Reading Your Way To Success: The Power Of Books With Steve Gordon


FTC Steve Gordon | The Power Of Books


While there are many routes towards building relationships with customers, one company has found an uncommon path. By harnessing the power of books, they are helping their clients gain new clients and grow their companies. In this episode, Mitch Russo talks about client referrals with the founder of The Unstoppable CEO, Steve Gordon. Steve shares best practices and discusses how using books can help you grow your company. Tune in for more tips and tricks to reach your first thousand clients.

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Reading Your Way To Success: The Power Of Books With Steve Gordon

I have something for all of my coaches in the audience. As a coach myself, I realized I’ve been spending 30 minutes per session on admin because they had five applications open all at the same time, one for note-taking, my calendar, my spreadsheet, my browser in Zoom and all my past session history for all of my clients scattered all over my screens to conduct the day of client interviews and coaching. What I decided to do was get myself a professional coaching platform. It turns out I tried five of them and none of them worked for me. Why? They were too hard to learn or so expensive. I couldn’t even justify it. I was already doing quite well as a coach. It wasn’t the money. It was the time and trouble to get it working.

What I decided to do is I decided to write my own. I brought in a team, designed the system and wrote it for myself to better manage my own client sessions and up level my clients using accountability, goal setting and stats tracking. That’s what I built into You could use it too. All you got to do is go to, get set up for $1 and make it your perfect platform of choice for all of your coaching. Now onto our guest and his incredible story.

At the age of 28, my guest was thrown into an impossible situation as a newly minted CEO. They were doing okay but had no true way to get new clients. This was the source of great frustration. As time went on, the problem became crucial and he had to solve the problem now. As they say, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” In my guest’s case, this was the perfect scenario since he was able to sink the ship as the captain. He tried everything.

He read every book. He studied every program. He couldn’t decide what to do next until finally, he discovered the perfect relationship between getting new clients and creating great relationships. He found a way to get testimonials and parlay that into a true fortune. He did it. Ten years later, the company had multiplied its revenue by 10X and that’s when he realized that he could help others do the same. You’re about to get a world-class education on getting new clients for any type of business using best practices and common sense. Welcome, Steve Gordon, to the show.

Mitch, thank you. It’s a fantastic introduction.

It’s my pleasure, Steve. It’s good to see you again in full disclosure. Steve and I have been friends for a long time. I have admired each other’s work forever because he’s an amazing individual. I’m about to prove that to you. Steve, give us a little background. Tell us how this all get started for you.

You alluded to a lot of it. I started off at a relatively young age running a professional services firm. I didn’t know anything about how to conduct business development, go get clients and so I had to learn very quickly. We were able to do some things in that firm. We’re lucky and grew that business over the course of time. I got to the point where I decided that the thing that I loved doing the most was trying to figure out what does it take to get a client to say yes. I left that firm years ago and have been working with other professional service firms, trying to get them to the point where they’re attracting clients on a consistent basis. That’s been tremendous fun along the way. I’ve written five books. The sixth is on the way. I have hosted a podcast for years that has been very successful. It’s been a lot of fun.

Steve, there are so many different ways that people use to get clients. Nobody says that they have the truth, the light and the way. It’s a combination of personal style, skill and ability. Ultimately, what it comes down to is we all have to find what works for us if we’re in the business of bringing in new clients. What works for you? Tell us how you do it and give us an overview of the magic you use to make that happen.

You can use other forms of media and packaging, but nothing works as well as a book. Click To Tweet

What I find for a lot of our clients is that there’s a particular thing that you’ve become an expert into the point that other people want to hear about it. I’ve been able to take things that I’ve developed a lot of skill and knowledge around and write books. Those books turn into shareable assets. That drives referrals and recommendations. We use some other things to magnify that. We use our podcast. The relationships that we create there magnify the ability to create those referrals over time. The center of it for me is being able to take that expertise and package it up in a way that’s easy for people to share.

Let’s go back a step here. You said you’ve written six books. Is that right?

Five books, number six is on the way.

In your books and in the work that you’ve done, you’ve focused on one key theme that I’ve picked up and that is getting referrals. At least from the earlier books that I’ve read of yours, the Unstoppable Referrals book was my favorite. I happened to look this up on Amazon. It has 85 5-star reviews here. That’s a big deal. You then take that, parlay that into your podcast and then you write additional books to help attract more people. What is the method to your madness here? Are you using the book to attract new clients and then close them or are you using the books to educate people and then hope they’d find their way to you? I’m sure there’s a system. Explain it.

It’s a little bit of all of that. What I’ve learned is that for anyone that’s selling their expertise, the number one way that you’re going to get a new client is you’re going to have somebody who already trusts and likes you. They believe in you. They’re going to share you somehow. For most of us in an expertise-based business, what we do is we go to our clients and we say, “Do you know anybody that could use whatever I do?”

The client then gives you the blank stare back because they don’t know anybody that needs what you do. If they did, they’re probably not real thrilled about introducing them and having you come to sell them something right away. What I discovered was if I could take all of the expertise that I had, that all my clients found so valuable, always praised and could put that into a package that was easy for them to share, they’d go on and share it. In fact, it was in their interest to share it. If I could put that into something like a book, I gave them something valuable to give to the people in their world.

To summarize, you could ask for testimonials and get those. That’s no problem, but then when you go and ask for referrals, that’s where the blank stare comes in. At this stage, you’re thinking to yourself, “People are willing and loved the work we did together. They’re willing to give me a testimonial.” They feel like they’re turning in their friends and relatives when they give you a referral. The brilliance here is you’ve created a strategy where they don’t have to do that. They can gift those people a knowledge base, which is a book with your wisdom in it. By the way, I happen to work one-on-one with Steve as well. It’s about the perfect system I’ve ever heard of. It’s perfect. It delivers what you’re saying exactly to your ideal clients. How has that worked for you?

FTC Steve Gordon | The Power Of Books
The Power Of Books: The center of it is being able to take your expertise and package it up in a way that’s really easy for people to know.


I transformed my business. When I first began testing the strategy out all the way back in 2011 and 2012, we were doing it with these PDF reports that we would create and that worked pretty well. We evolved that into what went into my first book, Unstoppable Referrals. Mitch, we were a tiny little marketing consulting firm at that point, local. I had about 50 friends who were other marketers around the world. 15 of those 50 back in 2014 when I published my first book got the book and said, “This is cool. I’d be happy to share that with my network.” At the time, we had a database of less than 1,000 people. We go and share the book. In the first week or so that we share the book, these fifteen people shared it with all of their networks, 5,268 people got a copy of the book.

Did that cost you a lot of money?

It didn’t cost me anything. It costs me the time, effort and energy to write the book. It costs me a couple of years of the time of building those relationships that led up to it but it didn’t cost me a penny. They all willingly shared the book because it gave value to their networks and audiences. In fact, I got notes back from many of the people who shared it, those fifteen that said, “This is great.” I’m getting these love notes back from all the people with who I’ve shared them.

What we discovered here is by being able to give the value like that where there’s no expectation that a sales pitch is coming, it’s easier for someone else to share you that way. It reinforces that behavior. We call it the virtuous referral cycle. They get this great feedback back, this positive reinforcement. They want to do it again. Most of those fifteen people have gone on and shared either subsequent books that I’ve written or shared that first book more than once. They’ve done that because they get great feedback when they do. Contrast that to someone where you pin a client down in your office, ask them for a referral and they grudgingly give you a name. That person is maybe a little bit frustrated because they feel like they’ve been put in the sales situation. That client’s never going to refer you again.

Let’s put some numbers to this because I did a little math while you were chatting with me. You got about 5,000 new members to your list, which are 5,000 people, highly targeted, interested in what you do in your topic. If I had run a radio program for you, we would have broadcast on SiriusXM over the course of maybe 1 to 3 months. You would have paid approximately $36 per lead coming in off the radio, which is very good, highly qualified leads. You would have spent, according to my notes here, about $182,000, which you are able to do for free. You did it simply by using a very simple process of sharing what you know with the people who already have experienced your abilities so they could share it too. That’s simple and very powerful.

It’s so simple that people see it and like it but where people get tripped up with this is that we keep using this word book. That’s a big hurdle for people to overcome. We started hearing this back in 2014, 2015, right after I published that first book. I talk about it in Unstoppable Referrals that this is the gold standard. You can use other forms of media and packaging but nothing seems to work as well as a book. The reason is that books have such high perceived value. We put a lot of weight in the value of a book. We give a lot of esteem to authors, at the same time, when you’re sitting there thinking. “I’ve got to write a book. This is going to be the next two years of my life.”

I know you’ve written two books. It’s a big challenge for people and has been a big barrier. One of the things that we’ve been working on over the last years since I wrote that first book and I think we finally perfected it is how to get people over that hump. If you’ve got a body of knowledge, instead of it being a two-year dedicate your life, go to your writing cabin on Walden Pond and create the next masterpiece exercise, how do we turn it into something where you’ve got a book to share in the next 60 days? If you’re not a natural writer, that’s still not a barrier for you. You can still be an author. You’ve got the ideas, the concepts, the intellectual property but maybe you’re not skilled in sitting down at the computer and banging on the keyboard. How can we still get you to that point where you’ve got this great asset? That’s what we’ve been working on.

I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a minute here. I remember once I was setting up an event with Tony Robbins. Chet was in the room and somebody was about to go on. Before they went on, they brought in these huge boxes of brochures that they wanted to be passed out and shared on every single seat. About halfway through the process, we had a crew of people putting these on thousands of seats. Chet walks in the room and says, “Get all those off those chairs right now.”

The number one way to get a new client is to have somebody who already trusts and likes you. Click To Tweet

I said, “Chet, what are you doing?” He goes, “We don’t want those on chairs. As soon as people sit down, they’re going to start reading them. They’re not going to be listening to the speaker. They’re going to have to read the whole thing before they even make a connection with the speaker. Let’s give those out later, not now.” I realized that he was right. The reason I’m bringing this up is because I’m going to play devil’s advocate and challenge you on this. Why would you give out a book that could take five hours to read before they end up connecting with you? That’s a barrier as opposed to a marketing vehicle.

A couple of things that we’ve discovered there, first, don’t write a book that takes five hours to read. That’s mistake number one. We’re working with one of our clients, taking them through this process, to create what I call an airplane ride book. Back when we used to travel a lot before the pandemic, I live in a little town called Tallahassee, Florida. It’s a state capital. The only place you can fly from Tallahassee is to Atlanta. There are no direct flights anywhere else. We fly to Atlanta. It’s about a 40-minute flight.

The ideal book-length is one where from the time I sit myself down in first-class and the plane pushes back until the time we pull into that gate in Atlanta, which all told is about 55 minutes, that’s about the length of a read that we want. I tell our clients, 1 hour, 90 minutes top is what we’re targeting. What that turns into is a book that’s right around 100 pages, maybe 150 pages at the outside. Our goal isn’t to teach them everything there is to know about the topic. Our goal is to paint the picture of the transformation that’s possible for this potential client.

They’re probably dealing with a specific problem that you know how to solve. They probably don’t understand that problem completely. The first thing they need to do is they need to understand the problem the way you understand it as the expert. They need to see that there is a thought through system and a series of steps that will solve that problem for them. We call that your unique mechanism. Once they see that, they need to see that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

I grew up watching the Wizard of Oz. You’ve watched the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy and all the characters follow the yellow brick road. They followed that yellow brick road through your unique mechanism. Where they end up is Oz. Oz is magical. It’s the Emerald City. It’s golden. Everything is better in Oz. We want to paint that picture for them of what their Oz can look like by the time we get to the end of the book.

What they’ve seen is this journey from “I have this challenging problem. Here are the thought through well-planned out steps that this expert has gone to the trouble of creating so that I can solve my problem. Once that happens, here’s how great life can be at the end.” That’s enough to show that you have the expertise that you’ve earned over the years of practicing whatever it is that you do for a living. It’s also enough to give them confidence that you can finally be the one that solves their problem. You’re different than everyone else.

Here’s my question. I’m playing devil’s advocate. If I’m a consultant and perfected this process that you described, why would I share it in a book? After all, wouldn’t that be almost giving away what I would normally charge for in terms of my advice and counsel? What do you think about that?

FTC Steve Gordon | The Power Of Books
The Power Of Books: Don’t write a book that takes five hours to read.


Are you afraid that the would-be client would pick it up, try and do it on their own?

The premise would be, “Why would I hire you if I have your entire blueprint right here in front of me?”

It’s because do-it-yourselfers aren’t great clients.

The connection here is based on showing what you can do and how it’s done with the belief that very few people will try to implement the process on their own. Is that where you’re going with this?

Absolutely. For most of the people who are reading this and will want to implement it, they’re experts at something. To develop that expertise, it probably took 5, 10, 15, maybe 20 or 30 years. To believe that within the span of 100, 150 or even 500 pages, that you could transfer all of that accumulated knowledge and expertise to a client who doesn’t share any of that but shares the problem that you solve is a little foolish. The clients that would be willing to take that as a user’s manual and think that they could go and implement it on their own are probably not going to hire you anyway.

In my book, Power Tribes, it’s not a 45-minute read. It’s probably a five-hour read. It’s about 50,000 words, but I lay out the entire blueprint for creating a very powerful certification program. The reason I’m saying this is to reinforce what you’re saying. What I found is that people read the book and say, “This guy figured it out. He knows all the processes. He knows all the pieces. I have some of them already. I haven’t thought about some of them the way Mitch described it in the book. Maybe he’d be willing to have a call with me to clear up some of the questions that I have.” That, to me, is how my book has helped me.

It’s not a 45-page book. It is a five-hour barrier to entry to access me but it sets people up to understand the complexity of the process that they are about to embark on, to take it seriously and treat it with respect. If you do something half-ass, you’re going to get bad results. You’re going to be disappointed and maybe even suffer a loss of either self-esteem, revenue or both. I agree with you. It’s a great idea.

Before we go any further, I want to remind everybody that our guest is the amazing Steve Gordon, author of five books, about to be the author of six books and the creator of some incredible pro coaching programs. Steve, you have this process. It works well. You help your clients get a book. Do you also advise them on how to set up the funnel and the follow-up process? Do you go through all that with them as well?

It’s important to eliminate barriers so people can communicate their knowledge, wisdom and unique expertise to the world. Click To Tweet

We do. We have clients that fall all over the map in terms of the type of marketing that they want to do. We have some clients who have a local professional practice, an attorney, a physician, an accountant or somebody like that. They’re not necessarily looking to build a big online marketing funnel for their book. We’re going to teach them our Unstoppable Referrals process. They’re going to go and own the market in their local area because they’re the one and probably the only one in their community that wrote the book.

One of our clients is a financial advisor here in Tallahassee. We only have about 200,000 people that live here. It’s not a big place. He’s used his books and we’re about to write his fourth book here. We finished his third. He has used those books over the last years to become one of the top producers in the nation, in life insurance and investment sales. We’re doing that from a community that doesn’t have a wealth of Manhattan, Los Angeles or Chicago. He likes to say, “I do that down here in little old Tallahassee.” That’s the power of owning your market by being the one who wrote the book.

We have clients on the other end of the spectrum who have more sophisticated marketing infrastructure where they’re building out a full book funnel with ads, upsells and all kinds of things. I always like to help people fit the marketing to their business rather than say, “This is the one solution you have to implement.” That doesn’t work.

Let’s follow the process through. Once you show people and get them to the point where they have created the manuscript and I’m sure that you have all the referrals in place to make sure that they get it edited, their artwork, the cover, all of that, what’s the next step? Do you help them get reviews? Do you help them get it published on Amazon? Do you try and get the manuscript sold to a major publishing house? Where do you take it from there?

It’s important to understand what we do leading up to that. That, for a lot of people, is where the magic is. When we come in with a new expert, we sit down with them over the course of seven days. We meet with them for an hour a day effectively. We always start them on a Tuesday. We meet with them Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. We give them the long weekend off. We come back and meet again on Monday and Tuesday. It’s about five hours total.

During that time, we’re interviewing them and pulling out all of their expertise so that we get all of that captured. All of their heavy lifting is done. From there, our team takes care of the writing and editing. They’re involved in the process of reviewing everything to make sure it matches their message but they do not have to do any of the heavy lifting. We handle cover, publishing, the whole nine yards from there. To answer your question, when we get to the end and we’re starting to promote it, the first thing most people think is, “How do I get this book out as far and wide as I possibly can?” That’s great.

What often gets overlooked is the low-hanging fruit. I’m less concerned with how many copies they move and what their ROI is on the book. We’re going to go back to the people that are closest to buying from them. Those are the people that maybe have been in their sales process within the last few years but didn’t convert, existing clients who might buy more or partners that they have good relationships with who have then a network of ideal clients. What we find is that when we start at the closest rung in, we can bring ROI to that client very quickly. It’s usually within 60 or 90 days of them launching the book. They’ve got the whole process paid for and then they can work out from there.

FTC Steve Gordon | The Power Of Books
The Power Of Books: Our goal isn’t to teach them everything there is to know about the topic. It’s to paint the picture of the transformation that’s possible for this potential client.


The idea is to get the book written, distribute it to the people who you’ve already touched at one level or another and then share it that way. The old model of creating a book, trying to get it published by a big-time publisher, getting in advance and all of that, that’s not the purpose of any of this stuff at all.

There’s nothing wrong with those kinds of books but I think that’s a different book. We like to break it down into books that are going to get you on a bestseller list, whether that’s the New York Times, USA Today or Wall Street Journal. Those are great. That’s a different kind of book. We focus on lead-generating books, a book that is within a very short period of time got to be delivering bankable results for your business.

Ultimately then the goal is to use the book as a prestige element to raise your personal capital, your value and then demonstrate your capabilities by talking about that in the book. I would assume that part of creating a book and writing a book about your process is also writing about your clients and the success that they’ve had with your process as well. Would you agree?


Steve, this has been very informative. I’ve appreciated this. The second stage of the interview is where we get to find out a little bit more about you. As you know, I’m going to ask you two questions. I sometimes call them silly questions but this is the heart of the matter here because this helps define who you are and help our readers get to know you a little bit better. Here’s the first question. Who in all of space and time would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?

You asked me this the first time I was on. My answer has not changed. I’d still love to sit down with Jesus and learn everything I could possibly learn from him, anyone who has influenced the world in the way that he has certainly I have a lot to learn from.

A lot of people, when I asked that question, they do say Jesus but interestingly enough, not everybody says so for the same reason. I loved your reason. Besides the value that he brought to this world, you might say he might have been the greatest marketing person ever. After all, he created something relatively quickly and has endured the test of time, to say the least. That’s very cool and it’s a great answer. Here’s the second question. This goes back to what I call the grand finale. This is the change the world question. What is it that you’re doing or would like to do that truly has the potential to literally change the world?

Helping people get their message out and create a tangible product in the form of a book, has the potential to change the world. Click To Tweet

I believe that what we are doing in helping people get their message out and create a tangible product in the form of a book has the potential to change the world. Some of the authors that would not have written a book but for this process are writing about things that are truly transformational. We get caught up, Mitch, a lot in business thinking it’s all about the service and the money. We’re always in the rat race but there are people on this planet with some darn good ideas that have a big impact.

We’ve seen that already. We’re working with a woman who is launching a new business. She will completely transform the education market. We’re an important part of her getting that message out. I keep reminding our team that this process that we’ve created is eliminating a big barrier for people so that they can communicate their knowledge, wisdom and unique expertise out to the world. That does change things in very measurable and dramatic ways.

Think of yourself as an amplifier. I know you do. If you help one person, your help of that individual might enable thousands or tens of thousands of people to better their lives. That’s what I call changing the world. Well done, Mr. Steve Gordon. I’m so glad you’re doing that.

Thank you.

Steve, we’ve gotten to the point where it’s time for you to share with our readers your incredible giveaway. What would that be?

Mitch, I have two things or maybe one and a half. We mentioned that I have book number six coming out. It is all about our process. We’re going to give away our process, how we write books for clients in 60 days. There’s a specific method to that. It’s the method that I use to write all my books. It’s going to be in this new book but it’s not quite ready yet. I have the next best thing. I have a fifteen-minute video for folks that will walk them through the entire process.

My one and a half giveaway is this, you can go and watch the video. When the book is available, we will send you an email and say, “If you’d like a copy of the book, here’s where you can get it for free.” That way, you can learn a little bit more because you’ve read this. I don’t know about you but I always like to go check things out right away. When the book comes out, you can get that. If you go to, you’ll be able to find that video. You’ll also be emailed a copy of the book when it’s available.

If people read the entire show, that means they’re interested and possibly thinking about maybe writing their book for the first time. You’re lucky this resource arrived exactly on time for you. Go to Watch the video and stay tuned because the book will be coming soon to you for free. Thank you, Steve. This is always a pleasure. I appreciated you sharing and helping all of us create our future.

Thanks, Mitch.

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