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Top EBay sellers have some advice for GM

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GM will begin selling automobiles on eBay this fall as part of its overall restructuring plan to lower operating costs (especially marketing and advertising). It will be interesting to see if GM's margins suffer from an inability to haggle, up sell, and use sales psychology to close the deal.

When it comes to online auto sales, there are no smiling, smooth-talking salespeople to help seal a deal.

So how can General Motors Co. sell more cars on EBay?


It may be as simple as running a lot of photos, having short, spiffy descriptions and responding to e-mails quickly, according to EBay "power sellers" who earned their title by selling at least $1,000 worth of merchandise each month.

72% of Customer Lead Calls Mishandled - Learn From Auto Dealers' Mistakes

"The most successful sellers create great listings, with clear, concise titles and lots of quality pictures," said Brad Schepp, coauthor of several books about selling on EBay, including "EBay PowerSeller Secrets."

In a monthlong experiment that started last week, about 225 GM dealers in California are teaming up with the auction site to sell new vehicles. Buyers can check it out at gm.ebay.com.

EBay Inc. and GM are not releasing preliminary sales figures until the experimental period ends Sept. 8. But the auto manufacturer said Wednesday that dealers received 2,400 offers to buy new vehicles in the first week of a pilot program. GM is considering rolling out the program nationwide if it's successful.

To do well on EBay, dealers must first know their audience, experts said. Online buyers are not tire-kickers. They have done their research, weighed their financial options and are looking for deals.

EBay buyers are "suspicious by nature, and some will test a seller by sending messages to gauge response time, friendliness, eagerness and willingness to bargain," Schepp said.

Responding to these sorts of inquiries might seem annoying and time-consuming, but it is a big part of doing business on EBay, said Debbie Imlay, who sells about $100,000 in merchandise a year. She said dealers need to... read more.


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