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I am doing a lot of online selling these days to make extra money. I am trying to empty my storage area and make space so that everything fits in my shed. (Yes, you read that right! I have two sheds. I now accept that everything should fit in them, and that is my goal for this fall before the snow flies.) I own a small eco-cabin that is only 18 by 24 feet in size. I have also realized that my huge collection of farm memorabilia has got to go….or I won’t have room for my clothing!
Over the years, I would say I have been pretty successful at selling online. I get good prices and good “clicks” on my ads. I am going to share my best tips with you in the hopes that you can sell your stuff and make a few bucks, too.
Getting the item to the right market
I mainly sell in our local Buy and Sell “24/7 Yard Sale” type groups on social media. Let me be first to say that I am not a big fan of social media overall. However, this is one instance where it works very well. For most items, I post on the sites dedicated to the nearby villages. Some, like mine, might have less than a thousand members. For this reason, I also post to the nearest city, where the groups have over 30,000 members.
With this size audience, I find that I can usually sell what I want to. In most cases, people from the nearby city have been willing to meet me halfway, saving me extra driving time.
However, there are some items where I look for a larger or more specialized audience. For example, when my judo Gi (uniform) wasn’t selling locally, I expanded to a more distant city of one million people. When an item is collectible and easily shippable, I also post it on the “Marketplace,” where it will be seen by an extended audience.
Using these strategies, I recently sold a collectible farm quilt that had two damaged squares for more than $50 and the buyer paid the shipping. She lived over 2000 miles away! To get a buyer quickly for this quilt, I researched average prices, priced mine a bit low, and put “PRICED TO SELL” at the start of the title. It worked! I wanted cash that week and I got it.
Doing research and having a plan
I tend to post items in a batch, although each ad is separate. I find that taking a bunch of photos together and posting ads together streamlines the process. One of the first steps I do is quick research to identify the retail price. This can help with sales, as it convinces them what a deal they are getting. I will often paste the link to the retail store right in my ad, so people can confirm it themselves.
In this planning phase, I also make a list on old-fashioned paper of all the items and their prices. This helps me answer messages more quickly, as I don’t have to check back to any of my ads. Virtually all of the time, my prices are flexible. I generally offer around half of retail value for items in good condition. I find this usually gets me good attention. If I am firm on a price, I always mention this in the ad as a courtesy to buyers and to prevent being sent offers.
Striking when the iron/buyer is hot
If someone is interested, I will move mountains to get that item to them right away. This is something that I learned from my mother. She taught me that people will buy when they’re keen and then they’ll cool off. I have found this to be true. So, if I get a message from an interested buyer, I will do everything I can to get that cash, even if it means going a bit out of my way.
Be ready for some disappointments.
On a recent road trip to the big city of a million to meet with some friends, I had a buyer lined up for a tiny house accessory I no longer needed. I was feeling like a super Frugalite: See my friends and make my gas money selling this item. Perfect, right? Well, he never showed. I didn’t let it phase me. The item will still sell, and I didn’t let it ruin my day. Everyone once in a while this will happen. I don’t get steamed up. It is part of the game on my trail to cash.
Upsell to interested buyers
When someone is interested in one item, it doesn’t hurt to mention if you have other similar items for sale. I recently had a very keen buyer come to pick up my kayaking jacket for full price. When she was there, I mentioned that I had a short sleeve wet suit for sale. Would she like to see it? I sold that, too, for full price! Ca-ching! Ca-ching!
Be ready to reduce your price (and let them know it!)
I am selling a pair of $300 handmade motorcycle boots that are in new condition. I started at $150 with lots of clicks but no takers. The boots are now $70. If goal is to sell them, I will still reduce. When I do this, I change the title of the ad and write “REDUCED” in front of the title. People love a good deal!
Request a direct message as a response.
When I use social media groups, I always end my post in the same way: “If you are interested in this item, please message me directly. As this item is cross-posted, I may not see comments below the ad. Thanks very much!” Time is money. This saves me time.
Requesting a delivery “bonus”
On the rare occasion that I drive to someone’s home for the sale, I will message them with the following phrase after we have agreed on the price, “If I come by your place to deliver this today, I would appreciate it if you would throw in a few extra dollars. How does that sound?” They have always agreed, and to this day, they have always thrown in what I consider a generous amount: $5 Canadian. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know!
Turning your thing into ca-ching the online way!
I have found selling online to work very well for me. Could you see yourself trying any of the thrifty tips offered here? Do you have one you can share with us? Please tell us in the comments section.