UPDATE: See details of an automated solution at the end of this article.
I could kick myself for being so stupid. Whilst typing these words I’m still seething at the thought of what I have done…or not done, to be more accurate.
Let me explain….(In fact this tale does have a happy ending!)
I have been buying and selling on eBay for more years than I care to remember, and during that time I have been a private seller, had an eBay shop and have been awarded ‘Power Seller’ status by eBay… in fact I still have that accolade.
So it would be fair to say that I’m reasonably experienced in the ways of buying and selling on eBay.
The most important lesson I have learned is how to win eBay auctions, even if I am up against multiple bidders.
The trick is to stay under cover and to be anonymous for most of the auction, until the very end, and then you make your move. This tactic is called ‘Sniping’… you have probably heard of it.
Whilst staying under cover, keep your gun sights firmly trained on the target, which in this case is eBay’s ticking clock of the last few minutes and seconds of an auction. Then and only then do you make your presence known. In the dying seconds of the auction – 8 seconds works for me – you fire off your one single bid.
You have only time for one shot, as there will be no time left to re-load and fire off another bid if someone outbids you. So you have got to be certain that your aim (price) is spot on.
With this technique you simply cannot lose and here’s why: If you have done your homework beforehand, then you will know exactly what price you are prepared to bid up to. Anything beyond that price should be of no interest to you at all, as it will be too expensive for your purpose.
The key thing is to do your homework beforehand. Here are the crucial things you need to have accomplished before settling down with your bidding finger ready to fire at the end of the auction:
- Check out the Front-Story of the Auction – By this I mean look at how the seller has described their item. Their description should answer all the questions you have in your mind about the sale. If there is insufficient information for you to tick this box, then you must ask. There is an ‘ask seller a question’ on all eBay auction pages. Try to always have more information (by asking) than the other competing bidders.
- Check the Back-Story – The back-story is represented by the details concerning the seller themselves. The best way to uncover this information is to look at the seller ‘Feedback Rating’. By clicking on their feedback link you will be able to discover how active they are as a seller. Look at the type of things they have been selling in the past. If it’s mainly household goods, then it’s likely that they are a ‘private seller.’ If they sell a lot of commercial goods, then they will likely be a ‘trade seller.’ Look also at the comments left by other purchasers in the past for this seller. Are they reliable and can they be trusted?
- If you are Buying to Resell, then you Must Compare Prices – If you are buying for personal use at home, then this is less important. However, if you are buying stock to resell then try to check the prices of the stock you are considering buying, with the outlet you plan to sell on later e.g. Amazon. If there is insufficient information in the listing, then ask the seller.
- Decide on Your Optimum Price – Now is the time, with the information you have accumulated, to decide on one single price that you would be happy to bid up to. This is your one shot. EBay’s bidding system will do all the bidding for you, so don’t worry that by bidding high, that you will pay a high price whether there are other competing bidders or not. EBay will bid on your behalf only as much as is needed to keep you ahead of other competing bidders, up to but not beyond your final bid price.
- Timing – If you are happy with the first four steps, you then need to settle down and wait. Important: Do not bid during the auction, as that will only attract counter bids and ultimately raise the overall price- only bid at the very end. Then print out, or make a note of the day and time that the auction finishes…and then wait.
And it is this final step where I messed up earlier this week, and why I am so furious with myself. I studiously followed the five steps, outlined above, and then stupidly forgot to bid!
I had found a perfect lot of Music CDs – a lucrative niche which I have just posted a blueprint about in my new Profit Box website (please check it out if not already a member).
This was great lot of CDs which exactly fulfilled all my criteria…and then I let it slip through my fingers. To add insult to injury, it went for a really good price too, when the auction finished without me.
So, please learn from my mistake and remember to follow all the steps – including the last one; to actually bid!
The Happy Ending
If this same situation happens to you…and in reality it’s easy to get distracted, then try this tactic: I emailed the seller and apologised for missing their auction. I then politely suggested that if the winner of the auction did not complete the transaction for any reason, then I would be happy to match or increase their offer.
Most times this won’t work, but sometimes…such as on this occasion, it does.
So tomorrow, I’m off to collect the CDs, which so very nearly slipped through my fingertips.
Have a great week.
UPDATE: I am indebted to Lynn for her suggestion of using an automated solution for sniping. www.auctionsniper.com takes the uncertainty of ‘waiting’ out of last minute sniping.