Sunday, November 16, 2008

Upselling to Craig's List Customers

A major tenet of sales is upselling. That's when you try to get someone to upgrade or add additional purchases to what they were already intending to buy. I've tried it with some of my sales on Craig's List, and it's worked!

As we've been working on organizing our new "married" home, Michael and I have had to part with a fair amount of excess stuff. Some of it has gone to Goodwill or Freecycle. We've sold some of it at yard sales. And I'm trying to sell other things on Craig's List.

On Craig's List, I've put a keyword at the bottom of all of the postings for like items. Rather than telling the reader to search for that keyword, I've made a hyperlink. Let me give you an example...

We have 30 hardback and paperback novels to sell. I sorted them by author and made a separate post for each group. For the ones where we only had one or two by a particular writer, I grouped all of them together to make a posting for "assorted authors." I priced each book individually and then by lot (post) at a slightly reduced rate. So, three hardbacks by David Baldacci are $2.00 each or $5.00 for all three. Three hardbacks by John Grisham are priced the same but are listed in a different posting. Individual listings make it easy for someone looking for books by one particular author.

At the bottom of each posting I listed a keyword like "Books2008." Then, I do a search on Craig's List for that keyword. I use that URL and make a hyperlink in my posting. So, in each ad I end with "Click here to see the other books we have for sale." It makes it super easy for shoppers to find all of the similar items I have for sale. If they are interested in David Baldacci books, maybe they'd consider buying our other ones by John Grisham too. Maybe finding several items that interest them will make it worth their while to contact us and make the purchase.

When someone contacts me about buying an item we have for sale on Craig's List, I like to include the links to other like items that we have for sale in my email response to them. They may have already seen them online, but I want to make sure they have an opportunity to consider buying anything and everything that we have for sale. Also, if they come to my house to make the purchase, I will set out other items that we have for sale that might interest a buyer. If they see the things in person, they may be more likely to buy them.

These upselling techniques have worked. Just yesterday I sold 18 of our books. I initially had 25 of the 30 books posted on Craig's List. Someone emailed, interested in buying 13 of them. A few days ago, we set up a time to meet on Saturday afternoon at a Metro station. In the meantime, Michael gave me 5 more books to sell. So, on Thurday I emailed the buyer and sent her the link to additional books we were offering. She decided that she'd like to have those too. So, instead of getting rid of 13 books for $18, we freed our house of 18 books and added $22 to our Travel Fund (where we put all of our Craig's List proceeds)!

In September when I had some leftover wedding decorations to sell, a bride-to-be came to make a $5 purchase. When I invited her to make the purchase, I had all of our items setting out on the dining room table. The display actually looked quite nice. I told her that everything was for sale. I gave her suggestions on how she could use the items. It worked! Instead of spending $5, she spent $18.

Upselling and being a friendly, helpful salesperson will bring more cash in for your unwanted stuff just like they would in a retail store.

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