Why I am an ASDA Member

Why
  
I am an  Member

By Scott Shaulis

Many small or part-time stamp dealers are not ASDA members. In my opinion, that decision is short-sighted. The rewards you reap from being an ASDA member more than outweigh the cost of the membership fee.

I joined the ASDA as soon as I became a stamp dealer four years ago. I consider myself the exception to the rule. I’m a part-time dealer operating out of my own home. The majority of members are larger full-time dealers with established business offices.

Two things enticed me to join the ASDA. First, I read Pete Mosiondz’s book, “Successful Stamp Dealing” (which I highly recommend). Pete specifi cally recommends an ASDA membership. Second, when I was completing my Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh, I learned about the benefi ts that a professional organization offers a business.

Consider the following examples. If you need a doctor, will you go to someone who is not a member of the American Medical Association? If you need an attorney, do you want one who is a not a member of the Bar Association? If the answer is no and you are a stamp dealer, then why aren’t you an ASDA member?

An ASDA membership brings numerous benefi ts. Some are tangible. Others, you can’t put a price on them. There are three primary reasons why I’m an ASDA member along with a few secondary reasons. Here is my list of reasons for being a member.

The main reason is the ASDA logo. The logo carries a degree of distinction with it. It says that you’re a member of the organization of professional stamp dealers. It says, “I have a reputation of being an honest dealer operating a legitimate stamp business conducting myself professionally.”

The ASDA logo says that you’re a professional stamp dealer. Don’t confuse the term professional with full time. There are fulltime dealers who’ve made a career out of the stamp business. There are part-time dealers too. The term professional relates to the way you conduct business, not how many hours per day you devote to it. There are many professional part-time stamp dealers.

The second primary reason that I’m an ASDA member is because my membership generates leads for me. Some of my customers said that they buy stamps from me because I’m an ASDA dealer. They look for the logo in the dealers they buy from. I’ve had sellers contact me because they found my name on the ASDA website. They were looking for a dealer in their area to sell stamps to because they quit collecting or they have stamps from a deceased family member.

Consider this. The cost of an ASDA membership is $300. If you bring in one or two new customers per year or if you are able to buy one or two collections per year because someone notices the logo or fi nds you on the ASDA website, the profi t you make from those few transactions pays for your annual membership. Any opportunities you generate beyond those fi rst few transactions turns into additional profi t that you would never have made otherwise.

I believe many dealers hastily conclude that the membership fee is too much to pay. They don’t consider the extra business they generate by being an ASDA member. In my experience, my ASDA membership is worth every penny. I bring in more business because I’m an ASDA member. My membership more than pays for itself every year.

The mentor program is another immeasurable benefit and my third primary reason for being a member. As a new ASDA member, you may elect to participate in this program. The ASDA pairs you up with an established ASDA member whom you can learn from. These mentors have been in the stamp business for many years. Their insight and knowledge is priceless. You can learn from their experience and avoid many of the mistakes that others have made previously. There’s absolutely no better way to
learn about the business than having access to a mentor, period!

Let’s look at a few of the other benefi ts that I’ve taken advantage of as well.

I find the Difficult Transactions list extremely useful. It contains the names of customers whom other ASDA dealers have had difficulty with. When I get a new customer, I always check the list to see if their name appears on it or not. Avoiding a bad situation with a diffi cult customer saves you money and a lot of aggravation.

Some members offer dealer-to-dealer discounts. I’ve had other dealers contact me about buying items from my stock at a discount for their customers. If they are an ASDA member, I don’t need to ask for any more proof of their dealer status. Some “dealers” are only looking to make a quick buck. They can’t even provide a photocopy of a state sales tax number which all dealers are required to have. On the fl ip side, I’ve been able to buy material from other dealers at prices where I can make a reasonable profi t. That allows me to offer stamps to my customers that I might not have access to otherwise. That brings in additional business for me.

Do you accept credit card payments for your business? If so, the ASDA offers an attractive merchant card account program. You get better merchant rates than if you go to some other bank as a single business. The ASDA negotiates a more favorable rate with a bank because it brings the buying power of several dealer members.

Last but certainly not least is the society magazine, The American Stamp Dealer & Collector. This is the only magazine dedicated to the stamp dealing profession. When The Stamp Wholesaler folded many years ago, there was a gap left in the hobby. There was no publication devoted to stamp dealing. This magazine is your best source of information on what’s going on inside the stamp dealing profession. Things you read about in here are not found in other philatelic publications.

There are many other benefi ts to being an ASDA member. The ones I mentioned are the ones that I use and benefit from the most.

If you’re a stamp dealer and you’re not an ASDA member, you are missing out on one of the best bargains ever. The ASDA logo brings you clout. Your ASDA membership generates leads and additional business opportunities. The mentor program provides you with expert advice from veteran stamp dealers. The benefi ts are worth much more than the cost of an ASDA membership. I’m living proof of that statement.