Do coin shows have a future? I’m betting they do.
There’s been a lot of discussion recently as to what the future holds for coin shows. Are there too many, resulting in attendee “coin show fatigue”? Is attendance down because of a shrinking collector/investor base? Is the Internet taking business away from the well-established shows?
I don’t know and I don’t care. I’m getting into the coin show business and I’ve got a plan that I firmly believe will bring success to my show dealers, satisfy the collector and offer fair value for the coins and collectibles the public is seeking to sell.
First, a short history. I had a sales career in consumer packaged goods that lasted 34 years. I sold everything from margarine to candy to dog food. My competitors were some of the biggest and toughest in the business including Proctor and Gamble, General Mills and Kraft. One thing I learned was that “if it ain’t broke, break it.” You have to be creative, quick and flexible if you want to compete. You won’t improve your results if you just keep doing the same things. Also, I learned the immense importance of superior customer service.
Ten years ago I retired, and one of my first post-work priorities was to get back into coin collecting. I joined a local club, the Diablo Numismatic Society, and before long I hatched a proposal to change the club’s one-day, modest show into a two-day, heavily promoted, hotel-based show. Eight years later this show is one of the most successful and best attended in California.
This summer, for personal reasons, my wife and I concluded that I should go back to work. I knew the coin show landscape well, had a solid track record with coin dealers and really enjoyed organizing the club show. So it was a no-brainer when Sacramento-based dealer and show promoter John McIntosh called me and offered to sell me his Santa Clara/Sunnyvale coin show. His timing couldn’t have been better. I’m now working again. The business is launched with four coin shows set for 2013 and hopefully more to come.
So why will I be successful when so many coin shows are floundering? It’s based on my unwavering application of three core operating principles.
(1) Coin show dealers are my first customers. Without them I don’t have a coin show. So I will ensure that they are treated well, have a unique experience and have lots of show attendees with which to do business.
(2) Continuous improvement. If I do it well today I want to do it better tomorrow. For example, I used to print up the usual coin show flyers. Now I include a map on the back to direct people to the show location. I’ve not seen another show flyer with this feature.
(3) Comprehensive, innovative advertising and promotion. I’m testing a direct mail coupon to 20,000 homes. I plan to advertise in Chinese and Indian language newspapers. I’ve launched a Facebook page for my shows. Next year, I know I’ll find more ways to reach potential show attendees.
In short, I will relentlessly differentiate my shows, innovate and drive strong attendance.
Will my business model be successful? We’ll learn soon enough. My first show is booked at the Clarion Hotel in Concord, Calif., for Jan. 4 and 5, 2013.
Check out my website for all the information on my new venture: norcalcoinshows.com, or call me at 925-351-7605 so we can discuss my efforts and the future of coin shows.
Lastly, let me acknowledge three people who have made this venture possible. First is Mike Stanley, a member of the Diablo Coin Club, who became my mentor and taught me the fundamentals of putting on a coin show. Then, there is the previously mentioned John McIntosh, who not only believed in my ability to launch this business but gave me a tutorial on the best ways to advertise and promote a coin show. Also, there is Mike Rothwell of coinclocks.co who is not only my very creative webmaster but a savvy, trusted business adviser.
There’s a future for coin shows. I can see it very clearly.
Bill Green of Alamo, Calif., a collector, has just recently become a promoter of coin shows in northern California.