Craigslist is a great alternative platform to eBay when selling stuff. You avoid all those annoying fees that come with listing on eBay. From the initial listing fee to the final value fee, eBay can take some of the fun out of selling on-line. And isn't it a great feeling when you're handed cash by a buyer knowing you actually get to keep every penny of it? But there is one big annoying drawback...Craigslist buyers can't commit! Trying to get one of these prospective buyers to commit is a little like wrestling with a greased pig...it's frustrating!
If you sell on Craigslist, I bet you know exactly what I mean. Part of the problem is that unlike eBay, a Craigslist buyer isn't locked in after they've committed to buying. With eBay, once you win an auction you pretty much have to pay or you'll face big trouble. An eBay buyer who backs out of a deal is subject to a string of automated e-mails from eBay and the threat of possible removal. But not so on Craigslist. It's a frustrating commitment-free zone where anything goes. Buyers can send you e-mails for days and weeks running you around. Bottom line is that you never know until the buyer pulls up to your house if you're getting paid.
Take for example these ceramic tiles I recently sold on Craigslist. They were left over from a home improvement project in my house. I listed all seventy tiles for $50 bucks-less then half what I paid for them at Home Depot. I received a huge amount of inquiries, many assuring me they would be right over to pick them up. But I was like the proverbial bride left at the alter...no one ever showed! Having no sale, I started to think I would be stuck using them to tile the dog house! Finally, after about five no-shows, a husband and wife showed up at my house and paid me my asking price. This isn't uncommon with a Craigslist sale.
Knowing Craigslist buyers can be illusive, I've developed a few strategies to try to reel them in. It starts with the inevitable e-mail that asks, "Do you still have them for sale? (I think this is a dumb question. I have them on Craigslist right? Well then, they're still for sale!) When I get the initial inquiry, I respond with a quick, " Yes, when do you want to pick them up?" This is a variation of the old salesman trick when they ask, "How many can I put you down for?" By asking them this, I am trying to cause them to commit right away. Sometimes this question scares them off. But if it does, they probably weren't going to buy anyway.
Making it convenient and easy to pick up is another good tactic. I'll inform the buyer that I'll meet them at a location close to their home. Occasionally when trying to land a really big dollar sale, I'll even offer to deliver the item right to their home. This can really grease the deal since the seller doesn't have to lift a finger. (Other then pulling the bills from his wallet!) I once sold an Apple computer to a private music teacher and drove the computer to his studio. While he was in another room giving a music lesson, I set the computer up for him like a tech support geek! After finishing his lesson, the teacher came out to the reception area and was tickled pink when he saw the computer up and running! Transporting the computer right to the teacher's place of business sealed the deal for me.
Lastly, I'll utilize a little psychological warfare on some prospective Craigslist buyers. When responding to e-mail inquiries, I 'll sometimes bluff and say that someone else may be coming over to buy it. I then tell the indecisive buyer that I'll sell it to whoever shows up first. Sort of the old "first come/first serve" rule, only there's no one else actually coming over. But by suggesting an imaginary competitor, I am trying to create a sense of urgency in the mind of the buyer. Hopefully this will motivate the indecisive buyer to jump on the deal.
What kind of strategies do you employ to get Craigslist buyers to follow through on a deal? They are a frustrating bunch, so if you have a trick I sure would like to hear it. E-mail me or send in a comment below! You should do it right now because it's y'know....first come-first serve! ; )
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