On craigslist, I have:
Along the way, it has taught me many lessons about business that I never knew as a naturally honest person.
1. In the ad, describe the item, but don’t mention anything about its negative qualities. Suggest that people take a look since there are some things that can’t be seen digitally.
2. Provide prompt responses to any received email. Unlike many craigslist users, I always respond to every email even the people I must reject. This would be the only reason for me to get a smartphone.
3. Phone calls are better than email as it gets the person’s attention faster. I always send an email as a followup to a phone call to make sure the deal is sealed.
4. Always be prepared to be undersold. Whenever selling an item, determine the amount you want to take for it. Then raise that value by some multiple of $25. There will always be someone who asks whether they can have it for your initial value. Humans like quarters.
5. Try to get two buyers to look at the same time to create some competitive price-matching. Scheduling that is an issue, but I often have told other buyers that I got a better offer. Always say OBO!
6. Always get the phone number of the buyer or seller before meeting. That way, you can guarantee the least amount of flakeage. The more people talk to you, the more likely they will show up. Psychologically, it creates a lot more guilt and thus more motivation even if the person is 100% certain of buying.
7. If selling a small item especially a high-value item, meet in a high traffic public area where you have clear sight lines to all exits. I haven’t figured out the best area to meet in the city beyond BART stations yet…
8. Maintain a first come, first served policy. I got yelled at once because I was giving a table away for free. An interested party inquired about it and seemed unsure about whether the table was appropriate. She to hold it and I said maybe, but I have to be move out of the house tomorrow. At the end of the day, I put it out on the curb and put a sign with the word free on it. It was gone before morning and the interested party was furious. Good thing I don’t live at the house anymore.
9. Select a week that you’re free to sell an item so that you can be flexible. I grudgingly got up Saturday morning just to sell something at 8 am and was successful at selling it.
10. If you can’t sell it in the suburbs, sell it in the city.
11. If it’s a large item that you are having trouble selling it in the suburbs, sell it in the city and offer delivery. Also say that if the buyer picks it up, a discount is provided. Maintain that this voids any further discount.
12. If you’re buying something that you can’t afford, be ready to walk out. Or say that all the money have is what you have. About two years ago, I bought exactly the amount of money I wanted to pay for the item and carefully laid out the twenties on a table, announcing the total amount. I undersold that seller by $100.
13. Give something away for free. When selling an item in Pittsburgh, the buyer refused to pay me the amount I offered even though I was offering the item at a huge discount (this was before I figured out the $25 trick). When I mentioned that I was trying to get rid of all the items in the kitchen and offered to give it to her for free, she took my entire spice cabinet and other things. She ended up paying in full for the entire item.