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Attending Your 1st NATIONAL? Watch This Before You Go. Top 5 Tips to CRUSH the Collectors Show

July 21, 2021 5 min read

Attending Your 1st NATIONAL? Watch This Before You Go. Top 5 Tips to CRUSH the Collectors Show


The National Sports Collectors Convention is back in 2021 after a year hiatus due to you know what.  Lots of people are attending the show for the 1st time this year.  Here are my Top 5 tips to help make the show a success for you.   

#1 Meet as many people as you can

Yes, one of the main goals of the show is to buy, sell, and trade items for your collection. But for me, the main goal is to meet as many people as I can.

The more connections you have in the hobby the better chance you have at finding those rare items to add to your collection or add something that you never even thought existed or find out about that odd ball autograph signing that a small-time dealer might do that in most cases you would have never heard of.

Take a look at the dealer list on the show’s website, print it out, and circle the dealers you want to talk to.  Then print out the floor plan and circle where they are on that map.  Now you have a plan of people you want to meet who will help you further your collection.


#2 Stay off your damn phone

I get it, we all want to take photos or videos of everything we see.  This might be our one chance to see this item or meet that person.  Let’s be real, how often do you look through your old photos that aren’t photos of your kids?  For me, almost never.

I will be there on Saturday with my videographer to film for the YouTube show, but outside of that my goal is to stay off my phone as much as possible.

In my experience, I remember things when I am present.  Not through a photo or video.  The more I am honestly looking at things, talking to people, and just soaking it all in, the more I will remember and enjoy the show. 

The day after the show no one will care what I post to my Instagram stories.  It can actually be quite exhausting trying to manage that and enjoy the show at the same time.  That’s why I have someone filming it for me.  Zero chance I would enjoy the show if I had to film it.

Now yes, I am not going to be off my phone 100% of the time.  Occasionally I will need to check into the outside world, add some contacts to the phone, check prices, etc. 

But my goal is to be as present as possible and that means staying off my phone as much as I can.


#3 Drink water and eat healthy foods the day of

Don’t be that guy that eats the food at the convention.  That stuff is crap.  That isn’t going to make you feel any better.

We all make better decisions when we eat food that is real and drink a ton of water. 

Bring a couple healthy snacks in your bag and a water bottle.  Last thing you want to be doing is chugging the Mountain Dew and letting the sugar get you all hyped up about a Bol Bol PSA 10.

Chill is better.  I want to make the best decisions possible when buying or selling something.  So, I take my time, never rush, and make sure that my mind is prepped.  I know my numbers but also have some healthy fuel in my body to give my mind a chance.

Don’t let the Dew let you make a bad decision.


#4 Negotiate like a pro

Don’t be that guy that just throws out random numbers at 50% off just because that’s the lazy thing to do. 

A good negotiation is where both parties win.  So how do you negotiate a good deal at the National?

First, come prepared.  Know exactly what you are looking for and what the item typically sells for.  You have to know your numbers that way you can spot a good deal right away.

Item usually goes for $500 and you see it at $300, you might want to go ahead and buy it before someone else does.  Same item is listed at $600, offer them $400.  You know it sells for $500 and you can buy it at anytime for that price. Says no to $400, walk away.

Second, know who you are negotiating with.  If this person is the exclusive representative for an athlete, he probably has more wiggle room for you on his exclusive guys than his non-exclusive guys.  Do your research on their website on who they represent.

Company is from Texas?  Guess what they probably have a ton of Texas related items and can probably work with you more on those than say a New York based item because they can restock on the Texas related stuff quickly.

Company from California or somewhere else far away?  They probably don’t want to lug back that framed jersey to their store.  Might be able to get a good deal from them.  Be aggressive but fair with your offer. 

Also, ask the vendor tons of questions.  Who sells best for them?  What items are they trying to move?  Any show specials?  The more info you have on them the better position you will be in to offer them a trade or find the items with the best deals.

Finally, Sunday is getaway day.  This is a great day to find deals on items dealers don’t want to take home.  Some of the best stuff might already be sold, but if your plan is to go on Sunday to find some deals just know that this might be the best day to do so.


#5 Don’t Overspend

Whatever you do at the show, your #1 goal financially should be to not overspend.  There will be tens of millions of dollars of product at the show.  Something for everyone.  Very easy to get caught up in the hype of an auction or feeling like you are missing out on something if you don’t buy it now.

This is why show prep is so important.  Know what you are looking for, what you want to spend, and then when you see that deal you don’t have any 2nd guesses because you have done your homework and mapped out your budget. 

The LAST THING we want to do is say we are spending $1,000 and end up spending $5,000.  That will get your heart pumping on the way home and not in a good way.

Yes, you may miss out on some deals, but you will feel SO MUCH better knowing you bought what you could afford and stuck to what you said you were going to do.

Imagine bringing your kids to the show, talking about the budget beforehand, what you are planning on buying, then actually following through with that plan.  How great of an example would that be for your kids?  Absolutely awesome.

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