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Consignment Selling for Family, Friends, or Strangers

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When you become an online seller, your friends and family come out of the woodwork, knocking on the door and asking you to sell items for them. While asking, they then share the news that the item or items they have are worth millions!  

As they hold dearly onto that painting or collectible, they further explain how much they paid for it back in the day, so they know it’s precious, and they must make a good profit. They know it’s worth millions today because it’s scarce, or they paid a lot of money for it “back in the day.”  It can be quite comical how our friends and family suddenly become expert appraisers! 

danna crawford and chucky

Teach your friends and family to research

In my experience, I’ve found it worth the time to teach my friends and family how to research their items before bringing them to me. After I spent time teaching them how to look up items on eBay and doing Google searches,  they rarely brought me any more items to sell for them.  I admit they were pretty sad to find out their precious valuables were not worth as much as they thought.

Every consignment seller I’ve ever spoken with has gone through this type of situation in one way or another. This will give you a heads-up to be prepared because I promise they will come.

The good news is when they discover they have a higher-priced item, you can be ready to provide them with the terms of sale you’ve created (as mentioned in Online Consignment Selling – Getting Started).  

Treat your friends and family like you would any other client. Let them know, “this is only business.” What I like to tell my mother is, “I’m putting on my consignment business hat now. Let’s talk about selling your items, Mom.” The only family exception to this rule is my children!  I would only take out fees and give them the cash.  Heck, I’ve even paid the fees and given them more than what the item sold for! They are my kids; I cannot help it. (smiles)

Opportunity knocks

Yes, they will come knocking, and you should smile because they could indeed have some valuable items you can benefit from. No advertising is needed either. Everyone has some friends and family with stuff.

Friends and family can also be a good way to practice customer skills. Let them know you appreciate their help, and you will do your best to sell their item for the highest price you feel is best. Remember, you are the expert. Which also means you are the expert pricer. You will need your clients to trust you. Ask your friends and family if they trust you with their items. Will they disown you or be upset if the item does not sell for as high as they wanted?

Friends and family are clients

I try to encourage my clients to focus on the total at the end of the month. Some items will sell high, and others may sell low. The bottom line is the profit margin.  This is a discussion you may want to have initially.  

cash powersellingmom

Test the waters

When establishing trust with a new consignee, if they are nervous about parting with their items, I will suggest we start with only a few and see how it goes so that they can understand the process.  This system also helps without being bombarded with too many items at once. 

This can be especially helpful if they are shipping items to you and have a huge inventory to send.  Ask them to get a box and start putting items into it. Also, list the items they are adding to the box. Tell them to keep a copy for themselves or just type it into an email addressed to you while they load the box.

Some folks prefer to take photos vs. typing or writing up items. Others don’t have any worries because they trust you already and may just send it all in a lump. Everyone is different. 

I’ve had a few clients print out copies of items like theirs from other eBay listings. I found this very helpful because you can review the wording, and it can help with the listing. It can be a time saver for sure. 

Follow your instincts

If you get a sense from a conversation you may have issues with a customer, pay attention to the red lights and skip doing business with them. Politely tell them you cannot take on any more clients right now and point them to a google search. Trust me with this advice as I’ve learned it the hard way over the years.

Follow your instincts, trust in yourself and you will go far as a consignment seller. 

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