Sunday, October 12, 2008

How Hard is a Working Vacation?

Spending time in constructive ways is the best strategy to prepare yourself for success in the antique, collectible and fine art business. this will pay you off in spades. Any time spent reading about antiques or art will only help you when you go out into the field and see what the pickings are. Scanning eBay’s completed sales will give you a sound basis for setting the prices you are willing to pay for almost any item you find while you’re out on the hunt and will give you the latest prices you need to sell your items. If you do this continually, you’ll know a lot more than you might think you do.

When I go travel away from home, I’m still thinking antiques and art, even if I’m supposed to be vacationing (much to the dismay of my wife.) I’ve found that when I’m vacationing or traveling anywhere, if I do business while I’m away, my trip has become a business trip, and that’s good for my bank account. There are certain actions that I think will give you a tremendous head start on your competition, if you follow them while traveling. Like, always having a least 50 business cards with you at all times and dispensing of them liberally, once you’ve determined that those you’ve spoken to about antiques, or about what you do, have an interest.

While I’m in the hotel, I pull out the phone book and make a list of all the dealers. I do this with the auction houses, as well. If there’s time, I call some of them and introduce myself. I tell them about the items I specifically look for and the items I generally look for. I also ask them to go to the 31 Club Wish List and look at what items I’m buying, as well as the ones members are looking to buy. When I call the auction houses, I ask them to put me on their mailing list. I also tell them I’ll send one of my business cards to be put on file with them.

If there’s time, I stop in as many of these antique shops as I can. I introduce myself to the proprietors, enter into a conversation and take a look at their items. If you wonder if I really do this all when I travel, here’s an example of my first day in Palm Desert, California, where I’m spending my 25th wedding anniversary with my wife, of course, and her sister and brother-in-law.

We arrived yesterday, and upon our arrival, we stopped for a bite to eat once we picked up our rental car. There was a small antique shop I made sure we stopped in to after lunch. We were greeted by a very polite lady, so I introduced myself and shared a bit about the 31 Club with her. She was more than willing to show me her shop and tell me all about the better items she was offering for sale. When it came time for me to leave, I gave her a card and asked if she’d send me an email so I could put her in my files.

Next, we all stopped at this wonderful little mall on the bay, and while my wife and the others dashed into one shop, I slipped into a glass shop I spotted. I found several pieces of art glass for sale by an artist I’m familiar with. The proprietor was more than willing to talk at great length about all of the artists’ work, and again, I left my card. I honestly think the 31 Club might have picked up two new members at these two establishments.

At the end of each trip, I drop a hand written note along with my business card to those antique establishments I've called by phone, but wasn't able to stop in to.
I can assure you these simple things will increase your business and profits. I have also found many fine treasures while I was supposed to be on vacation.

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