I have deliberately abridged this household tips article to illustrate pricing strategies. "Tips For Pricing Yard Sale Items” was written by Lynnette Walczak, and published in household-tips.thefuntimesguide.com
If you want to be smiling at the end of your yard sale and feel good that you’ve sold most of your items, then price everything very low! I’m not kidding.
[Left over inventory is a drag on your shelf space and should be liquidated, or returned to keep your retail store looking fresh.]
Price Tags vs Haggling
Unless someone is a seasoned yard sale shopper, most people aren’t all that comfortable “haggling” to get the best deal on a yard sale item.
[Know your customers – Canadians don’t like haggling.]
I’ve found that most shoppers would rather know what you’re asking for an item (thus, price tags or yard sale stickers are a necessity). And only about one-third of those will try to talk you down on the price. If you don’t have price tags (or table signs) on all of your items, then chances are the very shy people (or someone who is just mildly interested in an item) won’t ever speak up and ask you the price. People who might have bought, if they only saw a price tag on the item, will just quietly leave your sale instead.
[Don’t make it difficult for people to buy.]
Here’s a tip if you are trying to sell something that is fairly high dollar and it’s a popular item that appears in catalogs or sale ads. Cut out the ad with the item in it (with the price showing of course) and tape it to your item. I’ve seen this done mostly with gently used children’s toys and such. It shows the buyer that spending $10 for an item that normally sells for $40 new is a good deal. Be selective if you use this this tactic, people will get turned off if you do it for every item you’re trying to sell.
[Referencing another price from a competitor or an almost identical product builds trust that you know what you are doing.]
Make An Offer… No Way!
Another thing I’ve learned firsthand: People don’t like to “make an offer”. They want to know what your starting bid is first, so they can offer something lower.
At my last yard sale, I had a bunch of collectibles (Michael Jordan stuff, Nolan Ryan stuff, old-timey memorabilia from Kool-Aid, Campbell’s Soup, etc.) and, despite the “Make an offer” signs prominently hung in front of these items, people repeatedly asked me, “How much do you want for this?”
My reply of, “Make me an offer” was never accepted. They would all balk and cringe and mumble something to the effect of: “I don’t want to make an offer… I want to know how much you want for it.”
[Answer – giving a price range works.]
Only one woman forced me on the issue. She talked me into starting the bidding process. And I guess she liked the price, because she jumped on it, without any hesitation. That was my fear… Since I’m not into collectibles, I wanted someone who was to start the bidding process. Because if I started, not knowing the item’s true value, I’d likely start it too low and get “taken.”
[Do your homework and if you have no idea start with a really high price and move down with the market.]
What Do You Do If Nothing Is Selling?
Half-way through your sale (if not sooner), you need to take a step back and assess the situation. If items are selling, then you probably don’t need to do anything differently. But if you’ve hardly sold anything — or you just want to blow-out the rest of the items that haven’t sold yet — then consider having a “1/2 Off Sale!” Or, if it’s late in the day, and you see someone looking at a particular item for a few minutes longer than most, yet they don’t buy it. Before they leave, offer that item to them at 1/2 price. Most of the people I’ve done this with will actually buy it at the lower price!
[Lesson? Be flexible. Not all customers are the same, with the same tastes or same pocketbook. What some people will happily buy is junk to someone else.]
About the Author:
Andrew Gregson published his book Pricing Strategies for Small Business in 2008. The book is now available in Europe, India, Russia and the United States. Andrew holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics. He writes a column for Castanet.net, and is a guest speaker to industry and trade groups. Andrew has owned businesses and franchises; worked as a business consultant, and now works in finance in Kelowna, British Columbia, wine country. You can contact Andrew through his website www.pricingstrategies.ca.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.