Negotiate, Don’t Haggle

negotiate don't haggle

We in the antiques and vintage trades have always known that an asking price is not the “real” price. Who believes anymore that retail prices actually reflect what the seller expects to get for his merchandise? We haggle over price when we buy and we haggle over price when we sell. Haggling is “business as usual” for antiques dealers. But, is haggling good business? In my opinion, it’s not. I prefer to negotiate, and there’s a big difference between haggling and negotiating. Haggling is all about price; negotiating is about an exchange of value. I found it enlightening to learn

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What Antique Dealers Can Learn from Wine Sellers

antique dealers can learn from wine sellers

Over the holidays I had occasion to go into a Total Wine store. If you’ve never been to a Total Wine, they’re the size of a major supermarket. The shelves are stocked with rows of wine, beer, and other goodies. I was completely out of my element. Shelves appeared to be filled with thousands of wine bottles, sorted by type, variety, country, state and region. When a store associate asked if I needed help, I didn’t know where to begin. I meekly admitted that I didn’t know anything about wine. Soon, an “Aha” moment came when I made a connection

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Boost Sales with Storytelling


The difference between consumer goods and collectibles is the quality of the story that is attached to the item. Your storytelling ability is the key to selling more. For example: as a “follicly challenged” gentleman, I take comfort in my collection of hats. Not for their collectible value mind you, but for their value in keeping my head warm and dry during the winter season. Being so practical about my hats, I just had to smile when I read of the recent auction sale – for $14,160 – of the baseball cap worn by Neil Armstrong after the splashdown of

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The Time is Right to Open an Antique Shop

antique shop

It’s my opinion that the antiques business is the only retail business worth pursuing at the moment. If you’ve ever wanted to open an antique shop, now is the time to act. Consider the problems faced by commodity consumer goods retailers: In the past decade,“Big Box” stores have put scores of Main Street retailers out of business. Competition from online dealers has shaved commodity retail store margins so close that it can take months for a business to recover from a downturn in sales or an uptick in expenses. An army of consumers armed with smart phones can instantly compare

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Pass-on Costs via Buyer Fees?

buyer fees

Buyer fees are much like kudzu: They are invasive, spread rapidly, and choke the life out of everything they touch. For those unfamiliar with the plant, kudzu was introduced into the United States at the 1876 U.S. Centennial Celebration by the Japanese contingent. It was immediately adopted in the Southern U.S. as cheap animal fodder and to control soil erosion. In the 141 years since kudzu’s introduction, it has become known as “the plant that ate the South.” The vine grows about a foot a day and is nearly impossible to kill. Left unchecked, it will completely cover mountains, houses,

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The Pain of Parting with Cash (and the Joy of Getting It)

parting with cash

I like having cash to spend. I try not to spend it, but just having some and knowing that I could spend it if I want to feels good. I don’t think that I’m alone in feeling this way, either. Money affects people in physical ways and I recently stumbled onto proof that this is true. In 2009, Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota conducted an experiment disguised as a “dexterity study.” In the study, she had one group of students count a stack of $100 bills while another group counted a similar-sized stack of blank pieces of paper.

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Use Facebook to Build Trust in Your Brand

facebook marketing

Walking down Main Street in Mt. Airy, N.C., I feel like I’ve stepped into a 1960s sitcom. Mt. Airy, the boyhood home of Andy Griffith, was the inspiration for his television home town of Mayberry. As I stroll by Floyd’s Barber Shop, I peek inside and notice that all the chairs are full. Not the barber chairs, but the waiting chairs against the wall. Those seated are engaged in animated conversation, and a crowd has gathered to listen to the dialogue. This is a common sight here in the Blue Ridge Mountains: Residents gathered in a local store to visit

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eBay Fraud Protection Plan Boosts Your Sales

ebay fraud

eBay fraud is in the news again. The headline reads: “Three eBay Fraud Rings Dismantled in Romania.” Romania must be a hotbed of Internet-scam artistry. Just a few years ago, a headline read: “Small Romanian Town Gets Rich Through eBay Scams.” They must be fast learners in Romania. The first attempts at eBay fraud included selling a MiG fighter jet and a local Town Hall. I suppose the rings soon learned that there were only so many suckers for big-ticket inventory. In the current scam, ads were posted on eBay and craigslist offering a variety of merchandise, ranging from cars

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3-Step eMail Marketing Formula

email marketing

For decades, companies have depended on demographic marketing to target customers. But, demographics aren’t as powerful as they used to be. As U.S. society has evolved sub-groups have emerged within the traditional demographic groups. Our market has fragmented to the point where the old demographic tools are useless. New tools are needed if we are going to define our market and reach new customers. Those tools are available, and they all revolve around email marketing. “Interactive” is the new marketing buzzword Businesses are engaging new customers where the new customers live: on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Once

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Maximize Your Google My Business Listing

google my business logo

“I’ve never been lost,” said Daniel Boone; “But I was once perplexed for a few days.” It’s said that Boone was a master at staying found. Making his way through the wilderness with nothing more than an incomplete map, a compass, and his own sensibilities, he blazed a trail that thousands would follow from Virginia to Kentucky. Stay found with Google My Business If your website is lost in the wilderness, Google My Business can significantly increase your chances of being found, and it’s free. It will take you about fifteen minutes to get it set up, and another couple

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