Giftology (noun):

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

Giving gifts is part and parcel – pun intended – of being a leader in the contemporary business world. But how much thought are you actually putting into the gifts you give? Are they really helping to build and strengthen your relationships? Our guest on The Rankings Podcast, John Ruhlin, is a modern-day Santa Claus. He’s spent years perfecting the art of gift-giving and shared some top tips for personal injury attorneys who are looking to level up their generosity game!

Why Giftology?

Gifting in business isn’t really about the gift, it’s about nurturing your relationships. An employee, a peer, a client, or even just someone you really want to talk to – any of those could be the perfect recipient. By giving a gift, you are:

  • Strengthening your relationship
  • Recognizing your client or employees achievements
  • Making someone feel appreciated
  • Reminding them of your presence and brand
  • Telling them something about who you are as a person

So what are you supposed to gift? That’s the snag! The golden rule for selecting a gift is that it should be thoughtful, individual, and non-transactional. By approaching giving without expecting anything in return, you’re actually much more likely to get an ROI, or, as John would put it, Return on Relationship.

What Not To Give: Top 3 Gifting No-Nos

Why Gift cards Are The Worst

“Nothing says, “I didn’t care about you enough to put thought and effort into getting you an actual gift” quite like a gift card.” – John Ruhlin

Giving a gift card is the ultimate no-no. It violates the golden rule of Giftology: thoughtfulness. Equally, giving cash is not the way to appreciate people in the long term. John explains that research indicates that people want to feel genuinely appreciated and acknowledged by their company and those around them. Money and gift cards aren’t going to solve that!

Don’t Gift Consumables

“Lawyers are the worst- they give alcohol like it’s going out of style.” – John Ruhlin

Giving food or alcohol seem like no-brainers, but John Ruhlin begs to differ. Most people gift consumables at a time when there is an abundance of them, think Christmas or Thanksgiving, where they’re left forgotten on a conference table. Plus, there are too many variables that count against you: food allergies, dietary and taste preferences, alcohol issues. You’re basically giving somebody gift guilt!

We all think about the cost per impression of our social media strategies, and how much we’re spending on PPC, but gifts have a CPI too. Consumable gifts are just that: consumable. Once they’re gone, they’re gone! You want to be gifting something that is used once a day or more. Just imagine 365 impressions a year, all related to you and your firm. Now that’s a metric we can get behind!

Trust Us, Nobody Wants Another Mug With Your Logo On It

“I’ve seen people give Rolexes out and they’re like, “How could you give a $10,000 watch wrong?”. Well, Domino’s did it!” – John Ruhlin

The gift should be all about the recipient, not about the brand and giver. By slapping your logo on a gift you turn it into a marketing tool or a promotional item. Plus, you manage to devalue both the gift AND your brand. Lose-lose situation!

If you want to personalize gifts, it’s much more thoughtful to add something inspired by the recipient. It could be their surname, a phrase that they like, or something that is unique to them.

Giftology for Personal Injury Attorneys

It’s no secret that every business leader wants to get new clients, and personal injury attorneys are no exception. However, John Ruhlin says the key to Giftology is working on your warm leads. For personal injury attorneys, that can be tricky because your clients are going to need your services once in their life. At least, you’d hope so!

What PIs need to focus on is the referral aspect of gift-giving. Certainly, gifts are not required or expected in an attorney-client relationship. But wouldn’t you want to be seen as the firm that goes the extra mile? If you’re thinking about gifting, you need only to think about who can become your fiercest advocates:

  • Reinvest in clients that you have worked for in the past
    Invest in your current clients
    Invest in people that may become clients in the future

The act of giftology can turn someone who’s possibly loyal into someone who is actively loyal. Your former clients can become evangelists who purposefully look for opportunities to talk about you and your firm to their circle of influence.

“Take all of your centers of influence that like you or love you and pour gasoline on the fire. And then take the people that you’ve already worked with that already have paid you money and you should be loving those people. Why? Well, we all have a circle of influence. So that person is probably not going to get another car wreck again, but they know people there at the country club.”

Want to find out more about Giftology?

Check out the Ruhlin Group’s website, or get your hands on a copy of John Ruhlin’s excellent book – Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention.