Whether you're a new seller on eBay or an experienced veteran, here are eight useful tips you might not know for effective selling. If you're selling one item or many, think of yourself as an online retailer and adopt the ideas of the most successful national retail chains. These include aggressive marketing and advertising, competitive pricing and customer service. Use these recommendations and you'll sell your items a lot quicker and easier. (For additional reading, check out Odd eBay Sales.)

TUTORIAL: How To Buy Your First Home

1. Discount Your Prices to Compete Effectively
Low prices yield high returns. Among the most frequently sold discounted items on eBay are electronics, small household appliances, computers, clothing, used books and toys. Unless your prices are competitive, don't expect easy sales of these and other widely offered products. Check out other eBay sellers to see what your competition is doing and set your prices accordingly.

2. Know Everything About what You're Selling
The more you know about what you're selling, the better you'll be able to price it and describe it in your advertising. If you're selling rare or used books, for example, become knowledgeable about first editions, rarity, comparable prices for similar books in similar condition, and whatever other information is pertinent to your offerings. A thorough, knowledgeable description of the product is powerful advertising.

3. Specialize
Rather than trying to sell everything you don't want on eBay - your accumulated clutter, worn out clothing and miscellaneous "stuff" - sell items in one or just a few areas. With your specialized knowledge you can both sell more effectively, and buy from others for resale at the best prices. (If you fail to uncork profits in this market, you can always toast your loss. See Investing In Fine Wine.)

4. Add a Picture and Sound to Your Auction
Posting a photograph of yourself to go along with soundbites shows potential buyers the real human being offering the products for sale. Many veteran eBay sellers recommend adding audio to your auctions. Data shows that a personal audio message to potential buyers increases sales. The sound personalizes the seller and prospects feel more comfortable buying from someone they hear talking. Be sure you write out your message before delivering it and memorize it so that you can speak naturally and without hesitation.

5. Use a Sales Auction Management Service
Automated auction services available online can manage your sales easily and efficiently. All pertinent information, including headline, description, picture, price and duration of the auction may be keyboarded into templates. Sales and payments are tracked, and e-mail notifications are sent when buyer payment is made, either through PayPal or by credit card. Although these services charge a monthly fee, they may be worth the price in saving you time and effort.

6. Establish a Reputation for Credibility and Honesty
Be scrupulously honest and forthcoming in your dealings and feedback with customers or potential customers. Write a brief biography and post it on eBay so that people can get to know you. It's vitally important that you don't exaggerate or deceive, even by omission, in your product descriptions.

7. Write a Powerful, Descriptive Headline
Use words that attract attention to the product, but don't over-hype - i.e., as mentioned above, no exaggeration, deceptions or inaccurate descriptions. Words in a headline that pull responses include: "Practically New," "Works Perfectly," "Unique," "Handsome," "Beautiful," "One of a Kind," "Discount Prices," "Reduced for Sale" and "Money Back Within 30 Days if Not Satisfied."

8. Be Realistic
Any sales offer on eBay, unless it's one-of-a-kind, is often likely to be in competition with one or more other sellers of the same or similar item. So to out-maneuver your eBay rivals, be realistic about what your item is worth and describe and price it accordingly - you'll have a better chance of selling your item.

The Bottom Line
Describe your goods for sale honestly and in detail, price them fairly, and stand behind the sale with a thirty-day money-back guarantee and your customers will be happy and satisfied. At the conclusion of every sale, when the item or items have been delivered to the buyer, ask for feedback. Post those inevitably favorable comments and they'll inspire trust in prospective buyers and generate more sales for you. (The traditional real estate market isn't the only place to conduct your home search. Auctions also bring many buying opportunities. Check out Should You Buy A House At Auction?)

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