WadeInCreativity Book Design Blog

You Can't Please Everyone 

Had an enlightening conversation today. A gentleman called with questions about the costs of storage and fulfillment. I was asked if I was an "expert" in the field of publishing. I explained that my area of expertise was in design, printing, and consultation through the publishing process, but I would be more than willing to help answer his questions if I could.

To make a long story short, the questions were very specific and had a number of criteria that were a bit difficult to articulate. There also was a bit of confusion over definitions of "fulfillment houses" vs "distributors" vs "wholesalers" vs "printers" and what kinds of services each provided. Clearly a very specific answer was being sought and I had already been informed that six other people couldn't provide an intelligent answer. By the tone, I wasn't sure that my answers would be adequate. Yikes...

After a number of rounds of questions intended to clarify his needs, I was asked if I had ever taken a marketing class. I said no, but I have worked with marketers for years. He then proceeded to go on a rant telling me that the information on my website was not true, that I wasn't an expert, that I didn't know anything at all, blah, blah, blah...

Mind you, my time is valuable like anyone else's. To have it wasted listening to someone telling me how little I knew was a bit off putting to say the least especially while trying to help.

When it comes to being considered an expert in any field, people must realize that expertise is specific. If a person's area of expertise does not address a specific question, it certainly does not mean that they don't know what they're doing or that they are stupid. People who hold this belief are going to be incredibly disappointed in trying to find satisfactory answers.

A word of advice for anyone looking for help, especially on the other person's dime. It is best to check one's attitude at the door. Starting out a conversation with a chip on the shoulder is counter productive. And if a belief is held that you know more than the person you are seeking help from, do them a favor and don't waste their time by being personally insulting.

One may find that although the person they are speaking to does not have the answer they seek, that person may be willing and able to point them to another resource who can help them.
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