CraftingGreatAuctions                                                                            Page 1 of 10




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CraftingGreatAuctions                                                                            Page 2 of 10



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CraftingGreatAuctions                                                                          Page 3 of 10



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CraftingGreatAuctions                                                                            Page 4 of 10



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CraftingGreatAuctions                                                                          Page 5 of 10



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CraftingGreatAuctions                                                                               Page 6 of 10



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CraftingGreatAuctions                                                                          Page 7 of 10



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CraftingGreatAuctions                                                                            Page 8 of 10



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CraftingGreatAuctions                                                                           Page 9 of 10



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CraftingGreatAuctions                                                                          Page 10 of 10



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Selling Your Yard Sale Treasures on Ebay

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Selling Your Yard Sale Treasures on Ebay

  1. 1. CraftingGreatAuctions Page 1 of 10 Selling Your Yard Sale Treasures on Ebay Volume Four: Success Secrets ______________ Copyright 2005, Homeway Press, all rights reserved Homeway Press PO Box 187 Canmer, KY 42722 www.homewaypress.com _______________ 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 7/11/2005
  2. 2. CraftingGreatAuctions Page 2 of 10 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 to...... 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 7/11/2005
  3. 3. CraftingGreatAuctions Page 3 of 10 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 notification emails. 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 attention. 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 Successful 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 7/11/2005
  4. 4. CraftingGreatAuctions Page 4 of 10 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 7/11/2005
  5. 5. CraftingGreatAuctions Page 5 of 10 derogatory remarks, you will be seen as immature and this will scare off potential bidders. 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 7/11/2005
  6. 6. CraftingGreatAuctions Page 6 of 10 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 act. 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 sold for. 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. 7/11/2005
  7. 7. CraftingGreatAuctions Page 7 of 10 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 future? 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 there. 4. Follow the golden rule The auction process should be fun - a win/win situation for both the buyer and the seller. 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 similar interests. 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 reputation forever. 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 7/11/2005
  8. 8. CraftingGreatAuctions Page 8 of 10 Success 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 continued growth. 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 businesses. 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 them. 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 7/11/2005
  9. 9. CraftingGreatAuctions Page 9 of 10 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 created. 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 make 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 developments 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. 7/11/2005
  10. 10. CraftingGreatAuctions Page 10 of 10 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 problems. 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. 7/11/2005

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