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This is why I disable email on all advertising.  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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This is why I disable email on all advertising.

About a dozen years ago, I started advertising on Used Victoria. It's great. Ads are free and you can put on lots of pictures. It's much easier for me to sell stuff now, than when I used to pay the newspaper. Craigslist is more awkward and filled with people who look like they came straight from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, offering, "personal services."

When I first started, I gave people many avenues to reach me. They could call my cell phone, they could text or they could send email.

Many chose the email route. These folks sent long, rambling messages, that almost always ended with a request for me to go to their place and look at something, or two give a price, based on what they had said.

In the end, very few ever agreed to get anything done. Sometimes we would bounce messages back and forth for a few days, before someone lost interest.

Some people sent very short messages that would say things like, how much? Others made initial contact but then never responded to me, after I took the time to consider their problem.

It didn't take me long to realize that the vast majority of those contacting me through email, were really just annoying pen pals. I think maybe 5% of them actually got some work done.

When people call me on the phone, there is about a 50% chance that something will happen. Those phone calls are pleasant and immediate. It doesn't take days of bouncing things back and forth, before a decision is made.

The world is full of potential customers. I can't possibly do all of the work out there, so I'm perfectly happy to pass up those who can't pick up the phone.

I know this can't work for someone with an online business or someone selling information. I'm selling hard goods and labor in my local area. If they can't pick up the phone, I can't be bothered dealing with them.
.......
That's all there is. I thought there might be more. This was all prompted by a lady asking for my email address, even after I explained that I haven't been into that email in 3 years.
 
r ranson
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I love it when people don't accept email.  It saves me loads of money.

I don't text, I hate phoning strangers, so email is my best way to get in touch.  But there's a nack to it. 

As a buyer when writing an email, I try to keep it under 3 sentences.  One to say what I'm wanting to buy/look at.  A sentence to show who I am or what I'm planning to use it for (that I know what it's for and that I'm not a junk dealer who's going to sell it for twice the price) and one sentence thanking them for their time.  Possibly a fourth sentence saying what times I'm available to come and see/get it.  Include my email and phone. 

When selling, I only put my email. Usually, people start responding the first hour it's up.  I wait two hours, sort through the junk dealers (most of them have reverse email look up on UsedAnywhere) and then send a reply to the one that looks like the least effort to sell to.  I'll give our phone number and tell them to phone for the address.  This seems to weed out 90% of the time wasters.

That said, I'm getting really fed up with selling and giving away my stuff.  I price it fairly, sell it, then the next day I see it for sale on UsedAnywhere for twice what a new one costs retail.  They are ripping people off and that kind of behaviour is not something I want to support. 
 
Kyle Neath
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As a contrast… I hate the phone, I always tell people I will only deal in email. My reason is simple: cell service sucks up here and I am often on satellite internet only, which results in walkie-talkie like phone calls. Phone calls are infuriating because of this and they always raise my blood pressure. I still remember a few weeks ago emailing someone on CL about some barrels, explaining that they can call me but service sucks, and then the infuriating phone call that ensued. The man demanded to only do things through the phone despite having to repeat every sentence three or four times. He ended the call with "Whatever, you fucking asshole, I can't hear a goddamned thing you're saying go fuck yourself" despite me being nice. He was just upset that our connection was poor. My happiness is not worth that.

Now, I also ask people for very specific details when emailing me for ads to filter out idiots. Something simple like "please include your name" will filter out 90% of the people who won't ever show up. Kind of like Van Halen's brown M&M rider. If they can't take the time to read my ad, I know they won't value my time.
 
Dale Hodgins
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If your stuff is doubling in price in one day, that means that you didn't charge what the market will bear. I would have to be fabulously wealthy, before I would ever think of charging less than the going rate, for things that sell easily.

What sort of items are you selling in this way?

I'm selling building materials and labor to do various jobs, such as tree removal, hedge cutting and demolition. I've found that I generate looky-loos, by accepting email from buyers. Many of my clients, that I do work for, are business owners. They expect to be able to call me and for me to answer, which I do. I have questioned many of them about this, and they don't seek the services of those who aren't able to, or will not pick up the phone. Many of my tree customers are older, and don't use computers for any purpose. My ads often run in the services section. They compete with many others who accept calls.

When I'm buying stuff off of usedvictoria.com, I find that those who answer the phone, still have product for sale. I used to waste time sending messages to those who had an ad up, but the product was long gone. People don't seem to mind if their email fills up. If their phone keeps ringing on an item that is sold, they are likely to take the ad down and save everyone time.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I totally get the bad cell service thing. One of my clients drives constantly and therefore we communicate with text message.
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I wonder if those who are filtering their emails in some way, are saying that they don't respond to many of the people who do respond to them. By placing an ad, I am making first contact with people. Therefore, I would never consider not speaking to them or responding in some way. If someone showed up at my yard sale and asked a question, I would answer it. I can't imagine myself soliciting people to contact me, and then only responding to a select few, while ignoring the rest.

People don't randomly dial up an email address. They only take the time to type it in, if they are interested in what is offered for sale.

When an item sells, do you send out a message to everyone, letting them know that it has sold? I have received this message a few times, but most times, I've been left hanging. The person said they had a wheelbarrow for sale for $25, I send a message saying yes, thank you I would like to buy that wheelbarrow, and then I never hear from them again. What a waste of time.
 
Kyle Neath
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I do reply to people when things are taken, and I always take down ads when the thing is done/sold. I don't spend a lot of time on it though, I auto-label things from the subject line and send mass responses with some scripts. I don't feel bad about not responding people who can't take the time to read an ad. I've never posted an ad that's more than three sentences long. To me, if you refuse to read the ad, it's the same as someone who shows up at my garage sale and asks me questions while they're having a phone call on a bluetooth headset. They don't value my existence as a human and are only concerned with themselves. I have similar rules for people that reach out to me (usually software recruiters). If you aren't prepared to treat me like a human (rather than a "lead" or a "resource"), I feel no obligation to spend emotional effort on you. I have other people in my life far more deserving.
 
r ranson
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Dale Hodgins wrote:If your stuff is doubling in price in one day, that means that you didn't charge what the market will bear.


I'm charging 10% less than new for used goods in good condition, 25% less than new for used goods in less than perfect condition.  If I charge higher than new for used goods, then I feel like I'm ripping people off and I don't like feeling that way.  I'm a bad capitalist. 

The buyer doubles the price, then it sits on UsedAnywhere for three to six months, before they bring it down to what I sold it to them.  OCCASIONALLY, it sells in about 6 weeks, but that's worse because that means someone bought a used item for more than a new one.

I had one case where I sold a broken spinning wheel for $25 - the price of the firewood because that's all it was, really nice firewood.  That afternoon, it went up for sale for $400.  The price came down on UsedAnywhere to $250 then the listing vanished.  The next day the broken wheel made its way back to my house to be fixed.  The person who bought it had been saving for months to afford a wheel and was so excited.  Explaining to them that to fix it wold cost more than a new wheel, was very sad.  It was missing some pretty important bits like spokes, and the bit that makes the yarn go happy.  And legs, and lots of things.  Basically, it was a plank and a broken wheel.  They took it to at least two other wheel repair people in town who told them the same thing (there aren't that many of us and we gossip talk technical gibberish to improve our skill) before donating it to the Sally Anne who, I'm told, took it to the dump. 

A person took advantage of the situation and sold that poor woman a lemon.  I told them it was not fixable and decoration only.  They sold it as a functioning spinning wheel to someone who hadn't done her research. 

Lesson: know what you are buying
Lesson 2: some people are good capitalists and don't mind dressing up mutton to look like lamb.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I shop the used market regularly, but I'm not even a little bit interested in things that are priced at more than 20% of new. I guess we can't do business. My Ecco shoes cost $4. My Rockports cost $2. I would have preferred to pay less, for my almost new footwear.
 
r ranson
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Dale Hodgins wrote:
I wonder if those who are filtering their emails in some way, are saying that they don't respond to many of the people who do respond to them. ...
When an item sells, do you send out a message to everyone, letting them know that it has sold?


When I'm selling something, I send out emails to those who respond, but I don't have my computer on all the time.  Just evening and mornings normally.  I email people who responded letting them know that there is interest in the item.  If they are next on the list, I'll say, if the other person doesn't get it by such and such a date, you're next.  If they are further down the list, we just let them know that we got their email.  When it's sold, we take down the ad by the time the person makes it to the bottom of the driveway and start emailing the people who responded that it's gone.  Real short emails.  Mostly copy-paste job.  Takes no time at all. 

I think a lot of people who post ads online don't understand how their junk filter works.  I've had several occasions where I've actually met the person I tried to buy something from and we get talking about the subject, I tell them I sent them an email (four times!) and they never got it, they still have it for sale... blablabla. 

 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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When they call me on the phone, and I pick up, we never have those issues. Usually a plan to meet is set up within minutes.

The same thing happens when I'm on the buying end.
I owned my Toyota, that I paid $600 for, 15 minutes after the ad was placed. I didn't send them an email. I desperately wanted this car, so I dialed the number provided. It's awesome.

Many people sent this guy an email. They didn't get the car.
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I guess we are both winning. You are getting far more than I've ever heard of, for used product. And I get stuff so cheap that its just about free.
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