eBay Magic
26 fantastic insider tips for eBay success

                   2nd edition - 2009


“Another Alex Newman Free
 ...
CONTENTS:


                   TABLE OF CONTENTS
                       GREETINGS
                     INTRODUCTION

     ...
GREETINGS!

Greetings all and welcome to the next in the series of the “Alex Newman Free
Guides”.

This one's all about eB...
finesse to learn on the road to becoming a skilled eBayer. eBay is a potentially
huge subject, and there are many guides t...
PART 1 – THE BASICS

                             #1 - PREPARATION

Computer Hardware
Personally, I would recommend Apple ...
height when you are sitting up straight. This makes sense to me and I used to
get neckache in the old days using a laptop,...
If someone gives you a bad vibe during an auction and looks like a deadbeat or
troublemaker, you can ban them from your au...
PART 2 - SELLING

                   #4 - WHICH ITEMS SHOULD I SELL?

A market research tip for those looking into e-comme...
your item. Some antique items - old coins for example - are actually better off
not cleaned and cleaning an old coin can i...
would want to see.
9) Photo showcase galleries. Ebay offers options to host scrolling galleries
at the foot of an auction ...
I have even knowingly sold items that were defunct on eBay - yet because I was
absolutely crystal clear about this and gav...
packaged.
I'm not mentioning any names, but I've had bad experiences. Seems that
certain couriers like to throw things aro...
#10 - TIMING YOUR SELL

The end time of an auction can be critical to getting the highest bids. You can
either set an auct...
Spelling
You MUST check your spelling. Misspelling in the description makes you look
amateurish. If you are uncertain, why...
you have a fancy mobile phone, you can set up an alarm which will remind you a
short while before the end.

Also there are...
PART 3 - BUYING


                  #16 - FINDING UNDERPRICED ITEMS

There's an old saying - “money is made on the buy not...
However, more interesting that this is that several cool tools have sprung up
which makes finding misspelt auctions easier...
friend. Asking a simple question is very often all you need to do in order to
separate the deadbeat from the intelligent, ...
any other last-minute bids. And if your last minute bid gets outbid, you might
be tempted to make a reckless higher bid in...
PART 4 - ADVANCED TACTICS


  #19 - GETTING TRAFFIC TO YOUR AUCTION FROM OUTSIDE OF
                            EBAY

Ther...
This would give you both possibilities of the way someone might have typed the
model number of the product. Here's the pag...
Often, lists of existing customers have a much higher conversion rate than you
will achieve through advertising for new cl...
If someone with good feedback who hasn't been active on eBay for maybe a year,
suddenly pops up out of nowhere and starts ...
More “Alex Newman Free Guides” are available - absolutely free - at
        http://www.money-while-you-sleep.biz/free-guid...
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Transcript of "eBay Magic"

  1. 1. eBay Magic 26 fantastic insider tips for eBay success 2nd edition - 2009 “Another Alex Newman Free Guide” More “Alex Newman Free Guides” are available - absolutely free - at http://www.money-while-you-sleep.biz/learn.html Collect the whole set!
  2. 2. CONTENTS: TABLE OF CONTENTS GREETINGS INTRODUCTION PART 1 – THE BASICS #1 - PREPARATION #2 - FEEDBACK #3 - THE ACCOUNT TITLE PART 2 – SELLING #4 - WHICH ITEMS SHOULD I SELL? #5 - PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR ITEM #6 - TESTING YOUR ITEM #7 - SELLING BROKEN, POSSIBLY FAULTY, OR DAMAGED ITEMS #8 - SHIPPING TIPS #9 - HOW MUCH TO CHARGE FOR SHIPPING? #10 - TIMING YOUR SELL #11 - THE ITEM TITLE #12 - THE ITEM DESCRIPTION #13 - USING BUY NOW ONLY #14 - TIME MANAGEMENT AND AUTOMATION #15 - CORRESPONDENCE PART 3 – BUYING #16 - FINDING UNDERPRICED ITEMS #17 - WHO TO BUY FROM #18 - THE PROS AND CONS OF SNIPING PART 4 - ADVANCED TACTICS #19 - GETTING TRAFFIC TO YOUR AUCTION FROM OUTSIDE OF EBAY #20 - BUYING ON EBAY AND SELLING IN THE REAL WORLD #21 - ADVANCED SEARCH TERMS #22 - BECOMING AN EXPERT IN A CERTAIN ITEM #23 - CREATING / KEEPING A CUSTOMER DATABASE #24 - UP-SELL AND CROSS-SELL #25 - “UP-BUY” AND “CROSS-BUY” #26 - TIPS FOR HOW TO SPOT A FAKE AUCTION FINAL END NOTE *******
  3. 3. GREETINGS! Greetings all and welcome to the next in the series of the “Alex Newman Free Guides”. This one's all about eBay - brand new perspectives, “insider” tips and ideas from a seller with 100% positive feedback from over 100 transactions. Some of these tips may be fairly well known... but others are not so well known or may even be unique. Use this guide as and idea source and as a complement to other eBay material that is out there. INTRODUCTION I LOVE eBay! I'm addicted. The thrill of the hunt; the ability to sell things you've been wanting to get rid of; the opportunity to generate a second income; the feedback system that encourages good trading practices and honesty; the feeling of being part of the community... and of course... the ecstatic moment of winning the exciting auction. I have spent huge amounts of time on eBay. Searching though lists of items, buying, selling, learning, conversing with other eBayers. I've done a great deal of of research into the subject, and endeavoured not only to participate successfully in auctions, but to play the game well - with finesse, style, honesty and good conduct. As a result, my feedback as both a buyer and a seller is 100% over many transactions, including a good number of international sales and purchases, and some high ticket items. In this guide, I share my own exciting eBay discoveries and concepts. There are many eBay guides out there. It is quite likely that I have mentioned some ideas here which have been discussed elsewhere - but although there will undoubtedly be a certain amount of overspill between this and other articles about eBay, I believe you will find that there are many ideas and concepts in this guide that you have not come across before. I like to do things my own way; now I will let you in on my secret strategies and what has worked for me! This Free Guide is by no means exhaustive. There are many, many points of
  4. 4. finesse to learn on the road to becoming a skilled eBayer. eBay is a potentially huge subject, and there are many guides to eBay out there - also an incredible amount of information on the eBay site itself. I STRONGLY recommend that you read thoroughly, and then re-read, eBay's own advice on account security, and articles about avoiding scams. This is one topic I haven't attempted to cover in my manual: Not only is this in itself a big subject, but it has been covered so admirably elsewhere as to render any efforts on my part superfluous. So in short, I don't expect this to be the be-all-and-end-all of eBay guides. Add it to your library, and use it in supplement to the bread-and-butter guides that are out there.
  5. 5. PART 1 – THE BASICS #1 - PREPARATION Computer Hardware Personally, I would recommend Apple computers because that's what I use and I love them. Yeah I know, I'm biased. But they rock. If you're serious, get yourself two screens and you'll be in eBay heaven. Use of a browser that allows tabbed browsing, such as Safari or Firefox, will enable you easily to keep track of several auctions at the same time. And the twin screens will enable you to view two things at once: Perhaps your auctions on the left and your personal notes on the right. Or, an auction you are viewing on the left and your "confirm bid" page on the right (if you are attempting to fire in a winning bid in the final few seconds of an auction.) There's one neat feature that both Safari and Firefox have, that I really like: The ability to save multiple tabs to one bookmark folder. Then, I can come back the next day and open all these bookmarks in tabs with one click. This is killer for watching eBay auctions. Connection If you are a serious eBayer and intend to participate in a lot of auctions, a fast internet connection is essential. You will be skimming through a lot of pages - and if you are on dialup, the slow load times will drive you crazy. Get the fastest connection you can realistically afford. If you like to place last-minute bids on items, you will want to be able to refresh the page quickly. Ergonomics for Computer Users This part is common sense. (Please note, I am not professionally qualified to give any form of medical advice and what I say here is not to be seen as such). If you are going to make a career out of eBay (or of computer use in general), you may well be spending a lot of time at your computer. You may find it beneficial to get a good chair, one that doesn't give you backache and encourages good posture. I have found arm rests with soft padding for the elbows to be very helpful. I spend much time sitting at my computer. As such, I need to be quite careful of my posture as lack of attention to this can cause real problems. I have also benefited from a wrist posture that keeps a straight line from the elbow to the knuckles, in other words with my wrist slightly raised and supported so that the hand is not bent back when mousing or typing. If you are concerned about or think you might have RSI (repetitive strain injury) seek professional medical advice. I have also heard it recommended that the top of the computer screen is at eye
  6. 6. height when you are sitting up straight. This makes sense to me and I used to get neckache in the old days using a laptop, looking down at the screen. Take breaks! Go outside and get some fresh air. Do some stretching exercises. Don't be a maniac like me; take breaks from the computer, go and look at the stars, practice the “inner smile”, say a few positive things to yourself such as "life is wonderful" or "everything is going extremely well". I find this sort of thing, done often, lowers my overall stress level. Eat some good food, not junk. You get the picture. Be good to your body; it will serve you better. Do your best to make it a source of joy rather than a source of misery... #2 - FEEDBACK Your eBay feedback is crucial, critical, essential. If you have poor feedback, it is a plain fact: Your items will not bid so high and people will be less trusting. So if you are serious about eBay, do your best to make people happy. If you have 100% feedback over numerous transactions, people will trust what you say about an item, and also people will be happy to sell to you. So, here are some tips to keep your feedback looking good. Number ONE - the most important one of all: Your personality! If you are faultlessly honest and sincere, you will have to be extremely unfortunate to get negative feedback. Be friendly, careful and meticulous with auction details, and show goodwill. 2) Preparation. Many issues and complications are caused by poor preparation for an auction. It takes a little while to get everything together. eBay can be time-consuming. (I will investigate time management a little later). If you are selling, get everything in order before the auction starts. This means: Photographs, item description, research into the right price, knowledge of the product, testing your item to make sure it works. More on this shortly. 3) Avoiding trouble. First of all practise good communication skills. Communicate! Be friendly and polite. It is almost always possible to avoid disputes - and most of the time this can be done by getting things right before the auction starts. If you have described your item accurately, you are in a strong position to avoid trouble. “See to it before it happens.”
  7. 7. If someone gives you a bad vibe during an auction and looks like a deadbeat or troublemaker, you can ban them from your auction. This happened to me once – someone started being very unpleasant and threatening right off the bat – so I contacted eBay customer service, who responded to me that as a seller I had the right to sell to whomever I wished - and had every right to cancel bids and to block someone from bidding on my auctions. Once an item is sold, however, it may well be a different story. 4) Giving negative feedback will often result in getting one back. This is one of the problems of the eBay feedback system. If someone has done something un-cool, see if you can work it out before “firing them a neg”. They might fire one back, even if you did nothing to deserve it. If you are a beginner, start by buying or selling some small, low-risk items. These will give you some experience. Buying or selling high-ticket, rare or fancy items requires somewhat more skill and experience - therefore get some, before you go big. #3 - THE ACCOUNT TITLE If you are in e-commerce, a good tip is to use your domain name or brand name as your eBay account title. Otherwise, simply something memorable, amusing or positive-sounding might be a good idea. It's good to personalize the name and make it sound friendly and welcoming.
  8. 8. PART 2 - SELLING #4 - WHICH ITEMS SHOULD I SELL? A market research tip for those looking into e-commerce: Look at sellers who already sell the item you are selling. Check their feedback... some items are a "headache" and it is not so much the fault of the seller as the fact that certain items are more likely to go wrong or leave customers dissatisfied. By looking at the feedback of several sellers of the kind of item you are interested in specializing in, you can get a good idea of whether it usually goes smoothly, how often there are problems, what the potential problems are, the kind of customers that are attracted to the product, etc. Another important tip is to get a ballpark figure for how much your item will likely sell for. A good way to do this is to do a search for “Completed listings only” within the “Advanced Search” feature. The Completed listings feature can give valuable additional information too. For example, you can see how often an item did not sell: If the item is often listed but often doesn't sell, this is an item you would not want to specialize in selling – the demand is not there. A final observation here is that bulky and heavy items, while able to be sold on eBay, are usually more trouble to ship – small items can be more convenient. #5 - PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR ITEM The importance of good photography to eBay auctions cannot possibly be overstated. Good pictures can make an enormous difference to the price someone is willing to pay for an item. However, getting good photos needn't be expensive. Here are some recommendations. 1) No cellphone cameras. These things, in my humble opinion, do not take good enough photos. 2) Tripod. This is ESSENTIAL. No matter how steady your posture, a tripod will take a sharper pic. Just get one. 3) Make sure your item is clean and dust-free. Dust shows up nicely in the camera's flash and has a habit of making things “look dirtier than they actually are”. Of course, only use cleaning materials that are appropriate for
  9. 9. your item. Some antique items - old coins for example - are actually better off not cleaned and cleaning an old coin can in very many cases lessen its value. 4) Fabric background. It's often a bad idea for there to be all sorts of other junk in the background of your photo. A clean background makes your item stand out better, and dark colours often work well with modern cameras, showing your item's attractiveness to best effect. Go to a fabric store and buy a couple of yards of nice satin or velvet fabric in two or three dark colours: personally I go for maroon, royal blue and black. These make excellent backgrounds for your photos (and have other uses around the home too when not in use for your eBaying!) 4) Lighting. Again, if you are a pro photographer, by all means get all the gear... but for the home eBayer who is trying to make money rather than spending it, bear the following mantra in mind: Bright Natural White Diffuse Light. Spotlights are bright but can often cause reflections and shadow angles. Large paper lanterns help to diffuse the light - alternatively, spotlights can be aimed at walls or ceiling - reflected light has a much more diffuse quality. Fluorescent light tubes are certainly diffuse, as they cast light from a long bulb - but do you ever see pro photographers using them? They may work but I find the colour of the light they give out can be cold, clinical and unappealing. Final lighting trick - get a couple of lamps or spotlights with coloured bulbs and add these into the final mix. Fun! And you can't beat those coloured sparkles and added shades! 5) My camera is a Nikon Coolpix L3, and I love it. I bought it new on eBay for $130 – and although by some standards this is a definitely a “cheap” camera, it works well enough for my auctions. It has a feature that enables real close-ups; which is pretty much an essential. I have a 2-gig SD memory card which enables me to go crazy taking lots of pics - and then discarding all but the best. Oh, and get yourself some rechargeable batteries. For some reason these seem to last much longer in cameras than disposable batteries, which, strangely, seem to get munched in just a few photos on my Nikon! I think it's something to do with the voltage-drop-curve of different battery types. 6) Photo hosting. If the item is high-ticket, enable the option to "supersize" the pictures - and upload enough pictures to show all the details of the item that a buyer is likely to be interested in. It only costs a few cents for an extra photo: go for it. It is also possible to host the pics yourself if you have your own web site – or to upload pics to an account on a photo-sharing account such as flickr. 7) Scanning. Some items (i.e. coins) may come out better if scanned than if photographed. 8) The more expensive the item, the more photos you will typically want to have. If people are going to spend a lot of money, they like to be as clear as possible as to what they are getting. The more photos you have in these cases, the better. See if you can cover all the essential points that someone
  10. 10. would want to see. 9) Photo showcase galleries. Ebay offers options to host scrolling galleries at the foot of an auction page. If you have more than one auction going at once, these galleries are highly recommended as they are known to increase the view count of auctions. Showcase galleries are offered by services such as Vendio, Crosspitch or Auctiva. #6 - TESTING YOUR ITEM This is another thing I have not seen mentioned in other eBay guides. It's simple, makes sense, but is often overlooked. Ask yourself this: Are you 100% sure the thing you are selling works? Especially in the case of pre-owned gadgets etc. Test before you sell! Especially if it has been sitting in the attic for a year. You can also then state confidently and honestly "I have just switched this thing on and played a game on it and it works fine." etc. Knowing that an item works usually enables you to sell it for higher value. Many sellers auction untested items, either because they are shifting a large turnover volume or because they lack the knowledge to test an item effectively. Sometimes, items are untested because they have no power cord. I believe that going to the nearest electronics store, buying the power cord and testing the item will certainly be worthwhile. And a final note – if it's a piece of audio gear, make sure it makes the sounds it's supposed to. Just because the lights are on, it doesn't mean there's anyone home... ;) #7 - SELLING BROKEN, POSSIBLY FAULTY, OR DAMAGED ITEMS You may on occasion find yourself wanting to sell something you know is faulty. Or, you might be unable, unwilling or will not have time to test an item. Sometimes you have no way to be sure if it is working; for example an obscure item of consumer electronics with a missing power supply. What might come as a surprise is that these scenarios can still work out fine, so long as you deal with them correctly. And the way to handle this type of sale without problems: Be 100% honest! If your item has scratches in the paintwork or any other physical damage, mention this specifically in your item description, as well as taking a close-up photo of the damaged area. If your photo does not show the extent of the damage, say so. In one case recently I said something like "This item has some scratches on the screen which you can see in the third pic."
  11. 11. I have even knowingly sold items that were defunct on eBay - yet because I was absolutely crystal clear about this and gave a lot of details in the sale description, it was ok. The buyer knew what they were getting and the sale went just fine, they thanked me and I received positive feedback. You gotta love having the ability to sell your old junk to someone who knows exactly what they are getting and is happy to give you money for it.... There are some fairly standard eBay phrases to cover scenarios of this type: For example you might say something like "I have no way to tell whether this item is working or not. It may not be working, therefore it is for sale AS-IS, with no guarantees whatsoever." Or, in another instance you might say something like “Important - this item DOES NOT WORK. However, you may be able to use some parts of it as spares.” Such a direct manner may well seem brusque to the uninitiated, but it is considered good form on eBay to be meticulously honest about things. The clearer the information you can provide about what the buyer is actually getting, the better. As a general policy, attempting to hide details that a buyer would want to know about (and is going to find out about as soon as the item arrives), is a bad idea. #8 - SHIPPING TIPS Have the item packed up and ready to ship by the end of the auction or straight afterwards. Nothing pleases a winning bidder more than getting their item FAST. Also, make sure you package things well. If you are doing serious turnover, get yourself stocked up with mailing supplies. Very often this can be done very cheaply by buying your eBay supplies on eBay! Buy some good parcel tape. sharpie type markers are good for writing addresses if for whatever reason you do not wish to print shipping labels. Saving money on packaging. I like to keep costs down as low as possible, and this includes packaging. If you have enough space where you live, start keeping cardboard boxes, packing peanuts, bubble wrap. Not only are you helping the environment, but with a big enough hoard of these things, you may only need to buy sticky labels, a permanent marker and sticky tape. Package things a little more securely than you think they need to be
  12. 12. packaged. I'm not mentioning any names, but I've had bad experiences. Seems that certain couriers like to throw things around - and on more than one occasion I have had expensive electronic items arrive damaged. In all instances, sure, if the item had been handled gently and stacked well it probably wouldn't have happened.... but in truth the items were poorly packed in the first place. If the items had been packaged properly, it definitely would not have happened. And this is the part of the equation that you have control over. With heavy items, it's not good enough to just put it in a box with packing peanuts all around. These things settle and move, and before you know it, they may all have worked their way round to one side of the item - and then all it takes is for the thing to be put down heavily on the wrong side, and it's busted. Packing peanuts are in my opinion good for filling up empty space, but should be used in conjunction with bubble wrap and airbags. If it's an expensive or delicate item: Go pro. Near to where I live there is a small business which handles shipping. They will box up an item for me, all nicely padded and protected. As a buyer I would be delighted to receive an item that had been so well packed. It's a great service and well worth a few extra dollars to have the confidence - and to be able to say "I will have this item professionally packaged" in the auction description. Saving time at the post office. If you live in one of those places – like I do – where there's always a line at the post office and waiting seems to take forever, you could investigate services such as www.stamps.com. (PC users), http://www.usps.com/shippingassistant or UPS internet shipping. #9 - HOW MUCH TO CHARGE FOR SHIPPING? Some sellers charge high for shipping – and it is even known for people to offer items for practically nothing and make their money on the shipping costs. However, offering free shipping gives you the opportunity to offer the magic word “Free” in your item description – and people love this word. You can simply offset the costs with a higher “buy now” or minimum bid. It's difficult to say for sure what will work best. The main thing is to be reasonable – high shipping costs can sometimes convey an impression of greed. You don't want to make people feel “stung” by the shipping cost. And eBay has a policy regarding excessive shipping costs – please be sure to abide by this.
  13. 13. #10 - TIMING YOUR SELL The end time of an auction can be critical to getting the highest bids. You can either set an auction to run an exact number of days from the moment you start it, or you can set a start time (and therefore an end time). It's fairly widely claimed that on Sunday evening more people are on eBay than at any other time. But another factor is less often considered; don't forget the difference in time zones. Where are your bidders? 8pm in California means 4am Monday morning in the UK and you will miss out on the Brits. And 10pm in California means 1am on the East Coast - you are going to miss out on many of these too. So if you are in the USA, how about an end time of 6pm Pacific? This means 9pm on the East Coast - nice. And only 2am in the UK, so you are a little more likely to get a late night bid from the UK. Apparently Sunday Morning is a good time on eBay - and Sunday 11am in California is Sunday 7pm in the UK. I haven't experimented with this particular timing but it may well be worth it. #11 - THE ITEM TITLE This is critical - the title is the "gateway" through which all people pass through to your auction. Use words which are likely to get searched on. But watch out for “keyword stuffing” - eBay has a lot of rules on this now. Making absolutely sure your title is free from spelling errors and typos is very important! A misspelt title can be disastrous, as people searching for you item by name will not find it. #12 - THE ITEM DESCRIPTION Essentials I won't go overboard here - but make it clear, accurate, honest and concise. If the item has a lot of tech-spec you can refer the buyer to the manufacturer's specific web page with a link. The Story Tell the story, get buyers excited - especially if the item is vintage or historical. I've seen some great auctions that included some real “sales copy” - telling interesting tales of an item's history that add to the sense of value, desirability and mystique of the item.
  14. 14. Spelling You MUST check your spelling. Misspelling in the description makes you look amateurish. If you are uncertain, why not have someone else read through your text. It's a known fact that others will sometimes spot mistakes that the writer didn't notice even after several reads. Linking eBay does not permit linking to other items for sale outside of eBay. However, certain types of link are permitted. eBay's Links Policy is detailed and specific - and it pays to be sure! #13 - USING BUY NOW ONLY One great tactic for sellers that I stumbled upon, is to select the “buy now only” option and not bother with the whole process of bidding. This can often have a very positive effect on sales. The reason for this is simple. If someone sees an item that they know they want, and it is listed with a competitive buy now price, they know that they will have to buy it there and then, or someone else will snap it up. It gets people to commit. Also, you have an element of certainty that your item will fetch a price that you want it to fetch. And furthermore, you often don't have to wait 5 or 7 days to see what happened. You can “set and forget” and go and do something else. #14 - TIME MANAGEMENT AND AUTOMATION As I mentioned earlier, eBay can be very time-consuming. However, there are many strategies that can help with this. Multi tasking If you have a slow internet connection, you can be doing other things while pages load. Also, get into good habits when watching auctions. There's no point in checking in every couple of hours to see how it's going: You are wasting your time. Go and do something else! Noting end times of auctions you are bidding on will help you a) not to waste time checking your auctions when there is still a lot of time left and b) to be at the computer in time to react to being out-bid, if that is something you wish to do (see the section below on sniping). Timers If you are bidding on an auction that is very important to you, you'll want to be there for the end – and sometimes, auctions end in the middle of the night. If
  15. 15. you have a fancy mobile phone, you can set up an alarm which will remind you a short while before the end. Also there are several free softwares out there which can set up alarms. A good example for OSX users is iCal. You can easily store your auction end times as calendar notes with alarms and messages. A five or ten minute warning can wake you up in time to bid. Auction automation If you are doing a lot of work on eBay, it can get really time consuming – and this can become an enemy of profitability. Fortunately, there are many tools out there that can assist with automation of eBay processes and save much time. Ebay has their own suite of tools – such as Turbo Lister which enables bulk listing and has a toolbar to give additional control. Others things worth investigating are Vendio, Andale and Ezlister. #15 - CORRESPONDENCE Keep all correspondence. This is a simple tip but worth it. I keep *all* old eBay correspondence in a folder and never throw anything away. When it comes to time to file taxes, or look up details in case of a dispute, it makes life so much easier if it's all there! The follow-up letter. Soon after an item has sold, always write a brief note to say thanks and that the item is on its way. I usually do this right after the item has shipped. People like the certainty of knowing you have dealt with their order, and this will help with getting good feedback. Also, you can include links to other products, free gifts, all kinds of stuff in your letter.
  16. 16. PART 3 - BUYING #16 - FINDING UNDERPRICED ITEMS There's an old saying - “money is made on the buy not the sell” - and this applies to eBay: Very often the price you can sell something for is dictated by the market, whereas there may be no lower limit to how cheaply you might be able to get something. There are several factors and cool tricks to consider when on the hunt for items to buy for less than their market value: 1) Knowing the value of what you are buying. As mentioned above, you could use the completed listings to find out how much a particular item has been actually selling for recently, and how great the demand is (number of items sold in a period of time, number of bids on each item). What's interesting is just how variable final sale prices can be for identical items... some of these factors relate to the auction itself, and other times it's just the luck of the draw. Sometimes there just so happens to be two people who both want an item badly, and on other occasions, the competition is thin. Knowing just how high to bid, and “staying unattached to the outcome” are things that can really help. 2) Items listed at the "wrong time of day". Sometimes people set their auctions so that they end in the middle of the night in the major country that they are listing in. It might be worth the effort to stay up late or set an alarm – as you will have less competition. 3) Misspelt items. Items on eBay are misspelt alarmingly often. However the good new is that this tends to mean that far less people will find them – and so they may sell for less money than they are worth. It can be an indicator that the person you are dealing with might be careless – but most often it's just a simple typo. When you think of the millions of items that are listed on eBay daily; there are inevitably thousands of misspelt items out there at any time. A simple way to look for misspelt items is to search through the item categories rather than by item name. Another way, if you are more serious about this, is to create and save advanced search strings (see part 3 for more on advanced searches) with many possible misspellings included.
  17. 17. However, more interesting that this is that several cool tools have sprung up which makes finding misspelt auctions easier. A few good examples from the many out there: Bargain Checker, Auction Speller and Fat Fingers. #17 - WHO TO BUY FROM After a while, this becomes instinctive. You look at their feedback, the kind of items they are buying or selling, the manner of their description and their photos, and you just get a "vibe". It takes a little eBay experience to develop this "sixth sense". The difference between buying from pros and amateurs. Certain things are worth buying from pros – highly experienced sellers with consistently high feedback. You know what you are getting, you can trust that it will be handled well.... it's just a little less likely that you will get a real “score” type bargain, as these people tend to know the exact worth of their item, and typically make fewer mistakes in attracting good bidding to their auctions. It can sometimes be really good to buy from amateurs – those with minimal feedback - but making the right choices consistently takes skill. Sometimes a newbie will not know – or perhaps not even care – about the true value what they have; or it may be poorly photographed, etc. If you are an expert in this item and can tell even from a poor photograph that it is what you are looking for, you have an advantage. On other occasions, it can be a nightmare to buy from amateurs: they can screw up important factors like packaging the item properly; speed and efficiency; good sales behavior. If you are buying from those with minimal feedback, look for people who appear to be sincere, careful and capable, yet may simply have little experience of eBay. This can sometimes work out surprisingly well – but it depends on how good your “feel” is for the personality of people you are dealing with. Asking questions. The best trick to buying from beginners? Ask them a question. In addition to learning more about the item, you can learn all sorts about them from the manner of their response. Someone who is pleasant, courteous, helpful and informed is someone who is usually good to do business with. Also you may be able to give them a little helping hand with their eBay skills – and make a new
  18. 18. friend. Asking a simple question is very often all you need to do in order to separate the deadbeat from the intelligent, well-meaning beginner. #18 - THE PROS AND CONS OF SNIPING Sniping is the controversial art and science of firing in a winning bid in the final few seconds of an auction. It's interesting that many people think sniping is not allowed by eBay. It is absolutely allowed! eBay says so specifically – and their own glossary says under the entry on sniping: “Any bid, placed before the listing ends, is allowed on eBay.” So there it is – the matter is, I believe, closed. eBay is fine about a bid being placed even in the final second of an auction. :) Is sniping an advantageous bidding method? The short answer – sometimes yes and sometimes no. It depends. The pros of sniping... There are items I have bid on where I knew I would not be near a computer within the final day of an auction, so I put up my bid a day before the end for what I was willing to spend, and hoped for the best.... I didn't win. It was an easy matter for someone who wanted the item, to raise their bid until they had outbid me by a couple of dollars. All I did by bidding early was to help the seller get a higher price for their item. Whereas, if I had been at a computer, I could easily have fired a bid in towards the end and won the item at a much lower price. The cons of sniping... Sniping can often lead to charged emotions and a lack of rationality during bidding, that may lead to spending more money than you really wanted to spend. Even if you bid in the last few seconds, you still have to beat all the other bids – and so you might overbid in order to make sure that you “trump”
  19. 19. any other last-minute bids. And if your last minute bid gets outbid, you might be tempted to make a reckless higher bid in the final seconds.... The trick? Do your homework in order to know how much you would be willing to pay for an item before hand, and stick to your margins. If you find yourself under pressure, it's good to remind yourself that with the exception of truly rare items, most things will come along again sooner or later – it's ok to let it go. You can set up a "saved search" that notifies you when a certain item re-appears on eBay. Keep a note of the actual sale price for future reference. Another tip is that you can also mention these prices as examples in your own auctions to drive up bids. And remember to follow the adage "money is made on the buy, not the sell".
  20. 20. PART 4 - ADVANCED TACTICS #19 - GETTING TRAFFIC TO YOUR AUCTION FROM OUTSIDE OF EBAY There are countless ways to do this and I will not go into them here – but it's worth bearing in mind that getting traffic from other sources to your auction can be worthwhile – especially if you are selling a high ticket or specialist item that others would like to know about. It sounds obvious, but the best thing to do is to go to the place online where the people hang out who would be interested – and let them know. The places are often forums or special interest sites. #20 - BUYING ON EBAY AND SELLING IN THE REAL WORLD Everyone knows that everything is cheaper on eBay, right? So why not consider buying on eBay and selling in the real world? This is a form of what is known as “arbitrage” - and arbitrage is basically the art of profiting from the differences in prices between different markets. There are many wholesale distributors who work through eBay – and if you can find a good wholesale source for something you sell elsewhere, you can make substantial revenue. The opposite of this is also true - there are also places where things are cheaper in the real world. For example, thrift stores can sometimes turn up valuable vintage clothing – and some people have thriving businesses based on this model. Another example is buying items on special offer from big stores... possibly discontinued or clearance items – these might still sell well online. #21 - ADVANCED SEARCH TERMS Learning about “advanced searching” can be incredibly useful in finding the kinds of items that you want. Most people know that a minus sign returns search results without the word immediately after the minus sign. But there are many other ways to customize eBay searches and get more useful results. The best thing about learning these tactics is that you get to find things that others don't find. Just adding possible permutations to your search can be incredibly effective. For example if you were looking for a type of synthesizer called a Roland SH-101, a good search to perform would be (SH101,SH-101).
  21. 21. This would give you both possibilities of the way someone might have typed the model number of the product. Here's the page with the full list of advanced search terms. #22 - BECOMING AN EXPERT IN A CERTAIN ITEM One possible way to eBay success is to become an expert or specialist in a certain item. This can have several benefits. By continued trading of the same item, you develop a hyper-keen sense of its market value. You'll gain a clearer insight into the best buying and selling prices - and you will immediately be able to snap up undervalued items. Being an authority or known source can lead to returning customers – especially if you advertise as such or create a niche eBay store. In-depth product and market research If you are a specialist in a certain item, it is good to keep a log of statistics over the course of time. This will give you a very strong ability to predict prices and a good idea of “what the market will support”. Use of a spreadsheet software like Excel will be good for this. You can save auction stats - prices of actual sales, volume of customers buying a certain thing, a database of your actual customers, etc etc. Statistical analysis is critical in business. Some people find it boring... but it's a lot less boring when it starts to lead to improved results. You can also write onsite ebay guides to items you are an expert in, which will increase your visibility. #23 - KEEPING A CUSTOMER DATABASE Most people don't think of doing this, but it's a truly great idea to create and keep a database of all people who have ever bought anything from you in the past. A great way to do this is in the form of an Excel spreadsheet – and then you can make extra notes as to the type of item they bought – and other details. It might seem a little laborious to do all this data management – but bear in mind that many businesses do their best business with existing customers.
  22. 22. Often, lists of existing customers have a much higher conversion rate than you will achieve through advertising for new clients. If only I had an email list of all the people who have bought anything from me in the past.... I truly wish I had learned this one sooner! #24 - UP-SELL AND CROSS-SELL Once someone has bought from you, you have a perfect opportunity to introduce them to other products, maybe at discounted rates! After making a sale, you should of course thank your buyer - and in the thank- you note, you can always offer them more products! These can be other eBay auctions, or perhaps free gifts such as information products that involve visiting your web site. Please note that eBay now forbids the sale of digitally downloadable products in its auctions. However, a simple email of thanks which also mentions another product or service you offer, is acceptable. Another essential tip is to mention any other auctions you may have running. You could offer a discounted shipping rate for buying more than one item. #25 - “UP-BUY” AND “CROSS-BUY” You probably knew of the up-sell... but have you heard of the “up-buy”? Another cool trick you might wish to consider is that if you have bought something great from someone, to ask them if they would be interested in they wouldn't mind notifying you when they have other items for sale of the type you are looking for. You don't have time to search for everything – and this kind of relationship can often work out well. A further step here would be to create a “wants list” of things you are either habitually looking for or are currently interested in – and forward it to those who my be interested or to those who have already sold to you. #26 - TIPS FOR HOW TO SPOT A FAKE AUCTION OK, I said I wouldn't touch the subject of eBay security, but I couldn't resist this one. I've gotten so good at spotting these particular scamsters that I'm almost infallible – although they don't seem to be anywhere as common as they used to be. Maybe the loophole has been closed – I hope so.
  23. 23. If someone with good feedback who hasn't been active on eBay for maybe a year, suddenly pops up out of nowhere and starts selling high-ticket boutique items at crazy prices, with generic photos, 1 or 3 day auctions, and bad spelling in their auction – chances are their account has been hijacked. Another clue is that they may well even drop an email address into the auction listing which seems entirely unrelated to the name of the account holder. A classic tip to get someone to prove to you that they actually have the item in question in their possession is to request that email send you a photo of the item and include a common household article in the picture, such as a cup, or a piece of fruit or some other thing that anyone might have. Remember the old saying: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. FINAL END NOTE I hope this free guide gives you some inspiration and good ideas! An excellent resource for further reading is eBay' Glossary. You might also wish to browse the list of trading offences. I've written a little more about eBay – and much else besides – in my 330-page “epic”: Alex Newman's Complete Guide To Making Money While You Sleep Stay Lucky and Live Well, © Alex Newman June 2008
  24. 24. More “Alex Newman Free Guides” are available - absolutely free - at http://www.money-while-you-sleep.biz/free-guides.html Please feel free to share this guide with anyone you think would like it! Copyright info: You are permitted to redistribute this document, including offering it as a “free gift”, under the conditions 1) that it remains unaltered, unedited and unchanged, including leaving title and all links intact and unedited 2) you do not associate any monetary cost with its distribution 3) that you do not spam Disclaimer: Alex Newman is not formally qualified to give legal, business, financial or any other sort of advice. The contents of this free guide are provided for entertainment and general informational purposes only. I make no guarantees whatsoever of results in conjunction with this material, and specifically disclaim responsibility for the outcome of anything undertaken in conjunction with the reading of this guide. By using the information in this guide you agree to hold me / my business 100% harmless in the event that you lose money or are harmed in any way as a result of use , misuse, or lack of use, of anything you have learned from this guide or my business. Please seek relevant professional / legal consultation before undertaking business ventures.

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