Let me start by saying, I am not an extrovert. I am not now, nor have I ever been popular, I don’t like the spotlight, and I crave my solitude. I wasn’t the Homecoming Queen in high school, I was the girl you sat next to for 3 years without realizing I was there. But shockingly, I love live selling!
It is way easier, and far more profitable than I thought it would be, so, I am here to tell you to get involved. The only person you have to be is you. That is what people will respond to.
It’s not like hosting a party. You don’t have to eat bland finger foods, awkwardly hold a drink and make small talk with passing acquaintances whose names you can’t quite remember. (You can tell I’m not a party person, right?)
You’re in your own home, and you can leave whenever you want to. You can talk about anything and you will probably be surprised by what people respond to. I bought several items that I did not need from one seller pretty much because I liked her. She was sitting on the floor in her PJs pulling clothing from a stack on her right. She talked about each piece and in between them, shared that she started live selling because she loves thrifting and just wants to earn some side money for it.
It was that simple. No big display, no professional lighting, no designer or luxury brands. Just a woman sharing her love of the thrift, and downsizing that death pile. (Sorry Consignment Chats ladies – money mountain!)
I bought some pieces from her because I was like, yeah girl, go thrift! And the pieces were cute. Everybody won.
That’s my philosophy with live selling: if it works out, you get a ton of people and sell a bunch of products, and can call it a win. If you try a few times, no one shows up and you realize you hate it, you still win. You pushed yourself, tried something new, and probably learned a lot along the way.
If you are an introvert like me, you probably need a lot more encouragement and advice than that, so let me tell you my top tips for live selling as an introvert:
You Don’t Have to Do It
One very important thing that you need to know about live selling is: you don’t have to do it. I know it’s the big thing right now, and it can be hard to jump on the band wagon, but if it really isn’t for you, that’s fine. There will always be a thousand different ways to sell, you don’t have to master all of them. Just like you do with the type of inventory you sell, research, refine, and do what you like doing. The most important part about selling live is finding a way to enjoy it; otherwise, you won’t stick with it.
Sure, people come for the products, but they stay for you. Think QVC. If the host of one of their shows was boring or mean, people would change the channel. The exact same thing is true for live selling. If you log on to Whatnot or Poshmark, I guarantee, no matter what time of the day or night it is, there are at least 100 sales happening. Just like Netflix, people have a lot of options to choose from and if you don’t grab them, they will move on.
The best way to grab your audience, keep them with you, and bring them back show after show, is to be your authentic self. You could try playing a character, being extra bubbly or whatever, but once you’re on camera, that becomes really hard to maintain.
Be you. Like in real life, not everyone will love you, but the ones that do, will stick with you.
Share Your Why
Part of who you are is why you resell. Being honest about that can forge a real connection between you and your audience, and it can make them want to support you. I resell because I can earn a full-time income while being a full-time stay at home mom. The money I earn is divided between my daughter’s future college fund, and Sanctuary Village, a non-profit that I support. They are building Philadelphia’s first tiny house community for the homeless and we start construction this Spring! (To learn more, visit TinyHouseCommunity.org)
Sharing my why lets people get to know who I am, and where their money is going. I also get to tell people about a charity that means a lot to me every single show, without it seeming too preachy, or like an NPR fundraising hour. Plus, they are causes that most people want to support. Anything you can do to make people feel good about spending money in your store is a great thing.
My first live was, well, kind of a disaster… I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be to keep talking for over an hour. When I did pause, it felt weird, like dead air on the radio. In the seemingly endless silence, I saw the number of viewers dropping and it felt awful. I’ve had to teach myself to just keep talking, and now, I love doing my shows!
Talking during your live is less like having a conversation with a room full of strangers, and more like talking to yourself in the shower. FYI, I’ve found this is a great way to prep for your live shows.
If someone talks to you in the chat, and that’s a pretty big if, they can only type in a short response. The chat box is more like catalysts to conversations, than real conversations. Comments can be great jumping off points, but you don’t have to be intimidated by the possibility of what people might write. It has literally never happened to me, but if someone does write something rude, you can simply not read it aloud to your guests.
Know Your Product
A great topic to keep you going is your products. I’m not just talking about the hip measurements and fabric content, they can get that from your listings. When you’re displaying piece after piece, it’s important to forge a connection with your buyers to as many pieces as possible. What you have is basically one of a kind, so embrace and chase that FOMO feeling!
I love to tell my viewers where I got each piece. If something was donated to me, I tell them that. I craft an image of the stylish woman who used to own and love that dress. I talk about where she wore it, how she styled it, and I tell everyone how glad I am that she donated it to me, so that it could have a second life with one of them. I know that reminding people an item is used can detract from its value, but during a live sale, I think it adds to it.
If you ever feel stuck during a show, just pick up your favorite piece and tell a story about it. (P.S. Your story doesn’t have to be 100% true. It’s not like anyone will be fact checking your live.)
Repeat Repeat Repeat
An important thing to know before going live is that people will come and go. A few people join in the beginning and stay all the way through, but that’s pretty rare. Most people jump in, see what you have, feel out your vibe, and then, most likely, move on. That’s fine!
It’s totally normal, and it means that you probably don’t have to come up with fresh content for a full hour. I repeat myself all the time not only to keep talking, but to make sure that every jumper hears the important info that I want them to have. I repeat about every 10-15 minutes why I sell, what I’m selling that night, when I ship, and any other important shop policies. I always offer people a discount from my regular Poshmark closet. All they have to do is build a bundle and send me a message saying they were at my show. I might only have 50 items in my show, but by telling people that, I open the possibility of selling anything I have.
Try Different Times
If you try live selling and are not immediately good at it, please don’t give up! Try new things, new products, and, most importantly, recent times! As the mother of a toddler, I have to sell at night when my daughter is asleep. Any other time is just not feasible. But, I have to remind myself that when I sell, I’m selling nationwide.
If I go live at 7 pm in my home state of Maryland, that’s 4 pm in California. Maybe the reason my swimwear isn’t selling is because the population most likely to buy it is still at work. Maybe the children’s clothing isn’t moving during my 10 pm show because all the people with babies are already asleep. In the beginning, live selling, like any new skill, is a lot of back to back problem solving.
Mo Money, Mo Problems!
When my business started booming, I was ecstatic. The profits that used to take me a week, I could make in two hours. But, as the sales increased, so did the problems. I wasn’t prepared for that.
I hate dealing with returns; they’re a headache, I lose money, and I hate the idea that someone out there is mad at me. But, with a dramatic increase in sales, I am also seeing an increase in return requests. It’s simple math. If 1 out of 100 sales has some kind of issue, then I used to see about 1 issue a month. Now, I’m seeing at least one a week.
I know how to deal with them. Sometimes I simply accept the return, sometimes I apologize and offer a discount on future purchases, there are rare times where someone is just mad and I have to move on. What I wasn’t prepared for, was the emotional impact that it’s having on me.
I love the money that I have coming in now (really, I love money), and like I said, 99% of the reviews I get are positive – glowing even. But I am still figuring out how to deal with the emotional blow of having person after person come to me to report a bad experience or a product defect.
Honestly, I’m still figuring out how to get past it, but looking at my profits does help. Plus, I know that I’m doing my best. I look over all of my items for defects, I give people great deals, wrap packages well, ship on time and keep my customers updated about shipping and delivery. As a fellow introvert, I just wanted to give you fair warning so you could prep yourself emotionally. It’s worth it, but it’s hard.
If your first show isn’t a massive success, congratulations, and welcome to the 99%. Seriously though, you have to practice. I’ve found live selling to be hugely profitable, and a lot of fun, and I hope you do too. If you ever want help or advice, please reach out to me on Instagram @RefashionedHippie, check out my book The Clothing Reseller’s Handbook, or join me live on Listing Party. I love what we do, and if I can help you, I would love to!