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Building Bridges (and Your Collection)

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I didn't expect my last article to get the feedback that it did. I just want to thank you all for all the feedback. It was mostly positive, and even for the few who had negative comments, they were more related to their overall experience, rather than the article itself. As a writer, I've learned to listen to what people heard, instead of insisting on what I said. When I was an inexperienced writer, I would have fights with people over my content. A lot of these fights boiled down to my inability to articulate my points with the force—or the persuasive inertia—that I'd hoped. One of the common strands in last article's feedback was this simple statement:

"PucaTrade doesn't work for me like it does for you."

This is where I could post screenshots of being zeroed out last week. Or, I could point out the line in my article that said: "This strategy is not for everyone." But in the end where do those things get us? Nowhere. Instead of slipping the jab, we should let it hit. The PucaTrade experience is not the same for all users. There it is. Ouch. It stings a little bit, but in reality, it's something that we already know. Today, I want to focus on some ideas that can empower you to bring your experience closer to my experience. 

In my last article, I was on my way to zero points from 50k in one week. I hit that goal and I've since gone through another 20k in points, 10k of which I had to actually borrow I know—it's crazy right?! I think by anyone's measure, this can be considered being successful on PucaTrade. The question is how? What am I doing differently from my friends in the Facebook comments who aren't finding the level of success that they want? What can they do to raise their level of success? I think one of the key factors in my success is the fostering of relationships. Let me explain.

Building Bridges

I have a natural knack for building connections. I know that this doesn't come easy for some but I'll give some tips to try to help you in this area. Something important that I need to note about going through so many points is that I was hanging out on the #trades-paper channel of the PucaTrade Discord. This application is built for social integrations and communication, so it gives you clearer opportunities to build relationships than you get by limiting yourself to communication on the website alone. I've also seen people using Twitter and other social media sites to network and build relationships around trading cards on PucaTrade. Keep in mind, when I talk about using Discord, I don't mean simply spamming your profile link.

I don't mind when people do this—it's fine—but it's not as effective as joining the conversation, hanging out, and sharing your wants in between. The difference is that people get to know you when you invest in the conversation. Having people rooting for you is a powerful thing; it's definitely the kind of thing that helps them want to look at your cards and maybe even send you some of the things you need. This happens in card shops all the time: A person might not trade this staple planeswalker to someone who rubs them the wrong way, but they might trade it to the guy that they just had an epic game with or with their friend who needs it for a deck. The same is true on PucaTrade: If you make friends with people they will be more likely to support your projects.

Here's an example: I was in the chat talking about how I liked Japanese foils. There was a trader in there that preferred English foils, and he had a Mercadian Masques Foil Japanese Squee, Goblin Nabob. He showed it to me and we got to talking—he mentioned that he'd like to trade the Squee for an English one if I had one. Now there was a little bit of damage on the foil, but I didn't mind because it's going straight into my Uril, the Miststalker Commander deck. I told him I didn't have an English one but I'd buy one if he'd do the trade. We agreed on the terms, and a deal was made! Look at this beauty!

Next time I see this person post his wants list, or mention that he's looking for a card, I'm definitely going to see if I can help him out. Which is something that I already try to do, but it's on another level because we now have a relationship. I think the same is true for him. As I said above, most of my experience happened on the #trades-paper channel of the PucaTrade Discord server. But there are ways to build relationships using the PucaTrade website. For example, until recently one user affectionately known as Ink Trap offered hand drawn comics with his trades!

Imagine how cool it would be to get a comic like that in a trade! I remember back in the MOTL (Magic Online Trading League) days, we used to send throw-ins from our trade partner's list. Maybe a $1 or $2 card, a foil that they need, or even some cool tokens. The point of the throw-in was brightening someone's day by giving them something that they need. Intrinsically these kinds of gestures build relationships. PucaTrade actually has a great way to do this built in. It's called the gift feature. After selecting a card to send, simply slide the button that looks like a gift above the PucaPoint value.

Sending comics or throw-ins is not the only way to foster relationships through the website; you can also send messages using the built-in messaging system. Be careful with this one: You don't want to spam people, and you don't want to be annoying. My advice is to do the opposite of what you probably want to do. Reach out to people that you've traded with before. My favorite approach to relationship building is to make myself a resource. Doing this on PucaTrade will naturally yield opportunities for trading and making progress on your projects. Imagine this scenario: You find someone that you traded with before, check their list, commit a few cards, then message them "Hey, I'm sending you some cards from your list. Is there anything else you're looking for before I package these up?"

How would you feel if you received a message like that? Wouldn't that make you want to help that person in return? I don't think that the conversion rate is one-to-one here, but I think if you do it enough, you will not only be a positive force in the community, but you'll also get plenty of trades as a result.

I think this is a good place to end for today. I'd love to hear about ways you build relationships on PucaTrade—please leave your thoughts in the Discord chat. I hope these tips have assisted in sparking some new ideas for building relationships, and for swapping cardboard! Thank you for reading.

@MedinaMakesGame

Jonathan Medina is a casual Magic player and lover of people. He has a long history of writing for various Magic sites. He's currently the Content Manger at PucaTrade, and a semi-regular writer at GatheringMagic.com.

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