Thursday, July 11, 2013

What Type of Buyer Are You?

As a serial decorator and design enthusiast, I am sure you are just like me - we've all done our fair share of buying and selling on local classified sites like Kijiji and Craigslist. Don't go me wrong, I love KJ and CList which reinvented the way people advertise and sell their unwanted stuff to free up space (and cash). I also love the fact that they allow me to scavenger hunt and score antique/vintage/designer pieces from the comfort of my home. However, with the convenience of these channels also comes with nuisance of dealing with different types of buyers and (sometimes) unpleasant behaviours. These are a few types of buyers I've run into:

1. Talker: also known as all-talk-no-action-er. Let's see a show of hands, how many of you ever responded to emails claiming they were extremely interested and would come right at this moment to pick up but those emails only went unanswered? Thought so. Or how many of you spent time on back and forth emails and phone calls answering questions only for the trail to go cold again? There's nothing wrong with potential buyers asking questions; as a seller, that's always expected. What had turned me off are those that gave out empty promises such as "please hold them for me and I will come tonight to pick them up" but only to go silent on me. Or those that asked if I would accept $50 for a $60 item but when I replied with okay they went quiet. Is that really necessary, people? I hence crown them "talkers".

2. Haggler: again there's nothing wrong with haggling. As a matter of fact, we all expect some degree of it - that's why people buy from local classified - otherwise they would've stepped into a big box store and pulled up their credit cards. The type of haggling I don't like is when potential buyers try to talk you down. This is somewhat similar to the Whiner: they would bitch and complain about how bad the stuff you are trying to sell to show you they are really reluctant to buy your stuff, and you should offer them a huge discount. Or they would expect you to accept a $50 offer on a $100 item you were trying to sell. Didn't they get that if I wanted inflate my sale price by that much I would've sent the stuff to a consignment store? I would always give those that ask nicely a break on price; and would turn down those that tried to haggle in a nasty way. After all, who has more to lose right? They are the ones that travel a long distance to my place - they could go home empty-handed or they could just pay my asking price. Lesson learnt is that niceness goes a long way even when you are a buyer.

3. Whiner: these are the ones that can never be happy, no matter how accommodating you are to their schedules or how good the stuff you are trying to sell. They would show up all stressed complaining about their dogs, their trucks and their loss of love (wait, that's what country music is all about!), and they made you feel like sh*t after they left. These days I am getting pretty good at spotting those from afar, and my communications with them would stop at a phone call.

4. No-show: you spent a fair amount of time and energy over emails and phones to work out a time with your potential buyer. You waited for them to arrive within the 2-hour time window you agreed upon. 2 hours, 3 hours had passed and still no car had pulled up to your driveway. You called but their cell phones were off. You emailed but you knew you weren't going to get a response. You were hoping they would email you as a courtesy the next day explaining why they no-showed, but you also knew darn well they wouldn't respond. They disappeared from your life ever since. My way to counter this type of behavior is always to talk to these potential buyers over the phone - you can judge how serious they are. I'd also ask them to call just before they leave for my place - that way I don't need to hang around and can move on with whatever I need to do if they don't call. Also by not committing to a firm schedule and that you'd be waiting for them, you are keeping the potential buyer responsible for making sure you are available to meet with them when they get here.

Of course the majority of the buyers I've dealt with are super pleasant and decent and would show up on time and haggle in a reasonable way.

So what's your experience with local classified ad buyers? Do share!

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