The Ruby Rule

bill mccormick Sep 22, 2022
The Ruby Rule

Last week I wrote about the importance of discovering congruence and alignment with our clients and prospects.  This week I want to talk about the importance of how we treat them (and everyone else in our lives, for that matter) once we’ve realized there is congruence and we want to pursue (or continue to pursue) a business relationship with them.

We’ve all heard of the Golden Rule (treat others the way you want to be treated) and the Platinum Rule (treat others the way they want to be treated).  But have you ever heard of the Ruby Rule?  Nope, me either.  But before I get to that, I’d like to share with you a little story about my wife (Sue (Susan) McCormick , MASI) forgetting her phone last night and what transpired.

We had an event at our church to attend in the evening and wanted to exchange an exterior door that we had purchased from Home Depot.  We left with plenty of time and get about 5 minutes from home when my wife started rifling through her purse looking for her phone.  Then she looked around on the floor of the van.  I pulled onto a side street and told her we could go back for it, no big deal.

To make sure it wasn’t in the van, we used my phone and called hers, listening for either the ringing or the ‘bzzz, bzzzz’ of the silent mode- nothing.  I made the turn back towards home and pulled into the driveway and turned around so my wife could exit right onto our covered patio, as we were in the midst of a very heavy rainfall.  

That’s when it happened.  She had her coat on her lap and when she pulled it up to get out, guess what she found??  Yup, her phone was right on her lap.

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What's Your Attitude?

Now, as we later discussed, this event could have been the ruin of the evening for many couples.  But my wife and I have long taken a team approach to our relationship, it’s us against the world (and for the world, I might add) rather than us against each other.

You see, our attitude and our mindset are paramount when things don’t go the way we think they should go, or when they go wrong.  Even if we have congruence with our clients and prospects, how we react when there’s a mistake or misunderstanding will go a long way in determining if they will remain a client or convert from a client to a prospect.

For the record, when my wife pulled her coat up and her phone was there I cracked up laughing!  It wasn’t a big deal to me and as we pulled back out of the driveway to continue our journey, my wife wondered what we avoided with the delay.  In the end, we didn’t avoid anything, but were able to see something amazing.


The Ruby Rule

I’ve written before about the Gold Rule and the Platinum Rule and how important it is to treat people by the Golden Rule until you’ve established a relationship with them, and then ‘upgrade’ to the Platinum Rule.  I still believe that, but after discovering the Ruby Rule, I’m going to challenge you (as I’ve been challenged) to ‘upgrade’ again to the Ruby Rule.

I learned of the Ruby Rule from the book by Art Coombs called “The Ruby Rule: How More Listening and Less Labeling Bring More Healing and Less Hating”.  He writes the book with the idea of creating more civility in our online debates, but there’s plenty here that can help us deal with our clients, prospects, family and friends.

The way I explain the Ruby Rule is that it’s the Platinum Rule on steroids.

The Ruby Rule states that we should treat others to EXCEED THEIR EXPECTATIONS.

As the book pointed out, there are actually instances where we can do more harm than good by following the Platinum Rule.  For example when it comes to providing breakfast for your children, treating them the way they want to be treated would mean you serve them cake and ice cream.  It might be what they want, but it’s not what’s best for them.

Practically, in terms of clients and prospects, they may be asking for one thing, but with our product and industry knowledge we know there is a better way, so we go above and beyond to communicate in kind and compassionate ways to show them a better solution.

This, of course, means we have to take our client and prospect relationships to the next level.  We have to discover what their wants and needs are and determine which need to be met.  We have to be able to have real conversations with them and communicate in a way that they see us as allies and not competitors.  How do clients and  prospects see us as competitors? When they think we’re trying to manipulate them to buy something they don’t need and/or when they think we’re trying to wring the last penny out of a deal.

When we have a relationship with our clients and prospects based on competition, with a winner and a loser, there’s really never a winner. If we ‘win’ it’s a short lived win that rarely happens again.  More accurately, you may have multiple wins, but there’s an expiration date on your win streak, because there will always be another salesperson who comes along who has a lower price or a new feature or benefit.

Congruency leads to cooperation and collaboration.  Then, we’re all on the same team and when there’s an error, screw-up or miscommunication, there’s grace from all parties involved because we’re on the same team and we all want the situation to lead to a winning outcome.


So what about you??  Do you always look at who’s to blame? Where to place the blame?


Or, are you looking for cooperation and collaboration?


Today, look for ways to practice the Ruby Rule so you can more effectively cooperate and collaborate with your clients, your prospects…. And your family.

The Surprise That Awaited Us

As my wife and I headed to church last night after exchanging the door, the sky to the West looked bright as the sun appeared through the retreating thunder clouds.  We then looked to the East to see a beautiful double rainbow!  In the Bible, the rainbow is a sign of God’s promises.  So whenever we see one we thank Him.  We never would have had that moment had we not been delayed by the ‘lost phone’.  You see, things work out.  

Live the Ruby Rule today!

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Originally published on Bill McCormick's LinkedIn.

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