Guess what I do for a living.
If you answered MD of Grixis Money Industries or being the Sexiest Man in Jamaica you are right. However in real life I have a more boring job.
I’m a Mortgage Adviser.
People want to buy houses and stuff. I make that house buying and stuff happen.
It’s a sales job really.
How does this relate to magic? If only there was an interaction in the game that involved speaking to another person and included some form of agreement on an exchange of goods…..A trade if you will…..
Trading takes time and effort. I love saving time and hate effort. Now before we get started, remember, trades should be fair. This article is not about heavy hustlin’ people out of their hard earned cardboard. If you are interested in ripping people off then I bid you good-day!
I’ll run through the things I think are necessary to getting the most out of your trades.
First thing to deal with: Your merchandise.
Bring your trades. Seems simple but: no gear, no idea. Always bring your folder. If you don’t want to lug around your whole collection, at the very least just bring the folder that matches the format you will be playing.
Imagine you went food shopping and all the aisles were in a big mess and you couldn’t easily find where to get alcohol.
F**k dat shop.
Your folder is that shop. Make it look good. In retail presentation is everything. Window displays, shop lay-out and how the merchandise is presented is big business. They are meant to inspire and engage people so they want to business with you. Apply the same principles to your trade folder.
First of all get a decent folder. Two benefits here, firstly it will look good and you always want to look good. Second it will help to protect your cards, I love riffling through stacks of cards though inevitably with that much handling there will be wear and tear. I’ve found that at bigger tournaments, people will put a lot more emphasis on the condition of the card. Don’t give them scope to manoeuvre because your card has a slight nick on it.
Got a folder? Good.
Now chuck it away and get this sweet leather folder as depicted here:
We’ll continue when you get back.
Next group cards by colour. If you don’t you run the risk that people will miss that card that they really need for their deck because it is lost in the jungle of off colour rares you’ve jammed together.
So next thing to do is to sort like-costed cards together, this will make it easier for you to remember prices which will help when your looking for cards yourself.
I personally like to put the high end cards as the starting page of each colour and sometimes put especially baller cards in their own page, smack bang in the middle. You want them as a point of focus so to draw peoples’ attention to it.
Just because you can’t see anything you want in someone’s folder it doesn’t mean that your playgroup / someone in your LGS / that random you’ll meet at the next big tourney won’t want something there. Circulating cards is good for the MTG community and means that your playgroup won’t end up seeing the same cards all the time.
Why do shops have sales? To get rid of old / rotating stock. Do sales make you want to buy? Why yes they do! Apply this to your trades. Fellow Hawk, Matt Chaney, inspired me to write this when I saw him offer a load of common and uncommon Modern Masters Foils in exchange for some format staples. Everyone was happy, Dave got sweet foils for his Cube, Matt got some staples and I got a recent example for the blog. Create offers on your cards, whilst you may be down in monetary value, if you can pick up a staple or something you need it is definitely worth it.
Sweet Folder, check.
Sorted into colour and cash value, check.
Hot date with yo’ momma, check.
Now it is time for the actual Hustlin’ – I mean Trading.
Be clear on what you want and what they are after. This will save on time and effort. I love saving time. I hate effort.
Do you have any x for trade? What format do you play? Anything your after in particular? Fancy browsing at the cards in my trade emporium? (The trade emporium is my folder by the way).
Ever had someone just pull cards out of your folder? I personally don’t like this, if you don’t trade then you have to put the cards back and this takes time and effort and you know my thoughts on that.
Signposting allows you to circumvent situations like this.
“So your after modern cards? Kool and the Gang. How much time do you have to trade? Have a look through this folder. Just let me know which cards you are interested in, don’t worry about pulling them out. I’ll do the same. We can then use to the app / website you want to agree on prices.”
Be mindful of how much time you have, if there is not much left on the clock until the next round you don’t want to be in the middle of a dollar-dollar trade. Just highlight the cards you are after and arrange to sort the trade later on.
By sign-posting both of you know what is going to happen and you can avoid any situations where you’ll be at odds. This commonly comes up when your pricing cards and which site to use.
People do business with those they trust and can get along with.
Speaking of which…
I’ve been told many times that trust precedes a sale. People trust those who are most like themselves. Now you don’t have to have to be a social chameleon but having some common ground will give you a good platform to work from. From my experience the more rapport the better the trade, it is easier to sort prices and agree on things.
Ever been a dollar up on a trade and someone calls off the whole thing? A sprinkling of rapport can go a long way.
Lastly, remember, if things don’t work out then you’ve had a more enjoyable way to pass 5 minutes of your time.
If you can’t come to an agreement on a trade, why not?
You have an equal set of cards by monetary value, why would you not want to trade?
I recently read “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman which is a wonderful psychology book outlining the ways people think. I’ll do a full article on it in the next few weeks, though for the time being, a trade is not solely based on a monetary value. Decisions are affected, among other things, by subjectivity, mood and loss aversion.
In each case you’ll need to know what the objection is so you can go about handling it. I coin this phrase objection handling.
Let’s go through the top 3 archetypes you’ll come up against.
Your experience and thoughts on a subject affect your decision making on it.
I’ve got a foil Suffer the Past. It is probably my favourite card. Ever. I’ve won many, many, many, many EDH games due to this card. Would I trade it away? Hell no. Whilst the intrinsic value is low, ($0.92 on TCG Mid) it means the world to me. As such this is a barrier to trading. Your potential trading partner could have just traded for a play-set and doesn’t want to let only one card go, or maybe they are thinking about building a deck with those cards?
- In: Empathy – “I’m glad you’ve picked x cards, they have served me well in the past. Time they had a new home though!”
- Out: Logic & Value of cards, the issue here is the personal value.
Ever been on tilt and ended up making more bad choices because of it? That’s your mood playing a part in your decisions. With trading, the happier I am or if I have confidence in someone I’m more likely to be generous in the exchange.
- In: Rapport.
- Out: Being an ass.
You’re worried about losing out on value aren’t you? Or they are thinking the same.
People love to speculate with MTG. Prices can rocket overnight and cards you never thought would see play, sadly, do <cough cough – Lantern of Insight>.
Everybody hates missing out. With the possibility of prices spiking as they do, losses can feel very pronounced. Traders are weighing up what is more important to them, your cards now or a potential increase later?
- In: Certainty – what can these cards do for them right now. “These would be a great addition to that EDH deck of yours.” / “Modern Staples are always a good pick up! You don’t have to worry about price spikes.”
- Out: Value of the cards – their focus is the future value.
Trading is often an aspect of the game that gets overlooked, though hopefully with these tips it is now something you won’t miss out on.
Let me know what trading tips, stories and etiquette you have in the comments below.
Oh and one last thing…