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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Don't Sell The Features, Sell The Results, Sell The Potential

Dear Diary,  
Sometimes I feel like pulling out my hair... how can I be effective in selling my products?  I've given the customer all the bullet points that list all the cool features!  I've included measurements, weights.. is anyone listening??  Signed, Hairless Online Seller

Dear Hairless Online Seller,  I feel your pain...  I believe the problem could be that although your product is the very best, super duper model the fact is that buyers have short attention spans, they may only give seconds to each listings they look at unless something catches their eye.  Maybe your awesome pictures will catch their eye... (we are visual creatures)... but if you really want to snag your buyer, sell them on what your product will do for THEM!  Give them a potential.. will it make them beautiful?... Efficient?....Smart?.... Excited?....Give them something to daydream about.... Help them to visualize WHY they need your product..  Signed Diary

This video selling tip is an excellent example on how to sell your product.  Apply this tip in your online sales copy or even your direct selling techniques and let us know how it works out for you!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Highlights From This Week's eBay Underground Discussions

I haven't been on the boards much this week. (gasp!) So I'm just now browsing through them to see what the hot topics were this week...

Do you offer partial refunds for partially satisfied customers? Here's a good discussion on who does or doesn't, and why.

Keep an eye out for false Vero emails from "ebay" - they may not be legitimate!

Always be careful selling high-end designer items. Even if you're sure they are authentic, you may need to be able to prove it.

A new thread from this morning will probably turn out to be a great help to new sellers! What is the best piece of advice you ever received about selling on eBay? It's hard to narrow it down to just one. Check out what others are saying. You may learn something new!

If you're just joining our group this month, stop by the February New Members thread and introduce yourself. We love to meet our new members!

And as always, please feel free to start a new thread at any time! Hope to see you there :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Highlights From This Week's eBay Underground Discussions

As always, there's been a lot of activity on the Ebay Underground discussion boards this week.

I have to get my packages out in a few minutes and then head out for the day, so I don't have a lot of time to highlight all the most active threads, but here are a few that I think would be worth your time to stop by and read:

One of the most important topics going on right now is about Trademark Violations. Several members have spoken up about different things they've gotten in trouble for listing. That link goes to the general conversation about it, but there's another thread where we are compiling a list of items that people have gotten in trouble for. Be sure to read it as well to avoid getting yourself an eBay spanking.

If you've been away from eBay for awhile and are thinking about jumping back in, this is a good thread to read, all about starting over on eBay.

There has been a lot of speculation about what the new eBay Spring Seller Updates will involve. Sellers always dread these updates, because they're usually focused on making things better for the buyers, but not so much for the sellers. Hopefully this update will be different ...

I would be devastated if my one and only Goodwill went out of business, but it could be a great opportunity to stock up on clearanced inventory! Our member Ruth has a local thrift store going out of business. Read the discussion about that here.


As always, if none of these topics interest you, there are many, many others that I didn't mention. Or you can always stop by and start a new topic that interests you. We welcome all kinds of conversation, as long as it's polite :)  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Links to My Tax Series

Links to all the posts from my tax series, in one handy-dandy location!

Getting Ready for Tax Time, Part 1

A Sample Dome Day

Printing Reports from PayPal

Reconciling Our Monthly Paperwork

Putting It All Together on Schedule C

Movin' Right Along on the Schedule C

Home Office Expense

Depreciation of Your Home

Schedule SE (Self-Employment)

Schedule C, Page 2 - Cost of Goods Sold

Schedule C, Page 2 - Information on Your Vehicle

Correction Regarding eBay & Paypal Fees (this is important - I gave incorrect information in a previous post as far as where to put these fees)

Featured EBUG Member - DJ of Keen Eye Finds

This week, we're getting to know DJ a little better! DJ sells on both eBay and Bonanza. He posts on eBay Underground as = Dj PHX = (or some form of that, depending on the day - lol)

I was born in Los Angeles, California in the early sixties. My parents were hip and eccentric in the way they were ambitious, Navy, rockin the 50’s SoCal innovative mayhem. They threw big parties, enjoyed the cocktail era, loved all types of music and foreign foods, embraced Hawaiiana and Mexicana and incorporated it into their lives, influencing their kids along the way. My mother sewed her own clothes (and many of her 4 kids) while my dad was a officer in the Navy and worked for the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) in North Hollywood.

By the time I was 6, we moved to the most beautiful place a kid could be, Lake Tahoe, Nevada. My father was the general manager and vice president of the Ponderosa Ranch Home of Bonanza tourist attraction and amusement park over looking Crystal Bay.

From there, we moved to Tucson and I’ve lived in every major city in Arizona since 1974. Since 1994, I’ve been living in Scottsdale and Phoenix, land of sun and citrus. In 2000, I met Avril, the woman of my dreams, who was from Dublin, Ireland.

I’m tour director by trade and take groups or private parties on excursions all over the US and countries worldwide. No place too far! Oh, the stories I could tell.

Recently I’ve begun to practice writing, building a style. Hopefully my two main experiences will come together in a blog near you. One will be based on Dewey Tours and the other will rally around Keen Eye Finds.

How long have you been selling on eBay?

I’ll soon be celebrating my tenth year on eBay with more than 2000 transactions. I began selling auctions on eBay since 2002. From 2008-10, sales were so slow, I had to retreat waiting for the market to turn. Sadly in my case, it never did. In July of last year, I began to retool and change my thinking. Particularly after joining eBay Underground in the summer of 2011.

Why did you start?

I love to sell creatively. I took to selling on eBay like a duck to water. It felt natural to research, describe items, take photos and build creative listings. 

We have always had ‘stuff’ and things lying around “because someday it’s going to be worth a fortune!” mentality. My uncle was a born opportunist. In the early 60’s, he took over a surfboard shop and learned the fast growing industry and was already part of the culture. When the shop folded, the popular items of the day were decals and magazines. One day, a box of mint condition surfing magazines that sat in my grandmother’s garage for 20+ years was handed to me, which in turn, sat in my garage for another 15 years. Late to the eBay phenomenon party, I finally dove in 2002. Much to my surprise, I hit the market with perfect timing and sold most of those magazines and decals for more than $4000. I went on to sell vintage Playboy Magazines (complete sets, 1954-59) and many, many other items.

Do you remember the first item you sold?

A pristine 1960’s Southern California Surfing Magazine. The biggest sale ever made was three very rare surfer magazines for more than $1100 (that market is nothing like that now!).

What keeps you going during slow sale periods?

Until recently, I could duck out during the slow times, but now that I’m selling full time, it gives me great frustration when there are down times. But slow times allow for creativity and ingenuity.
One thing to do is look at items that have been sitting around and try to refresh its image and get them listed.

Sometimes, I’ll go back through all the nice comments in my feedback. A pat on the back goes a long way.

Tell us about your favorite buyer.

A surfboard shop owner was the winner of 20-30 auctions of much of my unusual collection of pristine surfing memorabilia. I never knew how he had so much money. Out of all those checks he sent, not one ever bounced.

I’ve had so many grateful buyers. But one other stands out who also purchased a surfing magazine. When it arrived, his kid’s friend grabbed it in awe, and tore the cover clean off! Mortified, he was so disappointed it happened. I heard wind of what happened and shipped out another copy (it was one I had 6 copies of) no charge and then he was REALLY flummoxed. Happy, but flummoxed. It was his heartfelt thanks that made my day. That magazine is still untouched, protected in Mylar, with an acid free sleeve backing it up, proudly displayed to this day, way out of reach of…

Tell us about your worst nightmare buyer & how you handled it.

Every problem I’ve had with a buyer was created one way or another by me. Only two negatives in 1000 trades and (I think it’s the way I package things). I think the key to great customer service is anticipating their needs, long before they need it.

The worst thing that happened was when I shipped two packages to the wrong buyers. It all worked out, but I paid for that experience in the end.

What was your best sale?

Recently, I bought a box on a fancy thrift store table for a dollar. As a former user of such an item, I didn’t think anything of it. The box sat on the shelf in the garage for a good 4 months. After awhile, I researched what I had and couldn’t believe my eyes. The numbers were astounding. I looked through the box and saw there were two items instead of one. I cleaned everything up and put the two on separate auctions. The first item, a tiny SVEA backpack stove soared to $148 and the separate pump sold for $129. I was SO excited. That my friends, was a homerun, woohoo or whatever you want to call it!

A few years ago, my wife’s business associate took us out to dinner. They talked shop (real estate), and after a while, the guy told us he was an Elton John fan since 14 years old and was a collector. He had been collecting fan items for more than 35 years. His goal was to collect ‘one of each’. Fascinated, asking just how much was he talking about, he said, two storage lockers full, 10x10 ft times two. As we parted ways that night, I let him know if he was ever in the need to part with the stuff, I was the guy.
A year later, he decided to let go of everything. Short story long, I sold off the inventory for more than $11,000. It was hard work; items were shipped all over the world. You can’t imagine how much memorabilia there was. I know a lot, maybe too much about Elton John now. The experience was like working in Rock n Roll. Elton has a lot of fans, particularly overseas.

What purchase for resale did you buy that turned out to be a big mistake?

Toys at 75% off. But what I found out, they get popular again about two years later, after the hype is long gone.

Do you have a niche? What is it and why?

I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting items that sell. Often times I buy on instinct or use my smart phone to work a hunch.

I have done well with massive private collections and advertise on outlets such as ebay trading assistant.

I may not know much about the items in the beginning, but love learning all the nuances, facets and quirks about new things.

As for a single niche, it still eludes me, but I have ramped up men’s & women’s shoes, collectibles

What is your favorite thing to watch for when you’re out thrifting?

I just have a keen eye. I feel like the owl or the eagle after prey. So many things jump out at me. On the other hand, what about all those things I PASSED BY that I wasn’t aware of? ACK!

Tell us one thing you have learned on eBay Underground.

Selling shoes. Selling, yes, but finding, identifying, cleaning, refurbishing, polishing, and then marketing the shoes. It’s a whole new skill set. And, all the effort really does pay off (I have Jessica to thank for that!).

Anything else you’d like to comment on?

Ebug, as we affectionately call our forum, is not for everyone. Its hardcore truth about a full time job selling on the internet.

I am grateful for being a student and commentator on eBay Underground. It's easy to admit, for the past three years, I was in denial about static ‘Buy It Now’s selling over auction format. Once I joined eBug in July, 2011, it took a little prodding, research and REALIZATION that my path on internet commerce needed a makeover … and fast! Through nurturing and being a nurturer, a balance starts to take place. The buzz on the forum is infectious.

Some people realize its harder work than they thought. Others find excitement in learning or sharing and teaching. It’s a remarkable place in time to be a part of it all.

Buying low and selling high is just a small part of selling on the internet. There’s marketing, advertising, style, photography, procurement, master shopping, product enhancement, pricing, copywriting, customer service, learning, accuracy, clarity, research, antiquing, public relations, teaching, education, new skills, reviving old skills, reading, shipping & handling, selling, effort, SEO, sacrifice, markdowns, clearance, internet commerce savvy, communication skills and … a keen eye for detail just to name a few. Some might compare it to running a ROSS store, but I think of it more like a unique a store as Neiman’s Mark-ups!

I love it!

What are you working on now?

I’m excited about listing some of my items I’ve held away from the public eye for awhile. Hopefully I’ll hit the market just right. So, now I’m off to list, List, LIST! as we say on ebay Underground.

Thank you for having me Jessica, you ROCK!

Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your life, DJ! 

Please be sure to stop by DJ's eBay and Bonanza stores and check out his Keen Eye Finds!

And check here for Tour Director Inquiries!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Using Terapeak for eBay Research

On eBay Underground this week, we've been talking about Terapeak. Terapeak is an awesome website that helps you research how to price your items for selling on eBay. But that's not all! It helps you build great titles. It helps you decide which categories to list your items in for maximum results. It lets you search by seller to see their sell-through rates and what items they sell. It lets you search hot sellers, to see what's selling well right now. It is truly an invaluable research tool.

A year or so ago, they had a free version. It gave you results going back 14 days. That version wasn't extremely helpful, because eBay gives you search results going back 14 days too. The difference is that Terapeak showed sell through rates, so you could tell at a glance whether you had a dud or whether you had a sure bet.  Apparently they no longer offer the free version, because I haven't been able to find it anywhere.

They offer a paid version that goes back a full year! When you do a search for an item, you can search 1 day, 7 days, 14 days, 30 days, 45 days, 60 days, or 90 days. You can also set a custom date range. So you do your search for 90 days. If no results come up, or if you want to look back further (back to November/December for Christmas items, for example), then you can choose to go back to the previous 90. You can do that 4 times until you've gone back a full year. This comes in very handy if it's October and you're listing a Christmas item. Going back just 90 days to July or August isn't going to give you an accurate picture of how well a Christmas item will sell in November, so you'll want to go back that full year and look at last November's sales.

Honestly, I haven't really explored all the other features that Terapeak offers. I occasionally use the seller search and the title builder, but I have a feeling Terapeak is an untapped resource that I need to play around with.


Do you use Terapeak? What are your favorite features? How should I be using it other than just doing pricing research?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Are you Pinning?

Yes, I’m talking about Pinterest the online Pinboard that for some has become the addictive social sharing site.  Pinterest is described as an online Pinboard where you can organize and share the things you love. That includes your eBay wares!
Imagine posting or pinning your eBay listing on your pinboard, then another member pins, and so on.  Last week I pinned a J. Crew jacket on my pinboard and immediately it was repinned twice. Now I’ve just expanded my audience for this one item I am marketing. Who knows where that will lead or how viral it will become.

Here is my Pinterest site and I have a dedicated eBay category. It's not full yet, but I plan on using this to market some of my eBay listings as well as others.

Pinboards are divided into 3 categories - Pins, Boards and People. Doing a quick search of the word "eBay" under boards (dedicated boards that people have) produced a large list of results. Some of these boards include eBay items users are promoting, or items they are looking to purchase. Your customers may be promoting your items on their pinboards!

Here are some great links mentioned on our eBay Underground group last week including, a tutorial event on Facebook and a great article “10 Tips to get the most out Pinterest for your business”.  Check them out and happy eBaying and Pinning!