In 2007, Steve Gilliland was a successful, professional speaker. He travelled the country speaking to audiences, large and small, at least 75 times a year. Business was good. However, just one year later, Steve had doubled his business with bookings averaging 150 per year. Demand for his services surged, so he was able to raise fees. Plus, he was speaking to more of his prime clients, large corporations and associations. Annual revenues were quickly skyrocketing to the one million dollar mark. This dramatic difference occurred in the span of a year because of one addition Steve made to his business. That game-changer was his first book, Enjoy the Ride. And Steve hasn’t looked back since.

How Steve Leveraged a Book to Transform His Business

When Steve decided to write his book, he wanted to position himself as a speaker and author in a way that would stand out for potential clients. However, once he had his book in his hands he employed several strategies to move his business forward. Here are some highlights:

  • His first step was a press release to local media. By taking advantage of this, Steve was able to use articles from two local papers as a springboard for national media outlets.
  • Steve includes his book in promotional packages for potential clients. This is a critical strategy, he explains, “If a prospective client is looking at me and another potential speaker, with all things being equal, my books provide me with the advantage.”
  • Steve sells “a lot of books at the back of the room” at every event. He provides high quality bookmarks to everyone in the audience with ordering information on the reverse side. He also offers a pre-purchase program, which allows a client to provide a copy of his book to everyone attending the presentation.
  • Steve also sends a commission check for a portion of the product sales to the speaker bureau that booked the event. This smart move positions Steve “distinctively against other speakers who only generate fee revenue for the bureau.”
  • Steve has also created audio books as well as CDs and DVDs of his presentations. He offers cross-promotions such as the option to purchase a package that includes both his DVD and book at a nominal increase in cost.

The secret is to weave your book into the fabric of your business. Steve agrees, “A book is a great marketing tool, but it is necessary to make an investment to reap the returns.”

A Successful Business is Now Extraordinary

However, this investment is worth every penny. The difference books have made in Steve’s business is easy to see:

  • His customer base has surged by 40% and he has several “spin-off businesses” based on his books
  • With his increased credibility, Steve was able to raise fees. This attracted better customers, namely, larger corporate and association clients. These clients became interested in Steve because of the perceived value made possible by his books and higher fees
  • Annual bookings doubled
  • As Steve says, revenues “absolutely and unequivocally eclipsed the one million dollar mark on the speaking side of my business after my first book.” This figure doesn’t include book sales, information marketing products, and the other merchandise Steve now sells

Thanks to his books, Steve took a comfortably successful business and made it extraordinary. However, it’s interesting to note that there was a crucial turning point when Steve came close to giving up on his book before he finished it.

The Unexpected Benefit When You Share Your Message

Steve’s business and income have grown at a phenomenal pace because of his books. However, like many authors, he has experienced another important, yet somewhat unexpected benefit: emails, letters, and comments on how his books have changed lives. “You never know who may be impacted, and the difference you can make, by the words you speak or write.”

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