Spinning into the new year

Leslie C. McManus

Leslie C. McManus

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The light of a January day is cold and unforgiving, particularly on the day your wife's car - displaced from the garage by your collection - is blanketed in new snow. As you clean off that car, give a thought to spin control.

"Spin" is what corporate and government types generate when presented with a problem that's gone public. There's at least two sides to every story: all you have to do is get yours out there in a convincing fashion. Yes, it will take a bit of thought, but it beats the heck out of a 12-step program or a forced sale, at least one of which may be at the top of your wife's agenda.

First and foremost, do not deny the existence of a problem. Neither should you admit to it. Suggest that efforts are already underway to resolve the problem that may or may not exist. Extra points are awarded for a smooth transition from "I've been thinking of what we might do about that situation" to "Did you hear about that craft show they've having downtown next weekend?" But be careful about promises, real or implied: They can backfire.

In collections, as in football, the best offense is a good defense. Carefully handled spin is useful at crisis points - the morning after a major snowfall, for instance ("Is there anything you'd like me to take to your car? I'm going out to clean it off and warm it up for you."). But what the serious collector really needs is an ongoing public relations program.

Acquisitions should be presented as routine business: planned for, anticipated, on schedule, under budget. Particularly big stuff - either in terms of size or expenditure - should be introduced as unique and special opportunities, but still well within the long range plan approved by management years earlier. Make regular references to the goals, objectives and mission statement of your collection. If you're feeling secure in your position, note with some concern that you've fallen behind quota, and some aggressive - but carefully considered -- action will be required to get back on track. Above all, avoid overt stealth. If it looks like you're sneaking around, trying to juggle the books or hide a new piece, you'll get caught every time. Instead, take shelter behind your press release: Fly just under radar.

And don't be surprised if you bump into someone familiar in that airspace. Wives have been known to keep a few tricks up their sleeves, too–

Happy New Year from all of us at Farm Collector!