I’ve apparently been sucked into the network of Cameron Herold.
-> In reading Vivid Vision, I learned that Cameron had also written a special version of The Miracle Morning called The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs. Having read the original by Hal Elrod, I wanted to read Cameron’s adaptation.[The Chicken Soup thing that Hal did with TMM was brilliant, by the way.]
-> In the Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs, Cameron told this story of how John went over the top with a gift for him to win his favor. It was a neat story, so I wanted to read Giftology to find out what this extraordinary gifting thing was all about.
If you engage in any sort of corporate gifting at your company, or if you’re an entrepreneur looking to open doors to new relationships with some strategic gifting, I think this short read is worth your while.
What it really comes down to is this: the higher up the food chain your prospect is, the more people are vying for their time and attention, and the more lame gifts they’re frequently showered with. Giving an extraordinary gift that shows you’ve put a lot of thought into it (and often a significant investment, too) shows that you actually value them and they’ll be much more inclined to take some time out of their packed schedule to hear what you have to say.
Lame Gifting in Action
You can see the antithesis of this “extraordinary gifting” principle at work if you go to any trade show.
re:Invent is going on this week and many of my peers are there. No doubt there are hundreds of exhibitors who came flush with lame gifts that will impress no one and are only self-serving. The entry-level sysadmins will go bonkers for their free vendor-branded keychain bottle opener and cheap t-shirt, and the IT leaders with the authority to sign the check will be thrilled if they escape without any crap that their spouse will be annoyed they brought home.
Further, vendors will be taking everyone and their brother out to a semi-fancy dinner that will be consumed within a couple of hours at most and then forgotten in a couple more days. An IT executive with a modest budget could throw a rock and hit somebody willing to wine and dine them at re:Invent or any other conference like it.
So if you’re the one ponying up the cash to pay for a gift in an attempt to woo a prospect, what can you do if lame tchotchkes and Ruth’s Chris isn’t going to move the needle?
My Takeaways from Giftology
In no particular order, here are my four most important things to remember from this read.
1. Give Something Extraordinary
An extraordinary gift is going to be thoughtful (like…ACTUALLY thoughtful. You’ll need to spend some time on this.). It’s also going to be unique and memorable. And in a lot of cases, it’s likely personalized.
2. Give to the Right People
A scattershot approach to gifting is a surefire way to blow a bunch of cash for no return. You’re probably better off taking the same budget and sending a smaller number of higher-value, very intentional gifts to some strategic prospects than you are spending the same budget on cheap t-shirts people will use to do their yard work in.
There are some important things to think about when considering who are the “right” people, though. At the very highest level of success, often even extravagant gifts to the recipient aren’t enough to really get their attention. So take the side door – their “inner circle”:
- Their executive assistant
- Their family (spouse, kids)
- Their close partners and associates
When you make the the people around them happy, or make them look like a hero, you win their attention and favor in a way that no Callaway driver ever could.
3. Give Something That’s About Them
Most corporate gift giving is totally self serving. You send over a notebook with your logo on it so that they can become a walking billboard for your company. Does that really communicate how important they are to you? Or does it say that you just want to use them for free advertising in an underhanded way that’s supposed to seem like a gift of appreciation?
A quote from the book:
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? When you make a gift all about you, it’s not a gift.
So engrave THEIR name on it.
Put THEIR logo on it.
Engrave it with THEIR alma mater’s fight song.
4. Give Gifts That Encourage Conversation
John has a history with Cutco, so he often uses the example of sending engraved Cutco knife sets. When people have guests over for dinner and the engraved knife comes out during the prep or the meal, it’s an instant topic of conversation. The recipient will likely speak well of you and give you a good referral.
Another example is a nice bag that will become the recipient’s primary daily carry bag. When someone comments on their bag, and as they pick it up, they’ll think of you. Taking someone out to your suite at the minor league baseball game is neat, but it’s one and done. Your prospect will pick up that beautiful bag hundreds of times over the next year, and at least some of those times, they’ll think of you.
John and I share a common faith and with our spiritual convictions as the impetus of our generosity (and the relationship benefits that come from it being secondary), I’ll conclude by sharing two quotes John used in the book that stuck with me.
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25
“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