Facebook marketplace is that little corner of the internet that gives us the familiarity of hosting a garage sale and the awkwardness of internet dating, both at the same time!
When Facebook first introduced its “Buy and Sell” groups in 2015, users got their first taste at selling on their favorite social media app, and Marketplace was shortly created a year later. Basically, Facebook Marketplace is a more “social” solution to selling unwanted items than its predecessors like eBay and Craigslist.
While the social aspect of Facebook Marketplace is definitely a plus, it can also have a negative side and one that many users encounter, unfortunately. The problem lies in the social nature of its human sellers and buyers.
How do you keep the person’s interest on the other end of that instant message?
How do you price things without someone thinking it’s too high or too low?
How in the world do you get someone to commit to a sale?
After selling and buying everything from vintage furniture to baby clothes on Facebook Marketplace over the last few years, I’d like to say I’ve finally mastered how to close the sale and I believe it comes down to a few simple things.
Here’s how you, too, can master Facebook Marketplace.
#1 Be Specific
When you post your items for sale, be sure to fill out all the information you can and always add tags describing your item when possible. Think about what the person on the other end may be searching for and add as many of those search terms as you can think of. For example, if it’s a chalk-painted vanity, consider adding tags like Victorian, shabby chic, furniture, end table, vanity, makeup table, entryway, etc. Whatever terms may represent the pieces you are selling. This will help your item show up to users who are most interested.
#2 Get Personal
Imagine you walked into a shop and instead of either of you saying hello to each other, you simply plucked an item from the shelf and said, “I want to buy this.” It wouldn’t exactly leave you feeling warm and fuzzy about that sale, would it? Add a little human touch to your Facebook messages by addressing the user by their profile name. This also helps remind both parties there is an actual person on the other end of that message you want to reply to, not just a “bot.”
#3 Reply Promptly
Nobody likes to be kept waiting. If you post items for sale, be sure to keep notifications on for direct messaging, so you are notified when a user messages you about an item. Try to reply quickly to help keep them interested and respond in the same window to avoid a lengthy correspondence. The faster you can provide details and answer questions, the better luck you’ll have.
#4 Ask Open-Ended Questions
Anyone who has sold something on Facebook knows the dreaded “is this item still available” automated message option. While this is a great start, it often will get a generic “yes” or “no” reply. Incorporate open-ended questions that make the other side of the conversation provide more information. For example, “Yes, Jennifer, the dresser is still available. What time would you like to come by to see it?” Help direct the message towards a commitment to either come by, make a purchase or invite further questions.
#5 Add Urgency
Dreading a possible “no show” experience or that “would you consider $X?” conversation? Create a sense of urgency to help navigate these. By giving a deadline to pick up an item or make a payment, you encourage them to take action right then. (This is my favorite tip to get someone to actually buy things!) If someone asks if you’ll go cheaper on something, tell them, “Sure, if you can come by end of day today.” Think of it like Black Friday – people go because the sale is for a limited time only.
#6 Make a Plan
Whether you are the seller or the buyer, the goal is simple with every Marketplace interaction: you want to close the sale! Help make sure you get to the exchange of money by confirming details such as date, time, pick up location versus contactless porch pick up, final pricing, and form of payment. This will help eliminate any confusion and add confidence on both ends.
Always Remember, Safety First!
While Facebook Marketplace provides users with a sense of security since it makes all users link to their profile accounts, it can still be a false sense of security. At the end of the day, a stranger is a stranger. Never provide personal banking or credit card information, always meet in a public place when possible, or set up a porch pick up instead and always let someone else know when you are meeting for an exchange.