A day goes by… no calls. Two days go by… still no calls. A week goes by… “I can’t believe no one has called.” Two weeks go by… impatience and worry creep in, if they haven’t already consumed you. Your knee-jerk reaction — which in 95% of all of life’s situations should not be the first course of action — is to lower your price. Take it from me… your price is probably not your problem.
The truth is… most people are not salespeople. And when it comes to selling your vehicle as a private seller, we find out quickly whether or not Sales is in our blood. It’s not uncommon for an inexperienced private “seller” to spend a couple of hours pricing his vehicle just right — figuring out the payoff, incorporating the average yearly mileage, estimating how some aftermarket customizations have added value, etc., etc., etc. And then, when the first tire-kicker comes along and makes a $7,000 offer on what the seller figured to be a $10,000 vehicle, he gets all excited that an offer has been made, his blood starts pumping, and he thinks to himself, “If I just say ‘Yes’ this will all be over… I won’t have to think about it anymore.” And he finds himself standing on his front porch with one hand waving good-bye to the nice man that just bought his perfectly maintained car, while holding a check for $3,000 less than he originally anticipated in his other hand, only to realize moments later the magnitude of the mistake he just made.
Now certainly many would negotiate a little less pathetically than the gentleman in the previous scenario. But the bottom line is that this gentleman, and the majority of America, would not have ended negotiations closer to the $10,000 price than to the $7,000 offer. In other words, most sellers are easily “talked down” by buyers, usually closer to what buyers are looking to spend, rather than closer to what the sellers are looking to make. But why? Why settle? Did you not just closely research the market value of your vehicle for two or three hours? And in the blink of an eye some random tire-kicker has convinced you that your vehicle is less valuable?
Sellers, I urge you… Do not lower your price too soon. And if I were to preface this entire thought with the notion that you need to set your price at the price you want — that also being the only price you will take — then I would urge you to not lower your price at all. Why? Because your price is probably not your problem. After you have spent good time and energy setting a reasonable price on your vehicle, leave it alone. And feel free to tack on the word “FIRM.” Buyers love that. They ignore it sometimes, but it makes a statement. It says, “I have done my research. If you want this vehicle, pay what is on the sign. Thanks for not wasting our time.”
So if price isn’t your problem… what is? You’ve figured a proper dollar figure and two weeks have gone by with no bites. The two biggest factors are time and exposure, both of which — if you’re like everyone else I know — you don’t have much of.
Getting enough exposure is a quick fix, if done correctly. Because your goal should be to put your vehicle in front of as many buyers as possible at the same time, you’re going to have to bite the bullet and put a couple hundred dollars into different advertising means (newspaper classifieds, web classifieds, For Sale signs, etc.). Don’t worry about it. A properly priced vehicle will get that money back. Your other option is to advertise in one venue at a time and spread what will eventually be the same cost (if not more) out over time, but, oh yeah, you almost forgot… you need to get this sold NOW because time was one of those things you don’t have. And if you’re just going to end up spending the same amount of money (or more) anyway, because it’s a much less effective means of advertising, why not just put your time, money and energy into one massive marketing party from the get-go? Not only does it sound like more fun, but more importantly, it’s more effective.
One final thought about time… don’t wait until it’s “crunch time” to think about selling your vehicle. So many people wait and wait and wait and then expect to make money in a week. If that were the case, we’d all be used car salesmen. It doesn’t work that way. My advice is to plan ahead. Get ahead of the game. Try to see that day coming when you know it’s about time to start looking for a different vehicle. Get the ball rolling before you feel like it’s about to roll on you. Start marketing early and put a proper price tag on it. You are more likely to get the price you want — again, the only price you should take — if you’re not in a rush to get it sold.