candy, they’re treated as an afterthought. I’ve had so many spouses and a lot of wives come up to me and say, “John, in 30 years in business, this is the first time a gift in business ever included me and had my name on it.” And they’re in tears and I’m like, they have half a million dollars of jewelry on them. It’s not like they couldn’t afford the gift, but we all crave that acknowledgement as a human being. And including their family and inner circle, most of the gifts that we do, people like, “John, why do you still like buy and source the knives? Like that seems silly.” And I’m like, “Because most families break bread in the home, that’s their inner most when they’re inviting friends and family.” I want to include the whole family in the gift and the artifact, not just to so-called decision maker.
 
Ray: That is so powerful. And just as I was hearing your opening comments, I thought, “Wow, there is a lot of thought to this. There’s science, there’s tactical strategy that you teach people on the power in this giving of artifacts. And why do you use the term artifacts versus a gift?
 
John: Yeah, well I think that, for one, like gifting has just become, like most people think, China. But I think that, if you look at biblical times, like a King would give another King gold or frankincense or for a thousand head of cattle because they realize that the gift, the item itself, the tangible representation was a representation of the value you place on the relationship. What’s interesting is if you go to Japan, they will hand a business card a certain way to show honor and respect. Like every little detail matters about how you engage somebody. And so over there, it’s not uncommon for somebody to send a hundred thousand dollar watch to somebody because they understand that if it’s a billion dollar deal, a hundred thousand dollar watch is really insignificant. And so what I want to communicate with the word artifact is that you need to think about like if your house was burning down, you’d grab four or five things, typically artifacts from your house.
 
And it’s not always about what’s the most expensive, it’s what has the most meaning and that’s irreplaceable. If your dad or a sibling served in the war and died, you might grab a flag. You’re going to grab pictures, you’re going to grab the artifacts that are irreplaceable. And one of my friends who’s a top speaker speaks all over the world, names Joey Coleman. And he wrote a book called Never Lose A Customer. He used to be an attorney and he told me this story. He said, “John, I had this client pass away, patriarch of a family. And the three kids literally blew through $5 million worth of inheritance fighting over one thing.” And he’s like, “It was an artifact.” I said, “Well, was it piece of art? What was it?” He said it was a $20 item. I said, “Get out of here. Really?”
 
He said the dad every day after dinner for 40 years played a harmonica. And to the kids, that harmonica represented who their dad was, it was like woven into the fabric of their families. “And John, they fought over that artifact and literally blew through the inheritance fighting over that one item. But you know why I love your gifting and your knives and these different things that you help companies source and buy?” He said, “Those knives get used at every family gathering. Bar mitzvah, first communion, holidays.” He’s like, “Those knives become artifacts and just like the harmonica, they represent and become a part of the fabric of that family.” And he said, “I love giving them out because my hope is to inspire people to have that tangible trigger in their hand of the relationship.”
 
And so he’s the one that really inspired the word artifact. I was like, “Wow, if somebody could fight over and blow through $5 million fighting over a $20 item. As human beings, like we all crave those simple things that signify the value and remind us of a relationship.” And so it’s super simple, but very, very powerful when you incorporate it the right way.
 
Ray: That is powerful. I suspect that Dad, had he known that was going to turn out that way, he might’ve been playing three different harmonicas.
 
John: Yeah.
 
Ray: Wow. So John, we’re going to get into your faith and living out your faith in biblical principles in the marketplace. But already, I know that listeners to the program, they’re going to want to know how to reach you. So what’s the best way for our audience to reach out to you if they want to contact you?
 
John: Well, I wouldn’t be a giftologist if I didn’t give some sort of gift. So if your listeners want to go download something for free before they go buy the book, they can go to Thegiversedge, thegiversedge, Thegiversedge.com and it’s a free white paper, they can download that. And then from there we also share some of our best tips and ideas and tactics. If you really want to grow sales and grow your relationships and then and love on your employees well and we share some of those best practices. Of course our contact information is on those forms and if somebody wants to reach out for guidance or to help with a gifting program or more info, they can download that and go from there.
 
Ray: Fantastic. So that’s Thegivers, there’s an S on the end of that, Thegiversedge.com. And we’ll get back to that a little bit later as well. Well, John, let’s talk then a little bit specifically about your Christian faith. You mentioned the passage earlier at a Proverbs 18 around the biblical principle of giving. What are maybe a couple of biblical principles that guide you specifically in your leadership in the marketplace?
 
John: Yeah, I would say that I modeled a lot of what I teach in Giftology and how I operate my business and how I lead my people. I had an early mentor, Paul, and he was a man of God, he was a man of faith. And he was radically generous. He planted seeds and he was reaping what he sowed. Now at that point in time, he was 60 and he wasn’t a showy person. He wasn’t a flashy person and he didn’t keep score. What I saw in him, when you’re a poor farm boy, you notice when people are being radically generous. And also I noticed that he wasn’t keeping track and he wasn’t using it to manipulate people. He was using it just because he felt blessed. He grew up in a huge family, pretty poor farm kid and he was doing amazing things.
 
You reap what you sow. And right now it’s very popular to talk about playing the long game in business and having these longterm relationships. But oftentimes, I see people, long for them as five days or five months, and I saw him, Paul, he was doing things even after being in business for 40 years, he really was still practicing what he preached. Like the amount of handwritten notes that he sent out and the way he treated people. He treated the receptionist and the person lowest on the totem pole with the same amount of respect as the CEO. And that really impacted me that he didn’t treat people differently based upon status or stature. And because of that, he was loved and respected in the community at a really deep level. He was involved with the church.
 
He was involved in a Christian school that I was going to on the board of trustees. He was a man of service. He wasn’t the life of the party, but he really, to me, he became my model of he was really living out like the way I thought like Jesus would live. Like he was humble, but he also carried weight because of how he served and because of how he loved people. And that really like inspired me to say, “I want to be Paul when I’m 60.” And so I started to model those biblical principles in everything that I did.
 
Ray: Well, I love it. So I just wrote this down, underlined it, frankly, that the practice of radical generosity. And there’s no more generous gift ever in the history of anything than Jesus offering up his own life as a ransom for us and the sacrifice. And I think that’s biblical principle of radical generosity begins there and it manifests in how we live out our daily lives. Would you agree with that?
 
John: I would agree with 10,000%. And I see a lot of people willing to do that in their personal life, maybe their church life or their charity life. I think as Christian leaders, we’re sometimes afraid to do that in the business life because it feels too warm, too fuzzy, too weak, and we’re afraid to be taken advantage of. So we hold back and we say, “Well that’s good enough.” And we’d never say that to our family. We’d do the best for our family. We’re radically generous with our family. But I challenge people all the time, I tell them, I said, “Are you really radically generous with your vendors? Are you really radically generous with your clients? Are you really radically generous with your employees?”
 
And some people are, but oftentimes people come back and say, “John, you know what? I have been holding back because I’m playing with fear. I’m playing with I don’t want to be taken advantage of.” And, and so I think wearing the same hat and being the same person in our business as we are in our family life, our church life, is something that we all aspire to do better at. And I saw that in Paul in a huge way.
 
Ray: That’s fantastic. And so let’s just say for a moment that I’m listening to this conversation, I’m a small business owner. I’m a, I’m an admitted or high level manager in a company and I’m wanting to live out my faith, but maybe I don’t have a big budget financially to purchase something that’s going to have that kind of memorable impact. How could I be radically generous with my time as a leader in a company that would manifest this principle that you’re teaching us?
 
John: Yeah. Well, our kind of rule of thumb and kind of our model is we invest a percentage of your profits, as a business owner, as a business leader, as a division head. For us, we’ve reinvest five to 15% of net profit back into our relationships to do three things. One is to keep them, one is to grow them, hopefully inspire them to do more business with us. And three, part of our secret sauce is if you love on people consistently, well over time they become your salespeople for you. Like the Cleveland Indians after loving on them for six years, they referred me to 38 other teams individually in one day. So there is like there is a benefit to it, but it’s not just dollars. Oftentimes what makes a gift meaningful, whether it’s to your spouse or to your clients, is taking the time to be intentional.
 
People will say, “Well, it’s the thought that counts, John.” And I’m like, “Well that’s actually oftentimes a lazy and kind of lame way to give you an excuse for giving a bad gift.” It’s the thoughtful thought that counts. And oftentimes it takes time, it takes intentionality. It takes effort to do the research, to listen to your spouse or to listen to what would really be impactful to your clients or to your employees. So it’s not who can spend the most money. A lot of the clients that we work with are mid market companies, so they’re going up against publicly traded companies that have budgets that are a hundred times bigger. But oftentimes what makes the gift or the item or the artifact meaningful is the research, the thoughtfulness, the time behind it. The example of the harmonica, the $20 harmonica, but there was meaning behind that. And similar to what our spouse, it’s like it’s listening and finding out.
 
It could be something simple, but you listened, you heard them and you acknowledge that. I remember one of my clients, I listened and found out that they were going to Disney and I made sure that Mickey mouse had a little package waiting for them when they checked into their hotel room. It probably cost $75 bucks. But to the parents of those kids, who is my client, I made them look like magic happened. Like Mickey showed up to their room, they were blown away. I could have sent him a $7,500 watch, it wouldn’t have been as meaningful as the time, energy and effort to coordinate with the hotel and to have somebody drop something off. And it took me probably two hours of time to pull that off.
 
And so if you don’t have huge dollars but you’re willing to commit to put the energy and effort in, and I tell people all the time, like my love language, ironically enough, is not gift-giving. My love language is words of affirmation. So if I can do it, anybody can it. Instead of putting hours into your fantasy football league, maybe you should take a few of those hours into being more intentional with how you’re loving on your key relationships.
 
Ray: Yes. That is really, really powerful. That’s just really great. What I’m hearing is that in spite of us being in a day and an age where we hear so much about technology, artificial intelligence, algorithms and those things, what you’re talking to us and reminding us of is that at the essence, it still is about a human, a deep human connection, not only in life but in business. Am I catching that right?
 
John: Yeah. I think more than ever, because of social media and technology, there’s nothing wrong with those things. We leverage those things too. But I think more than ever, especially the higher up the food chain you go, people are lonely. And even a billionaire craves to be appreciated. And oftentimes, they’re not being appreciated by their team or their spouse or their kids. We all crave that acknowledgement. And people are like, “John, does this work if I’m a $2 million technology company? I’m like, “Do you interact with human beings?” And they’re like, “Well yeah. And I’m like, “Well then it works.” And then somebody else is like, “Well, we own a $20 billion manufacturing company. We just make widgets, we’re just a commodity.” I’m like, “Really? Are you? Do you still sell to human beings? Do you still have human beings working at your company?”
 
They’re like, “Well, yeah.” And I’m like, “Then it works. This is how God’s wired us.” We all crave to be acknowledged, appreciated, this isn’t rocket science. But I think with so much noise and so much technology, we forget that there are some simple truth and a lot of the truths are universal because it’s how God’s wired us and how God’s wired the world. And we over complicate some certain things. Like the handwritten note to me is still one of the most powerful things on the planet because it’s not done anymore. It’s like our emails, our inbox is jam full. But how often do we get a really thoughtful, handwritten note? Not very often. And if we do, we remember it. And so one of our principles is I will not allow our clients to, when we send out gifts on behalf of our clients, I won’t let them go out the door unless a handwritten note goes with it.
 
Because oftentimes the handwritten note is what brings context and brings meaning to it. And that one little detail, people are like, “Oh, I’ve done gifts. It doesn’t work.” And I’m like, “Well, did you put handwritten notes with all the gifts? Did you do this, this, this and this? Like did you follow the whole recipe?” And they’re like, “No, that doesn’t matter.” It’s like baking bread. If you decided not to put yeast in, then guess what? You’re not making bread. So that human element is massively overlooked in our Western culture, in our business industries today.
 
Ray: Let me speak to that because I want to affirm what you just said from the personal story I opened this conversation with. When my wife called me and it was this amazing set of knives. And let me tell you, what you just said is so true because when she called me, she said, “Ray, as amazing as this set of knives is,” she said, “There’s this handwritten note here and I want to read this to you.” And you were talking about artifacts earlier, as great as that set of knives are, if I had to take a choice of which were those I was going to grab on a burning house, I would grab that handwritten note. I’m telling you I would because it was that meaningful and significant. And it’s very rare and unique, right?
 
John: Yeah. The knives are just made to trigger the memory of the note in the relationship.
 
Ray: That’s beautiful.
 
John: And it’s cool that they’re practical, so you use them on a frequent basis. People are like, “John, it doesn’t matter. I just want to send something, who cares if it only lasts for a day.” And I’m like, “Well, the reason we send things that are handmade, that are made in the U.S., like the Cutco knives is that every time you use that, ten years from now, if you use them daily for ten years, that’s 3,600 thoughts of the relationship.” From a psychological perspective, it’s so meaningful.
 
Ray: That’s right. That’s right. So I want to talk a little bit more about the practicality of you living out your faith. You go talk with very large international public companies and so forth. How do you, in the midst of those environments that may or may not be so faith friendly or certainly not faith centered, how do you live out your faith in those environments that may not be faith-based or faith friendly? How do you do that?
 
John: Yeah, well I think one of the core essences of who God is, is love. And one of the things that we do is we try to model that radical generosity and love before we even hit the stage. So whether it’s the CEO or the event planner at Google. I mean we’re getting on these stages because we’re out there modeling this radical generosity. And my personal gifting budget, is this year, probably be about a half a million bucks. And I don’t say that to brag. I say that to say that we tried to practice what we preach and I would say that non-believers have latched onto Giftology and what we’re teaching and bringing us into speak on these massive stages because they see somebody, even though I’m talking about God and Jesus and my space, we all love to see somebody who practices what they preach.
 
We all love to be loved on and acknowledged. And I think the core of my message is not talking about what I’m, again, I’m trying to say whether you’re Christian, not a Christian, like if you want to build relationships, this is how the world wired and this is something that we’ve forgotten about. You can acknowledge the biblical wisdom or like a Don Maxwell, you can take biblical truth and teach them as leadership principles. But acknowledging the truth but then going and showing people, “Hey, this is how it plays out in a world class setting and this is how it impacts your bottom line, how it impacts your sales. This is how it impacts your referrals.” At a core level, most of the businesses that we teach at, they don’t really care about the face element. They don’t really care about gifting, they care about results. And when I show them that like, “Hey, this isn’t like a warm fuzzy, lovey, dovie like hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Like this is a hard and fact truth.”
 
And there’s a reason that gifting is talked about in the Bible, but you can move the Bible if you want to. But still listen to the truth and here’s the results that have come from loving on people really well and what that’s inspired them to go do. And you see companies that are operating like a Zappos or a Whole Foods, a lot of those principles, they call them conscious capitalist. That’s great. But a conscious capitalism is Christianity. That’s what we’re called to do is to love on people well and to go the extra mile. Like a lot of the best businesses on the planet, whether it’s Chick-Fil-A or Starbucks, they’re ran by biblical principles. And I think that the companies out there that are craving to learn great practices, they’re all biblical truths. But at the end of the day, like those companies are willing to listen because they want the result.
 
Ray: Yeah. And when did you start your company, by the way?
 
John: I interned with Cutco 19 years ago. In June 6th of 2000 is when I started there. And because of Paul, my original mentor, I never really talked about selling knives. I just created my company then to talk about how to build relationships and drive referrals because I realized if I called CEOs and said, “Hey, I want to sell you knives.” I would get a click. I got hung up on the other end. But if you start talking about how to grow referrals, engagement and inspire acts of loyalty and everybody would listen. So it’s been about 19 years.
 
Ray: Yeah. So as you look back over the last 20 years, if you could just kind of maybe identify a lesson you’ve learned or maybe a mistake that you’ve made along the way and what God has taught you, as you think back, what would you do differently? What was the mistake you made or what experience or lesson has God taught you along the way?
 
John: Well, I think we could talk for days on some of the things I’ve screwed up on or lessons I’ve learned.
 
Ray: Well, I’ll have you back for a whole episode on that, okay?
 
John: Yeah, yeah, exactly. we can do a few episodes on, man, oh man. A couple of abbreviated ones. One, I almost lost the business about 13 years ago. And one of the reasons I lost is I thought I could do everything on my own and in my own power, my own strength. And I really recognize that it’s one thing to rely on yourself. It’s another thing to surround yourself with great counsel and to realize that the verse that talks about two are better than one. I’m in a way different spot because that took my ego and pride out of it and said, “You know what, I need help.” And because of Rod, I’m able to focus on my strengths, the things that God’s wired me for and I’m able to recognize I have weaknesses. And that’s been huge over the last 13 years, been able to rebuild the business.
 
I almost went bankrupt and lost everything back during the financial meltdown. And it wasn’t just because the financial meltdown, it was a bunch of other prideful decisions. I thought everything I touched turned to gold and I invested in real estate and startups and all these other things. So that was a huge lesson. Going into my marriage, I know I didn’t quite learn the lesson of humility. I was only taken about a thousand dollars a month out of my business. But my wife, Lindsay, when we got married, like she was making more money than I was. And instead of like humbling myself and being okay with that and working back up things normally, I basically became consumed with business. And the first few years of our marriage were really rocky and really challenged. And even to this day, there’s still wounds that are still healing because I was off traveling and trying to prove myself again and get my self worth back through business.
 
And because of that, I wasn’t there to support her. I wasn’t there to support my family and her needs and with my kids. And my girls are now eight, six and three and I’m now taking more time away than I ever have. But I can’t go back to those early years and support her when she was pregnant and with the young kids, it was just, it was tough. And so it’s reminded me that, man, this time, everybody says it goes by fast and whatever else, but you can’t get that time back. And so now we’re setting aside boundaries and parameters and my business could grow way faster, I think, if I put more time in. But that was a painful lesson to learn. Like John, you can’t just say family’s a priority and then be gone 90% of the time, that doesn’t work. And I’m constantly reminded of that. Fortunately I have a strong wife who’s called me out on that and has been willing to stick through it with me through some of those rocky times because it’s not been easy.
 
Ray: I love it. Thank you for sharing that in your transparency. There’s that biblical reference, passage that says, “What gaineth a man, if he gains the whole world and yet loses his own soul?” And so if your business is going like gangbusters but your family’s at home, lonely, your spouse is not seeing you, your kids aren’t seeing you, you don’t have time for your walk with Christ, it’s not worth it is what you’re telling us. It’s not worth it.
 
John: Definitely not.
 
Ray: Yeah. Well, if you had to go back and advise your 20 year old self, go back to John when he was 20 and you had a chance to give him a piece of advice, what would you tell him?
 
John: I think back then I was trying to convert everybody to my way of beliefs. And was basically pursuing the masses versus now I spend a lot of my time with people. There’s a book Adam Grant wrote called Give And Take. And most people are either givers, takers or matchers. And things get exponential and your times really impacted and your results are really impacted when you spend time with other givers. I wish I could go back and say, “John, don’t pursue 90% of those people as clients. They’re not a fit, they don’t have your thought process of giving or your belief system. Don’t try to go convert them. Go focus on the relationships that already get it or that really value who you are and what you bring to the table and double down on them versus going after the masses.”
 
Ray: Boy, that is powerful. That is not only wise, but it’s effective. That’s fantastic. Before I ask my last question, John, is there anything that we haven’t talked about or covered today? Anything that you’re passionate about or you feel is really important that we haven’t covered already today?
 
John: No. I mean we’ve been pretty thorough. I think there’s other elements of what I think makes a great artifact. The personalization is something I talk a lot about. People in business throw their logo on things and make the gift all about themselves. Even in personal relationships, I see a lot of guys giving their wife a lawnmower or a four wheeler or a vacation away when all they really want to do is X, Y or Z. And in business, we do that. And I challenge people, because my engagement story that went horribly wrong, I realized like in business I wasn’t taking care of my employees with their best interest in mind always. I would do things on my own time schedule and if I like steak, I would send steaks out to people and if you can make the gift about the recipient, one of the things we do for all of our employees, which we’re not a huge company but it costs us $2,000 per employee per year is we pay to have their houses cleaned.
 
And you want to talk about a benefit or perk that makes their life easier and they spend more time with their kids or their spouse. And we started to multiply that into if they want to go to a marriage retreat, with like family life, we’re going to pay for it, the whole thing. If you can personalize the gifts not only with their name engraved on it or whatever else, but if you can personalize it to what they need that they wouldn’t do for themselves, it’s amazing how those employee or client or vendor or other relationships start to blossom because people realize like you have their best interests at mind. Super powerful. It’s not always easy to do because it’s like, “Wow, that’s a lot of money.” But in the whole scheme of things, like nobody any more values 401Ks and whatever else. Like those are just kind of like to get the even, if you can find ways to really add value to somebody’s life, in their home life, that’s super powerful.
 
Ray: I love it. I love it. And so John is one more time, if listeners would like to learn how to get in touch with you, visit your website, what’s the best place for them to go?
 
John: I would start with the free, start with the gift, thegiversedge.com. If they’re inspired by that and want to take it further. I mean there’s six different versions of the book on Amazon and the book is just Giftology. And it’s our whole playbook, it’s our whole system, it’s the whole recipe. There’s other ways to engage us beyond that. But those are two great places to start. And then if they’re like, “Man, I want to do this, I want to execute this. This is not easy.” They can always reach out to us directly through through one of those channels. But the free gifts is a great place to start.
 
Ray: Fantastic, thank you so much. Well we’re at that point in the conversation, John and our regular listeners know this is the one question I ask every one of my guests. It’s based out of Proverbs 4:23 where Solomon writes these words, he says, “Above all else, guard your heart for it determines the course of your life.” So let’s imagine you’re at the tail end of this side of eternity and you have the chance to gather your family, your friends, your loved ones, key employees, key relationships over the course of your life. And you have a chance to pass along what you would say would be the most important piece of advice you could. I want you to fill in the blank for us today here at Bottom Line Faith, john. So above all else …
 
John: I think John 3:16, He gave his life up so that we could have life. He was the ultimate gift giver. And so I would say to give like our Father did, to give more than is reasonable in all areas of our life, in our relationships, with our kids, with our employees, with our spouse. To go all in, don’t hold back. God didn’t hold back on us. And because we have that love inside of us, we can give more than this reasonable. And if you live by that, I think that a good things are going to happen.
 
Ray: That is great, to give more than what is reasonable, just as our heavenly Father did for us. John Ruhlin from Giftology Group. I can’t thank you enough for being our guest here at bottom Line Faith. Thank you for your time today.
 
John: Ray, Thanks for having me.
 
Ray: Well folks, that wraps up another amazing episode. I say to people quite often, and just yesterday I was saying, I just can’t imagine the conversations getting better than they’ve been here at Bottom Line Faith. And yet God continues to bless us with amazing guests. Today’s a conversation with John Ruhlin, that we’ve not had with our previous guest, we’ve talked about generosity. But what John has really taught us today is the important of what he would just call radical generosity. Not just with our finances, but with our time and our heart.
 
And to really invest in what is important to others and blessing them in ways that just goes beyond reasonableness, I love that. So folks, the best thing you can do here at Bottom Line Faith to help us is share this, share this conversation. Post it in your social media, your Instagram, your Twitter, your Facebook, and so forth. Help us get the word out. The program has been growing on an incredible basis over the last few months and it’s only because of our incredible audience like you. So until next time, I am your host, Ray Hilbert, encouraging you to live out your faith every day in the marketplace. We’ll see you next time. God bless.

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