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post #10 of Old 08-23-2009
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Having now gotten my CL advertising down pat. Here is how you target your prospective buyer:

1. Never put in OBO or Will Consider Trades in your ads. You attract people that want to lowball from the start, and will want to trade something thinking theirs is still worth retail price even their item 6 years old.

2. Provide accurate condition for it, and outline the negatives as well as positive but keep it simple. The prospective buyer will see that your attempting to disclose and be more comfortable from the start.

3. Don't price according to what everyone else is pricing on CL. Determine the sales price as being what it would be that you feel good all the way around. Buyers look at pricing and if an good hi-res picture(s) they all know "you get what you pay for." (this one is key).

4. State a "No Haggle" policy. When someone emails and asks for $500 off the bat (site unseen), they are usually trying to see how much less they can work someone else. Again if your pricing is fair - and they are interested, expect in two days they may turn out to be the buyer at your listed price.

5. Patience and do not "hold for someone". Remaining firm on your price, and wait it out is the best strategy. Those that want to see it, should be able to do so same day or within 24hrs. On that note - never give out your address until someone gives you a date and time they will arrive. I usually tell them to call 2 hours prior their departure and then will send the info.

6. Be friendly, but not overly so and keep things simple. Most of all be honest and don't try to employ tactics of "I have someone else looking at the boat today" - if its not true.

7. When you do get an inquiry - the goal is to get them to come out and see it. Specifically ask in your reply, when would be a good / date or time for you to come out (again never give address info until you have confirmation). This alone will weed out those actually not really interested.

8. Always have things cleaned up. Trailer rusty - get some vegetable oil or tire shine and go over it. If the boat is dirty etc (and not a project boat), hose it down. Clean the interior and use aromatic cleaners. Smell and Cleanliness is the sellers best weapon (it says maintained). I also use a fragrance "Glade type spray" of cinnamon or vanilla and spray it into the cabin and hour or so before (not to heavy but just a spritz or two).

9. The biggest tip I have - is a well written ad. Know when to just bullet points and when to do detail write-up. Keep the sales-pitch and sob stories out of them and provide just what is needed to know by the buyer, as you the seller already know the questions you would ask. So, have those questions already answered in the ad. Provide as many hi-res pictures as you can and note that, CL's pictures barely provide detail. I always do embed via html editing option a couple of pictures. I follow that up to either a web page, pdf or word document that can either be viewed online or downloaded with a nicely arranged brochure style format that goes into all the details.

Avoid: Cheap! WOW! Price Reduced! in your title of the add. Keep the title specific : Item (Specific brand etc), your price (none of that $1 stuff - leave price blank if otherwise), and location.

10. Completing the sale: Be on time and communicate with the buyer that you'll wait no more than 20 minutes. Greet with eye contact and a friendly handshake. Get them to the boat, do small talk to obtain an idea of what their skill level is or why they may want it. This will give you the opportunity to discuss the boat at their level. When showing the boat give the buyer a chance to become one with it and encourage them to look around sit, etc.

On Haggling on-site. I prefer to go the "firm price" and explain that it is at a reasonable price point. This will immediately stop the low ball offers (again if you priced it reasonably you didn't lose a sale - you prevented yourself from taking more of a loss). If you priced to haggle - haggling should be no more than 5% increments and state that the offer is only good if paid in cash within the next 24 hours and that you will not hold the boat unless a non-refundable deposit is made.

I am getting on average 80% customer conversion on my asking prices (which are admittedly higher than most items placed on CL - but my prices are based on condition and age). Most actually, buy more when they are here for the listed prices. It can work, for instance my 95 Cobra that I blew the engine on - got $1300 (my asking price - knowing that my buyer was someone that had an engine). It took about 7 days after my new style of approach to get it sold after months of other efforts. Then again my approach is "patience - no haggle" and everything is less than 3 yrs old in most cases. Hagglers IMHO are those whom are not serious buyers and the old sales adage is - "Sell on wants - never needs". If a customer really wants it - they'll get it.

For instance in Charlie's ad - I suggested that his price would pull its weight as its in a well maintained condition and it includes a working trailer. Plus, I already know in this neck of the woods that trailerable sailboats of less than 24' are easy sales typically. Especially with his being in the sweet spot for size , the upgrades made to it, and overall condition.

-- Jody

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