Seven Steps to Selling

If you buys used items online, you have probably encountered what I'm about to complain about--poor advertisement.

Selling is all about presentation and pricing. 

Yes, you should have a good product, of course; but it needs to me packaged nicely. It needs to be placed correctly. It needs to be illuminated well. It needs to be in high traffic areas. These all influence sales.

Yet, as I peruse personal sales ads, I see a different scenario.

Person lists a car. One picture. One poorly-written, poorly-spelled, grammatically incorrect sentence that doesn't include pertinent information.

Person lists furniture. Four pictures taken in the dark with a lamp on in the background. Furniture has a layer of dust on it. Cat is sitting on furniture.

It's frustrating to see these ads, because it might be something decent; you just can't tell. You aren't given enough information.

For you that are struggling with this, allow me to suggest some things that may help you. If you pay attention, you'll soon be selling your items more quickly, and for more money!

#1 Take good photos.

Put your item in a well-lit area. Shines lots of light around the item, but not directly on the item. Too much direct light can produce glare, especially if your item has luster.

Remove distracting background items that take attention away from your beautiful item. No pets. No other household items should be in the picture, if possible. 

If you're taking a picture of your car, do so in a neutral area--a parking lot, a grassy area, or a "normal" looking street. 

You might laugh, but when I have shopped for items on Craigslist, I pay attention to the background of the picture. It influences my desire to contact the person. If it looks dirty and unsanitary, I don't want it. If the car is parked next to a strip club, I'm not interested.

#2 Take multiple photos.

It pains me when I look at a house or vehicle online and there are three pictures.

Sure, some items can be summed up in one or two pictures, but some items are much better represented by different angles and extra attention to detail. 

Take photos of your item from near and far, from high and low, from inside and out (if applicable), and show pertinent details. If it's a computer, take a picture of all the ports on the back. If it's a tool, snap a photo of the brand name with any important serial numbers, etc.

#3 Clean your item.

It will sell ten times better. 

People don't want your dead skin cells all over their stuff! When they see your pictures or come look at your item, you want them to think, "Wow, this looks like it's almost brand new!"

I have bought dirty stuff before. But guess what--I got it cheap! After I cleaned it up, I realized it was great; and I just got a steal. 

Don't throw away money by selling dirty stuff.

#4 Describe your item well.

Photos are great. While they provide a lot of information, there are some things that cannot be put in a picture.

It's up to you to convince potential buyers that your item is in good shape and has been well taken care of. If it hasn't, don't lie! But hopefully you don't abuse your stuff.

It should take a couple minutes for you to write about your item. Mention where you bought it, and how much it cost when it was new. Describe how you've used it--frequently or infrequently. Have you maintained it? If it's a car, people want to know if it's been serviced regularly! 

Tell people why you're selling it. Is it junk?

#5 Price it right.

It doesn't matter what you think it's worth.

I see ads on Craigslist all the time with nice pictures, good descriptions, and horrible prices.

I search the internet before I list something. 

For a car, I check Kelly Blue Book (

For other items, I check Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist for similar items. Compare the quality and condition to yours and then pick your price. If you want the money quickly, price it 5-10% lower than the lowest price you can find.

#6 Be honest.

Honesty is the only way to stay in business.

If you're lying, you're not as smart as you think. People can tell. They will ask the right questions, and you're probably not good enough at lying to convince them.

Deceit will catch up with you. Trust me.

#7 Advertise everywhere.

There is no medium that is better or worse. Each advertising medium reaches a particular group of people more or less efficiently.

I like eBay because it reaches millions of potential customers, but that comes with fees. Craigslist reaches thousands, and it's better for large items that you don't want to ship.

Community resale sites (or Facebook pages) are great for selling things quickly in your area.

Don't get married to one way of selling stuff.


I enjoy selling things, and I plan to continue. It's a great feeling to make some extra cash and use it to purchase things you actually want/need. 

Clean out your garage or attic and use that unwanted "junk" to fund your next project.

Image credits:
'For Sale' image from
Camera icon from
Mr. Clean image from
Price tag image from


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