So I took the photos, wrote the ads and posted them and some buyers responded to my ads with words like, “Great ad, one of the best I’ve seen on Craigslist” and “Good ad, why don’t others write like this?” One of my buyers bought my antique vehicle, and sent a $3000 deposit from Oregon, all based on pictures and the ad!
In that vein, I marveled at how bad some ads are on Craigslist and they defy imagination why anyone would buy the car that is so badly presented.
One ad showed the car in a cluttered garage, covered by a tarp, and the tarp was pulled off of the fender, showing only the fender!! Crappy lighting, cluttered photos, and part of the fender showing! Then the ad was written in 1 big clump of a paragraph, with all the options listed together. And the seller concluded his ad by admonishing his buyers to “NOT waste my time, with insulting offers, scams and trades.” Really…! Where do you begin with something this bad?! Here’s my tip; ignore the ad, and move on to one that makes sense
Here are some tips that work like magic.
- In the headline, put make, model, year and mileage
- If the vehicle is rare, like one of mine was, I said “3000 made, only a handful remain on the road.”
- Use “white space” in the ad and bullet point the options. Never, never !!, have more than 10 points and if so, create 2 bulleted list, breaking them up.
- Use humor where-ever possible. Loved the ad I found on a broken, ‘lemon” Lincoln Continental. The seller said; ” Car has every option offered by Lincoln, most are broken.” And another said, “low mileage, because it usually broken and on a lift at the mechanic.”
- Use the maximum number of photos allowed, showing 8 point positions. That is all 4 corners, both sides, and front and rear. Show the engine, trunk and multiple interior shots. People look very carefully at photos, and remember: bad photos=no buyers…
- Never lie, never cheat, and if it has defects state them. Your buyers appreciate the honesty, believe me. I actually sold a broken Cadillac with electrical problems, clearly stated and explained in the ad. A dealer bought it and paid a premium price for it too. He said he knew about this problem and could fix it and thanked me for the honest description.
- If the car has lots of safety equipment, build on this, crow about it and expend some effort describing this because buyers want it.
- My friend, a dealer said, “make the windows spotless, and set the radio on soothing music.” And clean, clean, CLEAN everything, including the engine bay. First impressions are important, and it’s called “curb appeal.”
A note on lying, hiding problems and cheating your buyers: DON’T DO IT. We’ve all been hosed, cheated and mislead and honesty sells. Do you really want a buyer angry at you, coming back OR even suing you?!
- Educate your buyer; if Consumer’s Report loved the vehicle, mention this. Treat your buyers with respect, and assume they know their market and car they want.
- If the car has a problem or issue and you don’t know what wrong with it, then simply tell them you don’t know what it entails but it’s there.
- To determine values; check Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds, and NADA. com. Also check Auto Trader and Craigslist to see what prices are in your area
- Learn what the bank loan value is on your car and feature the information in your ad. My bank offered financing of full purchase price on a $28,000 vehicle and I mentioned that in the ad.
- Always respond to buyers quickly, even if it to say, “I can’t talk or respond now.”
So now you’re buyer is there, and they like the car but want to negotiate the price. Always set your price to begin with at a price that allows some wiggle room. If there are other parts, add-ons, or extra things that you might throw in with the car, save these for bargaining on the selling price. OR include them to cinch the sale. Don’t be greedy and remember what it took to get someone there to make an offer in the first place. There’s millions of cars for sale every day, and your buyer has no doubt been shopping, so work with them, offer to “split the difference”, a full tank of gas, or throw in extra’s you may have.
Recent sale of a “like new” Subaru taught me a lot. Helping a retired woman sell her beautiful Legacy, I priced it way high and the Buyer told me $17,000 was $1000’s over the high book price. The owner had provided the price and misread KBB and priced it too high, and when I checked, I agreed to lowering the price. We lowered the price to $14,700 and buyer bought it on the spot!! Paid cash too, end of deal. Afterwards the owner and I filled the tank on the Subaru and the buyer went crazy with joy, and he called back to say how thrilled he was with his purchase. And said “If he could do anything to repay us, to let him know.” THAT’S THE KIND OF SALE WE ALL WANT TO MAKE; EVERYONE WINS.