Forging the Best Client Relationships with Generosity

WITH John Ruhlin


As a freelancer or small business owner, buying gifts for your clients may feel frivolous and wasteful. The truth is, it can be a small investment with a huge reward. However, we often get it wrong when it comes to determining the best gifts to give. If you are hesitant to spend a little extra to treat your clients, this is the perfect episode to change your mind.

Key Takeaways

Showing up and giving with no strings attached attracts genuine reciprocity. Give these gifts at unexpected times. It leads to growth in relationships that may take time but will be stronger in the end.

A world-class gift should focus on the recipient, not the giver. Thinking from the other person’s perspective and trying to understand what they really want forms strong and lasting bonds.

About John Ruhlin

John is the world’s leading authority in maximizing customer loyalty through radical generosity. He is the founder of and author of Giftology. John has been featured in Fox News, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., and The New York Times.

The True Power of a Proper Gift

We all have the power to make other people’s lives better. John explains how going all-in on generosity creates the relationships to improve not only the recipient’s life but your own too. People remember when you go out of the way to be generous. When generosity is genuine, people are eager to reciprocate. It may not happen right away, but eventually what you give others will come back to benefit you. During that time, relationships will grow in depth to last for a lifetime.

A Story as a Gift

As filmmakers, we are uniquely positioned to give the most meaningful gifts of all: stories. John says that a thing you give is just a token. But, if it has a story behind it, something that explains its meaning, then it becomes a cherished artifact. Use your power as a storyteller to imbue gifts with personal meaning. Give people gifts that are not only meaningful but that keep you top of mind. This is the stuff that forges bonds between you and clients that are valuable beyond words.

How can you create moments for your clients that make a difference for them? What meaningful and memorable gifts have you given or received? Leave a comment below!


In this Episode

  • The power of radical generosity to change everything [4:30]
  • What it means to invest in giftology [9:30]
  • Why we need to make gifts about the people we give the gift to and not about ourselves [18:40]
  • Why promotional products are not gifts [26:24]
  • How to invest in something that makes you truly memorable [32:00]
  • What you should do instead of wasting money on holiday gifts for your clients [36:03]


4:41“Every business, and really every life, rises and falls on relationships…. When you show up powerfully for people and are radically generous, no matter who they are, if they’re human beings, relationships flourish if they show up powerfully and go all-in on things.”
17:50“Language and word choice matter….. Based upon how it’s presented, it matters and makes somebody value it.”
38:41“A gift showing up just out of the blue says I was thinking of you, versus it’s Christmas and I made money this year and feel like I should probably say thank you. Saying thank you the other ten months out of the year is way more effective. As a small business owner, that’s how you can spend less money than your competition and have 100 times more impact.“



Ryan Koral

Ryan Koral is an entrepreneur, producer and business strategist from Tell Studios, a video production agency with a big heart for authentic stories that build brands and inspire action. He’s a husband (mostly happily for like 16+ years), has 3 kiddos, and has an annoying – but infectious – laugh.

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