How Can I Improve Sales During the Recession?

Question from Jenn in Las Vegas:

Hi Scott, how’s Mexico? I don’t know if you remember me, I met you about a year ago at the Safeguard storage unit auction in Las Vegas. You gave me some great tips about selling on eBay. We recently had a garage sale and our sales weren’t nearly as good as they have been in the past. In fact, our sales from craigslist and ebay seem to be suffering. Do you have any ideas on how we can improve our sales?

Thanks,
Jenn

Answer:

Hi Jenn, Mexico is great, thanks. Of course I remember you, you bought that $50 mystery unit and I always wondered what you found in that container. It must have been good because I’m assuming from your question that you’re still buying storage auctions in Las Vegas. I called some friends in Las Vegas last night to get a sense of what their sales are like. They all expressed that their sales are more challenging than three months ago. I was also told that there has been some great merchandise recently purchased from storage unit auctions in Las Vegas. It’s still a brisk buying market with tons of opportunities. Here’s my thoughts on improving your sales.

First, set your buying sights higher and go for more quality merchandise. I’m not telling you to forget about the $50 mystery units. You can still pick those up and find some treasures but concentrate your buying on the higher end units. People are still buying but they want more of a bargain because the average consumer is in fear. They still have the urge to buy, they’re just unsure of whether they can afford it. You have to make the price attractive on quality items, list them in multiple venues and be patient. Second, resist the temptation to get every penny out of your junk. If your last garage sale was anything like what mine were like, you had a mixture of quality items and lots of junk. For your next sale, I’d reduce the amount of junk and increase the amount of quality items. When you’re sorting your storage auction purchases, be ruthless and get rid of junk immediately. Make donations, put free ads on craigslist, take junk to the dump. When you’re offering great deals on really good stuff, you’ll get the flock of customers back. You will all appreciate having less junk around. Third, don’t be afraid to buy big units. I often avoided units with lots of furniture because of the work involved and my limitation of storage space. The big units will often have a lot of mid level consumer goods like electronics, appliances, china and the like. You can take the furniture straight to an auction house or consignment store to eliminate the storage problem. Or sell the furniture you’re using right now and upgrade with the stuff you just bought. Finally, eBay is still the best venue for your collectible items. Collectors seem to be less affected by the recession. If they need a ’56 Corvette to complete their die cast car collection, they’re going to find the money from somewhere when you list it on eBay – happy days when you have two or more collectors craving the same item. Do your best to adapt and improvise in your selling and you’ll weather through the storm.
Much success,
Scott Asher

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