by Craig Stark

#123, 16 June 2008

Selling on eBay
How To Accumulate Positive Feedback - Fast

Printer Friendly Article

A bookseller who had been an eBay member since 1998 recently lamented in a bookseller's forum that, after receiving a single negative feedback (ostensibly undeserved), her feedback score plunged from a hard-won 99.9% (earned over 10 years) to a dismal 66.7% overnight! Wow.

How can this be?

Easy. Since eBay now calculates feedback on the basis of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately - that is, your performance over the past 12 months - any seller whose activity has been minimal over the past year is unusually vulnerable to this same scenario. As, of course, is any new seller.

Several times over the past year I've discussed the concept of proactive bookselling in both the BookThinker and the Gold Edition, primarily as it applies to purchasing the kind of inventory that will produce robust profits. However, it also applies - or should - to other aspects of running a successful business. The word "proactive" was coined by psychiatrist Victor Frankl in a book I was required to read before entering college - Man's Search for Meaning. Frankl used the word to describe a person who, rather than seeking to ascribe blame for their problems to external circumstances or other people, instead assumes responsibility for his or her life and acts accordingly. Later, the word "proactive" gained currency in Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, where it evolved to mean, in Covey's words: "to act before a situation becomes a source of confrontation or crisis."

Which kind of bookseller are you? Reactive or proactive?

If you're new to eBay or are planning to either resume (after a hiatus) or perhaps ramp up a previously intermittent eBay selling activity, you're vulnerable. Essentially, you can do one of two things - go on about your business and hope that what happened to the above seller won't happen to you, or you can take charge of the situation and make darn sure it won't happen to you.

If it's the latter, what next? How do you go about accumulating a significant number of positive feedbacks quickly? The following was recommended in earthmom's Selling on Amazon column last week: "As a new seller, a good strategy for accumulating feedback quickly and insulating yourself against the effects of early negative feedback is to list absolutely flawless copies of low-value but sought after paperbacks (based on sales rankings) at whatever it takes to get them sold quickly, even if you have to price them at a penny. Package orders with exceptional care, ship them the same day you receive them, upgrade to First Class or Priority (if you can afford it), and, on your packing slip, politely ask the buyer to leave appropriate feedback."

Since eBay has recently changed its feedback system to more closely mirror Amazon's, what works for accumulating feedback at Amazon can now also work with eBay. What I'm going to do this week is offer a specific approach - one of a number of approaches you could take - to accomplishing this with minimal effort and expense. It's based in part on an eBay reality: Despite the fact that Amazon sells far more new books at typically lower prices than eBay, there's no shortage of eBay buyers who simply won't migrate to Amazon to take advantage of this; they'll continue to buy on eBay.

First, since we're looking for fast, fast, fast feedback, we'll need to acquire books that sell "yesterday" - every time we list them. The absolute best place to find these books in whatever quantity you need is Amazon's best seller's page.

At the time of this writing, Guy Finley's The Essential Laws of Fearless Living: Find the Power to Never Feel Powerless Again sits atop the heap. However, since this book won't actually be in stock until June 18 (its ranking is based on pre-orders), there's no eBay track record yet, and I'd hesitate to recommend this title to start with. But do keep it in mind for this one very important reason: Click into the catalog page, scroll down to Product Details, and note that the shipping weight is listed at 6.4 ounces. This means that you'll be able to ship this book quickly via First Class Mail anywhere in the US, including APOs, for $2.19 - $.04 cheaper than Media Mail. (To minimize your expenses, any book you choose from the bestseller list should be light enough to ship First Class.)

>>>>> Article continues on next page >>>>>

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

| Forum | Store | Publications | BookLinks | BookSearch | BookTopics | Archives | Advertise | AboutUs | ContactUs | Search Site | Site Map | Google Site Map

Store - Specials | BookHunt | BookShelf | Gold Edition & BookThink's Quarterly Market Report | DomainsForSale | BookThinker newsletter - free

Copyright 2003-2011 by BookThink LLC