The Janine Bolon Show with Jeff Giagnocavo - 99 Authors Project, Season 4, Episode 10

The 99 Authors Project – Season 4 – Episode 10 with Jeff Giagnocavo

Jeff Giagnocavo

Jeff is the author of Sleep Better, a book for people seeking helpful and concise information about achieving better sleep. He also co-owns Gardner’s Mattress & More in Lancaster, PA; the region’s premier destination wake up happy store. 

The 7-step Wake Up Happy Promise ensures you wake up happy, guaranteed!

Jeff also helps Main Street type, face-to-face selling, business owners win the battle on Main Street in an Amazon world. He shares his Big Ticket Methods to help them live a fulfilling Big Ticket Life. Jeff prides himself in showing business owners how to do life and business on their terms.

In April of 2022, he launched the clothing brand Signer 57. The brand helps align and mobilize citizens of our great nation who would sacrifice in the same fashion as our 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence did.

In May 2022, Jeff also worked with Dr. B – Bryan Hawley to introduce a unique mattress solution for short term rental property owners. (AirBnb, VRBO) This improved their guest experience and helped get more 5-star reviews while increasing revenues through their properties.

Transcript of the Show

Bryan Hyde
Welcome to the Janine Bolon show, where we share tips from around the globe. As we guide practical people with their finances using money tips, increase their incomes through side businesses, and maintain their sanity by staying in their creative zone.

Janine Bolon
Hello, Janine Bolon, here and welcome to today’s show, which is loaded with incredible content on saving your knowledge, saving your slumber and we’re going to give a few restful tips for those of you struggling to get a good night’s sleep. Now The Janine Bolon Show is a syndicated program of four podcast shows that we’re combined in October of 2021. And I just want to give a shout out and a thank you to those of you who have been following me since 2004. With The Practical Mystic Show, Three Minute Money Tips, The Thriving Solopreneur and The Writers Hour Creative Conversations, you guys have followed me all through that and we are now part of The Janine Bolon Variety Show. And I want to thank you for being a dedicated listener. And that will pay off because today we are highlighting Jeff Giagnocavo, who is a sleep master, a mattress expert, the author of the book Sleep Better and a designer of a new clothing line experience called Signer 57. And on top of all of that, he’s a podcaster, just like myself with The Big Ticket Life Show. So we are thrilled to have him Let me give you a little background on this guy. Jeff is the co-owner of Gardner’s Mattress & More in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He is known for being a Reader’s Choice winner, he has a wonderful dream room that is absolute in his mattress store, where you have the relaxed private hotel suite-like atmosphere where you can actually test drive your mattress before you buy it. I mean, who has ever heard of these things as part of their seven step, Wake Up Happy Promise that they guarantee you. So I know we’re usually talking about authors and all this. But this is an author who has written a book on how to sleep better and owns a mattress store. So I mean, this is amazing. Now, as if that’s not enough that they have the dream room where helps you with your mattress selection, Jeff also helps a face-to-face selling business owners on Main Street win at the game of Amazon. So like big ticket methods to help them live a big ticket life, he helps business owners do life and business on their own terms. Who wouldn’t want a mentor like that? Now it gets better. I know I’ve talked a lot about this guy, but just check this out in April of 2022, this year, Jeff launched his clothing brand Signer 57 line, we’re going to talk a little bit more about that, as we get into the show. This is more than clothing. It’s a movement to align and mobilize citizens about America about the sacrifice that the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, not only did they sacrifice but are you willing to be signer 57? And that’s we’re going to talk a little bit more about that as we move forward. Now again, this year, May 2022, Jeff worked with Dr. Bryan Hawley to introduce a unique mattress solution for short term rental property owners, such as those that you may have used with Airbnb and VRBO, which enables him to dig deeper on the guest experience and get more five star reviews while increasing the revenues through their property. Welcome to the show, Jeff.

Jeff Giagnocavo
That was like the intro to end all intros. I’m that guy.

Janine Bolon
And you’re that guy. I get very excited when I have multi-dimensional authors on your business owners, your podcasters, you’re writing books, you’re just give your what we call servant leaders. And whenever I get a servant leader like yourself on the show, I get very excited. I do the long intro just so people know all the fun stuff that you’re doing. So yeah, thank you for your work and talk to us about this neat book that you wrote called Sleep Better. What was the purpose of it? And when did you actually write that thing?

Jeff Giagnocavo
Yeah, Sleep Better actually was I guess it was a pre-COVID idea. But it really finished and wrapped up in the throes of the spring of spring and early summer of 2020. It’s I guess a genesis of a couple other guides that we’d written. We started out with a what’s keeping you up mattress buying guide that became two other guides focused on the niches of the adjustable bed bases where your head and foot move up and down. And then a guide about Natural Mattress options and natural solutions that you can sleep on and you know, involve yourself with at night.

Jeff Giagnocavo
So Sleep Better really kind of became this tidy one place book. You know, because my grandmother, I love her love her dearly, she never felt that my guides were books. She fooled me as much. I was able to give Grandma a book on the bookshelf with the spine and 100 or so pages. And so Sleep Better just kind of became this is a whole lot about sleep and sleep tips. And we’ve actually had customers say, you know, I’m gonna wait on the mattress because those tips you give me actually work, which is fun.

Janine Bolon
Right, exactly.

Jeff Giagnocavo
Yeah. So that’s that’s how it came about.

Janine Bolon
So would you consider yourself as somebody who had a marketing background before you started writing your book?

Jeff Giagnocavo
Yeah, I mean, I came into the direct response marketing world. On the other side of this industry, I currently own a retail business, in the mattress and furniture industry, but used to be on the wholesale side, and I found direct response marketing. Because I wanted to do better for my customers, I needed to bring a new value as their sales rep. And so that was about 15 years ago. And that’s a big student. We’ve got a massive library, all kinds of programs, and I’ve rubbed elbows with some of the top guys in direct response marketing for a number of years now.

Janine Bolon
So for those of us who don’t know what direct response marketing is, what are you saying? Exactly? Help me out here.

Jeff Giagnocavo
Wow. Okay. So this is not like, what Coca-Cola does direct response marketing is you you market something with the goal of being able to track what happened, which in most cases is you want to be a sale. If it can’t be a sale, you at least want to put a name on a list somewhere that you can reach out and talk to text, phone, mail, email tomorrow.

Janine Bolon
So that is exactly right. So I there is so many differences with marketing, and some people talk about direct response, some people say click and pay, it just depends on what your focus is and what you’re wanting to do. So thank you for defining that for those of us who may not know what that’s all about. So, let’s talk a little bit about your book. Was it purposefully designed to be a lead magnet? Or did you really just want to be have it be just an educational tool guide for your people?

Jeff Giagnocavo
Well, I mean, it was, it was designed to be more of an authority piece, which essentially, you know, I think, can be both, it just depends on the context in which it’s being given out. But it’s really like, really, that authority piece, because if somebody is considering my business, or another business, who’s going to win the store with a business card in hand, in the scraps through price that has the 24 hour deadline, or the person with the book, whose team can say, look, our owner wrote this book, because they really, we really, truly believe in the power of sleep here. And whether you buy a mattress from us or not, these tips will help. If you buy a mattress, they’ll magnify your experience with the mattress. So here you go. And, you know, so it’s an authority piece, but we use it like as a Swiss Army knife of our marketing.

Janine Bolon
Right. Excellent. So you have tools for everything in your toolbox. And that’s, that’s awesome. So you were able to write this and get it out in 2020. If you were to start marketing your book today, what would you change about your marketing tactics today, rather than what you had before?

Jeff Giagnocavo
Yeah, I mean, we. So we have a neat thing that we do here. We get a lot of reviews online, but I get about three times as many offline. So I get these handwritten forms in 2022 that are, we give them on delivery our customers, write them out, mail them back with their own stamp. And we get about three times more of those than we do online reviews.

Janine Bolon
That’s crazy. That’s good. Who’s ever heard it? That’s wild, man, that’s crazy.

Jeff Giagnocavo
It blows my mind. Am I allowed to give a link where if somebody’s listening to this, they can go see exactly what I’m talking about?

Janine Bolon
Yeah, yes. Go ahead. Yeah.

Jeff Giagnocavo
Okay. So if you go and this is not a plug in my store, because I’m a local business I can, I can help you from afar, but it’s not our it’s not our main thing. But I do. If you’re into this, check it out, gardnersmattressandmore.com/reviews. And right on that page, you’ll see these handwritten reviews. And here’s the lesson, we catalog those reviews by aches and pains. So there’s there’s like click, click view PDF, flippers. I’m not the tech guy around here. So I don’t know if that’s what it’s called.

Jeff Giagnocavo
Click it, PDF comes up with their catalog by aches and pains. So how we’ve helped people with back pain, neck pain, snoring, just the overall experience of having a good experience, and then, oh, they had an old mattress, and it was time to replace it. So I think those are the five that we’ve broken it out because the reviews said as much. And the connectedness that we have, because we’ve now printed those books, those review books out in the store. And when we have somebody leaving to consider their purchase with a quote in hand, we give them that testimonial book because rather than us talk for another 20 minutes about how great we are we just say well, here’s a whole bunch of customers that have back pain just like you and we’ve been able to help them. So I would take Sleep Better book and I would probably point it, you know, better sleep tips for, you know, couples that can’t compromise, couples who deal with snoring, couples who deal with back pain. You know, we actually just shot a whole infomercial around those three main points. So I probably do that, I would say more specificity.

Janine Bolon
With what you were doing. Okay. Thanks so much. I appreciate you talking to us about that. Well, one of the things I like to ask each author is what worked well, when it came to either selling your book or getting your book out there? What are some of the things that you did that work best? So you have a walk in brick and mortar business, so you have people walking in the door, so as they walk out, you can hand them a book, but when it comes to selling it, do you sell it? Or is it free everywhere?

Jeff Giagnocavo
It is free, it’s a free book. You know, we have a price tag on it. But it is a free book, really speaking locally, and reaching out to various organizations has been the biggest, most powerful thing for that. So I’ve spoken to weight loss groups actually have been like the best one.

Janine Bolon
Wild.

Jeff Giagnocavo
Folks, you know, folks that are dealing with weight loss, and I’m not I’m not, I’m certainly not winning, getting any phone calls to be on posters anywhere. But folks in the weight loss, you know, just kind of poor sleep goes hand in hand. So we can really, we can really give them some tips to help. And if they can sleep better, actually, their weight loss journeys is going to be a little easier. So they do work well. So those audiences are great, obviously, like your rotary type things, referral group type things are great. But really having that book has been an entree to be viewed as an authority. Like we have a large NBC News or the NBC station in our area is the station, it’s them, and then everybody else. You know, something like a 4,000,004 and a half million viewership they have or coverage area. And they came to us because of the book.

Janine Bolon
Oh, wow, that’s awesome.

Jeff Giagnocavo
They came to us for the tips on sleeping better, and specifically pillow tips. They came to us and we got like a wonderful three minute piece. And it was because of the book that they flashed right there on the segment. So it was great.

Janine Bolon
You just that when stuff like that happens, I get so excited for authors because those are our moments where you’re able to get your message out there like you wrote the book to help people out and you’re able to serve so many more, when you have those little three-minute segments that somebody will do for you. Now, here’s my favorite question. I like to ask authors, and that is, what process did you try that was an epic failure when it came to getting your books out there?

Jeff Giagnocavo
This one bothers me so much.

Janine Bolon
Go ahead, get it off your chest. So nobody else does it. And thank you for thank you for falling on the grenade for us, dude. So what happened?

Jeff Giagnocavo
You know, you would think on paper, this would work phenomenally well. So so if you’re listening, and you were told, by whatever store you’re in, whatever you’re buying, hey, we want to make you look really great to your friends, we’re gonna give you a $100 value gift box to give to your friend or family member. It’s got a pillowcase in it that when your friend comes in, we’re gonna make it custom to them right in front of their eyes. It’s got a coupon in it for a future purchase and a copy of the sleep better book. All I ask from you is do you have an idea of who that person is that you think would really enjoy this gift box? That was all we asked. We didn’t ask for their address. We didn’t ask for their phone number. We just wanted kind of that mental buy in that mental commitment that they’re gonna give it to Julie or Brian or whoever, right? People looked at us like we had three heads. It was almost it was as if we like undid the sale, and you can see them wanting to take the credit card back and put it in their wallet.

Janine Bolon
Oh, no. As a business owner that’s like, oh, no danger Will Robinson danger Will Robinson.

Jeff Giagnocavo
Right. And I mean, we tried and tried to massage that around, but it just flopped. Like flopped and I I can’t figure it out.

Janine Bolon
Right. And that’s that is saying something because you are known as the big idea guy when it comes to brick and mortar businesses on Main Street. You’re the dude and people come to you and for something like that. No wonder it bothers you so bad. You’re like, man, we could never make that a magic key right?

Jeff Giagnocavo
You know what we’re recording this and I’m, you can see me kind of peeking behind my desk. I don’t have it here, but I mean, it was a nice oh, I do have it. But anyway, for the purposes of this, it doesn’t matter because you won’t see it. But it’s a nice presented gift box.

Janine Bolon
Right? It’s not like it was a piece of crud you were giving a quality piece of yeah, no, I understand. I understand. Sometimes the ideas that we come up with were sold on them. But wow, like you said, it’s like you gave him a hot potato. And they were like, oh, you know, we’re running in the opposite direction. So well, on a slightly different thing. When you go out and you tell your story, what is the story that you tell about yourself that gets the most laughs from your target audience?

Jeff Giagnocavo
So, you know, I’m pretty self-deprecating guy, I kind of touched on that about, you know, the weight, the extra pounds that I carry around. But really, that’s, that’s a result of a lot of issues that I’ve had from motorcycle accidents to wrestling, football, construction, you name it. So just connecting with people that way, typically, we’ll get some chuckles, it’ll get some, some nods of camaraderie. You know,

Janine Bolon
Definitely with the motorcycle.

Jeff Giagnocavo
Yeah. Yeah. You know, so, so it’s more of that kind of a conversation than anything. But it does create that connectedness. So we aren’t like belly laughing. But there there is a connection there for sure.

Janine Bolon
Awesome. So for you, what’s the biggest change you’ve seen in yourself? You know, since you started marketing your book?

Jeff Giagnocavo
Yeah, I think I think a lot of people as business owners, whether you’re a business owner, or business owner and author, I think you can question the true value that you have, and the true sense of self-worth that you have. You know, like, I used to kind of, you know, self-deprecation as part of my stick, I guess. But, you know, I used to, I used to kind of be ashamed almost of saying I own a mattress store. You know, now today, I say when I’m like, if I’m in a new room introducing myself, I tell people, I do business in your bedroom.

Janine Bolon
It’s great. That’s great.

Jeff Giagnocavo
And I say, you know, I help people live a more productive, happier and healthier life. And people say, well, tell me about them. Like, yeah, I put in your bedroom, the vehicle that makes all that happen, your mattress.

Janine Bolon
Right? Right. And everybody starts chuckling. That’s brilliant. That’s lovely. What a byline. Excellent. Yeah. Well, like I said, you’re the big idea guy. You’re the person that people go to. So talk to us about what five tips you would give authors that are selling their books?

Jeff Giagnocavo
Yeah, so if you look at, you know, I kind of laid out the genesis of sleep better, it began with three individual buying guides Sleep Better, as a fourth. We have four other of those review books. It doesn’t need to be war and peace, like if you have a lot to say, that’s great, but you might think intentionally about breaking that out. You know, we live in a world where attention span is just not that great. And you might be more successful having a series or volumes of things. That just worked to publish in a smaller, smaller page, smaller page count. So that would be the first one.

Jeff Giagnocavo
A professional press release would be very wise, we did that early on. You know, we actually did that in COVID, when, like, the only news was COVID. So we actually I think, got a lot more juice out of that than we deserved. Because we were just something completely different in that time of 24/7 news. But be that as it may, having a proper professionally done, press release will help.

Jeff Giagnocavo
Locally, we sent books and press releases to local, you know, press outlets, people that had an audience, we did that. And then get it on, get it as many ways out there as you can, you know, so on your website, in your place of business is a pass along, at a networking event, put it in your funnels, I have it in my email signature, we this infomercial, we shot it’s in there. It’s in email campaigns. It’s a next, it’s a next micro step for almost any, any which way we can think of we put it out there.

Janine Bolon
And do you actually ship these books out? Or is it just a digital book? Yeah, that makes a difference to I’ve noticed a lot of the ebooks may not get traction, whereas if you’re shipping a book to somebody, it’s amazing how many more responses you get.

Jeff Giagnocavo
Yeah, yep. And actually, you know, I’ll share a little bit of insider baseball about the Sleep Better book. I’ve also licensed that out to other sleep retailers. So that’s the reason it’s not for sale online. Because part of that package is you are you are the sleep better expert in your market. So you can’t very well be the same expert if it’s like, all over the place online.

Janine Bolon
Right.

Jeff Giagnocavo
But, you know, so we do it, you know, I leveraged the book that way as well in my business life. And then last would be to develop that challenge, develop a challenge around the book content, if it’s educational oriented, maybe there’s a challenge opportunity for other types of content, but like, we have a 30-day sleep better challenge that tracks five specific sleep habits. And then throughout that challenge, and 30 days of communication, we’re referencing back to the Sleep Better book.

Janine Bolon
Fabulous, excellent. Thank you so much for those tips. Because it’s very unique, being able to have a brick and mortar store owner be able to talk to us about the book and how they’re leveraging it for their business. And at the same time, nothing is better than to have somebody say, well, I’m not gonna buy a mattress from you, now I’m gonna go try this out first. I mean, whoa, that’s a huge compliment. And you know, those people are going to come back around to you, especially when, with the tips no longer are working for that old mattress, you know, they’ll come around to you. So what is the one thing you most misunderstood about becoming an author?

Jeff Giagnocavo
So, the only person that really cared about my new book being written was my grandma. Write this blog, you pour into it, you, you know, your family, your spouse, your employees know of it, they’re a part of it. If you’re smart, you ask people who, you know, trust and know, will give you honest, critical feedback. But at the end of the day, the reality is you have to go market this book, you have to like, the ways that I gave to share it and sell it and get it out there. Like that all has to happen. It’s the writing a book is not a field of dreams. Like just because you wrote it, they ain’t gonna read it. And you have to market it, which I know is like, might be a cliche thing, but it really be you have to have that plan as well.

Janine Bolon
Well, you’d be amazed how many people don’t know. They still are coming to publishers thinking the publisher does it and that hasn’t happened since the 1990s. But people are still thinking that publishers will market the book for them. Yeah. Yep. Yeah, so that’s, so I don’t think we can say it enough.

Jeff Giagnocavo
I would almost suggest you to somebody who has an idea for a book, feels they could write it, I would say, work that marketing plan out first. Like, get some buy in locally from local press, local people, you know, local referral partners. Or if you’re more national or global, global referral partner, like layout that marketing plan and get some buy in from people that might help you promote it first. You know, give them give them the synopsis, giving them the outline, you know, spend, spend a couple bucks on Fiverr and get a cover done. And or proposed cover done and see if there’s interest because, you know, kind of like that little gift box. Maybe the book that you have in you isn’t exactly the first one, maybe it’s the second one.

Janine Bolon
And that’s a good point. A lot of authors don’t know, sometimes the first book that you need to write, it takes the second book to sell the first book. And that’s something I found out was that I wrote my first book, but it wasn’t until I wrote my second book. And by the time I wrote my third book, then my copies were really selling, I had some massive momentum. So I don’t mean to dissuade anyone, but that’s kind of how it works. So you’re right, thank you for mentioning multiple volumes. Now, you’re one of those amazing people that not only do you have this podcast, but you also came up with this clothing line. And because I used to be a professor, and we were at George Wythe College, and I was teaching fundamental principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, anti-Federalist Papers. Talk to us a little bit about this clothing line and what what was the story behind that?

Jeff Giagnocavo
Yeah. So it really began, I guess, September of 2019 when I became an official United States citizen. So I was born in Canada. I lived here illegally on the green card for years. And it was time to renew all that I just said, you know, what am I doing? I’m not moving back. I have my family here. Let’s just formalize this thing. So that’s what I did. And in that I got a little pocket constitution, which I’ve always had pocket constitutions around. I carry one in my in my little daily duffel bag that I carry around, but I got that one and I kinda reread it again for I don’t know how many times it just had a little different. And it stuck with me. So I started kind of casually just researching the original 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence and, you know, history in school doesn’t really spend a lot of time on what the crown did to those men in that 11 years between 1776 July 4, and then the signing of the Constitution coming to be in 1787. So that, you know, some were murdered, some were tortured families. I don’t know that any family members were murdered by the crown, but they might have been tortured, they might have been held captive, there was land and wealth confiscated. You know, some of them died alone, sad, depressed, you know, just really a lot of a lot of rough stuff. And it was that level of tyranny that, you know, I’m not necessarily saying we live in a tyrannical nation now. But, you know, I think I think a lot of people, depending on what side of things you’re on can agree, our nation is in this spot where none of us are really comfortable. And I think if we can get back to a common ideal of what our nation needs to be, we can, we can like, come together again. And that’s what Signer 57 is about, at its core. So whether I sell a bunch of shirts or not, doesn’t really matter. To me, it’s about a fun passion project. And if become something bigger, great. You know, but thus far, it’s been pretty well received.

Janine Bolon
Well, and it’s one of those things that, like I said, as a professor and talking about this, we actually dug deep into specific signers, and we found that in order to keep the crown from confiscating anything of value, that they would gather up their families, they would torch their businesses in their homes, they would set them on fire and walk away from them with the clothing and whatever they could carry. And they would walk away from them, just so that all they got was scorched earth. And that was the point of it. And I was just, and that was like six or seven of them that had to do that. And winter was coming on. It wasn’t like they had a Walmart that they could go to afterwards, you know. And so when you start hearing some of those stories, you’re like, this was a big deal to get out from under a monarchy. So yeah, I’m with you on that. I love being able to talk about these things. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to trot out some of my history. And when I saw that, I was like, you know, we’re going to talk a little bit about that on this show. So Jeff has answered our questions. And if you want more information, where should people go? What do you where do you send people to get more information about what you do?

Jeff Giagnocavo
Yeah, I mean, you can. I’m sure my name will be with the show notes of Jeff Giagnocavo was not like a common name like Jeff Smith. But if you if you want to learn about what I do in the retail business, you go to Gardner’s Mattress and more.com. If you want to check out what I’m doing with my podcast show, if you just search on any podcast player, The Big Ticket Life, it’ll come up. We do live stream the show. So it’s on my personal Facebook and LinkedIn, under my name. It’s on YouTube. If you look up The Big Ticket Life, we stream it on those channels, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn every Tuesday. It gets streamed out there and then hits the players about a week later. And then on the Signer 57 stuff, if you just go to Signer 57.com. You get to go there too. And check out what I’m doing there.

Janine Bolon
Thanks so much. We really appreciate your time today being our spotlighted author.

Jeff Giagnocavo
Well, thanks for having me really appreciate it.

Janine Bolon
And if you are an author, or if you know of an author and you would like us to spotlight them, please visit our website Author Podcasting.com where you will find the 99 Author Project listed. We talk to all authors from all walks of life as we’re building out book number 12 The Advice of Authors from Authors to Authors, which will be published in 2023. And this is Janine Bolon signing off with you today and all of us here at the 8 Gates that produces the Janine Bolon show. We wish you a wonderful week and we encourage you to get your message, your story or your knowledge out into the world and make it a better place just like today’s author, Jeff, who has doing it in his specific way. We’ll see you again next week. Until then keep sharing what you know with others, keep shining that light that is you and don’t forget to go out today and do something for yourself that’s just plain fun. We’ll see you next week.

Bryan Hyde
Thank you for listening to the Janine Bolon show. Be sure to subscribe to our show notes by going to www.theJanineBolonshow.com, where you’ll find additional resources as well as the opportunity to sign up to receive our program in your email each week. Be sure to visit our sponsor at www.the8gates.com.

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