Radio searches through a few stations. After a moment of static – it clears to reveal Steven Tyler belting
“I’m BBBAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCKKKKKKK. Back in the saddle again.”
Let me say hello! How long has it been? Has it been that long? Huh. You don’t say? 18 months? Maybe even two years? Well, fantastic. Just enough time to make it worth while to start all over. Now, shall we begin?
For those that know me – or have an idea – let me say hello. I am back, to bring you my varying degrees of insight, easy going banter, and strong belief that you have what it takes to make the most out of what you have. Not terribly long ago, I would bring you my thoughts on Magic based Finance. After much relocation, settling in the bright city of Dallas, Texas and a return to traveling the US (& eventually the world) for Magic – I have returned to having my hand on the wrist of Trading.
The fine folks here at MTGPrice have decided that you should hear me. Let’s not waste that with pomp and circumstance. This week, I will bring you what insight, thoughts, experience, & ideas I have to give you the best tools to prepare yourself for your next Grand Prix Vendor experience.
Approaching a vendor booth is a key component of any Grand Prix. To make the travel, the cost, and the excitement all fit in with your budget, means, and obligations – it is best to occasionally liquidate cards, locate much coveted new beauties, or fill in that last gap for your 75.
The fastest way to do that will always be with a vendor.
I, myself, am a Floor Trader. I pride myself on turning cards you do not need into cards you do. But a booth is a completely different & exciting animal compared to any trade. They have paid for the right and the power to give you not only exactly what you need – but the choice of how you need it. It also can be very intimidating. Why? Because you have no idea where to start. There’s numbers everywhere. Pretties to distract you. Amazing cards you may have never seen to lure you away. And even more – there’s always the fear you’re paying too much and getting too little.
This weekend was Grand Prix: Columbus. Uniquely situated between the Midwest and the Northeast, the GP itself drew a lot of the best talent in the Vendor world.
This weekend I primarily dealt with three vendors. Adem Hotza @Hotsauce. Jeremy Muir @SavageTCG and Paul Morelli @MTGCardMarket. Surprisingly, most of the published buylists from the variety of booths were all roughly the same. As I get back in the swing of things – in the future, I’ll have a more in depth analysis of where best to spend your money, or get the most out of your cards.
This week, I want to talk first about a couple of key points of what your Vendor relationship needs to be. While there are some unwritten rules, mostly it just hasn’t been thought to be said out loud. As a financier, or someone simply interested in getting the most out of your cards – these points can vastly change your approach to the weekend and how you cash out or trade up. As well as your preparation going in.
1) Online or in person.
While dealing with SavageTCG, the discussion went down the progression of “How has business been.” Every booth has different needs and usually that is going to be reflected greatly in their buylist. When business is good – buylists tend to stay even keel around the room. When it’s volatile is when you will see the differences. Another way to maximize your Grand Prix, then, is to first bring needs.
As with anyone – as the Owner of SavageTCG – Jeremy loves card that will sell quickly or be gone that very weekend. When in person, it’s very easy and quick to let the vendor cherry pick your collection. While this may not solve your instant needs – getting the ball rolling for yourself and then later matching a smaller list to the greater collective of “Who has the higher buylists” can net you the greatest balance of time spent vs. making your dollar go farthest.
This was my first stop of the weekend and that was my intention. Clearing out a long list of highly needed middle to low range but high demand Legacy/Modern playable Commons/Uncommons. With my organized list now shorter, and one 1,000 count box much lighter, the following day would be my next stop of the weekend.
2) “Picking” your bulk.
At my stop with Adem Hotza, owner of Hotsauce Games a very interesting point came up. I was there to acquire a NM/LP+ Moat for a trade. A young gentleman made it a point to acquire one that weekend – and I love sourcing cards for players that will actually love the cards they play. I had already done a lot of trading on the floor, thus some of my bulk was going to be included in acquiring this for him. Hotsauce had a gorgeous Moat at a great price and we got, again, talking about business.
Something that never had occurred to me is the practice of the Bulk traders using the Vendor booths as the manual labor to pick their $.25s & $.50s from the $.10s. Frankly – us as a collective can do better.
The Grand Prix floor should not be the time you sort those cards out from each other if you are about maximizing your buylisting. Definitely not when you’re dealing with a Vendor. If you’re not worried about the quarters from the dimes, do everyone a favor – just hand a stack and expect to have the whole thing priced as one “unit.” All dimes or all quarters, etc. If you are worried about it – then take it home. Compare buylists online. Send them in properly sorted or wait until the next event, after you’ve had time to seperate into appropriate piles. The week leading up to or the time before going to a booth really should be about maximizing your profit. On the floor is about maximizing your time – and theirs.
3) “Mutual Beneficiality”
Yes. It’s a made up complete butchering of beneficial.
My last stop of the weekend was with MTGCardmarket. Paul & I haven’t had many occasions to deal with each other, but I have with Cameron. Most Vendors LOVE $5-$10 retail price cards all day long. For us, they can do wonderful things like trade into bigger items and net a consistent build up, but even better is the cash power to buy those large collections. Any time you can get past a certain dollar amount that others are just not able to deal with, you gain power. The people that can and do buy $3,000 collections weekly are few and far between. You want to be one of those people. And they will always nets you more than $5 bills will. Cashing those out will get you larger transactions, more flips, and better outlets for your cards.
However you do it – the best thing you can do is give any Vendor the best balance struck of what they need versus what you can leverage. This generates a mutual benefit and gives you the priority over even the most alluring offers. While talking with Paul – he paid me a great compliment. He wanted my cards over another sell that was trying to come in. A fully foiled out Legacy deck.
What you may not know – most Vendors do many Grand Prixs back to back to back. Some times – four shows in – cash flow can be a little hard to come by. Not just a difference between Friday & Sunday, but a complete paradigm shift from what the would normally buy and the much leaner “focusing on needs.” If you want to give yourself the edge – and also make sure what you are liquidating will always be bought – don’t just bring corner case expensive cards that, while having great upside, will sit in their display cases for weeks. It’s not making it someone else’s problem to deal with. It’s bringing them items they just can not buy. Bringing the things that will sell day in and day out can and will bump you to the top of any shortlist a Vendor loves to deal with.
In closing – these three points can really improve your selling experience with Vendors. Each Grand Prix isn’t just about who’s buylist is best. Often – if your relationship is built with a Vendor – not only could you received priority treatment but getting the inside track can easily make you the person everyone wants to deal with.
In the future – I will be modulating my Grand Prix reports to bring you a mixture of insight, cool deals, price points to pay attention to, and items of note on buylists. This decision to bring me back on board was made late in the game, so this week’s report is focused on highlighting the points that made the most difference this weekend. With the Grand Prix in the rear view – these deals I made with these particular Vendors absolutely raised my Grand Prix from “Well played” to “I still had all deeze.” Incorporating a wonderful Vendor or LGS relationship into your Finance game is a key cog in the cycle of buy/trade/sell. I plan on showing the way to make this one you can maximize for yourself, if you choose.
Trading and Finance is not just about maximizing one card and riding it to the finish line. It is also about bettering the experience of the players you trade with. It’s about providing the cards the stores need to keep providing playing & trading space. It’s about getting you into the right situation and raising the tide. After all, the tide raises ALL ships. If you have not realized that – take a closer look at what you are doing. It really is that simple.