I’ve been waist-deep in the adventure of selling items on Belize Buy and Sell in the last few months, so I can tell you a few things about people who shop there:
- When someone really wants an item, you will know. They message or call immediately, make arrangements for payment at once, jump in a vehicle and come pick up the item. There is no hesitation, whether they are making arrangements from 1, 50, 100, or 200 miles away.
- A lot of it is impulse buying. As the seller you’re put in the position of watching people buy things they don’t need. I’ve had to accept that I am not responsible for the decisions people make on the spur of the moment about how to spend their money.
- Sometimes people will watch an item for weeks, waiting for the price to drop, and/or waiting to have enough money to buy it, secretly hoping and fingers crossed that it doesn’t sell before they can buy it. Out of the blue they will contact you, and an item you thought had no chance of getting rid of, is suddenly gone.
- Some people are there just for the conversation. They will ask all kinds of questions: measurements, age, working condition, history, and everything else. They make conversation with you knowing they have no intention of buying anything.
- Some are there for the ‘window shopping’ and end up buying nothing.
- Some take ownership of an item just because they want it, and anything you do that prevents them from owning that item puts you in their bad books. They will cop an attitude with you, try to beat down your price, and do what comes naturally to them, which, if you’re not strong, will make you feel that you have done them wrong.
I have been totally amazed to see the things that people go at like sharks after blood in the water. I can now sometimes tell from a bunch of items which will go first; at other times I post, and then wait to see which of the items it will be.
One conclusion I’ve come to through this is that people will always react towards you based on where they are on their emotional journey, so don’t take their behavior personally. I interact with buyers based on where I am, and they interact with me based on where they are. I’ve had people blast me or give me the cold shoulder because I followed through on my ‘terms of service’ which includes a ‘no holds’ policy and a delivery fee. In turn, I’ve had to respond to people with an apology and firmness; I’ve even chosen to give away an item rather than sell it to a particular person – a decision based solely on the tone of the interaction, which I felt could deteriorate into something that could wind up dragging my name through social media mud.
Belize is in that place where the transition into online shopping has started, but some still want to handle it as if it is the local grocery store. In the beginning I gave the advantage to particular people because I knew them; this experience has taught me to give the advantage to particular people because they have been good customers. In other words, when you become a seller in this country you trust a person’s pattern of behavior as a buyer, not as a friend or acquaintance, because when money is involved it is a totally different realm from just casually knowing someone.
As an online seller you learn that when someone says, ‘I really want this item’, or, ‘I’m really interested’, and they mean it, they will follow up with immediate action, just like in real life. You learn to spot the window shoppers, the impulse buyers, the people who are ugly in real life no matter how good they look on the outside. And sometimes, like a gift, you get to hold great conversations with people that you would never have met otherwise. (That is a good and welcome brahta).
Selling like this is not for the faint of heart, or for those easily offended. It takes perseverance on your part to keep reposting, (in spite of your pride), when an item is slow to sell. You must make sure to be accurate about the condition of the item you’re selling, (that means, no filters for your photos). Your integrity should show up as you do your part with delivery and meeting with the buyer.
A most important lesson I’ve learned though is that we all have something we’re ready to throw out that would be of value to someone else. I had three blenders, none of which were working. I was about to throw them out when I had the idea to post the jars for sale. I did, thinking it was a long shot. Within a half hour I had calls about those replacement jars from all over the country. Within ten minutes someone was at the door to pick up the first one. The speed at which they sold made my head spin, and it made me realize the truth of the saying, ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’.
If you’re ready to take the plunge into selling something, (or many things), online, just remember that even though much of it takes place online, the rewards and repercussions take place in the real world.
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