What does Ahimsa have to do with negotiating a deal? Well, first off let me define ahimsa. Basically it means don’t harm yourself or other things, people or animals. See my other post: Let’s Talk Ahimsa & Soap Boxes.
And it applies to negotiating in one major way: R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
When you’re trying to hawk your wares on craigslist it’s easy to think that you’re for sure being swindled. Just yesterday I’m pretty sure someone was pulling a scam on me – and all I can hope is that their karma catches up to them. But how can you get top dollar for your things and still have respect for the person you’re working with?
This is what I’m learning (I say learning because I’ve never tried to sell things on The World Wide Web… needless to say I feel very savvy and advanced).
- Be honest: The temptation to lie is there when you’re chatting up your gently used goods up online; but what’s the best case scenario after a lie? You lie about the quality of something and then invite a stranger into your home to become irritated with you once they realize you’re trying to sell them shit? Not the best idea of all time. Just be straight up and to the point – “this is what I’ve got, this is what I want for it.” Maybe you’re willing to negotiate, maybe you’re not. Just be real about it.
- Follow up: Even if the answer is “no thanks,” or “I found a better offer,” or “I think you’re scamming me, dude,” respond to the offer. I may not have ever sold anything online, but I have bought stuff via the list of craig before and there’s nothing more frustrating than just waiting on a reply. If you sold the trumpet you’re offering on craigslist, just tell someone. (I haven’t sold that trumpet btw – so if you’re interested and in the Miami area click here).
- Be real with yourself: Ahimsa doesn’t just mean not harming someone else, it means not harming yourself as well. And there’s nothing more harmful during a big move than total denial and delusion. If you think your second generation craigslist dresser is worth $200, maybe you should just keep it – because no one’s going to accept that. And on the other side of the spectrum know what you want for something and stick to that bottom line if you feel it would be harmful to you to sell for anything less. Just be real with yourself about what you want out of this crazy craigslist deal.
- Do your research: Let me tell you right up front. I know jack about trucks, trumpets and fine furniture; but I’m still trying to turn a profit. So what did I do? I did about 15-minutes of research on each item, so I could at least have a surface level conversation with someone about the quality of the stuff they’re getting if they’re getting it from me. I know what my truck is worth by Kelley Blue Book Standards – and I know what Carmax offered me for it. I also know what kind of engine it has and what work it needs done. I can’t talk trumpets or trucks for more than 5-10 minutes and if you want details you’re asking the wrong yogi, but I do want to know a little about what I’m talking about (if you’re interested in the world’s best truck, click here… just sayin’).
- When in doubt ask your dad: My father (and my mother) are valuable resources when it comes to all things moving related. Sure I wasn’t really taking my mom seriously when she was talking to me about this great iPod that people use to move their things… but when I realized that what she was talking about was a U-Box that ended up being my solution. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or use people around you as resources when you’re doing anything. But most especially don’t be afraid to say: “Yo, Pops, what the heck is a title and what do you think I did with mine?” You’ll save yourself a lot of time and trouble.
I don’t see myself hitting the big time with eBay or anything like that – but I am learning a thing or two about the online market place. And I find myself enjoying it. I guess when the options are pack boxes, clean your bathroom or sort through papers from 2009, selling things on craigslist starts to look pretty good… Don’t feel obligated to buy any of my things… but here’s a dresser I’m selling (haha). No seriously.
Happy hawking, yogis!