Got eBay? It’s Not as Difficult as You Think

October 2012, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Greg Wells - Also by this author

With all the time, effort and energy you put into managing your inventory and listing it online, you may be coming up short in fully promoting your vehicles. So I ask you, got eBay?

More than four million vehicles have been sold on eBay and counting, yet many dealers don’t utilize this dynamic marketplace. EBay exposes your vehicles to a whole new audience and on a national scale. Dealers avoid eBay for many reasons, but the two most prevalent are fear and structure.

Fear of the unknown and fear of a deal gone bad are probably the two biggies. As for the unknown, you are just an education away from knowing the ins and outs of selling on eBay. Like anything you do for the first time, the fear subsides as you get a couple of deals under your belt and realize this is just car selling.

Have you ever sold a vehicle out of state? Have you ever had a customer fly in to take delivery or paid a driver to deliver a vehicle? Have you done paperwork through the mail with a primary buyer or co-signer? If so, then you’re prepared for an eBay transaction. Actually, these circumstances will likely make up the minority of your eBay transactions. Most of your eBay customers will come to you to take delivery, and you can stick to your regular delivery process.

Structure, on the other hand, may take some work internally. I recommend you have designated eBay representatives who understand the process and are available to work exclusively with eBay customers. Operating an eBay store or managing the auctions requires timely interaction and a lot of attention. That said, your return on the time and money is excellent.

Time is one of a salesperson’s greatest assets and the return on investment for eBay dealers is quite appealing. Listing vehicles and managing an eBay store is inexpensive, and believe it or not, you don’t have to give away your cars on eBay. Your cars will sell for market value just like any other Internet transaction.

Your experience with selling on eBay will be enhanced if you set up an eBay store. This will present you as a more credible seller to eBay shoppers. A store also gives you search engine optimization equity and will generate more traffic online. EBay stores are easy to set up. With three different types of stores, you can start with a basic format and work your way up as you build your eBay business.

Let’s dispel the biggest myth about eBay customers and how they bid. A bid on an eBay car is not necessarily a lowball offer. It’s more of a nuance with the eBay process and requires you to think differently about this “lead.” An offer is just a start with an eBay customer and serves as your call to action, or interaction, in this case. When a prospect bids on your car, you should contact that customer and offer to help them.

Many times, just picking up the phone or reaching out to that customer will start a dialogue that leads to a sale. Be open with the customer; answer their questions about your reserve, the condition of the car and the logistics of finalizing the deal and taking delivery.

Ask questions about what your prospect is trying to accomplish. You probably have other vehicles in stock you can talk about that may be even more suited to the customer’s needs. If this is the case, this eBay customer just turned into business-as-usual, and you can make a sale. A quick hint: If you do switch cars, ask your customer to “Buy It Now” on eBay so they will be able to leave feedback, and you get credit for the transaction as an eBay sale.

This article isn’t meant to sound like an eBay commercial. I just really think you may be missing the boat when it comes to marketing your vehicles. If you are listing vehicles online, you are 90 percent there already. The cars have been cleaned, pictures taken, descriptions written and the listings exported to the online marketplaces. Why not take one more step and offer the millions of eBay shoppers a chance to buy your car?

Now, I’ll ask you again. Got eBay?

Vol. 9, Issue 8


  1. 1. Frank Curcio [ November 06, 2012 @ 11:26AM ]

    You characterize the Two Biggest reasons are fear and structure. When, in realty, us smaller dealers are not afraid of anything, and have infrastructure in place to launch ebay listings in a flash. So, the Biggest reason to avoid Ebay is there unreasonably high listing fees, coupled with their unreasonable low listing terms of only 7 days. From an advertising budget perspective, while recognizing ebay does work well with certain profile units, Ebay is not cost effective for the dealer with cross segment of inventory units to list and sell. Lets set the record straight, your failure to identify this element of ebay advertising does not make you sound like an ebay commercial, it Makes You an Actual Ebay Commercial. Your assessment of ebay without covering the spectrum of costs means readers should take your characterization with a grain of salt.

  2. 2. Christian Toups [ November 06, 2012 @ 11:41AM ]

    I absolutely agree with Frank. I have managed used car inventories for large, 300 to 500 unit dealers, to small 50 to 100 unit dealers and have used ebay for many years. After looking at all the data, over a 6 to 7 year period, it is totally not cost effective to sell on ebay. With regards to what you will spend to market the inventory compared to what your profit margins are per unit, you will have to sell huge volumes, in the thousands, to make it profitable. The numbers do not lie! This article defintitely sounds like a paid advertisement for ebay!


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