In this episode, Dave is excited to welcome long time friend and quintessential Misfit Entrepreneur, John Ruhlin. John is the founder of The Ruhlin Group – a gift strategy and logistics company. The Ruhlin group helps clients send world class gifts to cut through the noise, Increase referrals, and strengthen retention with their most important clients, employees, and prospects.
John is known around the world for creating unique experiences through gifting. A practice he calls Giftology. In fact, that is the title of his recently released, best-selling book. The Ruhlin group counts everyone from major league sports teams such as the Miami Dolphins and Chicago cubs to organizations like Nascar and many of the Fortune 500 including Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley as clients. They have also been profiled in INC magazine, Entrepreneur, and Forbes to name a few.
How did an Ohio farm boy learn the principles of radical generosity and building a great business from the Amish? John's story gives us the answer. John started out in farm country in Ohio and worked like any of us would through high school and into the early years of college. But, John always had the entrepreneurial itch and it was this itch that led him the most unlikely place for farm kid, selling high quality knives for Cutco. Not only could John sell, but he quickly became one of the top sales people in he company and continued to be the number producer for years.
But, it was an encounter in his early knife days with a friend of his family that left a radical impression on him. John was working hard to reach high levels starting out and had sold everything he could to this family friend. It was then that the man asked what else he could buy. John didn't know what to say, this man had bought everything he possible could. It was then that this man decided to buy sets of knives to hand out to the wives of his business partners. John was confused, what would he want to do that? It was then that John learned his lesson when the man, "Take care of the inner circle." Over the years John has perfected this practice into a concept call Giftology.
And recently John released this strategy in a book titled with the same name. It is already an instant hit and best-seller. Giftology is the Ruhlin Group's play book for the last 16 years. We discuss this in detail and John explains further about his early inspiration for gifting and how it left a lasting impression on him.
John goes in depth on what it means to take care of the “inner circle” and the concept of “radical generosity,” why most people suck at gifting and how you can use this to your advantage in your life and business.
John talks heavily about the difference between a gift and an obligation. Some of John's best advice centers around a very counter-intuitive philosophy - You should not use your logo or company information as part of your gift or in strategic gifting.
As John says, "Most people don’t see the difference between a gift and a promotional item. Don’t turn your biggest prospects, clients, or opportunities into a piece of advertising for you."
John also discusses how to overcome your limiting beliefs and take calculated risks that pay off. As with most entrepreneurs, there are always tough times along the way. We discuss how John lost almost everything and came back and the core principles that help him through. John also explains his unique perspective on how he stays grounded and what he does to intentionally make himself feel small.
Best Quote: "Most people don’t see the difference between a gift and a promotional item. Don’t turn your biggest prospects, clients, or opportunities into a piece of advertising for you."
John's Misfit 3