Friday, August 5, 2016

Get A Second Opinion On Your Book Marketing

There was a heat wave at the end of July in New York.  We had a week of 90-degree days.  Of course it was during that exact time that my air conditioning unit decided to go on the fritz. In the process of trying to fix it,  I learned a number of valuable lessons that cross into the book marketing world.

It turns out that, not much was wrong with my central air system but one company told me I needed to replace the blower for $650. Then they said, well if the unit is old and the blower is dying, it would soon likely need other fixes.  “Might as well buy a whole new furnace,” they said.

This came from the company that’s been servicing me for eight or nine years. The furnace price quote was $3,500.

When I heard those numbers I thought I should price it out.  Of the four companies I called, one took several days to get back to me.  Rule #1: Never take a long time to get back to a potential customer. Another company wasn’t flexible on its scheduling so I couldn’t see them for a week. 

Next, one company told us their estimate-assessment visit would cost $150. My wife had spoken to them. At first I said cancel them but then I thought maybe there was a misunderstanding.  I called back to explain we don’t need a repair or service call, but just an estimate. They said there’d be no charge.  Rule #2: Always clarify what you are asking for.  Communication is key.

One company said they’d show up on a set date and time -- and then never showed. When I contacted them they said I didn’t respond to a confirmation email. Never got the email. I told him we spoke and confirmed by text. They should have called if they thought I didn’t respond to something. Rule #3:  Do what you say you’ll do – otherwise let the customer know you can’t do something, like honor an appointment.

In the end, the company that initially wanted to charge us was the best, because they told us we didn’t need a new unit for at least another six years and that our blower looked fine. They did suggest patching some areas in the ducts that leaked air and they will get us a price quote on something else that we inquired about, but they left the free consultation without a sale. Rule #4 – being honest and trying to help the customer could result in sales later. We may end up using them for service and maintenance.

Book publishing and authors, when they see they have a slow down in sales, must diagnose the situation properly and find a solution. They should seek the advice of outside experts and be prepared to make a repair or acquire something new to improve things. Sometimes, you just need to get past a heated moment.

That’s exactly what we did. The solution to our ailing a/c?  They hosed down the condenser – it overheated – and changed the setting on my blower. Total fix: $150.

Lesson #5 – Sometimes a small repair can fix a big problem.  Be willing to query others and sample what the pros recommend.  You may be pleasantly surprised by what you hear, but don’t expect many of them to be in agreement. Everyone has their own perspective and agenda, so beware.

One day I’ll need to overhaul the furnace and it will be expensive.  But I’ll feel confident that my investment will last for another 15-20 years. I will have peace of mind once I get past the sticker shock.  It’s always rewarding to avoid a big cost but then when you do have to make a huge, investment you feel you are buying years of guarantees and that too feels great.

But nothing beats doing nothing – and paying just about that! Always get a second and third opinion – whether it’s a medical issue, a major purchase/repair, or what you need to do to market and promote your book. Let information be your ally. For us, it was an asset to get another quote.

Maybe a/c is overrated. I just need to gut it out for a month or two and then let fall cool things off. But then a few months later I’ll need heat and if it breaks down in the dead of winter,  I’ll pay double, because I’ll do anything to avoid the cold.

Whether your book sales are hot or cold, always seek the guidance and recommendations of others.  If you don’t like what you hear, get another second opinion.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016.

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