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I Sold 4 of Our Cars in 4 Hours: Lessons on Online Sales and Letting Go

4 car models BMW Nissan Toyota Honda

I have an ongoing struggle with “letting go,” but with more mindful practice, I feel like I made progress in leaps and bounds last year. Those who truly know me can attest to my being clingy and overly sentimental, making it very difficult for me to say goodbye – to people, places, experiences – and to throw things away. The latter may be traced back to both my parents who, for lack of a less pejorative term, are both pack rats.

The Surprise

So imagine my surprise when I came home from Thailand, and dad casually asked for help in selling his cars. Wait, what? Not even a full year ago, we had suggested selling 1 or 2, to which he quietly replied, “kapag patay na ako, pwedeng niyong gawin kahit anong gusto niyo. Habang buhay ako, hindi ko ipagbebenta.” That screamed STFU louder than if he had actually screamed. I mean, what does one say to that? But I completely understood where he was coming from. He had maintained all those cars with the care of a doting father. So, with that bit of context, the sudden decision to sell 5 cars was kind of a shock.

In support of his epiphany, I got to work within minutes, noting the cars’ specs, my dad’s price points, and taking photos. I got advice from friends and peeked at the online market, thinking that would be enough. I went off eagerly into the web, only to be slapped by my naivetΓ©. Wow, I was not prepared for all the kinds of questions and personalities I’d have to deal with.

Carousell

I first posted on Carousell, and was so happy to get 2 inquiries upon submitting all the details. ‘This is going to be easier than I thought!’ I went ahead and prepared my next listing, but was disappointed to learn that there was a cap for advertising vehicles for free. πŸ€¦πŸ½β€β™€οΈ (Subsequent listings will cost 899 Carousell coins = P999). Meh. This prompted me to find another channel for my needs.

Facebook Marketplace

Enter frame: the all-encompassing Facebook. Exit: my time and sanity. πŸ€ͺ The moment I published my 1st car, I got 2 inquiries… per second. And since I posted 4 cars, I’m not exaggerating when I say I did nothing else but respond to inquiries until I went to sleep that night. I must’ve gotten a thousand responses, at least! With that many to weed through, what I thought was easy became a little more complicated.

The Learning Curve

The Marketplace didn’t have as many fields to input the specifics, when compared to Carousell, so I had neglected to mention some details. One of the more important ones was whether our SUV ran on diesel or gasoline. I paid for that mistake by having to reply to the first 50 or so buyers with that extra piece of information. Blame it on the learning curve! I went back to edit all of my entries and it consequently acted as a filter to narrow down the interested parties. What I didn’t count on were the people who didn’t read/comprehend/have any manners.

Personalities

The Jargon-Users

Screenshot of Buyer's Jargon

HM LP? = How much last price? Thankfully, by 7:23 pm, I’d figured that much out

I’d encountered “hm” before, but “lp” took some head scratching πŸ˜… I was also asked about the “od”(turned out to be odometer) and “what gas”? Is that a normal “car” thing to ask?

The Non-Readers

Screenshot of a lazy buyer

When all the information is right there but they either don’t read or they don’t believe me

The Lost in Communication

Screenshot of repetitive buyer

Just your run-of-the-mill miscommunication

The Patronizing

Screenshot of an overbearing buyer

No, thanks for YOUR time

The Wa-is

The shortcut buyer

Sumisingit ka rin siguro sa pila

The Creepy Cheapskate

He wanted to come at 10:30 pm, and then wasn’t willing to pay my asking πŸ™„

I regret there were so many more crazy chat messages I’d deleted before I thought of taking screenshots. HOWEVER, I admit I had/still have absolutely no idea how car sales are done properly, so the bit about expecting buyers to wait their turn (very SLP of me) may have been unusual to the regulars. But isn’t waiting one’s turn common courtesy? I even pointed out to another, who had started talking rudely to me when I wouldn’t schedule a viewing, that whatever the SOPs are, the final decisions are still my prerogative. To the nice ones who were patient with me, I apologized that I didn’t exactly know what I was doing.

Tips on Selling Your Vehicles Online

So from that experience, here are some of my pointers for those who want and need to do this sometime.

1. Clearly identify your vehicles’s make, model, and year. Diesel or Gasoline. If not implied in the model, the engine volume capacity.

2. Boast of any special features with terms like “top of the line” if you beefed it up with all the add-ons. This could include things like full leather upholstery and wood trim.

3. State your price, and if you’re not willing to negotiate (which I wasn’t), put it in all caps. This can hopefully help in streamlining your target audience.

4. Take beautiful photos from 5 angles: front, back, sides at a 45-degree angle (my friend called this the glamour shot), and interior, showing the dashboard, condition of seats and the like. Set up your car in a garage, or in a pleasant environment, to give buyers the impression that you’re a good person. πŸ˜‚ This sounds so superficial, but I get the logic.

5. Take the time to chat with buyers whom you have a good feeling about. Only give your contact information to serious prospects.

6. Meet or transact at a place where you feel safe. I chose a fastfood joint outside our village to meet buyers on foot, took them through our security gate and had them inspect the cars in full view of our guards. This way, there will be no chance for them to hurt me and take off with the vehicle (call me paranoid, but there have been car-napping cases like this).

7. Meet with buyers one at a time. I was in a pickle when 2 of them were “fighting” over one car, and if one hadn’t backed down, I wouldn’t have known how to politely settle the situation. I was lucky because one was bent on paying full price, which made the decision much easier.

8. Post one listing at a time, if not in a hurry. I was so confused at one point!

9. Have the original Official Receipt (OR) and Certificate of Registration (CR) ready. I was also asked for a Certificate of Secretary, but I’m still not sure if that’s because the vehicle was a gift from my mom’s company. Lastly, a Deed of Sale.

Bye, Old Faithfuls

This morning went by in a blur. I was starting to feel tearful, thinking of all the memories I have of and in those cars. Now, I’m just happy we were able to find new owners who all seem to have such good stories of their own. A new retiree who wants a car for his wife to drive around in their province, a Balikbayan from Sydney who wants his own ride when he comes home, a child’s gift to a mother, and a father’s gift to a daughter. All of them seemed to appreciate the value my dad gave to each of those cars, and my hope is that they continue to value them just as much.

It really gets easier, when I understand that with every goodbye is another hello.

 

2 Comments

  1. Macy says:

    Aww na-teary-eyed ako sa last line. Good job, Kaichypoo! Grabe, pag may kailangan akong big ticket item na ibenta, sa’yo ko papabenta haha

    • 1DK says:

      This is really my lifelong challenge: letting go! But the last line is true to where I am at now =)

      YES SURE hahaha challenge accepted!

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