Market Your BusinessWhy meaningful corporate gift giving improves customer retention — John Ruhlin

Why meaningful corporate gift giving improves customer retention — John Ruhlin

Most people love to receive gifts, and in business, it could be the sole reason a consumer decides to return or send referrals. On today’s Small Business Show, we’re joined by John Ruhlin, the Founder of the Ruhlin Group and the bestselling author of Giftology, to discuss using gits as a strategy to drive referrals.

The average person is hit with at least thirty thousand messages daily, courtesy of that red ocean filled with sharks. Giftology neutralizes that deadly philosophy and equips you with every tool you need to prioritize your message.

"People do Business with people that are liked, trusted, and top of mind."

The Magic Behind Gift Giving

According to Ruhlin, “22 million people have read the book 5 Love Languages, and in business, it’s like type A or B personality.” But, the key takeaway from the novel is understanding that when you emotionally connect with someone, it’s not about the gift. But the appreciation of the person that will make anyone you encounter almost always refer your business. Most don’t care for gifts, rather than achieving a successful deal or referral. 

For example, in business, “We do things to gift our clients or employees like giving them a jacket, which is giving them a uniform because it has a logo.” But, by doing this in business, it communicates that, that person is just a number, or they don’t matter. “Ultimately, it’s a form of manipulation for them to be an ad for us,” asserts Ruhlin. However, what makes someone want to go and submit ten referrals for your business is how you make them feel. “It’s like the little things like a handwritten note or remembering they have a dog and mention it by name in conversation,” he continues. Those elements later become the story people wrap around to share a thousand times. 

It’s NOT about the thing. It’s about building those emotional relationships that result in loyalty and customer or employee retention. 


Almost all businesses fall or rise on the quality of relationships you build around them. So, it’s been shown that most referrals are not coming from marketing or ads, but in industries like real estate, it’s from showing up to the houses they sold a year prior, which is what is known as hitting them with the heart bomb. It shows effort and appreciation that goes beyond sending gifts around the holidays. 

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Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell is a staff writer/reporter for ASBN. She is a recent honors cum laude graduate with a BFA in Mass Media from Valdosta State University. Jaelyn is an enthusiastic creator with more than four years of experience in corporate communications, editing, broadcasting, and writing. Her articles in The Spectator, her hometown newspaper, changed how people perceive virtual reality. She connects her readers to the facts while providing them a voice to understand the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the digital world.

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