Ten years ago, I was speaking at the 20th anniversary of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) in Las Vegas. I had just spoken at length about COO training and how critical and pivotal it was for a Chief Operations Officer to helm operations of a business. It’s not unusual for people to come up after I present to say hello, ask questions, or ask for my contact information. It’s not a big deal, and it usually doesnâ€™t result in much more than a couple second interaction. I received the usual compliments, butÂ I also had a meeting with this rather young guy who very warmly and confidently introduced himself. I didnâ€™t think of it as more than the usual courtesy meet and greet. But, boy was I wrong!
The Mind Blowing Young Man I Met
John Ruhlin, the young guy who approached me, asked if I was coming to Cleveland to speak at the EO Chapter there the following week. He also asked what my plans were the night before the event. I answered yes, that in fact I was going to be coming to his city to do another talk on training COOs and that I would more than likely be taking advantage of the dollar being weak and shopping at my favorite store, Brooks Brothers.
We made plans to grab dinner and see a Cavs basketball game after I was done shopping. Someone offering to grab dinner and a sporting event is a nice gesture in business, but not a big deal or out of the ordinary, right??
Well, as it would turn out, coming in that day was a travelerâ€™s nightmare. I had multiple delays and had to beg my way onto a flight that was pulling away from the gate. I text John and let him know that I was coming in 5 hours later than expected and that I understood if he wanted to cancel.Â Â John casually reassured me that it was no problem, even if I cancelled.Â However, he saidÂ that he would be waiting at the bar in my hotel, should I make it, and that I should get checked in, take my bags upstairs and come down refreshed for a great night. I finally reached Cleveland andÂ thought, even though I didnâ€™t get to go shopping, I can still enjoy a great meal and take in a little Lebron James with John.Â Â At least, that is what I was expectingâ€¦
Then This Happened….
I got to the hotel and when I walked into my room, my jaw dropped. Spread out on the bed and hanging up across the entire room were dozens of suit jackets, pants, shirts, and sweatersâ€¦and not just any clothes, they were Brooks Brothers! My room looked like I had walked into a Brooks Brothers retail store… and it was all in my size.
Then, it hit me like a ton of bricks. John had casually asked me what size I wore in an email that week because he said he wanted to send me his company T-shirt.
Heâ€™d just pulled off this amazing, mind-altering experience of service (what he calls â€œstrategic appreciationâ€) and we werenâ€™t even at dinner yet. I took as many pictures on my phone as I could, text them to my wife, and realized I needed to call John DiJulius to change the example I gave him for his book on the best customer service I had ever experienced.
When I walked into the bar, John looked up with a grin and said, â€œYou enjoyed your Brooks Brothers store?â€
Over dinner and the game, John explained how using ultra high-end gifts helps him land meetings with CEOs, CFOs, COOs and the like,Â or just keeps top client relationships amazing.
One of Johnâ€™s companies, Ruhlin Promotion Group, specialized in doing crazy things like sending a $500 Cutco knife set in 5 consecutive packages to a CEO asking them to â€œcarve out timeâ€ for a meeting. John also told me his strategic appreciation techniques had helped him almost always connect with the 1st and 2nd in command. It was amazing to hear about the powerful ripple effect his strategy had.
After the Brooks Brothers experience, and yes the awesome Cutco knives he sent me engraved with my company logo, I will meet John Ruhlin anytime, anyplace, and refer him to anybody, because I can only hope more and more people get to experience the Ruhlin Promotion Group treatment first hand.
In fact, over the years, John and I have grown closer and closer, and I was excited to bring him to speak to the COO Alliance members at our June 2017 event at the beautiful Royal Palms Resort and Spa.
We actually taped his talk – which blew us away – and are offering the content exclusively to list members. For more information, apply now.