When Offering A Good Deal Is A Bad Idea:Advice For Antique Sellers
With everyone kvetching about the miserable state of the economy, what should worried antique dealers do? Should panicky sellers try to move their inventory at discounted prices or sit tight and calm buyers with their confidence?
Does Discounting Collectibles Hurt Sales?
Sure everyone likes a bargain, but in the antique and collectibles business does having constant "sales" or always "discounting" merchandise actually work against you? Don't get me wrong...everyone loves a bargain...but buyers are savvy these days and while you are wheeling and dealing, they are wondering if you are for real. The buyer is sizing you up and trying to figure out if you can be trusted!
Perhaps the buyer is wondering if you are charging them too much to begin with. Or maybe the buyers secretly feels "cheated" in some way because to them your prices seem to fluctuate often. As a result of their hidden feelings of mistrust, buyers may actually shy away from buying from you.
This logic also applies when selling repaired items or undisclosed broken or damaged goods. Once a buyer feels that you have kept secrets from them once, they may doubt your overall business practices and integrity.
Watch How Many Sales You Run
If you want to convey to buyers that you have wonderful, fairly priced items for sale, avoid offering "too many good deals" and constant sales in favor of offering fair values from the get go. Staying on an even playing field will gain respect among your buyers and help you sell much more in the long run.
Practical Tips to Help You Sell More Antiques And Collectibles When Economic Times Are Tough
1. Price your goods fairly from the beginning.
2. Do not cross out prices on sales tags to show lowered price.
3. Replace or freshen up old tags, so older items don't look like they have been sitting around for a long time.
4. Refrain from too many "sales". Keep store wide "sales" limited to expected 1-2 times a year only.
5. Convey to customers that business is solid (even when it is not). People want to feel confident about what they buy and will feel nervous if they think you are anxious for their business.
6. Substitute special events to increase traffic instead of "sales". For example, offer "Victorian Days", or "Free Appraisal Day" or "Old Fashioned Nostalgia Day" etc.
7. Refrain from telling people you have been sitting with an item for a long time.
8. If an item is damaged, do not announce to them or write on a sales tag "broken" or "damaged" or "stained" use softer language "gently used"., "as found condition". A buyer can handle hearing about "blemishes" when you remind them the object is over 80 years old. When you personalize an object they are more understandable.
9.. Share information about other stores in the area. Buyers like to know you are a team player. They will trust you more.When you "give" you get back.
10. Let customers teach you. Even if you are knowledgeable about a particular collectible. People like to be heard.Listen to your customers with interest. Rapport helps to seal the deal.
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 Iantiqueonline.com 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 café.
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