There I have said it, we are going to put 2020 to one side and be better, kinder, stronger and sell more stamps in 2021. So, what have we learnt, or what do I think I have learnt, and can I get this down on paper before I forget it all.
1. The stamp world did not collapse
In 2020 our new issue covers still did well, VE Day and Queen get a special mention, would they have been even better? Maybe, but we still picked up a lot of new customers were pleased with sales.
2.What did you do during lockdown?
Well it does seem that you get out your stamp and cover collection. I initially thought this would mean that we would be offered hundreds of collections for sale, but this did not happen. I think this time, for many of us, meant looking how we simplify our life’s and what can be more relaxing than an afternoon with a stamp or cover collection?
3. Get an uncomfortable chair.
Bear with me here, this will make sense. Many of us are working from home, don’t get a posh office chair where you can sit for hours typing away. Get that really hard kitchen chair that hurts, so you have to get up and walk around every half an hour (my Pilates instructor suggested this). Working from home is a whole new beast for me, some days are great, others I miss the office. At home I am easily distracted, so I timetable what I have been doing with the hope that it will stop me disappearing down one of those very unproductive Google rabbit holes.
4. Support the fairs in 2021
I think we have to put our hands up and say Virtual Stampex did not really work for us and after spending the last 30 years travelling to fairs all over the country I thought a quieter year would be nice, but even I have missed fairs this year. The chance to search boxes of covers and talk to customers and other dealers. So, I think we should all be ready to support the fairs, be this as a punter or stand holder, let’s all get out there next year.
5.Talk to your customers
At Warren House, the phone rings and it is very easy to go name, account number, order, payment, next. We have been trying and take a little time, ask how people are / what they are doing. I am not trying to teach you to suck eggs, but sometimes you discover you are the only person they have spoken to that day or at the other extreme they are just going to Las Vegas to pick up their new iPhone! Those few minutes can really make the difference and you can also learn more about what they collect.
6. Adopt a Postman
Yes, some days we get post, some days not, you could also try and contact your dedicated Royal Mail manager (insert laugh here), but let’s not forget your local Postman, they have carried on working throughout. We could all spend hours telling our own horror stories, but instead the next time you see him or her, offer to put the kettle on and make sure you thank them for what they have done.
7. What ever happened to…?
In early October we sent out Cover Lover 250 with lots of special offers, but we could not arrange confetti to fall out when you opened it up. We decided to double our normal mailing size and discovered lots of customers who had not spent for a couple of years decided to order a cover or two. You can’t afford to do it for every magazine, but it is certainly worth remembering that at some point every customer on your mailing list has bought a cover, so it is worth trying to tempt them again, at least a couple of times a year.
8. Less is more
I am always worried that we terrify new customers with all our high-tech phrases, e.g. what does miniature sheet mean to a non-stamp collector. If you can, let an illustration do the talking, then let’s gradually educate and inform customers so they can be the specialists of the future.
9. Expect the unexpected
Rupert Bear stamps in 2020, what were Royal Mail thinking! Well we will put our hands up and say it sneaked up on us and we don’t have a cover left in the building and lots of customers remain on the waiting list. Yes, we always try and get customers to order as early as possible and warn them that numbers are limited, but sometimes the most unexpected orders prove to be popular.
10. Have a good Christmas
At the time of writing no-one knows what will be happening (sometimes I wish someone would say this), we might be able to have parties and all the family round or it might just be our own bubble round a non-extended Christmas table. I think we all need to remember, if it is the latter, that is fine, it will still be great, and we can all look forward to more promising 2021. Well that’s the hope anyway.
HAVE A GOOD CHRISTMAS.