How to sell vintage, antiques and more like a pro

Dear Readers,

I thought I would post some of my thoughts today on something near and dear to me – where customer service meets money making.

I have been watching with intrigue at who is the best in their class and who still has a few things to learn. The craft of selling has never been easy especially if you are trying to turn and earn a hefty profit. As someone who is both a buyer and seller I have tried to carefully take a step back and really note what the differences are between those who earn money and those you want to earn money.

These tips below are more for someone with a physical shop, space or set-up however I promise the ones for those with an online store will be soon to follow.

Be attentive of what buyers are looking for: Do you have people coming in your shop or space? If so, it never hurts to say “are you looking for something specific?” I have seen some people shy away from this question since it could lead an end result of them not being able to fulfill the customer needs ex. they don’t have what they are looking for or can’t answer a specific question.

Let’s flip this to a positive: Even if you don’t have it (the object or answer) you should jot it down, I bet in a week or two you will have a list. The stuff people are looking for or want to know is the stuff you want to have on your shelves or information you want to have in your back pocket. In the end people will also appreciate the time you took to help them scope something out. Lastly maybe by asking them this you will help them to find something they may not of otherwise found on their own. This could be what they wanted or another option.

Improve your business with deeper routed feedback: A close friend of mine in the hospitality industry once told me if you have served someone a meal you never go back to them and say “how was/is your dinner? you should be more specific and say “how was your steak, was it cooked to your liking?” You are doing two things by asking for feedback this way:

#1 learning how to better your business and;

#2 making the customer think less about things as a whole (it sure is easy to say it was FINE) and focus more on one item.

How can you use this in your business? Let’s say you have a regular customer, Sally and she always buys vintage items from you by the handful including radios, telephones and watches. One day you ask Sally, how she likes the radio’s she bought off you. She may say they are working great or could say the sound is a little off in one of them etc. There is a trigger and you realize Sally has not been buying as many radios off you lately. Maybe Sally stopped buying radios from you for a reason and you now know why.

You would be surprised how many repeat customers are actually not 100% happy customers. There are some stores I still buy from but I could tell you specific things I would change about them to make them even better.

Side Note: Also sometimes the people that know your business best are the ones that can give you the best feedback. I have always said to people if they (owners/managers) just asked their staff for process improvements they could save themselves a whole lot of money.

Don’t make me think: This happens everywhere (consignment stores, antique shops, vintage etc.) I go and I see it all the time. There always seems to be a shortage of things including price tags, shopping bags and mirrors. People need to:

#1 Easily see the price: If you leave them guessing they will be less likely to buy it. Make sure the price is visible and on the item.

#2 Juggle…nothing: Not only is it annoying to be holding more than one thing at a time, it is unnecessary.

If you build it they will come… remember that famous line? The same goes for a basket or bag. If you have them handy for people during the shopping experience there is a chance they will fill it or stay around longer. I went to Giant Tiger today for one thing (a bath mat) I ended up grabbing a little cart and it was full of items by the time I left. People also generally grab a phone call or two while they shop and its way easier to pick up a call when all your things are safely kept in a bag – just an observation.

#3 Mirrors: Don’t make me guess if this looks good! If you are selling clothing or accessories the more mirrors you have the better. Plus people just generally like to take a quick look at themselves when they are passing by ;). Bonus item: Good lighting and music. Having good lighting in your store or spot makes a huge different as to how people see things and feel.

These are only a few of my life lessons and maybe it is more than just customer service -it is a way of being. Paying attention to how you treat customers through every part of the buying process makes cents. 


4 thoughts on “How to sell vintage, antiques and more like a pro

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