I hope you enjoyed the Pro Tour last weekend. I enjoyed it with friends while playing on Magic Online, doing Sealed Release Events to practice for the upcoming PTQ and Grand Prix. I am still improving on that front, but it allows me to explore the Magic bots, MODO trading and the interface of MODO.
I have also encountered a lot of humans while trading and the communication with them has – surprisingly – been a very good experience. Also, while playing against my opponents, sometimes we talk more than just "GL" and "HF", and sometimes even talk about strategy afterwards, regardless of what ELO they have.
The Practical Nuts and Bolts
Mostly when trading where people have a Buy advertisement on the new RtR cards, they put decimals behind their cards. Generally it is [Floor price] + [decimal]. Typically when I PM them, I want to unload my bulk since bots are giving ridiculously low prices and it is not worth the time to search for the best bulk bot. When talking with them and negotiating most people are just standing by their advertisement. Often, one can recognize this from the style of writing they use in their ad.
Now, people like me just put in there 'Buying X for y tickets', and with those people I interacted with, they were very willing to round it up. What is even more remarkable is that they mentioned they do not need extra cards to fill the gap since I typically offer them something extra for their effort. Yet what surprised me the most is that people mention in the chat that I am a nice guy (or girl even!), and add me on their buddies list to keep in touch and make future trades. This little extra value you get from other players is a huge edge to be gained by just simply utilizing written communication.
From MODO to MOTL to IRL
This lesson can also be brought to MOTL, online trading for paper magic, or even face-to-face trading in a Grand Prix, Local Game Store, etc. I wanted to write about this when I was brainstorming article topics I could write about for QS during my Management class. But the main impetus for me to write this article came when I was studying Gary Vaynerchuk’s video about the ‘Thank You’ Economy. His target audience is entrepreneurs but I feel this can also apply to us as speculators, traders, or even store owners.
The video below starts with Gary explaining his way of thanking his customers. I really got inspired by watching his speech and I hope you also get something out of it. A disclaimer, he does use profanities, but I think it emphasizes his passion about what he is talking about.
I think that for any web-based service, one should use this simple yet so powerful ‘Thank you’. One can take it one step further, like Gary did, and buy a jersey of a client’s favorite football team. When I sell or trade cards online, I mention at least three times that I am thankful for their purchase or trade. I do that when I exchange addresses, I write it on the paper that goes in the envelop, and when they give me a notification that they have received my shipment. If anything goes wrong with the order I also mention it and try to resolve it as best as I can.
I am not the only one using this method as I have noticed one of the Irish Magic players posted a picture on Facebook of his StarCity Order. It was neither about the cards he ordered, nor about some mistake StarCity made with his order. The photo he posted had a big written "Thank You!", and he was willing to share it with other Irish players. Now I am terribly sorry that I did not take a screenshot of this, but think of how easy it is to create positive energy simply by writing ‘Thank You’ on the back of the paper. Now, for an individual this might be less impactful than for a business that has a brand and logo, but I still think you can increase profitability immensely.
According to a study called Effect of Server's “Thank You” done by Bruce Rind and Prashant Bordia in 1995, they concluded that waitresses who write a simple "Thank You" on the back of the checks increased tip percentages from 16% to 18%, compared to if she just wrote nothing. I feel that we can apply this in Magic as well. With selling, I want to keep contact before I send the orders, slightly after I have sent the orders to the post office, and even after the conclusion of the sale. I think that a lot of merchants are just selling/trading cards, and are always moving on to the next one without any further communication. Establishing good relationships with online traders is just as important as it is when trading at your LGS. The growing reach one has nowadays when utilizing trading via mail is vast.
Now, the type of communication we use is entirely different when trading in person compared to trading online on MODO or trading by post on a platform like MOTL. I feel that improving in both non- and verbal communication is essential for creating a solid foundation of trade relationships with people. That way I strongly feel that we as avid traders and speculators can be one step ahead of our competition is by showing our gratefulness to our clients.
Putting It All To Work
Meanwhile, in the new trading season after the release of Return to Ravnica, I am in the process of moving out my Bonfire of the Damneds, Vraska the Unseen, and Foil Jace, Architect of Thoughts to traders who still need them for any deck or collection. This is not a sell call because I feel that these cards will drop in demand and value in the coming weeks until Gatecrash's release. I am mostly looking for stable EDH cards or Modern staples for the PTQ season after the current PTQ Gatecrash season.
Talking about Pro Tours, the breakout card at the Pro Tour was definitely Deathrite Shaman. At first I had Epic Experiment in mind since my friend who joined the Dutch testing team (did you see Frank Karsten's crazy 60 highlander deck go 4-1!?) mentioned Epic Experiment in their testing gauntlet. I am not actively going to buy Deathrite Shamans as of now because the supply of Return to Ravnica cards is still relatively low. It will be drafted and sealed will be played a lot, especially since this PTQ season is sealed.
I sincerely hope you liked the article. As always if you have any comments or want to give me feedback, please do! I appreciate your input! I booked my flight to my first Grand Prix which is going to be Lisbon (RtR Sealed), so if there are any QS members attending that one too, I would love to meet up!
- Bruce Rind and Prashant Bordia, ''Effect of Server's 'Thank You' and Personalization on Restaurant Tipping,'' Journal of Applied Social Psychiatry 25, no. 9 (1995), 745-51