Saturday, February 21, 2009

How to Be The Benjamin Spock of the Antique World

This article is about what Dr. Benjamin Spock can teach you about sharing your expertise on antiques and collectibles with your customers..Just like new parents, buyers and collectors need easy to follow and , comforting answers to their questions.

Dr. Benjamin Spock: Portable Pediatrician to Millions of Baby Boomer Parents
Surely you remember the famous pediatrician Dr Benjamin Spock. His book Baby and Child Care published in 1946 was the portable pediatrician for generations of post war parents who hung onto his every word about how to care and rear children.

Keeping it Simple Is What Folks Want
My mom kept her tattered pink and blue covered jumbo paperback book stuffed into her bedside night table. She didn’t make a move without consulting Dr. Spock.
What she and millions of young parents liked about Spock was that he was an easy and reassuring read. If your kid had “green stools” you could go to the index of Baby and Child Care and find a listing for “green stools”. It’s was that simple...parents adored Dr. Spock’s fatherly advice and straightforward understandable answers to the most basic questions.

Trust Your Instincts...Spock Advised
Spock also broke from tradition. While previous experts on childcare were strict and authoritarian , Spock would say “ Don't be afraid to trust your own commonsense…. Take it easy, trust your own instincts”,

Learning From the Famous Baby Doc
So what can we learn from the most famous baby doc that we can apply to the business of buying and selling antiques and collectibles? How can you teach and reassure your customers who look to you for guidance and advice about buying the treasures they desire?
Here are four practical tips about how to share your expertise with customers?

1.Provide Simple Brochures Produce simple, very basic brochures or information sheets (can be done on your own computer) about various topics related to antiques and collectibles (“How to clean fragile glassware”, “How to Wash a Vintage Tablecloth” ) and add your company name, address , telephone number, email and website to each brochure. Remember keep it simple.

2.Mentor Your Customers : Teach your customers how to evaluate objects they are thinking about buying. Act as a mentor to your customers. Go over with them the basics. Give them the tools to help them learn about collecting so that they will want to come back to your shop and practice their skill, buying more and more.

3.Create a Resource Library Share with your customers guide books about antiques and .collectibles Perhaps have a small library available in your mall or shop. Or sell books on antiques and collectibles. The ideas is to help your customers “get hooked “ on collecting. You want your buyers to learn and get excited about their purchases.

4.Share Your Resources When you are unsure of the answer to their question(s) about a particular object, be honest and tell them you are not confident about your knowledge in that area but share resources you may be aware of such as websites, books, experts, television shows etc. Distribute a resource list on request (have your company name, telephone number, email, address, website etc.) on the fact sheet you give out.

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©.

If you would like to contact Dianne, email her at or visit her website at

Dianne is a member of:
The American Society of Journalists and Authors
The Authors Guild, Inc.

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