You might remember the recent articles called Rules of craigslist: Sellers and Rules of Craigslist: Buyers. Both articles were a great introduction to the idea of buying and selling online and were an incredible success here on the blog. Such an amazing success, that I thought I would add some more points to those two articles. If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage you to go check those out and come back for more Online buying and selling tips.
1. Work to determine intent. This is generally the bigger subtext when communicating with a possible buyer. Asked pointed questions about pricing, meeting and be as transparent as possible.
2. Be more than upfront. I encounter many that Don’t read full online postings, but for those there are others that will read them. Place your clear and specific terms in the text of your ad. I generally use the following as a template for this:
– When messaging, please provide a name & location (to show you’re local) or it will be ignored it as SPAM
– This is a private sale by owner, product is sold as-is
– Local pick-up in public location near (Your Location) for CASH only. No other forms of payment are accepted.
– NO shipping, so please don’t ask
– NO trades, so please don’t ask
3. Don’t take it personal. I’ve touched on this in the past, but if things get heated by email, don’t be afraid to call them on it. Don’t insult people, but be firm, and stand your ground. No matter what the other person says, don’t take it personal.
4. As a seller, don’t use any email address associated with you (personal or business). You want to keep the communication between you and possible buyers as anonymous as possible. This provide you a basic shelter from those who might be unscrupulous. Create a new email address that doesn’t include anything about you on a derive like Hotmail or Gmail. Be sure not to use this address anywhere else and anonymize it online when you can.
5. When you are the buyer, reverse the anonymity process by announcing your name, location and using a real searchable address. Whatever you can do to make clear your intent to buy, the more likely the process is smooth.
6. As a seller, keep a close eye on what your product is selling for online and renew ads quickly. If you aren’t getting interest in your product, reduce the price by increments of $10 and update. Continue with that process until you are getting the level of interest you want.
7. When selling always communicate with buyers as if you “just” posted your ad. Don’t ever speak about an ad being stale or out-of-date as buyers may use that as leverage. Your best position is to not give any sort of leverage as buyers are all looking for a cheaper product (or ways to exploit leverage).
8. Don’t say any more than you have to. Be as economical as possible when speaking to buyers or sellers. Answer questions directly and honestly and don’t veer into long stories about the product, other thoughts or why you’re selling. Be as accommodating as possible, but not so much that it hurts your position.
9. Be prepared for hassles. This is just a truth in the process. People are going to lowball you on prices, cancel at the last minute, inconvenience you for no reason, insult you, ask questions you’ve already answered and all sorts of other tactics. This is the nature of the beast, so you’ll need to grow a thick skin and face it. Stand your ground on a price if you have to and make sure you know the angles (For Example: Selling an iPhone now will garner many messages related to the coming release of a new version. Don’t let a buyer use that to gain a cheaper price).
Over time spent buying and selling a number of things online, I’ve been lucky to have learned a few things. You may not experience all of these situations, but you’ll want to make the process work for you. After all, the point is trying to get what you want or selling what you have. If I think of more, I’ll update this post accordingly.