I’m Only Selling 5 Items Per Month on eBay! What’s Wrong?
I had someone say to me recently, “Steve, I’ve been selling on eBay for a couple of months now. I’m stuck at five items per month. I can only sell five items per month. I just don’t get it. I can’t get past it. What is wrong?”
Now, I don’t know where you personally might be stuck. But I’ve been there. I’ve been stuck. I have a few thoughts about what could be going wrong for you.
You Are Not Listing Enough Items
This is number one, I guarantee you. You’re simply not listing enough items.
Now, when you first get started, it’s true that you will be hit with various eBay listing limitations. It will take you a month or two to get those limits raised. Just be persistent, list as many items as you can, and then continue to call eBay to request a higher selling limit. As long as you’re providing good service for the few transactions that you complete on eBay, you will be able to get your limitations raised in about 30 to 60 days.
Let’s just say you’ve gone over that hurdle and have gotten your listing limits raise. Well the next step is to set daily goals. Set listing goals every single day. That’s the key. Set a monthly goal. Set a weekly goal. Set a daily goal. When I was full-time on eBay, I was listing between 10 and 20 items per day—that seemed to be the sweet spot for me—and I was doing between $5,000 and $8,000 a month.
A good rule of thumb for you is if you want to double your sales, then double your listings. That’s one of the biggest keys right there. I can promise you if you take a look at your sales and how many items you’re listing, you are probably going to see a strong correlation.
You Stopped Listing When Sales Were Going Well
One of the problems that a lot of people have is when they start to make sales, they stop listing. They think, “Oh, things are going well. I don’t have to list anymore.” That’s the incorrect way to look at your business.
When things are going well, you want to list even more. When things are going poorly, you want to double down and list even harder. When you list items, you don’t see the return on investment instantly. Most of the time, you will see it a week down the road, maybe two weeks. Think about a time when sales were slow and you just decided that you were going to kick it into overdrive and list, list, list. I’ll bet that about two weeks later you had to best sales week ever. That’s just how it works. When things are going well, keep listing. When things are going bad, double up on the listing.
Now, you might want to know if you should schedule out your listings or physically do it every day. For the most part what I do and what the people that I associate with do is list every single day.
I have experimented with scheduling out my listings if I were going on vacation or if I knew I would be extremely busy for a few days. So you can schedule out the listings if you really need to. Let me put it this way: I would rather list 10 items a day, seven days a week, versus listing 70 items in two days. I just find that the algorithm seems to favor consistent, gradual listing.
You Are Not Listing Good-Quality Items That Have a Market
If you’re listing low-quality items that don’t have a market, then really what are you doing? You’re like a hamster running on a wheel. You need to make sure that you’re getting into quality items that have a market.
How do you know if an item has a market? Do your research before you buy the item. How many times is it selling? How much is it selling for? How many sellers are there? Do you feel that you can come into the market and make that sale? Is there a high enough sales velocity?
Some of you will be wondering if seasonality matters when determining if something has a market. It does, but only to a certain extent. Many people won’t pick up summer items if it’s winter. I still will. Obviously summer items will sell better in the summer, but if you’re offering international shipping, then you could be selling to parts of the world with vastly different climates than the one you are in. Plus you can’t forget about the people who are going on vacation in the winter and are looking for summer items.
Your Listings Are Lacking in Quality
Your sales also might be stagnant because your listings are not hitting the mark. Maybe your photography could be improved. If your pictures are not good quality, then you are going to turn people off. If you are pricing inaccurately—either too high or too low—that might be hurting you. If you’re doing auctions, it might be better to try listing as Buy It Now. If you have zero feedback on your eBay account, then you probably want to start buying some items and getting some buyer’s feedback at least to have something there. As far as how you are writing your listings, you might not be providing measurements or important details that potential customers are looking for.
One thing that I would recommend is to go through some successful eBay accounts. Go to the sold listings and find some eBay sellers who have a lot of feedback and who have maybe a couple hundred items listed. Study their listings. If you’re selling clothing, go find five or 10 really awesome clothing sellers and study what they’re doing.
This is exactly what I did, and I still remember taking notes: “Okay, I’ve got to improve my photography. Let’s invest in a lighting kit. Let’s invest in a backdrop. Let’s invest in a dress form mannequin. Okay, let’s invest in some clip-on ties so I can clip them onto a dress shirt and then put a suit jacket over ii and make it look professional.”
You’ve got to reverse engineer success. Find people who are having success, figure out what they’re doing, and slowly start to model them.
Ask and Answer
So these are the questions you need to be asking yourself. Are you sourcing high- quality items that have a market? Are you your pictures on point? Are you pricing correctly? How are your descriptions? Are you listing on a consistent basis?
Answer yourself with complete honesty, and then work toward improving a few aspects of your business at a time. You will then start to get the results you are looking for.
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