Negotiate, Don’t Haggle

negoriation

“You saved $36 today!” exclaimed the clerk at JC Penny’s. “Gee, that’s great!” I replied. “I spent $31 and saved $36! What a deal!” These days, corporate retailers love to tell me how much I saved while shopping at their store: They tell me when I buy groceries, and when I buy hardware. I was even reminded of how much I “saved” the last time I got my car serviced. Sometimes, they even print the savings amount on my receipt so that I’ll be reminded of what great folks they are when I reconcile my checkbook. The crux of the

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What Antique Dealers Can Learn from Wine Sellers

wine shelf card

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 by Sharing the Story Behind Your Business

business storytelling

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 Apollo 11. The cap’s buyer paid over 70,000 percent more for Armstrong’s cap than I have ever paid for one of mine (usually about $20). Would Armstrong’s cap keep the

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The Time is Right to Open an Antique Shop

time is right

It’s my opinion that the antiques business is the only retail business worth pursuing at the moment. 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 prices on virtually every commodity offered for sale and then harangue a retailer for a

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Pass-on Costs via Buyer Fees?

pay

Buyer’s 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 money to spend. I try not to spend it, but just having money and knowing that I could spend it if I wanted to feels good to me. 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

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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’s Fraud Protection Plan Boosts Your Sales

ebay logo

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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Antique Dealers Can Master Web Marketing

web marketing

Yesterday’s tools don’t work very well in modern applications. Take a rotary phone, for example: It can still make phone calls, but it won’t work outdoors, it won’t connect to the Internet, and it won’t take photos. A few of you are now saying, “I just want a telephone that makes phone calls.” I’d be willing to bet that it’s these same few who have said “Internet marketing doesn’t work.” It’s not that Internet marketing doesn’t work; it’s that they are taking a new tool (the Internet) and using it like it’s an old tool. It’s like owning an iPhone

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Improve Your Customer’s Retail Shopping Experience

competition

Dealers, would you rather be the only antique store in your town, or one of many? I asked that question often in my recent visit to the Hillsville, Va., Labor Day Flea Market. A surprising number of dealers answered that they would rather be the only store in town; one dealer even boasted that he was the only antique store in his town, and that he enjoyed having the antiques trade “sewn up” in his community. Having competitors around creates a good shopping environment. As the iconic character Mr. T often said in the movie and TV show “The A Team”: “I

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