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Selling Your Yard Sale Treasures on Ebay
Volume Four: Success Secrets
Copyright 2005, Homeway Press, all rights reserved
PO Box 187
Canmer, KY 42722
In this volume, you'll discover the insider strategies, tips, and techniques you'll
need to successfully nurture and grow your eBay business. If you want to
successfully sell your Yard Sale goods (or anything else) you need to work
smart, treat your customers right, and create a positive online identity for your
business. Neglect these tips at the risk of your profits!
Building Relationships With Your eBay Customers
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Customer service is extremely important to the success of your eBay auction
business. How you treat and manage your customers has a huge impact on how
many new customers you acquire, how many of those customers become repeat
customers, and how much money you make from each customer.
You can build more profitable relationships with your customers by
understanding and following three simple ideas.
1. Provide excellent customer service
Good customer service builds trust and is the most constructive thing you can
do to turn new customers into repeat customers. A few tips:
Answer emails quickly. Use email auto-responders if you can. The faster a
customer gets a response from you, even if it's just to say you will be in touch
shortly, the better they'll feel about bidding on your item and the more likely
they'll be to buy from you again.
Kill them with kindness. I know it's not always easy, but it's incredibly
important. Customers are your reputation builders. Even the worse situation can
often be turned into something good as long as you simply treat your customers
well. Simple things like saying, "Please" and "Thank You" go a long way.
Personalize responses. It never ceases to amaze me how few sellers learn this
powerful concept. Doesn't it make you feel good when someone a local
restaurant knows your name or your favorite order? You can make your
customers feel this way too with just a little attention to detail. Which brings us
2. Learn as much as you can about your customers
Learning more about your customers is the first step in building a more
profitable relationship with them. A few tips:
Keep information from emails. Every email you receive from a customer
contains valuable information. A payment preference, a shipping preference,
other items they're looking for, etc. Keep that information and begin building
individual customer profiles so you can personalize correspondence in the
future. Ask your customers questions. If a customer asks you a question and
you respond, that doesn't have to mean the conversation is over. Feel free to ask
them about their auction interests. You may be surprised what you learn about a
customer if you only ask. Plus, your customers will know that you care about
their opinion and the data will be valuable in the future.
Encourage communication whenever possible. Every time you post an auction
or send a customer an email, encourage them to ask you a question or to join
your mailing list. You don't need to be pushy, it can be as simple as adding
links to your About Me page or footers to your emails, but if you're not making
an effort to gain information every time your communicate with a customer,
you're passing up opportunities to build successful relationships that will make
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you more money.
3. Market to your customers
Once you've made the effort to get to know your customers, you should have a
good idea of what they like. Emailing targeted and personalized notifications
will bring the extra bids pouring in. A few tips:
Start multiple mailing lists. Many sellers put together one monthly mailing list,
but most customers are only interested in a small number of their auctions.
Chances are your customers won't go through the work of finding their needle
in your haystack. Segmenting your customer lists by interests and notifying
them only of items they are interested in will bring much better results. They'll
appreciate your thoughtfulness and they will continue to respond to your
Always offer something of value. If you expect your customer to take the time
to read your email, you'd better show them something to keep their interest. Be
creative. Offer free shipping on specific items, or start a free monthly giveaway
drawing for repeat customers. It's a small price to pay to keep customer's
Be respectful of your mailings. Don't spam the customers you've worked so
hard to acquire. A general rule of thumb is that a newsletter shouldn't be sent
more frequently than once every 3-4 weeks. You should always offer customers
an opportunity to be removed from your mailing list if they choose. Most won't
take you up on your offer, but the gesture will be appreciated.
Customer relationship management is an attitude, a commitment to your
customers. If you treat them with respect, kindness, and thoughtfulness they
will continue to buy from you for a long time to come.
15 Tips To Make Your eBay Business More
1. Set your business up to accept as many forms of payment as you can. PayPal,
personal checks, cashiers checks, both domestic and International money
orders, International bank transfers, etc. Every additional payment option you
add will increase your customer base.
2. Don't exclude buyers from foreign countries or with free email accounts like
Hotmail or AOL. Ultimately, you are only hurting yourself. In some categories
the best buyers are located in a different country than you are.
3. Keep your ads simple. If you confuse buyers, they will either by-pass your
offerings, or leave you negative feedback because they read something into
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your ad that you never meant to be there.
4. Don't attempt to increase your profits by a few dollars by charging excessive
postage. Buyers are not stupid. They realize what you are trying to do and most
will avoid your auctions like the plague.
5. Give your customers all the facts to bid intelligently. Don't tell them you will
figure out what the postage will be after the auction ends. Tell them in your ad
what class postage you use and what the actual amount will be.
6. Don't discriminate against buyers who don't have a perfect feedback record.
As long as you have good business procedures in place (such as waiting an
appropriate period of time for checks to clear), there is no need to look
downward at buyers whose reputation might have been damaged just because
they got a bad deal. It happens to everyone and someday it will happen to you.
7. Don't discriminate against buyers who have little or no feedback. Remember,
you were in the same position at one time. Once you have been in business for
a while you'll learn that a buyer with little or no feedback is no more likely to
screw you than one with a shooting star.
8. Don't make customers jump through hoops in order to buy from you. Just
because you had a bad experience with one buyer, that doesn't mean you should
threaten everyone else in advance. Doing so won't hurt your customers, but it
will hurt your business.
9. If you are selling collectibles, antiques, or anything else that warrants it,
show lots and lots of good sized, clear and crisp pictures. If you don't want to
pay an online auction site for use of their web space then use the free web space
provided by your Internet service provider. Buyers make critical buying
decisions based upon what they see and pictures are the cheapest way possible
to insure that you will have a happy buyer. The more pictures you include, the
more your business will thrive.
10. Offer a money back guarantee. Be prepared to take an occasional loss on
some items. You will encounter far more serious buyers who won't bid unless
you have a guarantee than you will people who are intentionally trying to take
advantage of you.
11. Be prepared to take a loss to make a buyer happy. If a buyer didn't receive
his purchase, even if he chose not to purchase insurance, be prepared to return
his money. You will get more repeat and honest buyers than you will cheaters.
12. Leave feedback in the correct sequence. When the buyer pays you and his
payment is good, leave them positive feedback immediately. Don't become one
of the angry sellers who practice feedback blackmail.
13. If you must leave negative feedback for a buyer, make it brief and to the
point. Future buyers will read your comments regarding the sale and they
perceive you as honest and mature. If you engage in name-calling, swearing, or
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derogatory remarks, you will be seen as immature and this will scare off
14. Always be friendly and answer any questions from potential bidders
quickly. Remember, you were new once also.
15. Have an About Me page and include a picture of yourself. People will find
it easier to trust you if they can see you and know a little bit about you.
Making Your eBay Auction Business Stand Out
From The Crowd
When my sons were growing up they started playing hockey when they were 6
years old. Each of them, in their first year, scored more goals than the rest of
their team combined. How did they do this?
Have you ever seen a hockey game between two teams of 6 year olds? The
puck is like a magnet to them. Where ever the puck goes they follow like a
swarm of bees. The game is one mass of young kids all clustered around the
puck, pushing and shoving each other. It's like a rugby scrum.
The result of this is that usually the puck squirts out of the mass of bodies,
slides 10 or 15 feet down the ice, and stops. A few seconds later the mass of
bodies descends on it and the process starts all over again.
So how did both my sons score so many goals?
It wasn't hard to score in those games - if you could get the puck near the net.
The goalie was just one of the kids, and he or she was just waiting their turn to
join in the scrum.
On the way to the rink for each game I reminded my sons to stay away from all
the other players. I would tell them when everyone gets in a clump around the
puck, don't go near them. Be different. Stay about 10-15 feet away from
everyone else and when the puck pops out, go get it, skate to the net and shoot.
Many times my son's team would win by a score like 12 to 0 and he'd scored all
12 goals. Actually, in one game the score ended up 9 to 1 and my son scored all
10 goals (at age 6 it's pretty easy to get turned around and go in the wrong
direction at times).
That same advice can help you become more successful in your auction
business - BE DIFFERENT!!
As eBay and the other auction sites grow, it becomes easier and easier to
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become lost inthe crowd. Where there used to be 13 Elvis Presley "Blue
Hawaii" 45's available at any given time, now there are 78. That hard to find
Doric depression glass covered serving dish the used to appear once every 4-5
weeks now goes looking for bidders. Not that long ago there were just a few
sellers offering digital cameras. Now it seems as if everyone is getting into the
If you are going to survive and succeed on eBay you need to stand out from the
rest of the auction crowd. How do you do that?
1. Be more knowledgeable than your competition
If you want to stand out, seek more knowledge. Actually this applies to all
areas of your life, not just your auction business.
There are all kinds of great sources of information floating around - both on-
line and offline. All it takes is just a little time and effort, and you can get a lot
of useful information.
If you sell pottery, it's not hard to become more knowledgeable about
Rosemeade Pottery than 99% of the other people selling it. Let that knowledge
show in your item descriptions and you will soon have a devoted following of
bidders looking for your auctions.
The more knowledge you acquire, the more successful you will be.
2. Look down the road
Obviously, we all want and need to make money this week, this month. But, to
insure your continued success, it's just as important to be continually building
your business for tomorrow.
Build a list and use it. At the very minimum, your About Me Page (you do have
one, right?) should have a way for buyers and potential buyers to add their
name to your list. I collect aspirin tins. I also sell a lot of them on eBay. Over
time, I've built a list of other aspirin tin collectors. Every two months or so, I
send out a newsletter with 1 or 2 articled about these little tins along with a
recap of the harder to find ones that have appeared on eBay and the prices they
This is just one of 11 different lists of buyers I maintain. WWith a little thought
you cancome up with a way to use your list, in an unobtrusive manner that will
benefit both you and your customers.
3. Blow your own horn
Don't be shy. Look for ways to place your name in front of as many customers
and potential customers as possible. You will find this is probably the most
beneficial step you can take to insure your success.
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If you sell antique windup toys, write a monthly or bimonthly newsletter about
them (you're building a list, remember?). If you offer a quality newsletter about
windup toys, your name will become associated with them.
If I sold used children's clothing I'd do a little research and come up with the
three most effective ways to get grass stains out of clothing. Then, with every
package I shipped I'd include an insert with this information on it along with
my name, address, eBay user name, web site address, and a link where they
could add their name to my list.
If you were a young mother looking for good buys on clothing for your
children would they remember me? Would you seek out my auctions in the
There are numerous ways you can promote yourself. Write articles for collector
ezines, a quality newsletter and web site with valuable information, develop a
e-mail course, No matter what you sell, you should be able to come up with
several different ways to put your name in front of your buyers and keep it
4. Follow the golden rule
The auction process should be fun - a win/win situation for both the buyer and
Unfortunately, way too many sellers look at each of their auctions as individual
battles to be won. They treat every bidder as if he or she were the enemy.
It may seem like there is an unlimited supply of bidders out there, but there
isn't. Believe me, bidders do communicate among themselves. I communicate
with several groups of bidders (some several hundred people strong) with
Be obnoxious or rude with one of these and you haven't just lost one potential
customer in the future, you've lost several hundred. You can't do that too many
times and remain in business.
Conduct your business with class. Have fun. Enjoy the people you deal with.
Your life and their will be enriched many fold. It takes time and work to build a
good reputation. Putting your name in a bad light can tarnish or ruin that
Treat every customer with honesty, respect, and friendliness. Isn't that the way
you'd want to be treated?
Your eBay Crafts Business - 8 Ways To Insure It's
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I don't know if you've ever noticed, but it seems like every week or two we read
about another Powerseller going out of business. If you want your auction
business to be a long-term success, then it's important that you plan now for it's
According to some people the world economy may be moving toward a 1930's
like depression. Others say there is no chance of that happening.
Even without something as catastrophic as a worldwide depression, there are
still plenty of little things that can put a damper on your success. But, whatever
the situation, it's a good idea to hedge your bets.
Here are eight tips for preparing your eBay auction business for whatever the
future may hold.
1. Keep your overhead low
A huge advantage that you, as an eBay crafts seller, have in today's
marketplace is that you can control your own overhead. You don't need big
offices, lots of employees, and a lot of the expensive trappings of traditional
By always keeping a close eye on your overhead, you will be in position to
weather the slow times on eBay and/or slow economic times.
On eBay you can't always control how many sales you make, but you can
control your overhead. Keep it low!
2. Invest in tools and training
Successful eBay sellers survive and prosper because they are willing to invest
in new skills and tools; and to take the time to learn how to use them to make
themselves more productive.
The key to long- term growth is to continually learn new skills and acquire new
tools that will save you both time and money. The more skills you develop, the
more flexible you can be with the types of products you sell and how you sell
At the same time, it's important to invest your time and money wisely. Many
people that want to build a full time eBay business willingly spend $200 - $300
over a period of time on several $20 - $30 products, but are reluctant to spend
$100 or more on one product. While there are certainly some expensive
products that are of little or no value, many times the best products are priced at
an amount that belies their value.
3. Have multiple income streams
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You've all heard the old saying "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."
Nowhere is it truer than on eBay.
Try to set up at least three or four different niches, each of which produces it's
own stream of income. There are a couple of advantages to this.
First, while the income you make from each niche might not be enough to
survive on, the combined income can provide a comfortable living.
Secondly, should one or more of the niches suddenly slow down, you will still
have income from the others to tide you over until new income streams can be
4. Have backup plans in place
It's a fact of life that very few lucrative niches on eBay last forever. What will
you do if you most productive niche suddenly takes a dive into the dumpster?
And, what if another of your niches takes a dive also?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help prevent you from having to
decisions out of desperation. You should always have a backup plan in place.
You should be continually looking for and developing new niches that you can
move into if others become unproductive.
5. Be flexible and be ready to react quickly to changing conditions or
Always be on the lookout for the occasional, short term, hot item that pops up
on eBay. Within the last year it was Dragonball Z, Beyblades and Furreal
Friends. Would you have seen them coming and been in a position to take
advantage of the craze for one of more of them?
Many so called auction experts talk about utilities such as Hotbids.com or
Andale's Research tool to help you determine what's hot. But the secret isn't to
find out what is hot; it's determining what is going to be hot.
There are several web sites and tools you can use to do this. One of the best is
Lycos 50, a daily report on Lycos.com by Chris Schatz. He talks about the top
50 keyword searches on Lycos and makes predictions.
The point is that, many times, the real research tools you should be using aren't
in any way connected with eBay. Neither are they being touted by the so-called
experts. But they're there to be used by you if you are imaginative enough to
see how what they offer can fit into your business.
Whenever there is change, there is always opportunity. But only if you can see
the change coming and are flexible enough and have the skills and tools needed
to take advantage of it.
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6. Don't make business decisions out of desperation
Never let any situation get so out of control that you have to make hasty
decisions out of desperation. In nearly all cases, doing so will only cause more
It is far better to take the long-term view - constantly monitor your business so
that you can take any necessary steps and make any necessary changes before
the problems become critical.
7. Always keep your priorities straight
Never let your business take over your life. Your priorities should be family,
health, morality, and then business. It's never worth destroying your family,
health, or reputation trying to build your business.
If your business gets in the way of family responsibilities, change your
business. If your business is destroying your health, change your business. If
your business is causing you to make decisions you know are immoral or
illegal, change your business.
Always remember what your long-term goals are and don't sacrifice them for a
quick, short surge in business.
8. Ride out the hard times and hang in there
If you are in business for any length of time you are going to run into rough
spots and tough times. Often with that happens you will see a lot of people bail
out and quit. In many cases, those few players that remain in the game are the
ones who survive the tough times and go on to become extremely successful.
If you are selling good products, have low overhead, and multiple streams of
income from several niches, you can afford to hang in there a lot longer than
your competition. And sometimes, just by sucking it up and hanging in there,
you become the winner of customers by default - because they have nowhere
else to go.