Becoming a Successful Seller.
I've run into my fair share of bad traders, so I thought I'd write up a brief article with some tips and tricks for new traders here.Rule #1: Know your merchandise.
This isn't always easy. Prices are constantly changing and unless you're on top of the market, it's hard to keep up. A new shield with a really cool skin is introduced into the game and everyone wants it. The shield is flying off the trader shelves in Kamadan at 100k + 10-50ectos. Six months later, you're lucky to get 20k for the thing. There are a few rules of thumb you can use however.
- Weapons are the hardest to price. Many factors go into determining a price. Skin, color, stats, availability. If you are new to trading then do some research. Post in the price check forum, look at the price records to see what previous weapons sold at. Don't be afraid to ask questions. The biggest mistake new traders make is overpricing common items.
- Color: Is it gold or green? If the answer is no then it likely won't fetch much money. Purple weapons are very common and generally not wanted even if they have nice stats. If the requirement on a blue or purple is low then it may be useful to a new character, but remember that newbies don't have much gold to spend and won't spend several plat on a weapon they will ditch as soon as they level up. There are exceptions to the rule, but they are naturally rare.
- Skin: This is the main thing driving the price. Use the wiki to find out where your weapon skin can be found. If it's rarely seen it's probably worth more.
- Greens: These are unique and only found in 1 place. However they are also unchangable. Keep that in mind as you price the item. If the stats aren't what most people like then you can't charge as much. If the boss is heavily farmed for other reasons then there will be many many copies of your green on the market and again you can't charge much. Claws of the Broodmother is a good example of this. Every assassin in the game spends time in the Raptor Cave killing the boss. On the other hand, if your green looks really cool and has stats that are needed in popular build then you can charge extra. Pywatt's Talons is a good example here.
- Stats: Know the difference between inherent stats and moddable stats. Use the wiki to research weapon stats. Max damage weapons are easy to obtain so it's rare that you will find a buyer willing to pay for a non-max damage weapon. These should just be merched. Sometimes a rare skin can make up for bad stats, but it must be a really rare skin.
- Availability. Some of the highest priced items ingame are discontinued weapons and minis. New items that are added ingame will have high price tags for a few weeks and then rapidly drop in price as more people find them.
- Trader items. Unlike weapons, these are the easiest to price. If there is an NPC ingame that is buying and selling the item you want to sell then your price is dictated by his prices. You need to sell your item for a price between his buy and sell prices. Lockpicks are a good example. The merchant sells lockpicks for a stable 1.5k and buys for 750g. Players typically sell lockpicks to other players for 1200 or 1250g. Sometimes lower if they want a quick sale. If you are selling Runes/materials/keys/dyes/consumables then check the trader prices to determine your price.
- Times change and the markets change with them. When Nightfall was first released, I got lucky and found an Elemental Sword drop in the Desolation. I sold that sword for 100k + 11ectos. Today, I could get perhaps 10k for that sword. Just because you may have paid 80k for a nice shield or minipet a year ago, doesn't mean you can expect the same price today. If you've had an item up for auction for a few months with no bites, then take a look at your price. Has the market for that item changed?
Remember, you must be realistic when pricing your stuff. Sure, that blue Vabbian shield may look totally awesome and you're sure it must be worth 40-50k, but if you see 20 other copies of the same skin for sale for 1-2k then don't expect buyers to pay you 40k for your copy. Rule #2: Make your auction appealing.
Check the auction listings and you'll probably see at least 50 swords for sale. So you add your sword to the list, huh? Why should I buy **your** sword? There are plenty of other swords to pick from here. What makes your sword so special? These are the things you need to think about when listing your merchandise and they need to be part of your sales pitch.
If you want top dollar for your sword, then explain why you feel the weapon deserves it. Sure, you can buy any old sword for 1k, but mine is 20k because this sword can only be found in the farthest reaches of some extremely hard area and the time it takes to obtain is worth 20k.
If the skin on your weapon is soooo incredibly cool and rare that it deserves a high price tag then include a nice screenshot of the skin. Gwauctions has an extensive screenshot collection that you can use or you can upload one of your own to make your auction stand out from the crowd.
If there is nothing particularly special about your item, then price it accordingly. Perhaps you just want to unload those 20 perfect inscriptions that are clogging up your storage. Well, check the listings and see how many other copies are already listed and undercut them for a quick sale.
Use humor in your auctions or something that makes them stand out in the crowd. I have a screenshot that I've saved for years from Kaineng Center. It shows a line in the trade chat:
"WTS 1 Wintergreen Candy Cane!! 100k + 10ectos. (Receive free Kuunuvang minipet with purchase!)"
I had a good laugh at his sales pitch and if I had happened to need a candy cane (or pet), I would have bought from him. He got noticed and getting noticed in the flood of trade chat is the first step.
I saw an auction on this site a while back that was selling some type of melee weapon. Included was a screenshot of a female Ele using the weapon on some monster twice her twice. It was a good shot of the weapon in use. The notes section described the weapon and said "We would like to thank our beautiful model for demostrating the use of this weapon. All proceeds from this sale will go towards her hospital bill."
Minipets are a good item for humor. Unless you have a rarer pet, you can expect to see several other copies of your pet up for sale. You can undercut the other auctions, but what if they are already low priced and you just don't want to let yours go for that. Use humor. I try to style my minipet auctions like real pets.
"For sale: Devourer. Fully housebroken and de-clawed. Enjoys long walks on the beach. Requires special diet of aloe seeds."
"For sale: Forest Minotaur. Moving Guild Hall and new landlord does not allow pets in the new hall. Guild Leader is tired of paying renovation costs after "snuggles" latest rampage. Needs a loving and patient home NOW!!!!" Rule #3: Make yourself appealing.
Sites like gwauctions and ebay depend on feedback and reputation. If you're a pain to deal with, then don't expect good feedback and don't expect buyers to come knocking at your door often.
I've had a lot of bad experiences here. Now don't misquote me, I've had a lot of good experiences too and the good definitely outweighs the bad. Yet the bad are always more memorable. I still cringe when a new buyer who just registered an account 2 minutes ago with 0 feedback bids on my auctions. Sometimes it's fine but many times I never make the trade.
Make yourself easy to do business with:
- Reliability. This is the #1 most important quality in a seller. If I bid on a nice Req 9 Zealous Celestial Daggers with a +30HP mod, then I expect to receive exactly that. I don't want your Req 9 Sundering Daggers and I don't want your Req 10 daggers even if you will give them to me for a third of the price. I want the item I bid on, not excuses. Once you make a sale you are committed to delivering that item.
- Ingame experience. I call this the "hassle factor". Please, if you are listing an auction then I expect you to know the basics of the game. No, you don't have to know how to speed clear the Underworld in a half hour or less. You should know:
- How to open a trade window with someone and complete the trade.
- What a platinum is.
- An understanding of districts. (Please specify the district you are in)
- How to reach The Great Temple of Balthazar.
Don't laugh. I've encountered sellers that have had difficulty with all of the above items. I had a seller once that asked me to meet him "by the armor guy". When I asked which town and district he was clueless. I could never get anything more out of him than "armor guy" and finally had to give up on the trade.
- When can you make the trade? Nobody can be online 24/7 and your trade partners need to understand that. Yet at the same time, if you can only be ingame every other Saturday from 1pm - 2pm local time then don't expect to make many sales. In your profile, be sure your time zone is accurately shown and list the times you are usually available for trading.
- Be flexible. This is a tough one for me, but except for 1 or 2 hard cases I've been able to meet up with my buyers within a week. I'm an American and I play in the evenings my time. Gwauctions has a mostly European user base and those Europeans are usually asleep when I'm ingame. This makes it tough to trade sometimes, so I normally contact the buyer and make arrangements to meet on the weekends during the day. If absolutely no accomodations can be made then consider using a 3rd Party that you trust to make the trade.
- Good communication is a plus. One of my pet peeves is when I win an auction and have trouble contacting the seller. Does he want to sell the item or not? Now you should be reasonable. I don't expect a seller to respond within the hour or even within a day if he isn't online. However 3 or 4 days without even a note is irritating. I check gwauctions at least once a day when I have active auctions. If I see that an item is sold, I send a quick note off to the buyer thanking them for the purchase and letting them know when I'll be ingame next to trade. I'll ask if that is convenient and if not to please let me know.
If you can't be ingame for an extended period of time then let people know. If you have open auctions then suspend the ones without bids and contact any outstanding buyers and explain why you can't trade them.
- Be friendly and patient. When I see a trade partner ingame, I'll pm them and say I'd like to trade for the auction I won/sold. I ask if this is a good time and if not, when can we trade. One thing to remember, when most people are ingame, they are actually playing the game. They are not standing around town waiting for their auction partners to show up. (Well, except for Bearz) Most likely they are on a mission, quest or elite dungeon with their guild. Sometimes it's possible to stop what you're doing to trade and sometimes it isn't.
- Keep your word. Like I mentioned above, there have been many times when I've contacted a buyer or seller to trade and been told to wait until they are done with their mission. No problem, however when you're done with that mission please don't forget to contact your buyers. It's irritating to be told to wait only to discover that they logged off for the night after the mission is over. If you do forget (we all do from time to time) or if your internet connection fizzled then just send your buyer a quick note apologizing for the hassle. This simple courtesy will go a long ways towards improving your feedback.
- Set your ingame status correctly. If you've arranged to meet with a buyer ingame sometime this evening and you need to step away from the computer for a bit, then set your status to "away". It's frustrating to deal with a trader that I PM several times with no answer and I usually knock the feedback down a notch.
- Lastly, remember this is a business deal. Your buyer is not your new best friend. I've made a lot of friends on this site but you also can't assume that someone really wants more of a relationship than simply trading a sword. I've had buyers and sellers complete the trade and then ask me to run them thru a mission. I've had guild invites from sellers. I've been asked to teach them to farm the item I sold them.
If I buy a weapon from you, it's because I wanted that weapon. I do not want to be PM'd each night with a list of other weapons you are selling. I will not loan you gold for your armor and I will not run you to Lion's Arch so please don't ask. If you do, I will likely never buy anything from you again.
Are you still reading? Wow! Thanks. Well I hope this article was informative and perhaps it will help some potential sellers ease into the market.
Comments? Suggestions? Hate mail? Add your own Tips?