Steve Gordon | The 8 Mindsets of Business Growth

In the popular imagination, the entrepreneur is a risk-taker… ready to change directions on a whim. 

But the key to growing a business that will be sustainable in the long-term depends on a deep understanding who your ideal prospects are – the more specific the better – and then creating a system to reach them.

For most business owners, the number of new clients they need each year is much lower than they think. This actually requires a whole different marketing mindset than you’re used to. Referrals, networking, online marketing… it can all play a role. Just not the way you think.

We get into details on that, including…

  • Why traditional Internet marketing doesn’t work for professional service providers
  • How to identify your top 100 prospects (and you only need 100)
  • Ways to effectively communicate the true value you bring to the table
  • The secret of relentless follow-up
  • Adopting a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:


Steve Gordon: Welcome, welcome, welcome. This is a very special episode of two podcasts, the Unstoppable CEO Podcast, and the Advisor Inner Circle Podcast. And for those of you who are regular listeners have one or the other and you’re sitting there a little bit confused, you may not know but I host two podcasts, the Unstoppable CEO and the Advisor Inner Circle. And today, I’m here with my buddy and friend and client, John Curry, who’s my co-host on the Advisor Inner Circle Podcast.

And we’re doing a really special joint episode. And this is going to be the first of I think about eight or nine episodes we’re going to do jointly John, which I’m excited about and I think we’re gonna have a lot of fun with this. So John Curry. Everybody at the Unstoppable CEO already knows you because you’ve been on I think more than any other guest, but welcome to the Unstoppable CEO Podcast and great to see you again for the Advisor Inner Circle.

John Curry: Thanks, Steve. Good to see you. And we are seeing each other because we’re doing this where we have on the computer and see each other. So folks, let me tell you what we’re going to do today. And I’m not sure where we’re going to go but I have in front of me something called the inevitable growth scorecard. My knucklehead buddy, all the stuff he just said is true. He’s also like a brother to me, has created this thing, focusing on eight mindsets. So what we’re going to do today is give you an overview of this tool.

Now I’m going to say this up front. I’m pretty good at marketing. Matter of fact I am damn good at marketing and sales and have been doing it for 45 years. I’m looking at this Steve, and I’m seeing stuff that I struggled with for years. I see some things where I push through and excel at. And I see some things where I kind of still need help. That’s why I’m a client. So what we’re going to do today is ask Steve, I’m going to ask him some questions about each of these mindsets and get him to explain it.

But first, I want you to tell us what is the inevitable growth scorecard? How did it come about? Just enlighten us on the big picture. And what we’re going to do is spend about three to five minutes per mindset and then we will then get deeper in each one of those in future episodes as Steve said. So Steve, can you tell us how this came about and why it came about?

The Inevitable Growth Scorecard

Steve: Well John, as you know, I’ve got one of those weird minds where I’m always trying to like dissect something. Like how do I really break down a concept so that it’s both easy to understand and also easy to implement?

John: That’s because you’re lazy and don’t want to do any work.

Steve: Exactly. That’s exactly it. Everybody thinks Oh, God. You have this really great analytical mind. No, I’m fundamentally lazy. If I can figure out how to get it systematized, I don’t have to do any work. Absolutely. So you and I were having a conversation, we were doing our quarterly trek to our Strategic Coach workshop and had about five hours together of windshield time. And, you know, we, in these conversations, we kind of go back and forth on sales and marketing.

It’s, you know, it’s like a five-hour seminar. We get to Atlanta and I’m mentally exhausted at that point because we’ve covered so many things. But you were actually telling me about your, the list that you have in your niche market that has this really great quality to it that every quarter there are new people that come onto this list that you have access to.

John: Actually, every day to be honest.

Steve: Oh, I didn’t realize you could get it every day. So they’re constantly coming onto this list. And, you know, the term we used for that was a self-replenishing list which, you know, if you think about it, it’s like a continual parade of opportunity walking in front of your business, right? And that’s what got me thinking about this because we’ve been trying to create something very similar for our own business.

We’ve been thinking a lot about how do we create that for our clients? And the word that popped into my mind was inevitable. How do we make getting the clients that we want to get inevitable over the course of the next quarter or the next year or forever? And, you know, how can we set up the conditions whereby the outcome is already predetermined. And all we’ve got to do is follow through and execute on the system that we’ve created that we know is going to deliver those outcomes.

Why I think that’s so important, John, is that I see people all the time who are kind of hopping from one kind of marketing to another. And they’re dabbling in this and that they’re just struggling to try and figure out what to do. Well, if you just had one set of kind of guiding principles that you could turn into a system that made the growth that you wanted an absolute slam dunk that it was inevitable, well, wouldn’t you want that? Isn’t that we’re looking for?

John: Absolutely. And the key is that most people don’t understand. As I’ve heard people say, Well, I don’t want to come across like a canned presentation. And I say the same thing about process, a methodology. Well, if you go see Broadway shows in New York City, I’ve been going regularly since 1979, when you see a Broadway show, what quote is a caned pitch. Every TV show, they’re reading scripts, verbatim scripts, but they don’t appear to be reading a script because they internalize it where they become that character during the performance.

And your best actors do that. Tom Hanks has been interviewed, they say he reads a script as much as 100 times before he takes a part because he wants to become that person. So it’s the same thing with doing presentations, Steve, and it’s the same thing with the marketing side. And also we forget that we’ve heard that story several times that the person we’re in front of has not heard that story. So that’s very important in choosing our market and staying focused on not getting bored.

But let me ask you to do this. What you’re saying is, is that you realize there had to be a way to process or systematize this thing. So what I see in front of me, and I wish everybody could see it, but we’ll get that later, but the very first one you have there is who is your who? This is a good segue to that. So talk about that. What do you mean about who is your who?

Who is Your Who?

Steve: Well, before we do that, let’s actually tell everybody who where they can go and get it. So you can actually look at what we’re, you can download the scorecard and follow along. And you can go to and you can download the scorecard there in PDF and you can kind of follow along and you can score yourself, you know, as you go through it. So yeah, we started off with this idea of who is your who.

And, you know, this is probably the most challenging decision that most business owners face and it’s, you know, getting clear on who you’re trying to do business with in the first place. You know, most of us give all this thought to how we’re going to deliver the service and to, you know, all of the steps in what we’re going to do for somebody but we give precious little time and energy and thought to who we really are going to serve and who we’re trying to reach. And I think that’s kind of the first and fundamental decision.

John: But Steve, it doesn’t matter. I’ve got a product as great as everybody needs it, everybody’s going to want it because it’s so damn great. They just got to have it. So why do I need to worry about that? The whole population out there, everybody needs what I have. Everybody goes on Shark Tank and try and get the sharks to invest in their thing. That’s what they think. So tell me why I should have any worry about the who.

Steve: So you’re actually in a business where that’s true.

John: It is true.

Steve: Most businesses can’t legitimately say that. I can’t legitimately say that everybody needs what we do, but what you sell, the insurance that you sell, every adult in the United States needs what you sell. So

John: They don’t know that necessarily, but they need it.

Steve: Well, one need are irrelevant, right? But they all need it. So if you don’t get really clear on the specific type of people that you want to work with in your situation, then what you’re forced to do is every time you walk out in the world, you’re in the grocery store, right? And you’re going up and down the aisles, well, everybody you pass is a potential prospect. You know, I don’t know, what’s it what’s the population of the United States right now? 300 million or somewhere around that?

John: 315 million.

Steve: Yeah, somewhere in that range. That’s an overwhelming problem to try and solve, to try and figure out which of the 315 million you need because you probably only need, you know, for most of the businesses that would be listening to this podcast, and, you know, have the kind of businesses you know, where they’re really looking at this stuff. They don’t need 1000 clients, they don’t need 10,000 clients, they’re looking for the right couple of dozen, maybe. You know, maybe 100 and in year.

And to try and sort and sift out of the general population for that hundred is a really difficult thing to do. And so the way that you simplify that problem as you get more specific. And yeah, and so that’s what that mindset’s all about. And, you know, actually in the very next episode we’re going to go through specifically all of the different, the four different mindsets and how to, you know how to grow through them.

John: Well, let’s do this then. Let’s not spend more time with that. Let’s jump to the next one and we’ll make sure we do a good job of giving everyone a good overview so that if for some reason you miss an upcoming episode, you can come back and say oh, I missed one, it may go get it. So see, the next one I see is the target 100 advantage. We’ve had this ad nauseum every time we get together and the importance of narrowing it down. But it never gets old to you and me. So share what you’re talking about here the target 100 advantage.

Steve: Yeah, so these first two, who is your who and the target 100 advantage, they go together. So it’s one thing, you know, in that first mindset of who is your who to define who you’re going after, but in the target 100 advantage, we’re actually taking that a step further and we’re identifying them by name. Like, we’re finding the specific companies or the specific people that we want to do business with and for most businesses, who are, you know, who have clients rather than customers who have high-value things that they’re selling, a working list of 100 potential clients is usually a really good-sized list.

It’s not so big that you can’t work through it and it’s not so small that there’s not enough opportunity there. Now, it’s not 100 forever. You know, as you close them or disqualify them you’re adding new people to list. But if you have a working list of 100 now you are in a really, really powerful position. And so this is one of the traps, John, that I see folks get into with internet marketing. Internet marketing is, it’s the coolest thing ever. And I’ll be honest with you, I fell into this trap early in my career as things moved to the internet.

John: You did. And I remember chastising you. I’m gonna take credit for this saying, Steve, you better get back to the basics because you’re getting into this thing of the Internet, and it’s going to hurt you.

Steve: Yeah, you did. And, you know, it’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with the internet, it’s just it’s much more complex to try and deal with. So you’re going out to, it’s the same problem as walking to the grocery store and everybody’s a prospect, right? You know, you’re out on Facebook, and everybody’s a prospect.

Yes, there are ways you can, you know, you can kind of limit that to a degree, but, boy, it’s so much simpler if you just have a list of 100. You know, and you know, who you’re going after. And I have seen that totally revolutionize the way that an entrepreneur approaches their business development because once they’ve got that list, and it, you know, might be 80, it might be 50, it might be 100 or 200. You know, the exact number isn’t as important. The key is that you’ve got a reasonably sized list that you can begin working.

John: Absolutely. And when we get into that episode, I want us to also talk about maybe two lists of 100, your target list of who you want to go after to get as a client. But don’t forget the ones you’ve already got. Because in my business, every business actually, that I know of, especially mine, and I’m guilty of it. We’re so busy trying to get new clients that we forget to take care of our existing clients.

Steve: Well, I’ll give you a little preview into that episode. I actually break it into three groups of 100. I have the existing clients, which is however many that is, the hundred prospects that you’re going after, and then the hundred partners and relationships and influencers that you want to be in touch with and develop relationship long term because maybe they’re a center of influence or a referral source or, you know, someone in that part of your network that you want to maintain relationship with. And I think all three are important.

John: Very good. Very good. Now I’m going to push you a little bit on time. Okay, so if I cut you off don’t think I’m rude, but I’m going to do it to you, okay? Because you do it to me basically.

Steve: Let’s do it.

John: Alright, so the third one I see here is clear value. Well, obviously, my value is clear because I’m so great at what I do, Mr. client, you should just buy everything I tell you the buy. You know, I wish you can see his face folks, while he’s agreeing with me. So what the heck is clear value mean?

Steve: Well, so it’s always clear to you. Actually, I used to say it’s always clear to you. Now I’ve been corrected by some business owners who weren’t clear at all about what their value was, even to themselves and

John: Hang on. Just this morning we were talking about you, if you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business. If you’re not clear on the value you bring to the table, the truth is you’re not bringing value. So is that where you’re headed with this?

Steve: Well, yeah, that’s a large part of it. I mean, if you can’t communicate the value that you bring, you aren’t bringing value. You can’t bring value.

John: I want to make a disclosure. I have to confess, folks, I’m honestly telling you something here. I’m looking at the scorecard for the first time today. Okay, seen this emailed to me today. So I am looking at this with fresh eyes and learning just like you are. There are some things here that I know that I’m already applying. But I’m also intrigued by some of what I’m seeing here. So I can’t wait to get dig deeper. But back to you, Steve, about the clear value.

Steve: The thing that we see a lot is that, and the place that it shows up now for people more than anywhere is on their website. But it, the websites just sort of the canary in the coal mine. When you go to somebody’s website and if you can’t understand what they do and it’s not clear then chances are they’re not clear in their own mind about what they do and the value that they bring. And these first three are really foundational.

So if you get clear about who you’re serving and you get a list of those people, and then you’re able to put together in clear terminology, clear language, the value that you offer to someone so that they can, those people that you put on that list can understand it, man, you’ve solved like 80% of the marketing problem.

John: I agree totally. I’m gonna read this to everybody. The value you offer aligns with what your ideal clients really want. And you have a clear, compelling marketing message that communicates your value. Those four lines, five lines have so much power in them, Steve, that most people in business, but especially in the financial side of the world for life and have been for 45 years now, it’s like becoming a chasing the newest flavor of the month or shiny object. But if you can get clear on what you, who you want to work with, why you want to work them, you know, why, why the why.

The who is good if you have the why plus the connection. We’ll talk about that maybe when we get into this other episode. But for me it’s become who, the why, I chose him as the who, what is the value of bringing to them? And what it does, it energizes me when I’m in front of them. It’s like I’m Superman and I get more energy every time I get it. I could do it 24 hours a day and not get tired.

Steve: Yeah, absolutely. Well, let me illustrate this with your own example. For those that don’t know you, John, John’s in financial services. You know, he primarily sells a combination of life insurance and annuities and investments. And those things are all great products, but I would venture to say that nobody wants to buy life insurance. Nobody wants to even talk about it because you got to talk about dying. And you got to talk about a product.

And we could go into this. But I mean, the joke is that you’re selling a product that people pay for in their lifetime, but never get to use. You know, and so it’s, if you sold it from that perspective, it wouldn’t work, right? But instead, you’ve created a clear value message by positioning everything around preparing for a secure retirement. Not a risky retirement, okay? And so, and there’s obviously more depth to it than that, but just to give everybody a little bit of an idea, it’s about going beyond just what you do, and connecting it really to the result that people want.

John: And getting inside their head. You know, you and I have studied a lot one of our mentors, Dan Kennedy, we’ve learned about Robert Collier, join the conversation that’s already in the client’s head. I shared it just yesterday with some friends. Think of hopping on a merry go round where you just run jump on it. You know, a good walk along, increase the pace and just step on it right? Well, when you go on a merry go round every time I go where there’s when I hop on it just for the hell of it to tell the story. Suppose that it isn’t. So we want to find out what’s happening inside their heads.

And until we do that, we don’t really know what the clear value is in my opinion. But let’s go to the next one because I know we’re going to dig deep I’m looking forward by the way. And I got some ideas I want to share. Ideas that sell. Now we have talked about that before in some of our podcasts are talking about that. ideas that sell versus products that sell, gadgets that sell, so expand on that.

Steve: Well, gadgets sell or frankly just good old fashioned hard labor that sells, right? Because there’s, you know, that’s the way a lot of people sell is let’s just how many people can I call today?

John: Well, my answer that there was Steve Jobs. Think about that. He got an idea. Think about it. The phones that we use today, an iPhone. What is this? A combination of what a telephone, a camera, a recorder all the stuff that’s already been invented by somebody else he took all that put in one box. Agreed?

Steve: Yeah, it was just a combination of a bunch of ideas.

John: And those are the ideas. Now the products already existed, the things already existed out there. He simply said well, what if we just took all these things? I don’t even, remember a security camera everywhere I went? We were talking about that many times. I don’t carry a camera anymore. I don’t need to. I got my iPhone and iPad.

Steve: Well John, the first time I was ever introduced to this concept of ideas doing the selling was really right when my career started. I hadn’t even been out of college for a year. And the firm that I went to work for which I ultimately bought, you know, we were going after a, for us what was a huge contract. It was a little over half a million dollars, which would have been the biggest contract that the firm ever landed at that point. And the way that we ended up landing that was from a presentation that I did with the founder of the company.

We put it together, we were invited to a conference to go speak in the room were, you know, was the person who was ultimately going to really influence this particular contract. And we knew he was going to be there. And, you know, and we put that presentation together with some new thinking about how to approach his particular problem and it was a problem that many people in that room had, but he just happened to be kind of on the leading edge as a number of these projects started happening all throughout Florida. And we ended up winning that contract.

We beat a bunch of big national firms. We had no business winning that contract, John. And I remember walking out of there just like when we found out that we’d won it, I thought, Man, I am unbeatable. I’m like a 24-year-old kid fresh out of college not knowing anything, and I’m unbeatable. And then we started using that model to go after similar contracts all over the state with government agencies.

And there was a time when we would do presentations at conferences, then get invited to participate in a contract. And I’d do a similar presentation to the contracting folks, John, sharing these ideas, this different way of thinking. And we went for a three year period where we never lost when we went into one of those situations, beating bigger firms every time. That, and so the way that we did that is we had different ideas. We had different approaches and different ways of thinking.

And I’ve never come across anybody in any kind of professional service business that didn’t have a really opinionated idea about how they do it. I know you have that. You have your philosophy which you’ve kind of called into the secure retirement method. And you use that and teach it and that’s your idea, and it sells for you. And that’s what we’re talking about with ideas itself.

John: And I will tell you, I had a client yesterday, excuse me, a potential client, we agreed not to work together. And he said, You’re not upset? I said, No. You’re not ready. When you’re ready, come on back. You will be ready in the future unless you give up we’ll keep in touch. If you don’t want us to ever talk to you again, we won’t. But when you’re ready, we’ll help you. But what you’re asking me to do is totally, totally different than what I think you need. I could make a sale, make a commission, would love to have the money. I don’t need the money. I like to have it. But it would be a product that you’re asking for that’s going to hurt you.

So we agreed not to work together. And then when he’s walking out the door, and he turns back around and says so let me ask you a question. Can we have a few more minutes? I said, Sure. So he said, if we made the changes that you’re proposing, and did it the way you’re suggesting, can you show me what would happen? I said sure that takes seven minutes Showed him. He goes, can I come back in for another session and understand that better because I really want to work with you but I really, I have so much pride and ego at stake in my own idea that I’m having difficulty with it. And I here’s what I said.

I said, Well, first of all, I’m proud of you for even saying that you have pride and ego in the way. I’ve never had a client say that before. 45 years. It’s the first time I heard that. And I said, Well, I’m impressed that you admitted that. But absolutely you can come back. I said, I’m not giving up on you. You’re the one who was giving up. You were the one who tells me that my approach to you because I was too conservative. On this portion of your money, I refuse to have a risky retirement. It will be a secure retirement.

Now, if you want to be risky, you can have me do it for you. Tell me what to put it in. And I’ll do it. I’ll be happy to take the commission. But you’re going to sign a disclosure saying that you designed the plan, not John. He said When can I come back in? He’s coming in Monday at 2. What’s gonna happen? I don’t know but it goes back to what you said, ideas that sell. Different and sticking to the format of secure retirement, not a risky retirement. That’s my moniker. That’s my passion. I am not going to change that for anybody or anything.

Steve: Well, I know you’re gonna cut me off in a second but let me just put this bow on that. And the beauty of what you just illustrated there is that the idea is something that that client could buy into, and he hadn’t bought into it yet, which told you you’re not going to make the bigger sale.

John: Correct. And you may not buy into my idea. We’ll find out Monday at 2 o’clock.

Steve: No, and that’s okay. But it’s a great proxy for whether or not somebody’s going to become a client. So if they buy into your idea, they really get pre-sold. If they don’t, you know, pretty quickly that they’re likely not qualified. So that’s the deal behind ideas that sell. We’ll dive into it deeper in a future episode.

John: By the way, I’m gonna cut you off real fast. I talked with a friend today at lunch who’s also an advisor. He was a little frustrated about someone who didn’t take his advice. So I said Wait, let me help you with something. And I use our friend Dan Sullivan’s comment about the over 7 billion people on the planet. They all need us, but they don’t all want us.

So our desire should be to serve the ones that want us and not worry about the ones who do not want us. I’d like to help everybody. I’d like to save the whole world but I don’t have that capacity, nor am I going to attempt to. So if we get real clear on the things you said so far, and I’m going to go back and highlight them if you don’t mind. Who is the who? Identify the target 100 that you want to work with. Get clear on the value you bring to the table. And then what are the ideas that you sell that are better and different? Unusual.

Show up differently than anyone else in your field? So with those four, let’s jump to number five here. We’re halfway through this. Collaboration advantage. Why do I want to collaborate? Man, I want to just kill my competitors and get rid of all of them. I mean, tell me why I should collaborate with anybody, Steve Gordon.

Should You Collaborate? Yes You Should!

Steve: It’s just easier. It’s flat easier.

John: I’m being facetious. I’m working three cases this week alone with other advisors in my own firm.

Steve: Well, let’s talk about what that collaboration looks like. So, you know, I’ve written a book on referrals, right? And everybody likes to talk about referrals. Well, you know, the way that most people approach referrals, it’s pretty much a one-way street. So I used to do all kinds of networking here in our local community, as you know. It’s how we met.

And, you know, and I’d go and I’d have these coffee dates with people, and we’d have these wonderful conversations and we’d seem to, you know, get along swimmingly and both agree that we were going to have a mutually beneficial relationship. And for those of you can’t see us, I’m doing air quotes around that. And then, you know, I was

John: That was just calling bs on it.

Steve: Yeah. You know, and I go and I try and, you know, find them someone I could connect them with that I knew that might be helpful for them and then I, you know, they would tend to disappear into the witness protection program. And I got frustrated after a while. I said, you know that, to me, that’s somebody who wants a referral who’s just taking it. I don’t want that. I want, when I’m looking at working with someone like that where we’re going to, I don’t even, I’m almost to the point where I don’t even want to use the word referral.

And I’ve written a book with that in the title, right? But really, it’s about how can we collaborate and promote what, if we believe in each other, how can we promote what each person is doing, okay? And so a great example of this, John, is yesterday, or excuse me, two days ago, I had a conversation with someone who’s going to be a great collaboration partner. And they were a guest on our podcast. And that’s one of the ways that we create, you know, that we initiate those relationships. They were

John: Was that Ted by any chance?

Steve: No. This one hadn’t gone live yet. And then I got invited to be on their podcast, which was great. So we’ve already collaborated at that level. And that’s one of the things I love about podcasts is it gives you a way to sort of test these relationships out and see what the other person is going to do. And then, you know, I said, hey, let’s see if we can brainstorm some other ways that we can help each other.

So we scheduled a call and we got talking and, you know, they had some ideas, and then it just struck me like there’s, you know, because I’ve strategically selected, you know, when we invited them to be a guest this company to be a guest on our podcast, the owner of it to be guests I didn’t just do that willy nilly. It was very strategic. They were somebody that I thought we could really collaborate with because what they do is complementary to what we do. And so in this brainstorming call, we came up with this really great joint webinars.

So instead of, you know, them hosting a webinar for me and me hosting a webinar for them, we said what if we did something better and bigger than that where we host like a two-hour online workshop where I’ll talk about my piece, you talk about your piece. Because they fit so well together, everybody that attends is going to get 10 times more value by us combining. And we’re going to both get more value from it because we’re going to be able to invite all of your list, all of our list, I think I can go out and get other people who will help share it because it’ll just be a cool thing.

That’s what I’m talking about, you know, I when I talk about collaboration, it’s at the very highest level of this and you can kind of score yourself in the scorecard. That’s the one of the things I love about these scorecards is you can read the descriptions in each column and sort of assess where you think you are. But then you can also see like, where do I want to be in, you know, 90 days or six months or a year and start to work towards it. And do that in a measurable way. Because I didn’t start off being able to do things like that, you know? I started off doing these stupid coffee meetings where we had these fake mutually beneficial relationships, you know?

John: Well, they were stupid because you were doing what you had as far as knowledge at the time.

Steve: Right.

John: And you were doing something. Far better to be doing that than sitting at home doing nothing.

Steve: Absolutely. Well, I think that’s how you grow into some of these other things. Sometimes you need some experience along the way.

John: But my colleague, April at the showroom, and I was sharing with her today, we have to find ways to let you leap from the normal process. Why do you want to take five years to do something you could do in five days? You get it done and quit fooling around waiting because you haven’t earned it yet. Because someone hasn’t done the expert. Well, go out and do it yourself.

Steve: Well, and John, that’s one of the reasons that I wanted to put this scorecard together and there’s going to be a book, as you know, that I’ve already started writing that’s going to explain all of these in great detail and give you kind of the blueprint for it. But I wanted to get the scorecard out there right away because even this I think, will help people see the roadmap. I mean, it’s, you and I’ve been studying marketing together for a decade now.

It’s taken me more than that because I started even before that. It’s taken me more than that to really figure these things out and understand them, be able to articulate them. And so this, for a lot of people, what my hope is that they’ll get the scorecard, they’ll kind of identify where they are now, but they won’t have to go through the whole discovery process that I had to go through to find the higher lower rungs on the ladder. They can just jump right to it.

John: Absolutely. Take Delaware. Hey, look, dude, I’ve got you beat. I’ve been doing it for four and a half decades.

Steve: Yeah, I forgot your old.

John: Yeah, I’m an old guy. But I’ll tell you what, I’m good.

Steve: For folks listening on the Unstoppable CEO Podcast, it’s not an official episode of the Advisor Inner Circle unless I tell John he’s old.

John: That’s right. He gives me that all the time.

Steve: Alright, so what’s next on the list

John: It’s the Rodney Dangerfield. You don’t have to say it. Alright, next is infinite opportunity. So talk about that.

Infinite Opportunity

Steve: Alright, infinite opportunity. At times in my career, I have had this cloud kind of come over me where you feel like nothing’s working. And you’re just, you’re having a hard time getting anybody to respond to what you’re doing and you feel like there isn’t much opportunity out there. And then I’ve had times when the absolute opposite is true. And what that tells me is that there is unlimited opportunity out there.

And it’s one thing to say, you know, oh, sit in the room and cross your legs and, you know, manifest abundance and all this other nonsense. That’s not what I’m talking about. First of all, I do think it’s a mindset. You got to think that hey, there is infinite opportunity, but we’ve talked about the numbers already. There’s, you know, 315 or so million people in the United States and 7.5 billion on the planet.

And if you’re in the kind of business where over the course of the next year having even 1000 clients, and I can’t imagine there’s anybody listening to this that’s looking for that many. Most of them are going to be looking for the very valuable few dozen. And if that’s all you’re looking for, then there’s no end. I don’t care what industry or what niche you’re in. You know, I’ve said before, going back to, you know, who is your who. Everybody gets caught on trying to narrow down.

I’ve yet to find in 10 years, I’ve yet to find anyone come to me and define a niche too narrowly. There’s always way more opportunity than they could ever capture. And then again, John, I’m gonna use your example. And, you know, you could work with literally every adult human in the United States, or at least in the states where you’re licensed. But even if we narrow that down geographically just to our city, Tallahassee, Florida, which is a relatively small city. What do we got about 200,000 people here? Yeah. And then you’ve narrowed it further to just people that are members of the Florida Retirement System, who are, you know, state employees.

But then you narrowed it even more to it say I only really, my core is professors at Florida State University. That’s not a lot of people in the grand scheme of things compared to the 315 million in the country. I don’t know how many faculty members there are, but not a lot of people. So and even that, I mean, you’re leading the nation in annuity sales in two companies right now? Two different companies?

John: Really well, one provider but within two entities, yes.

Steve: Okay. So you know, but nonetheless, you’re the number one guy in the country and you’ve got the teeny tiniest little narrow niche that probably any advisor has defined in the country. Okay, and so even within that, you haven’t done business with everybody.

John: Nor do I want to.

Steve: Nor do you want to, right? So for all intents and purposes, since you’re not going to do business with everybody in that group and it’s more than you can handle anyway, you have infinite opportunity. You’re not going to run out.

John: Correct.

Steve: Okay. And we talked before about your self-replenishing list. There’s always a few more people coming in to that group every day, right?

John: Let’s talk about that for just a moment. And I know we’ll get into and we’ll get into that as an individual episode. But I think one of the biggest problems we have with anyone in business or sales, and there’s a difference. Some people are in sales and they’re just a salesperson. They’re not creating a business. I chose early on to make it a business, not just being a salesman. So I have a staff, I have a team around me, five other people.

But if we’re not careful, no matter what our business is, we have this scarcity mindset. Our nation has a scarcity mindset versus abundance. We’re taught that way. Oh, my God, I might run out of money, versus abundance. So we have to focus on that and understand that there is more money floating around out there. There’s enough money. There is no scarcity. It’s there. You just have to claim your portion.

Steve: And they print more every day in Washington.

John: Oh, yeah. And they’re going to continue printing it because of all the nonsense that’s going to be happening in the future. But we can talk about that another time. But anyway, so let’s jump into the next thing. Because like, we got two more we gotta cover. Relentless lead generation. I don’t think I need that, Steve, because I’ve got a pretty good business right now, we’re making good money.

If I’m a financial advisor, the markets been doing so great. My accounts have gone up in value. They may drop in the future, but I’m good, I’m comfortable, I’m happy. Why in the world would I worry about lead generation, much less relentless lead generation? I personally would never want to go out and get new clients. I just want to keep what I got.

Steve: Folks, I don’t even know where to start with this guy. Cuz he’s not telling you the truth at all. In fact, before we started recording, we went through all of his plans to go attract new clients.

John: For the next 20 years by the way.

Steve: Well for the next 20 years, and do you mind if I share your age? So you’re 66 years old?

John: 67

Steve: 67. I’m sorry. 67. You just had a birthday. You’re 67 and you got a 20-year plan for growing your business. That involves a whole lot of relentless lead generation. Obviously, without continual relentless lead generation your business dies, you know? It doesn’t go anywhere. That’s something that has to continue and for most businesses, it’s very much a start and stop thing and, you know, I chose that word relentless for a reason because I think it infers an attitude about generating new leads.

You know, I thought about as I was drafting this the first word I thought I was like continual, but that’s not the right word because it needs that attitude. You got to have that attitude that I’m going to be relentless about this. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to do every marketing tactic under the sun, it means you’ve got to go and create that target 100 and then you’ve got to think about, okay, how am I going to be in it for the long haul with them and how am I going to show up until that, you know, those hundred, you know, all of them either become a client or tell me now.

And that’s the relentless part of it is creating something that’s systematic for you so that you keep showing up and showing up and showing up and showing up. And the, for me the simplicity that comes with that target 100 idea is that makes relentless lead generation. And this next one relentless follow up. It makes it viable.

John: Well, on the two of these, let me share something that just happened. Just this happened yesterday. Third meeting with a couple, they brought their son in, the reason they came to me and insisted on paying the fee, a $3,000 fee, they said, We have been getting your information for four years. Four years. And they bring in a big folder. How many times have I told you this story? They come in with a big file folder, emails, postcards, invitations to seminars, all kinds of stuff. Well, now she’s getting ready to retire November of this year.

And they met with three other advisors where they said, you know, you’re the only one. You’re the only one who has consistently sent us information, even though we were not a client. So will you take us as a client? And I said I don’t know. Let’s talk about your circumstances. We’ll just see if we’re a fit. If we are I charge a fee. In your case, it’s going to be a $3,000 fee if we’re going to work together. It didn’t matter now. This was like two months ago. So yesterday, we get a substantial amount of business. We’ll be doing even more as time goes by.

Ultimately is going to be over a million dollars of investments that we’ll do. A combination of annuities and investments. But that emphasizes the relentless lead generation because we got them as a lead and then the relentless follow up, we kept sending something even though they didn’t come in for an appointment. They never came to a seminar. They finally, they said, I give up. The people, the timing was perfect. They got something in the mail, called us. Can I come in? Yes you may.

Steve: You just said something really important. Said the timing was perfect.

John: It’s not my timing. Their timing.

Steve: Well, exactly. And none of us control the timing of our prospects, of our future clients. They control the timing. And there isn’t anything you can do about that no matter what anyone tells you. And the game then is to be there when the timing is right. And so the fact that you were there when the timing is perfect, isn’t luck. It’s part of your system.

John: Absolutely. And here’s the deal. When they call it is scheduled an appointment with Jay I said who is that? I don’t know the name. he said I don’t know either. All I know is they said they’ve been getting your stuff all this time, so went into this offers package we use, looked at and said, Oh, they’ve been getting all this stuff for four years. I didn’t know that. I never met them. But I’m glad that they came in because it’s a very profitable situation.

Steve: Yeah. So we’ve knocked out two there. So you generated the lead through all the lead generation that you do and then once you generate the lead, you have them in your system. You followed up with them until they were ready. And

John: Are you gonna give me credit for actually getting into the very last one here?

Steve: Yeah. because we’ve probably gone wrong already so

John: You don’t give me credit very often, so thank you my friend. But seriously, wrap us up on talking about relentless follow-up, then let’s go back and summarize all eight of these and then share with everyone what we’re going to be doing going forward.

Follow Up…Relentlessly

Steve: Relentless follow up is, frankly, how I feed my family, John. So I started this business in 2010 and I started off doing, I think a bi-weekly newsletter and that lasted for maybe a year, year and a half. And then I started doing a daily email newsletter. Did that for four years or so wrote over 1000 emails. And then we started doing podcasting and sending stuff out weekly.

You know, now we do stuff multiple times a week in many weeks. And I’ve done that for a decade. I think I get the relentless follow-up scout badge. And I will tell you, you know, we are two most recent clients were people that have been on my email list who have been hearing from me for over five years. Had I not been doing that I can assure you that we would not have been doing business with them.

John: Time out there. Think about what you just said. Five years, because people do things when they’re ready, not when you’re ready. And the key is most of us are so damned impatient, that if we don’t get the business right now, well, they’re stupid. They don’t get it, move on. That’s wrong. But you will not invest the time the energy nor the money in keeping in touch if you don’t know they are a fit. So what he said from the very beginning, I’m going all the way back to number one, who is your who.

If you are identifying and you’re spending your time, your energy and all of your resources on marketing to the people that you know are your food, it makes it easy to remain relentless and consistent and persistent. If you’re chasing anybody and everybody in the grocery store, you’re going to burn yourself out, spend all of your money, burn out your energy and your team’s energy and you’re gonna be frustrated. But if you focus in on who you really want to work with, and you’re clear on why you want to work with them, you will spend the time and energy because you know, it will pay off eventually. It will pay off.

Steve: Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, I’ve been pounding the follow-up drum for all 10 years that, you know, I’ve been working with folks on marketing, John. And I’ll tell you it’s a difficult problem to solve. I spent 10 years trying to figure out how to get people to do it because it’s a lot of work. And the thing that keeps people from doing it, really, they’re a couple of things. One is they don’t want to be a pest.

They feel like if they follow up too frequently that they’ll annoy people. And I think, you know, me being able to do four years of daily email follow up every weekday kind of proves that, you know, you can’t really piss them off. You know, and so frequency isn’t the issue. The other thing is people come to you, they don’t know what to say. And then I think the third is that it’s just a lot of work.

John: Well, I’m going to disagree a little bit. You and I have never disagreed, right?

Steve: Never.

John: Folks, we fight like brothers sometimes. Here’s where I disagree. It’s not that difficult. If all you do is send a postcard out once a month and simply say, Hey, Steve, John Curry. I’m thinking about you. Are you ready to talk? If that’s all you sent to your 100, or your 1000, and you know what, if all you did is just send it out, hey, I didn’t have the name. I’m thinking about you. I’m still here. Let me know when you’re ready to talk. If you send out a little simple postcard, what’s the size of a postcard? I don’t know, four by six, whatever it is cost you 20 cents to mail.

Give me a break. That’s not hard. And you find a mailing service where you hand them your list and they mail them for you. You don’t have to lick any stamps. So if you did that at least once a month, that’s at least 12 contacts. Forget about all the modern technology. If you just mailed out a little simple postcard, hey, I’m still here. Maybe even have a little guy waving saying I’m still here. Can I help you? Let you know when you’re ready. That’s better than nothing.

Steve: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and we’re going to get into, as we go, some of the things that you’re doing, some of the things that we’re doing, some of the things, you know, we’re doing with our clients as we go through each of these. And so we’re going to do an episode on each of these. But one of the reasons, John, that we’re so big on podcasts is that it, as we get into the second path, so there’s eight different mindsets.

The first four are really foundational. They sort of tee you up for being successful. And then the last four are the ones where you really are starting to generate the activity. And with those last four of the podcast in most cases, if it’s done well is the thing that kind of covers all of those bases for you if you’re smart about it.

John: Well, let me talk about the podcast now. Because I had a situation just recently where a friend of mine asked me specifically, he said can you identify that you’re getting direct business from your podcast? I said, Absolutely not. And he goes, what? Then why you do them? I said well, let me ask you a question. When you have in a week, typical week, four to five people come as a man, the podcast you did with so and so is so awesome. I love that story. You see the value in that? And the person says not really because they’re already a client. I said wait a minute.

Hang on. So, three or four times a week, someone who’s already a client, or is about to become a client heard someone else bragging about the life they have now because of their relationship with me, or sharing stories without even mentioned the relationship with me, but by the power of association, it’s clear that I had some impact. You’re telling me you don’t see value? He goes oh, my God, I get it. So folks, it’s not a matter of did you make money directly from the podcast is the fact that you have a podcast.

And you and I have had this conversation about a couple of leading people in our community who said, you have a podcast? I do. I didn’t know that. Would you like to be on the podcast, please? You know, it says there’s more than just you don’t just to get business. Now you get it to make the person in front of you to call, I’m going to give you a platform to share these beautiful ideas you shared with me with anyone who chooses to listen. Would you like to share the platform with me?

Steve: Yeah, well, and I’ll tell you that since you started down this path, let me put a little bit of a background we actually

John: We’ve already gone way over time so we’ve got to wrap up in a minute or two.

Steve: Yeah. So they’re really three things that we see the podcast, three roles that it serves. One, it can serve the role of a prospecting tool for really high-level prospects, where you, there’s somebody that you want to reach that’s really difficult to reach. Now, the people you just mentioned that were leaders in the community that are clients of yours but I know would be really great trophy clients of yours. That’s a way to reach them, right? And they jumped at the chance. So that’s one way of using it.

John: I will get them eventually.

Steve: I know you will. I know you will. So then the second way using it we’ve already kind of talked about which is the collaboration angle with it, where you invite people on that are strategic relationships where you create then a way because you started the relationship really strongly through the podcast.

And it’s funny, I was doing an interview on somebody else’s podcast this morning, John, and, you know, this guy who has a podcast says yeah, like the number one thing that I didn’t expect out of it was the quality of the relationships that I’m able to create by doing these interviews. Like, these people know me now. They are responsive when I reach out to them, they’re open to doing things. And so by creating those collaborative relationships, you can generate leads. We’ve, you know, in just the first quarter of last year we generated 2600 leads off of webinars that were hosted by people who are on our podcast. Hosted for us.

So there’s that aspect of it. And then the third is what you’re really talking about there with your clients where you’re interviewing them about the result that they got, which is this amazing life, in your case, is amazing life that they’re living in retirement. All because they bought into your ideas. They came in and went through your process. And now they’re enjoying the results of all of that.

So those are all great uses of it. So anyway, we’re going to get way more into all of the details of each of these and we’ll start tying it into specific things that you can do so stay tuned for that. But John, thanks for kind of taking us through a guided overview of the inevitable growth scorecard. Folks, if you want to get it, you can go to and you can download the scorecard. And go through and score yourself and then email it to me. You know, send it to me at And let me know what conclusions you’ve gained from it.


John: You said that real fast. So repeat that again so people can get it.

Steve: Sorry, I tend to talk fast. So go to and go through the scorecard. Score yourself. You’re going to get a score on each of these mindsets between one and 12 and a total score of as many as 96 points. Score yourself and see what it tells you and see where you think you need to grow going forward. And then send me an email. My email is I’d love to know how you’re doing. I’ll share that with John and we’ll include your feedback as we go through and do the rest of these episodes. Alright, my friend, great to see you. And I will see you in the next episode.

John: Absolutely. Thank you very much. And folks, hope you enjoyed our episode today.

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