The Big Declutter – 6 Steps to Successful Selling – Part 2
In The Big Declutter – 6 Steps to Successful Selling – Part 1, I covered the first 3 steps to selling your unwanted clutter:
Step 1: Decide how you will sell your items
Step 2: Take great photos
Step 3: Do your research
These first 3 steps were all about preparation, so now let’s take a look at the final 3 steps to achieve a successful sale and start making some money.
Step 4: Post your items for sale
If you’ve already taken your photos, done your research on pricing and shipping, and drafted your description then this step will be pretty easy.
A few tips to keep in mind:
Make sure that the title/headline of your item contains as much information as possible. For example: “Queen-size mattress, like new” is much better than: “Mattress”
It’s good to let your potential buyers know that you are willing to answer any questions they may have about your item.
You can reuse your photos and description across multiple sites that you might be selling on. To maximize our chances of selling, we posted some items on multiple sites – e.g. Facebook and eBay. If you are going to do this, you must remember to remove the posting from all sites once it is sold. For example, if you sell something on Facebook and then receive a bid on eBay, you will still have to pay the eBay fees on the item that they consider sold.
If you have many items to post, and are using multiple sites, be prepared for it to take some time to get them all done!
Step 5: Communicate with potential buyers
The type of communication that you have with your potential buyers will depend on how you are selling your items.
When selling books on Amazon, there is very little communication. Usually it is just an email to let you know that an item has sold. I only received one communication directly from a customer about the edition of a book I had sold to them.
With Facebook Marketplace, letgo and Nextdoor.com, there can be a lot of communication from potential buyers around 3 main topics
Availability of the item
Where and when to meet to make the sale
In my experience, communication about an item always started with a question on the item’s availability. I lost count of how many times someone sent a message asking if the item was available, and once I had responded that it was, I did not hear back from them again. This was frustrating, so I tried to engage them more by responding back with: “Yes, it’s available. Are you interested in buying it?”. Asking a direct question back did seem to increase the response rate by about 50% (in an admittedly small sample).
You may also get into some discussion on the price. Hopefully, when you set your price it is slightly higher to allow for some negotiation. Lastly, you’ll also need to confirm where and when to meet. Check out Step 6 below for more details on this.
As for eBay, I found it that it was somewhere between the others for communication. More than Amazon, but much less than Facebook Marketplace, letgo and Nextdoor.com. Messages fell into 2 main categories:
Pre-sale questions about the product itself.
Post-sale requests which were usually about shipping the item.
Regardless of how you are selling an item, there are some key things to remember:
Respond quickly. This is particularly important on sites like Facebook Marketplace. I found that when I replied quickly we would get into a good dialogue that would often result in a quick sale.
Although the majority of buyers are good people, be aware that a few may try to scam you. Don't share any financial information, like your PayPal login and password or bank account information. Also, if they offer to pay by certified check or a money order, be wary. Apparently, this is a common scam. If you have doubts about a buyer, play it safe and move on – there are many other buyers out there!
Step 6: The Sale
Once the sale is confirmed then you will either need to meet the buyer, (Facebook Marketplace, letgo or Nextdoor.com), or ship the item (eBay, Amazon).
If you are shipping the item then I strongly recommend that you have your envelopes, boxes and packing materials ready before the sale, so you’re not rushing around so much to meet the shipping deadlines imposed by eBay or Amazon.
If you are arranging to meet with your buyer, then focus on safety:
Meet in a safe, public location like a coffee shop where there are other people present. I have arranged to meet many buyers in a busy parking lot of a local grocery store. Others have arranged to meet in the car park of the local Police station.
Before you go, make sure you tell friends or family who you are meeting, where and when. Even better, don’t go alone. Bring a friend or family member.
Also, bring a cell phone with you.
If you are selling something for a lot of money, instead of cash think about using a person-to-person payment method, such as PayPal.
Also, if you have posted the sold item on multiple sites, don’t forget to update or delete those postings.
Lastly, sit back and congratulate yourself on successfully making a sale!
If you’ve successfully sold items, what other advice or tips would you give? Share below!