By Cliff Ennicowww.succeedinginyourbusiness.com
Recently, I gave a presentation on Internet sales taxes at the eighth annual eBay Radio party in Las Vegas – a confab of some of the top eBay sellers in the United States and Canada.
For those of you who don’t know, eBay has its own Internet radio station with a variety of programs to help people become more proficient at selling stuff on eBay. The URL is http://groups.ebay.com/forum/Ebay-Radio-Broadcasts/Welcome/1278.
During the conference I tracked down about 30 of the top eBay sellers and e-commerce experts in the room and asked them the same question: “In your opinion, what is THE secret to selling successfully on eBay, or indeed anywhere online?”
Here are their answers:
“Like they say in the ‘Godfather’ movies, it’s business, not personal; when you sell on eBay, run it like a business.“ – Danni Ackerman, owner of the “Udderly Good Stuff” eBay store (http://stores.ebay.com/Udderly-Good-Stuff).
“Flexibility – being nimble enough to change your product mix and your marketing mix in light of new competitors or other changes in your selling environment.” – Betsie “eBetsy” Bolger, Content Manager for eBay Radio (www.voicemarketing.com).
“Never give up; never stop learning.” – Marcia Collier, author of the “eBay for Dummies” series and “The Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide” (coolebaytools.com).
“If you’re selling antiques and collectibles, really know your stuff.“ – Rose Downes, owner of “The Fuzzy Lobster” eBay store (http://stores.ebay.com/The-Fuzzy-Lobsters-Inlet).
“Don’t hit every thrift store in town; pick your favorites, hit them at least twice a week, and really get to know the owners because if they like you they will give you a ‘heads up’ when they get really cool stuff.“ – Lynn Dralle, author of “The 100 Best Things I’ve Sold on eBay” (thequeenofauctions.com).
“Do not accept ‘no’ as an answer.“ – Janelle Elms, founder and CEO of the Online Success Institute (osirockstars.com).
“Ship your stuff as fast as possible after it sells.“ – Bryan Goodman, owner of the “Mr. Bigfoot” eBay store (http://stores.ebay.com/Mr-Bigfoot).
“Sell only what people want, at a price they are willing to pay.” -- “Grannie Annie,” owner of the Grannie Annie’s Little Grass Shack eBay store (http://stores.ebay.com/Grannie-Annies-Little-Grass-Shack).
“Know your numbers; your gross sales are important, but your operating margin is a lot more important.“ – Jim “Uncle Griff” Griffith, host of eBay Radio and author of “The Official eBay Bible” (email@example.com).
“Do everything you can to help the customer find you using great keywords in your eBay listing titles.“ – Cindy Hamilton, owner of the TwirlPlanet eBay store (http://stores.ebay.com/Twirl-Planet).
“Consistency in presentation.“ – Melinda Jackson, host of “The River, the Ranch and the Bay” Internet radio show (therivertheranchandthebay.com).
“Patience, and a little good liquor.“ – John “ColderICE” Lawson, CEO of 3rd Power Outlet (3rdpoblogs.com/colderice).
“Research and education; the more you know, the better you are.“ – Christopher Lesley, owner of “The Golden Pineapple” eBay store (http://stores.ebay.com/The-Golden-Pineapple-Shoppe).
“Never skimp on ‘void fill’ when shipping your eBay items; you can use packing peanuts, bubblewrap, air pillows, paper or anything else, but be generous and fill every nook and cranny.“ – Robin LeVine, co-owner of the “BubbleFast” eBay store (http://stores.ebay.com/Bubblefast).
“Always keep on top of eBay’s changes.“ – Debbie Levitt, founder of the As Was website design and business consulting firm (http://www.aswas.com/).
“When you’re selling antiques and collectibles, condition is key; even in a tough economy, people will still buy items in mint or near-mint condition.“ – April Peavey, owner of “My Vintage Generation” (www.myvintagegeneration.com).
“Working capital is a revenue-generating asset; use it to make money.“ – Kathryn T. Petralia, co-founder of online asset-based funding source Kabbage.com (http://www.kabbage.com/).
“Patience; when you sell computer parts to businesses, it takes a while for the customer to make up its mind to buy, and they ask tons of questions.” – “Postie,” owner of the Fat Free Parts eBay store (http://stores.ebay.com/Fat-Free-Parts).
“When taking photographs for your eBay listings, look at the ‘histogram’ on your digital camera; it will tell you if you’re overexposed or underexposed.“ – Cindy Shebley, co-author of “The eBay Marketing Bible” (http://www.websellerscircle.com/).
“No matter what happens on eBay, keep a positive outlook; don’t let negative buyers get you down.“ – Kat Simpson, co-host of the “eCom Connections” Internet radio show (http://www.ecomconnections.com/).
“Know when to sell your product; don’t be afraid to buy stuff that isn’t moving right now and wait until the opportune moment.“ – Jason Smith, owner of the “Tiki Pug Music” eBay store (http://stores.ebay.com/Tiki-Pug-Music).
“Always take the blame, even when it’s not your fault.” – “Tiffany,” owner of the Tiffany’s Designer Deals eBay store (http://stores.ebay.com/Tiffanys-Designer-Deals).
“The customer is always right; even if the customer is wrong, the customer is always right.“ – Brandi Tolley, owner of the “Buy BIG from Brandi” eBay store (http://stores.ebay.com/Buy-BIG-from-Brandi).
“You need to comply with the law and pay your taxes, but you don’t have to become a legal and tax expert; get a good local accountant and business lawyer and let them help you with the necessary paperwork so you can stay focused on building your business on eBay.” – Cliff Ennico, author of “The eBay Seller’s Tax and Legal Answer Book”, “The eBay Business Answer Book,” and this column (www.succeedinginyourbusiness.com).
Cliff Ennico (www.succeedinginyourbusiness.com), a leading expert on small business law and taxes, is the author of “Small Business Survival Guide,” “The eBay Seller’s Tax and Legal Answer Book” and 15 other books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com