We were back in our regular room for the July 7th show. No problems with the hotel to report other than they shortchanged me by one table. I went into a store room and helped myself to a table. I have to remember to contact the hotel prior to the August show to make sure they give me the appropriate number of tables.
I had a lot of great stuff for my customer giveaway. Prior to the show, I picked up 2016 Panini Baseball, 2016-17 Panini Basketball, 2015-16 Panini Basketball, 2016 Absolute Football, 2015 Contenders Football, 2015 Score Football, 2015/2016 UD Hockey, and 2018 Topps Series I baseball. For the July show I allowed all customers to choose three packs of cards. Unlike previous months, most customers went for the baseball. Usually, customers seem to like the basketball cards. During the show I purchased a box of 2017 Topps Heritage baseball to add to the pot. I will pick up additional boxes of wax for the August 4th show where I will again allow all customers to choose three free packs of cards.
On a side note, I stopped at a relatively new card shop in Illinois to try and get some wax for my giveaway. The shop did not have much wax and what he did have was priced extremely high. I think the shop opened in January or maybe last fall. I have driven by it a ton of times and did not have a chance to stop until recently. Well, I'm surprised the shop is still open. There is not much inventory. Very little vintage and prices are not marked. I told the owner that I was looking to buy wax to giveaway but I did not want to pay $100 a box. He went on a rant on how certain large wax dealers are cornering the market and inflating prices. I told him about one large wax dealer that has very reasonable prices. His response was that he is going to buy them out. Needless to say, I felt this guy was a little off and I won't be stopping there again. I'd be surprised if he stays open much longer.
I plan to stop in a couple other card shops, that are a little more friendly, before the show to pick up some wax for the giveaway. Just a heads up, for the September show, in honor of my four-year anniversary of running the show, I am going to change up my giveaway. At the September show only, I will provide a prize table where everyone who attends the show will pick a slip of paper out of a hat that will identify a prize from the prize table. I am still gathering prizes but so far I have several autographed items including a Warren Spahn autographed postcard, bobbleheads, modern and vintage cards and there will be an option for customers to choose four packs of cards.
Back to the July show, I had a full house of dealers and had to turn some away. Normally, I will bump up the show to a larger room in the hotel when I get a rush of dealers. This time, however, I was unable to get a larger room because guys were calling me the night before the show requesting tables. I can't get a larger room the night before the show. So -- Attention all dealers! Please call at least a week before the show if you want to secure a spot in the room!!
As usual, before the show, I had given out a large number of fliers, posted the show all over the internet and purchased an ad on Facebook. The result was a tremendous crowd. Thank you everybody!!
The large crowd turned into large sales for me. Jerome was there early, as usual, and he pulled a nice stack of 1978 Topps baseball. Paul pulled some 1975s. A father and son team spent most of the day going through my football binders and purchased stacks and stacks of cards.
Andy was in from Orlando and purchased a bunch of cards including some 1933 Goudeys. Bill came up from Illinois and found some Post Cereal cards. One of my regular customers just about cleaned out my 1969 Topps baseball binder. Quite a few other guys pulled cards from my binders. I also sold quite a few cards from my display cases.
On the buying front, I picked up a large group of 1964 Topps baseball cards and a stack of 1965 Philadelphia football cards.
When there was a break in the action, I went around the room to see how the other dealers had fared. I was surprised to learn that several guys reported slow sales while others reported excellent sales. I feel that my job as a promoter is to get customers to attend the show, which I regular achieve with great success. It is the job of the dealers to sell their items. When there is a large crowd, like there was at the July show, and you as a dealer don't sell much, that means it is time for you to reevaluate.
I have been selling cards since the late 1970's and here is my advice to increase sales:
(1) Review your inventory.
a. You need to ask customers as they walk by what they collect and what are they interested in purchasing. If those items are not on your table, you need to start the process of obtaining inventory that will draw more interest.
b. Pay attention to what customers are purchasing at other dealer tables and obtain similar inventory.
(2) Lower your prices.
a. If your items are not selling, there is a good chance you have priced them too high.
(3) Place price tags on all of your items.
a. The vast majority of customers want to see a price tag. As much as they may want a card, the price is always the deciding factor. Many customers will not ask you for a price. You must have your items clearly marked.
(4) Have fun and be friendly.
a. Nobody wants to stop at a table where the dealer is visibly distressed. People can sense these things. Chill out! Start up a conversation. Make a joke. Try and enjoy yourself. We're dealing with sports memorabilia -- it's inherently fun!
(5) Change your inventory from show to show.
a. If you bring the same stuff out to each show, you are wasting your time. You need to have a large enough inventory where you can rotate items in and out. I make sure I bring a reloaded binder or two to each show and add a large number of cards into my display cases. I also rotate stuff in and out like publications and autographs. I converse with all of my customers to learn what they are collecting. I have all sorts of sales before the show even begins by bringing in specific items for specific customers.
b. Buy, buy, buy. You gotta spend money to make money. I probably go a little overboard and spend between $500 to $1,000 at every show. At the very least you need to drop $100 at each show on new inventory. You must have new items on your table at each show. If you can't buy at a show, buy online. The key is to buy, buy, buy. You need to keep adding new stuff to your table!
(6) Self promote.
a. The show promoter can only do so much for you. You need to get the word out whether it be letting folks know you will be at a particular show, items you have on sale, or start a blog. This blog you are reading has resulted in a TON of sales.
As I have said many times before, anyone can be a dealer. There is no licensing involved. All you need to do is call a promoter like me and reserve a table. You never stop learning. I am always trying new things to increase sales. If you have a lousy show, just change things up for the next. If you have never set up at a show, give it a try! It is fun!
My next show at the Four Points Sheraton is on August 4, 2018. I have a really great group of dealers lined up. The smart dealers will have new items on their tables. I will have a ton of new stuff on my tables like recently reloaded 1950 and 1951 Bowman baseball cards, 1981 Topps Football, and tons of new stuff in my display cases. I am currently working on 1982 Topps Football cards and plan to have those ready for the August show.
One final item, I really appreciate all the recommendations for new venues to host my show. I have recently been in contact with many places and hope to have a new venue lined up shortly. With all the great support for this show from customers and dealers alike, I definitely will continue the show into 2019 and beyond. Stay tuned for updates on the new venue. In the meantime, I hope to see everyone on August 4th!!