Selling Items Online

I am a member of several groups on Facebook that are for local people who want to buy, sell or trade items to other local people.  As a member of these groups, I noticed that most people really don’t know how to sell, so I decided to write a blog that might be able to help them.  Here are several tips to selling anything online:

  1. GRAMMAR:  Be very clear about what you are trying to sell.  Many people have issues when trying to write clearly online, but if your post has too many spelling and grammatical errors, buyers will have no clue what you are even selling.  Do NOT rely on your online spell check or grammar check.  Read your post aloud to yourself and, if it doesn’t make sense, fix it.  Have a friend or family member read the post.  If they don’t understand it, fix it.

  2. PICTURES:  Post pictures of what you are selling.  How do you expect anybody will actually be interested if they can’t even see the item you are trying to sell.  So often I see posts without pictures and 100% of those posts have comments requesting pictures.  Don’t waste your time or your buyer’s time by listing an item for sale without pictures.
  3. CLEANLINESS:  On the pictures topic, do NOT post pictures of a dirty item.  An item doesn’t necessarily have to be in perfect condition for it to be able to sell in these groups, but it should be clean.  Why should anyone have to buy an item that is covered in YOUR filth?  This is especially true for vehicles.  Clean your items as best you can BEFORE taking pictures and trying to sell your items.
  4. VEHICLES:  ALWAYS list the Make/Model, Mileage, Price and anything mechanically wrong with the vehicle that you are trying to sell.  I often see posts of simply the picture of vehicles on these sites and the buyers have to practically beg for more information.  Have YOU ever purchased a vehicle without knowing these things BEFORE you bought it?  I highly doubt it.  Don’t expect your buyers to do it as well.  Save everybody’s time by simply listing these in your ad in the first place.  And when selling vehicles, ABSOLUTELY include photos, especially photos that show any physical damage.  Once again, a vehicle doesn’t have to be in perfect condition in order to sell, but it is best to show the damage upfront and not waste anyone’s time.
  5. VALUE:  Know the value of what you are selling.  For example, do not even remotely try selling an iPhone 4 with a severely cracked screen for $100 when a person can easily purchase an iPhone 4 in good condition on eBay for the same price.  Too often I see people trying to sell items for over-inflated prices on these sites.  Sometimes people even buy them because they, too, didn’t do their research before purchasing the item.  However, this is bad selling practice, and people tend to remember those that overcharged them.
  6. ANTIQUES:  Do NOT try selling an item as an antique that has been altered in any way.  For example, a wood chest of drawers that was painted teal green because you thought the color was pretty, or you changed the knobs on the dresser.  Antiques lose value when changed in these ways.  It is of absolutely no value to a collector, so don’t even bother.  Feel free to still sell the item, but don’t try to claim it as an antique or selling it for the price of an antique.

  7. MEASUREMENTS:  Include measurements for furniture pieces.  Once again, this is a time-saver as anyone who is looking for a piece of furniture will want to know if it will fit in their particular space.
  8. CONTACT INFORMATION:  Include your phone number or e-mail address in all ads.  Asking someone to Private Message you doesn’t always work as Facebook tends to send messages from non-“Friends” to the “Other” folder which cannot be accessed from most phones.

Finally, this is simply a personal preferences and it may offend some people, but I thought I would try anyway:  PLEASE, for the sake of all the kids out there, PLEASE do not list your guns for sale or trade.  I’m not a huge proponent of gun control, but if individuals would simply sell their guns back to dealers, then perhaps we might manage to keep SOME of the guns out the hands of crazy people who want to incite a race war or who want to kill the police because they lost custody of their children.  I say this because individuals cannot run background checks on the people they are selling their guns to.  So, how could they possibly know that they are selling their gun to a certifiably crazy person?  They can’t.  But, if you sell your guns to a dealer, the dealer CAN run a background check.  Help keep guns out of the hands of people who should never, ever have one.  Do your part to protect the men, women and children of this world.

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