Table of Contents
- Love your product and be passionate about it.
- Know your market and define your consumer.
- Determine the platforms you will sell it on.
- Sell your product. What are the key differentiations?
- Be an excellent salesperson. Develop a connection with your buyer.
- Time for transaction!
Everybody has a load of things they don’t need in their house. Let’s face it– it’s taking up precious space and eventually your junk will accumulate even more as time goes on. It’s time for you to finally find a new home for your items! The question is, is there a market for your old belongings?
For anyone that is going through the process of moving out of their home or just making their living environment more comfortable by getting rid of things, it’s definitely not always a walk in the park. For your higher quality junk, all you need is a platform to advertise on and a bill of sale. But what about your old, lovable stuff? They’re also marketable –and can even be profitable.
So, how do you sell stuff that you don’t want?
1) Love your product and be passionate about it.
This could apply to any item you are trying to sell. Whether it is an eight-year-old fan, a wooden dresser, an iPad, or an American Eagle shirt with a hole in it, you have owned this item for a while now. While you don’t have a use for it anymore, you must still love it and see a use for it. If you don’t, how will others feel the same way?
2) Know your market and define your consumer.
Who buys second hand stuff? Remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Perhaps your old fan could be particularly useful to someone who wants to experiment and take things apart. Expand your imagination on the different uses and markets for your product.
Here are the types of people that typically may be interested in second-hand stuff:
Deal-seekers & Bargainers
There are many different types of deal-seekers. The typical bargainer will be on the hunt for captivating deals and ways to save when buying. They may be the type to always head for the clearance rack or go to the thrift stores for new goods. When it comes to choosing between a new bicycle or a used one, they may choose the used option as they see it more sound to save more money when it comes to these types of items.
Refurbishers & DIYers
These folks are the ones that would rather take things into their hands. They take some old stuff lying around and create a new product or use out of that. For instance, they may take broken jewelry and instead of throwing it out, they make little nifty magnets out of them.
Tinkerers & Hobbyists
Tinkerers and hobbyists are the inventors and makers. They like to work on electronics and design projects. Robotic kits, circuit boards, and electronic parts come in handy for them to tinker with.
These people are the ones who seek and acquire whatever item of interest for their hobby and collections. These items can range from anything including books, video games, jewelry, ceramics, seashells, vintage items, and even snow globes.
Designers & Artists
Designers and artists are always looking for scraps and pieces to create new things. Your old shirt? Maybe a fashion designer thinks that the fabric and design of your shirt is of utmost quality. When it comes to creative uses, the possibilities are endless.
3) Determine the platforms you will sell it on.
Where will you sell your item? Online? A garage sale? In person? The medium you choose can also depend on the type of product you have or the level of convenience you would like.
Take a look at a few examples of the platforms you could use:
Online Websites can definitely expose your product to larger audiences.
Craigslist is an easy to use platform for anyone wanting to sell their things. What’s great about it is that you can save on that 10-15% fees that eBay and Amazon requires. In addition, there is no limit on the number of pictures you can add too.
At the same time, given the type of platform Craigslist is, the people on it may be looking for a bargain and there’s a good chance you’ll get a few offering to buy for half of the requested price.
According to Jeremiah Rogers, who has successfully sold everything online, he says to treat it like a dutch auction.
“$900 is too low, I’m asking $1,000 now and will be down to $900 in a few weeks and I’ll let you know. You can also come get it today for $1,000.”
There are different strategies to use for each platform, so be sure to think it through.
eBay is useful for rare items, electronics, and antiques.
As Rogers states,
If it’s really rare and people are not necessarily going to be shopping for it every week set a Buy It Now price and wait. Lower the price 5-10% two weeks until it sells. It’s much better to wait out a Buy It Now sale for a few weeks than to sell an item in a failed auction. Selling rare stuff through auctions can be a disaster: I lost $200 on a rare Mamiya 6 medium format rangefinder when the auction didn’t take off as I expected. One time I even sold shoes for $0.99 with free shipping and lost money.
Amazon is particularly handy for common everyday items such as books, toys, jewelry, electronics, or phone accessories.
Amazon has been expanding their seller services over the years and now offers many features. You have the option of selling as a professional or as an individual. Both require fees but vary depending on what you’re looking for. Amazon also offers to handle customer service, shipping, and fulfillment, with the Fulfillment by Amazon service, which could really simplify the selling online process a lot.
Take a look at Amazon Services to see which plan best fits you.
Facebook Groups have become increasingly popular throughout the years, with different purposes including meetups and for those who share similar interests or hobbies. As such, they’re a great way to easily reach out to numerous audiences at once since many people have an account on Facebook. Facebook groups that are suitable for selling your belongings are generally the buy/sell/trade/swap groups. They can be easily searched for through the Facebook search bar where it tailors the results based on your location.
Mobile Apps are also becoming more popular with apps such as Carousell being used by more and more people.
Garage Sales are another great method as well if you have a lot of stuff to get rid of. Read on how to make a garage sale successful.
4) Sell your product. What are the key differentiations?
So what’s special about your product? Regardless of the type of platform you will be selling on, the type of information you provide should be the same.
Product Description and Condition
This includes stating the basic information such as what the product is and its function. You will have to note the condition of it as well. If relevant and necessary, be sure to indicate if the product is repairable.
People want to know what they’re buying. Studies have always shown that visuals are helpful in attracting people’s attention. If possible, post pictures of your item from several different angles. Adjust the contrast and lighting if needed, to make sure your item is in the best light, literally. If what you’re selling is a blue color, and the lighting makes it look green, be sure to adjust the lighting for that too as it could be misleading for potential buyers. Set the item on a solid background, so that there aren’t any “visual noise.”
Unique Selling Points
In your description, describe the different types of uses for it and the different scenarios it can be used. For example, if it’s a foldable wooden desk, say it’s great for storage when you’re done using it, or that’s it super light to carry if you’re on the go. If you’re selling a used item, note how much lower the price is compared to the original price or that it can’t even be bought in stores anymore! Is it an antique or limited edition? Each item should have unique selling points; be sure to highlight that. Your description should essentially answer this question: why should they buy from you?
Knowing how to price a used item may not always be easy. We want to get rid of the item, but at the same time, we don’t want to lose money in the process. It doesn’t have to be a complex process. If the item is brand new, take a few percentages off the original price. If the item is in decent condition, take 25-45% off. In the cases where you may be desperate to sell it immediately, you can sell it for cheaper.
5) Be an excellent salesperson. Develop a connection with your buyer.
Your buyer is more than just a source for additional money. Yes, you want to sell your things as quickly and efficiently as possible for the most amount of money. Your buyer not only wants to get to know what you’re selling, but who you are too– if you are trustworthy and selling the real deal. Communication, attitude, and negotiation skills are essential components of being a salesperson.
While you may not have as much actual verbal communication if you’re selling through an online platform, the words and written communication you choose still have an effect. Important factors you need to consider include assertiveness, persuasion, and positivity.
According to David Mayer and Herbert M. Greenberg in “What Makes a Good Salesman” from The Harvard Business Review, being a good salesperson requires these two basic qualities: empathy and ego drive. Empathy means being able to sense how the customer is going to react and adapting to their response. Ego drive, on the other hand, is the want and need to make the sale in a personal or ego way, not simply for the “money to be gained.”
There’s a chance that your potential buyer wants to negotiate on the price you set. Be prepared for this. Take a look at the strategies buyers use to negotiate prices, so you can learn how to combat them.
6) Time for transaction!
Someone has expressed interest in your product! Good for you. But the process is not over yet. How will you complete the transaction? Will you meet in person or will you ship the product? For higher value items such as selling a car or selling a boat (which require a car bill of sale or a boat bill of sale), it may be possible your buyer can’t afford to make this payment all at once. If they’re the only prospect wanting your item, then what you can do is to set simple payback terms with an IOU, or use even a promissory note for more complex payback terms. This all can ensure what the condition of the item was in at the time of purchase, that the transaction actually occurred, and that the payment was or will be made.
Keep in mind
Be wary of requesting to have money wired as scammers frequently use these platforms to swindle money. Provide a reliable and trustable method of payment to your buyer, and usually it is to simply pay in person. Remember to choose a good location when meeting up, and this may typically be in a public area.
It’s great you’re taking on the endeavor of selling your personal possessions. Keep in mind, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. So get out there, and make your sale!