The 3 Hats Of Estate Liquidation, or If You Want To be In The Estate Sales Business You Better Be Prepared To Wear Different Hats.
Here’s what’s true about the Estate Sales business:
If you want to be successful conducting estate sales, or be #1 in the Estate Liquidation industry, you have to know how to be with people first.
Every one who calls, will be in some stage of transition – So you’ll have to learn how to wear many hats:
- The Listening Hat: Have patience, If you do not, or are unwilling to sometimes listen to a client’s entire life story – try your hand at some other part of the antique business. Personally, I like to listen to people talk about themselves. I find that my client’s stories, and the memories they attache to their “things,” teach me more about antiques and collectibles than any guide book…
- The Risk Hat: Every Estate Sale or Buy-Out that I engage in, has risk. Is there enough financial value in the estate to justify its time commitments. And if I am doing an Estate Buy-Out, am I paying too much – will I be able to recoup my investment, and make a profit?
- The Therapist Hat: People have troubles… They call me, or some one like me, to help them resolve the way other heirs, or family members are in conflict about what is the best way to distribute a decedents personal property. You have to know how to creatively solve their problems.
Here are some of the ways I have used these 3 hats:
A woman who lives in Sonoma, Ca. called. She wanted to know if I would be interested in 11 old clocks that she had for sale. I said sure, and I made an appointment to see her. When I arrived at her apartment, the first thing I noticed was the stale air of a cigarette smoker. She wanted $2,500.00 for her clocks.
The best one of the lot was a Gustav Becker wall clock with a resale value of about $1,200 – $1,500.00. The other 10 clocks were mostly vintage banjo clock’s from the 1940’s, which at an estate sale might bring a total of $1,000.00 more
The Listening Hat: I listened to her, and I asked her a few questions, and what I discovered was that she needed this precise amount of money, because her son was in a child custody battle with an ex who had a drug dependency issue. This client was trying to raise enough money to cover her son’s legal fees. She was a good mom, who had a good son…
The Risk Hat: I looked at her clocks very carefully. I thought about the many different ways I might sell her clocks; in an estate sale, or maybe by sending them to an auction – but what I determined was, that there was no way I could sell her clocks for more than her asking price.
This meant that I could not help her by buying or consigning her clocks.
The Therapist Hat: No matter what a person’s station in life is, they are all human, and as humans, they deserve to have their dignity preserved. So here is what I did. I gave her my time. I listened to her, and I cared about her, and her dilemma.
I explained that as a dealer, I could not pay her what she needed, and then I mapped out a strategy for her, which would enable her to sell her clocks via some effective classified advertising.
My Name is Martin Codina, and I am an estate liquidator who loves his job.