Selling System

Salesmanship; customer engagement

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 […]

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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 […]

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training sales associates

Training Antiques Sales Associates to Succeed

I get a big kick out of my fellow auctioneers. Some of them (especially the newbies) think that auctioneers are such great salesmen. Wherever auctioneers gather, you will see a few of them assembled telling “war stories” and comparing notes about what they and others have sold. At some point in the conversation, someone will […]

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How to Win Over ‘Showrooming’ Customers

Back in 1897, it was rumored that Mark Twain had died. Twain was unaware of the rumor until a reporter showed up at his door inquiring about his health. The reporter, disappointed that he missed a big story, went on his way. Twain was amused by the incident and later recounted the tale for the […]

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engage customers

Engage Your Customers for Repeat Business

When I saw the headline I laughed out loud. It read “The Future of e-Commerce is Offline.” Now wait a minute … haven’t we been told for the past two decades that the future of retailing was online? That in the future there would be no bricks-and-mortar stores, just websites? Well, it appears as though […]

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man looking at vintage records

Getting Past “Just Looking”

The most thought-provoking comment I’ve heard lately came just last week from the mouth of a four-year-old boy. I was browsing through the men’s department of a mall store when the four-year-old appeared, holding his mother’s hand. A clerk asked the mother: “Can I help you?” and without dropping a beat the young boy replied: […]

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Don’t Let Sales Get Thrown Under the Bus

American popular culture loves a catchphrase. Always has. In the 1890s, businessmen were anxious to “get down to brass tacks,” and a well-heeled customer who was satisfied with his purchases was “as happy as a clam.” In the 1990s, if a customer discovered that a dealer’s claims were all smoke and mirrors, then the deal […]

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To Collectors, Meaning Trumps Price

It seems that noted psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud was quite a collector. He amassed a collection of antiques that eventually numbered around 2,300 pieces. According to Freud’s student and colleague Ernest Jones: “His collection crowded his desk and cabinets, filling every available spot in the two rooms where he wrote and consulted with patients … to […]

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Achieve Higher Prices Through Storytelling

A baseball cap worn by Neil Armstrong after the Apollo 11 mission sells for $12,000. A typewriter belonging to novelist Cormac McCarthy sells for $254,500. A football used during the NFL’s “deflategate” scandal sells for $43,740. Baseball caps and footballs are commonly available for under $10; typewriters for under $100. Clearly, in the above sales the extrinsic value of […]

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capture attention

Capture Attention Merchandising with Sight, Sound, and Smell

The classic sales formula is AIDA: capture Attention, pique their Interest, stoke Desire, and convince them to Act (buy). Selling has never been that simple, but as a process the formula offers good advice.  Marketing is part of the sales process: it’s what connects us to prospects and turns them into customers. I’m happy to […]

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