Klein’s Korner: How Can We Make It Easier to Return to the Hobby?

Klein’s Korner: How Can We Make It Easier to Return to the Hobby? – Recently, I did a Facebook live with a nice lawyer named Bernard Nomberg. We had a very pleasant chat for nearly 45 minutes and he is, like many of us, returning to the hobby after a period of approximately 20 years. The week before my appearance, the guest was his former Rabbi who has moved on from the pulpit. The Rabbi stressed in his new role he could be going to spin classes or the local coffee shops to better meet people on their terms. That is instead of the old traditional system of the one synagogue or church and the set services times.

Now I had a great time during our chat but as always I try to think about other ways to entice more people to come back into the hobby. Our traditional ways are through retail elements, hobby stores, hobby shows and online. In each of these ways this is making our potential customers come to us to establish a relationship. Now, I’m not going to be able to give the Walmart or Target operators any advice which they would pay attention to but I think our other aspects can all be adjusted.

When it comes to stores, no one I ever heard back in the day was better than Alan Narz who basically perfected the pack wars concept as well as other ways of drawing people into his store. He would always be featuring something new in his store every day so you felt as if coming in would be a new adventure.

Now, if you have ever gone to the National and listen to the Topps booth when he is running pack wars, you might think you were at a major political rally.

Klein's Korner: How Can We Make It Easier to Return to the Hobby?

Can’t say the Rip Master moniker is inaccurate.

While Alan may have been the first, a worthy equivalent is our good friend Michael Fruitman of Mike’s Stadium Sportscards. I can’t think of anyone who does more to bring people both INTO his store and INTO his orbit than Mike. I was shocked this past weekend at Kyle Robertson’s Lewisville show when a customer came up to me and stated he buys more from what Mike does during his “Friday Night Singles club” than any in-person purchases. And we do have an active hobby in the DFW area so that’s quite a compliment. I truly believe if someone created a new internet contact method Mike would be one of the first hobby personages to utilize the new way. He is truly one of my favorite people to follow because his goal is to make his store an event every day and not just open the doors to let them in.

Klein's Korner: How Can We Make It Easier to Return to the Hobby?

Now it can be more difficult than back in the day to work on getting new people into the hobby. The world is so much more splintered than it was before and sometimes even Main Stream Media (MSM) puts up more roadblocks. A few weeks ago I was trying to figure out how to enter my listings, as I had for nearly six years into the Dallas Morning News listings and I even wrote a respectful email to the Executive Editor asking about the changes. Needless to say I never received a response until I followed up with an email to Dave Lieber, the Dallas Morning News watchdog. To his credit he kept following up and keeping me informed until he received an answer. Now while the answer was not what I had hoped for, which was easier listings again, he DID his job and followed up. Now that’s good customer service. I will also state I do receive the DMN every Sunday because keeping up that way with tangible print is still a great way to learn about the world.

But why make things more difficult for your users? And don’t get me started on how aggravating it is to enter my Columbia University Early Decision Interview reports. You should not need a PHd in Computer Usage for a simple enough task. And that’s what we need to focus on in our hobby: continuing to make things easier and more accessible for our newbies, our returnees and our vets so they don’t get lost in a morass. As a hobby, let’s stop the roadblocks and go TO our customers to make it simpler for them to enjoy this hobby. Happy holidays!

As an FYI, I want to thank everyone in the hobby who responded to the great news about my wife’s kidney transplant this week. As of today, she’s doing well in New York and I will be trading places with her mom in the near future. Several people have been very generous in ensuring we have somegelt” to assist with both my travel and with any unexpected expenses that may arise. By the time you read this she and her mom should be in the Manhattan Friendship House to continue to facilitate her recovery.

We’re eternally grateful for all the help. Without mentioning names, I just want to tell a quick story about one person at COMC. This man had just recovered from a bad bike accident and had missed some work, Yet, he was the first person from COMC to assist on this go-round. If there was anyone I would have said, no don’t contribute you have had enough it would have been him. Instead, when I thanked him he said we’re all family here and I want to be able to help you. If that does not bring up the holiday spirit, nothing does. That and the great ET Commercial currently running:

For more from Rich Klein, follow him on Twitter @sabrgeek.

Klein’s Korner: How Can We Make It Easier to Return to the Hobby?

Rich Klein

Rich Klein is a free-lance writer living in Plano TX with his wife and two dogs. He has been involved in the hobby since the 1970's and has written within the hobby for more than 30 years. He spent more than 15 years working in the price guide department at Beckett Publications and is currently a catalog maintenance expert at COMC.All views expressed in Klein's Korner are solely those ofMr. Klein and are not related to GTS. He can be reached at Sabrgeek@aol.com
Rich Klein