Happy Cinco de Mayo! As you read this, I am out to lunch with Deborah, Carmen and Mo. Today is Deborah’s last day. She is getting married and moving to northern California. We will miss her incredibly but are so happy for her !
Deborah at HQ.
- Lynn Recommends: Flatware Success eBook–preorder
- Special Announcement: 6 Easy Payment Plan for Live Boot Camp ends Tonight
- Feature Article: HQ Redo to Regain Top Seller Rating
This ezine is published every two weeks.
Cinco de Mayo, 2011
Volume VII, Issue 8
Once again, I write this ezine as I am sitting at a baseball tournament–some things never change–thank goodness. I don’t like too much change! This time I am in San Bernardino and there are 50 mph winds. A little difficult to work and write. But we will muddle through.
As you may have heard, I have been super focused on getting headquarters ready for Live Boot Camp. I want it to be perfect and I want to get through the Alps (the mountain of mechandise piled in the corner of HQ). This is after our Queen’s Court call last week when I mentioned that I wanted everything to be perfect. Check out this email I got from Diva Dawn. It made me smile. She knew more about my to do list than I did.
Subject: Are you Crazy???
Great call last night. Lots of wonderful info as usual and with a very positive and empowering atmosphere.
However, I have to wonder — are you totally NUTS???? I know you said that you work very well with deadlines looming and having lots on your plate, but, geesh lady, I know that you have all the following on your plate during the next 5 months, not including all the “mundane” and “normal” stuff that comes with having a home, 2 kids, a family, and a business:
- Live Boot Camp in September
- Flatware e-Book
- Class Reunion
- Annual trip to Bellingham
- eBay Radio Party in June
- Re-invigorating and streamlining HQ
- Bi-Weekly Ezine
- QC ID posts and monthly call
- Adjusting and reviewing all listings to make decisions/changes in compliance with Spring Seller Update
And now you’re planning on getting through the Alps completely and HQ being “perfect” for Boot Camp?!!! How did you manage to clone yourself? LOL
Too funny! I had forgotten about the eBay Radio Party in June. How fun that I get to go to Vegas and teach with some of my favorite people; the list of speakers is fantastic! It includes Griff, Marsha Collier, Janelle Elms, Cliff Ennico, John Colder Ice, Debbie Levitt, and Cindy Shebley.
Also, there will be great corporate sponsors in attendance. Kabbage, Doba, eBay, Page Mage, Ship-Rush, Stamps.com, and Terapeak. I am really hoping that my great friends from Terapeak (Denise and her crew) and Kabbage (Marc and his crew) are in Vegas. Terapeak and Kabbage made my Las Vegas LOL event a huge success. You guys are awesome and so are the services you provide to us eBayers!
I use Terapeak Now almost every day. It is a fantastic tool for quick pricing data and identification research. Terapeak gives you the QUICK guidance and even QUICKER pricing data you need to sell more items on eBay. I highly recommend it…and you guys know I don’t recommend anything I don’t use.
For more information, visit Terapeakand learn how they can help you!
I tried Kabbage for the first time several months ago. It is an awesome place to go and get CASH to help you grow your eBay business.
I just found out that Kabbage launched a new eBay App! Now you can utilize all the same great features of Kabbage without ever leaving your eBay account. If you download the eBay app today, Kabbage will send you a $5 Starbucks gift card. Don’t forget to review the app to let Kabbage know how you like it!
If you haven’t signed up yet for the eBay Radio Party, here is a link that I just got in an email from Lee Mirabel. The dates are June 22nd and 23rd at the Flamingo. Cost of admission is only $50 if you sign up now. See you there!
Speaking of eBay Radio, I was on this past Tuesday with Griff and Lee. Thanks, Griff and Lee! It was fun as always. If you missed that interview you can access it in the archives from the eBay Radio broadcast page here.
I had a great Easter week this year! First, one of my best friends from high school, Tina Burke Brown, was here staying at her second home. We went out to dinner one night and had a fantastic time catching up and talking about our upcoming High School Reunion this summer. We spent most of the time on my phone looking at the Facebook posts from our former classmates and cracking up! It was a blast.
Here are Tina and I at dinner.
Then on Easter I spent the day at a BBQ out here at a country club with my best friend from college, Juliette, her ex-husband, her two kids, my ex-husband, and my two kids. Strange but true!
Here are Indiana and Juliette’s daughter, Talia, running through the sprinklers. Indy is 12 years old and Talia 8 (quite an age difference when you are that little) but the lure of a sprinkler on a hot day makes anyone best friends!
I have been spending a lot of time at Headquarters and working diligently to get it “perfect” for Live Boot Camp. I even opened my first box as I attempt to get through the “Alps.”
Here is a photo of me opening that first box.
It was one of the boxes that I inherited from my grandmother and it was so fitting that the first box actually had a program from her memorial service, a baggie full of postage stamps (she was so smart she kept odd amounts of uncancelled postage stamps to reuse and make the exact amount–you would never catch my grandmother wasting money ), and a business card holder with her business cards.
In that first box, I found an unusual part of a cast iron toy bank, a Bakelite brooch, and a lot of awesome ephemera (paper goods). I have the cast iron toy bank part listed. How exciting! I am saving the smaller items, like jewelry and paper, to list after July 6th when we start getting charged final value fees on s/h/I charges.
See this listing here.
Those changes that take affect on July 6th make achieving and maintaining TRS (Top Rated Seller) status even more important. To prepare for this, I am doing a complete overhaul of HQ. Please read my feature article this week, called HQ REDO, to learn more about my strategies.
Speaking of HQ, as I was walking back to the office after picking up my mail from the locked mailbox, I saw that one of the letters was addressed to Barbara Sinatra of the Frank Sinatra Foundation. It really dawned on me how significant it was that Barbara Sinatra was getting mail at her old and my new place of business.
The Frank Sinatra Foundation had occupied my current Headquarters for many years prior. Wow! As I walked back through the front door of HQ I realized that not only had Barbara Sinatra spent time in this space but that Frank Sinatra had also. It made me realize that HQ is a special place where amazing things can and will happen!
It was really empowering! I hadn’t thought of it in those terms before. I am such a history buff (of course ) that I started looking around my office area with new eyes.
I could do great things in this space and making it perfect was completely within my grasp. I was going to be more organized with my eBay business than I ever have been before. Those 3200 square feet are not going to go to waste!
Our dates for Live Boot Camp at HQ are now set in stone. Six people have signed up! YAY…You can reserve your seat now (only 14 spots left). Read more about it in the Special Announcement section. The detailed informational page is ready to read. Click here to learn more.
Back to my windy weekend in San Bernardino…20 Hours of travel baseball later. At 5 am we left the house on Saturday to return at 2 pm (that is 9 hours). Then on Sunday, we left at 8 am to return at 9 pm (that is 13 hours). Well of course it doesn’t add up to 20 hours, it adds up to 22 hours (Houston’s number). Synchronicity.
In those 50 mph winds, we lost the first two games by one point each on Saturday and came back and won the three that mattered to take the championship on Sunday. Houston pitched only one inning on Saturday. Then he pitched six innings in mercy (9 to 0 us) on Sunday…to a team that when Houston and his buddy Ian (the catcher) tried to warm up in the bullpen (there was only one bullpen for both teams), the other team’s coaches told them to get lost…”This is our bullpen.” Not nice!
The next game was tougher and they brought in Houston to close it down. He had to pitch three more innings. Yikes! Not good. But he did it, the boys worked as a team and they pulled out of a 5 to 4 disadvantage in the 7th and final inning and turned it into a 6 to 5 win. Amazing! I was watching from my car (which means I would occasionally glance up to see which team was running off the field leaping in the air for victory)!
The final game at 5:30 pm was crazy. We were ahead, got behind, and entered the top of the 7 with a 5 to 6 deficit. Somehow the boys rallied and scored 4 runs. 9 to 6 going into the bottom of the 7th. We won! Long and hard-fought 2-day battle in 50 mph winds. We are all still exhausted but it was fun!
Here are the little champions (well not so little anymore).
Update on LOL footage
The LOL footage is being edited by Jason and will be finished and shipped out in about two weeks. Mid-May is our target. Carmen has taken a peek at it and says the footage is fantastic!
Click here to learn more and place your pre-order. This set is going to rival Boot Camp in a Box and the final price will be going up accordingly.
Check out this email I just got from Nancy Kantor (Nancy is a Live Boot Camp and LOL graduate)!
Check out this email I just got from Nancy Kantor (Nancy is a Live Boot Camp and LOL graduate)!
Subject: Finally 1000 Listings!
When I attended Boot Camp in 2009, I’d never had more than 150 items listed at a time. Usually I listed 20-25 items for auction per week. This week I got 99 items listed for auction and a bunch into store. It is really exciting to reach 1000.
Thanks for showing me the way.
A big shout-out and thank you to Mel and Steve for all of their fantastic teachings about clothing at both LOL and on our teleseminars.
Click here to learn more about our great LOL DVD set including two great lessons by Mel and Steve on sourcing and selling clothing on eBay.
Because of Mel & Steve, I just sold $100 worth of clothing over the weekend that I had paid $28 for. It was so exciting that I dragged Indy to Macy’s in between baseball games but they didn’t have any clearance rounders included in the sale.
Here is one of the items that sold! I paid $8 for this in August of last year. I still have another left and with spring/summer coming up I think it will sell soon. I bought these items in the middle of August when the season was over and now it is in season again.
See this listing here.
Check out this flatware we just sold out of our store. Flatware is flying off the shelves. I love flatware because it is one of those items that you can easily offer with free shipping! Mo listed these three spoons (and we had a quantity of two, so six spoons total) straight into our eBay store with FREE SHIPPING on 4/23/11. They sold for the best offer six days later on 4/29/11.
See this listing here.
It only cost me $2.38 to ship all six spoons, first class. Amazing!
I have started writing the flatware eBook! I am so excited about it. The initial outline is finished and I have started on the first section. Just like the Dinnerware Success eBook, it will be delivered in three volumes. Section One will be out at the end of May. You can learn more and place your preorder in the Lynn Recommends Section.
The USPS raised rates on April 17th. It affected first class international and domestic. Media rates also increased. I have redone the rate chart and this download was the Queen’s Court gift for April.
Please remember that eBay is requiring (and I have heard that it will start taking effect mid-May but won’t be enforced until mid-August) that if you state that you ship internationally, you will need to quote a price. If you state that you do not ship internationally, you will be fine.
To order the new laminated USPS rate chart with free shipping, click here.
I just wanted to mention how much I love the eBay Deals of the Day. They are so much fun! And around Christmas time, I was shopping like crazy. I bought two of these satellite radio docking stations and realized I didn’t need them both. I paid $12.95, which included shipping.
So, I listed one on eBay starting at $9.99. I also charged $14.95 for s/h/i. It is heavy! It sold for an amazing price! Check it out here. I think I almost doubled my money. You can buy on eBay and resell. Wonders never cease!
Lynn Dralle, ‘The Queen of Auctions,’
Creator of the best-selling eBay Boot Camp in a Box.
Flatware Success eBook!
Great news! I’ve started writing the Flatware eBook. Now you won’t be confused at thrift stores when looking at shelves like this anymore. Yay!
To learn more click here.
The Table of Contents looks like this. (This is subject to revision.)
1. Types of Flatware/Hollowware
2. Manufacturers to ALWAYS buy
3. Tricky Manufacturers
4. Manufacturers to NEVER buy
5. Best Selling Patterns of All Times
6. Patterns to Buy
7. Designer/Artists to Buy
8. Good Colors—Gold wash, Plastic?
9. Good Themes
10. Different Countries
11. Identifying the Different Pieces
12. Terms and Definitions
13. Where to Buy?
14. Research in the Field to Make Quick Purchase Decisions
15. How much should you pay?
16. Single pieces to purchase vs. Entire Sets
17. Research at Home
18. Pricing and How to Sell
20. Condition and Seconds
Let’s put it to the test–a Case Study
It was very strange, but as I was unpacking that first box at HQ last week, I found a flatware storage chest. In my grandmother’s handwriting on the price tag, it said, “Box for Silver Flatware.” I love seeing my grandmother’s writing on anything and this was especially significant to me as I am writing this eBook. I think she approves and it is going to turn out fantastically well!
Don’t miss out on the special pre-order pricing for this eBook. Order now.
We even have a 3-part sales plan! Order in three payments here.
Dates for 2011 Live Boot Camp
OK, OK, I broke down. I was going to take a year off from Live Boot Camp and wait until 2012 to have our next one. But, way too many people have been emailing and asking me about it. Then I remembered that when we were looking to lease Headquarters, Deborah said to me, “Why don’t you have Live Boot Camp here next year?” My first thought was, No. I guess my initial reaction to most great ideas is NO.
The more I thought about Deborah’s idea, the more brilliant I realized it was. Now, our select handful of students will be able to experience the entire process from start to finish in our actual office! We won’t just be teaching it, we will all be living it where it all takes place. I am very excited to announce that this year’s Live Boot Camp will take place in
Palm Desert, CA at Headquarters (HQ)
These dates are set…
Friday, September 23rd to Sunday, September 25th, 2011
Seats are very limited. Only 20 students will be admitted. Click here for more info.
Six seats are already spoken for.
Will you fill one of the remaining 14?
Reservations are open, email me for your customized link to reserve your spot.
Also, our easy six-part payment plan ends tonight at midnight. Reserve your spot today!
‘HQ Redo to Regain Top Seller Rating’
by Lynn Dralle, The Queen of Auctions
TRS (Top Rated Seller) status as an eBay seller is super important. It will become even more important after the eBay final value fee changes take effect on July 6th. To get a back-office 20% discount off of your final value fees you MUST be a top Seller.
I have been writing and talking about TRS a lot lately because it is so important.
To achieve TRS status you must have a very small number of 1’s and 2’s given in your DSRs (Detailed Seller Ratings).
Here are the four things you are judged upon and the maxes by both number and percentage for TRS. You are only judged on max count if you do a small number of transactions. eBay is lenient with this and takes the larger number for your limit.
As an example, as of today, I have three for my three-month total number in 1’s and 2’s for Item as described. If eBay was going by the max count (2), I wouldn’t be eligible for TRS. However, my percentage (out of total feedback left) is only .34% so I am eligible.
|Item as Described||
|Shipping and Handling Charges||
Our TRS has been a struggle to obtain and maintain. Griff did mention on eBay radio this past Tuesday some fantastic news about maintaining TRS. He said that in the near future, once you have attained TRS, it will be harder than it is now to have it taken away. Thank Goodness!
Well, the category that really shut me down was shipping and handling time. We got 21 (yes I said twenty-one) 1’s and 2’s in March in this ONE category and there are FOUR that we are judged upon. Yikes!
That was really a tough pill to swallow. With our super busy year putting on a huge event in Las Vegas (LOL), moving into HQ and trying to get organized, etc. we had let our quick shipping time erode.
Also, with me not dealing with emails and problems on the weekends (too much travel baseball, and yard saling) customers were getting understandably upset. I am the same way when I buy on eBay. I want my questions and concerns answered within hours, not days. How you handle customers from that very first contact is going to highly affect the feedback that they leave you later on.
Also, as Lee Mirabel pointed out on our eBay radio interview on Tuesday, with the business out of my house I MUST schedule time to be at HQ. I can’t walk into the eBay room at any time of the day or night like before to weigh items, look for defects and deal with problems. Brilliant observation Lee!
So, what am I doing to regain TRS with my HQ Redo?
A. Respond to problems immediately by scheduling time to be there every morning and every afternoon/evening. I try and make it there at least twice a day.
If there is an issue, (i.e. we can’t find something or we mixed up our shipments) we notify the customer immediately.
If you missed my ezine from last month that talks about mix ups and other customer service issues related to TRS you can read it here.
When we can’t find something, now I email immediately and say, “I am very sorry but we have been looking for your item and haven’t been able to locate it. We just moved our business into office space and the logistics of moving 10,000 listed items was difficult. If you would like us to continue looking we will be happy to do that and let you know within two days. If not, we will refund your money immediately. Thanks for understanding.”
I always say thanks for understanding at the end because how can someone not understand when you thank them ahead of time?
Here is an item that sold that we couldn’t find right away. I honestly didn’t think we would ever find it as it had originally been listed in April of 2004. OH MY GOODNESS! I emailed the buyer and said, “Please don’t pay until we can make sure that we have this item.” Well, she went ahead and paid and luckily Mo found an entire set in this pattern.
See this listing here.
And once we (I had better clarify that and say Mo) found the entire set, we (Mo) realized that only three of the items were listed. Mo quickly listed the remaining part of the set and got 22 auctions out of it! Yay.
B. Email every buyer of not perfect merchandise ASAP.
I learned this from one of my Queen’s Court members Serena and her note was featured in the last ezine. Thank you, Serena!
When an item sells that is defective, I immediately email the buyer to make sure that they knew that when they purchased it. This has alleviated sooooooo many problems I can’t even tell you. Serena actually calls them (she requests their contact info through eBay and phones them).
I don’t go to that extent, but since I have started doing this and implementing my other strategies, I am ecstatic to report that for the month of April, I only got 2 (yes that says two) 1 or 2 ratings in all FOUR of my DSR categories!!!! Amazing after getting 21 1 or 2 ratings in just ONE category in March!!!!
As an example, a man bought a coffee mug last week. It had a chip. Said CHIP in the description and we included a photo of the chip. I emailed him and said Thank you for your purchase. We appreciate your business and this is a lovely coffee mug I want to make sure that you saw and read about the chip in the listing when you purchased your item. Thanks again. Lynn
I don’t apologize for the damage and I always say what a great item. He emailed back and said, “I didn’t see that but I will honor my commitment to purchase.”
Check out his feedback. Wow!
“Excellent communication from the seller; quick arrival of described china mug”
If I hadn’t contacted him can you imagine the feedback rating I would have gotten for “item as described” even though I did describe it correctly?
Here is the listing for that coffee mug.
A little prevention goes a long way.
C. End old listings and make sure current listings are correct with the right quantity.
eBay has a fantastic tool in Selling Manager Pro. I love it. You can tell when an item was originally listed. Not when it renews as GUC (good until canceled) but when it was originally listed.
As I prepare for the new eBay seller changes and need to add international shipping and handling charges, I am first deleting all really old listings that were left on as a mistake or we missed taking off of eBay.
As many of you know, I leave my items on eBay for about two years before marking them down, repurposing them (a great idea! For example, if you had your dinner knives listed in 2’s and they didn’t sell, relist them in 4’s–this has been working fantastically well for us) or donating to charity.
Here is an Adirondack pattern teapot by Mikasa/Studio Nova (heads up, don’t EVER buy this pattern) that was listed in my store for about two years at $39.99. I even marked down all of my Adirondack by 50% using Markdown Manager and it didn’t sell. Before donating it to charity, I put it back up at auction (repurposed it) and started it at $9.99. Yay! It has a bid.
See this listing here.
With my HQ REDO, I am going through those old listings, item by item, checking them by oldest first, and deleting them or repurposing them. It has been an awesome start to my housecleaning at HQ. Indy (my daughter) has been helping me and it has been a great way for me to spend time with her and get some free labor. Well, nothing is really free. I just bought her a few clothing items she wanted (actually needed) at Target on Sunday and everyone is happy.
We have pulled the I Sell sheets, found the items on the shelves, and then made our decisions.
It has been extremely enlightening to actually touch everything, find it, dust it off and make decisions with the items in front of us. This process is going to make attaining and maintaining TRS status entirely doable and fun!
In fact, by picking up the dust at HQ, we have sold some of the items that have been left on by mistake since 2004. Amazing! These mistakes happened because we didn’t have our shelf lettering system in place. We didn’t start lettering our shelves and positioning our stock by the date listed until about 2 1/2 years ago. Those of you that attend Live Boot Camp at HQ this September will get to see firsthand how beautifully this lettering system works!
In addition to the Caliente flatware I talked about earlier, check out this purse that just sold that was also left on eBay by mistake from 2006–eBay’s or our mistake—we can never be sure!
See this listing here.
This entire process is a lot of work (and honestly a full accounting and inventory check should really be done once every two or three years) but it is going to pay off big time in the end. Especially with multiple items at a fixed price in our stores, a lot of times we sell things and eBay doesn’t adjust the totals correctly. Not all of the mistakes with incorrect quantities and missing items are necessarily our fault. Sometimes the eBay system can be to blame.
Every two years I have been taking a look at my collector plate inventory (now I am doing it for EVERY ITEM) and making sure the quantities are correct. I just did it again this past week for my collector’s plate and amazingly enough, about 50% of the quantities were wrong and 17 items were not even listed. FREE inventory and great Royal Copenhagen and Bing & Grondahl items to list. YAY! I love this HQ Redo.
Here is one of the items that I got listed at auction that wasn’t showing up at all on eBay. It may have even sold, the buyer never paid, and it fell through the cracks and was not properly relisted. With eBay’s automatic UPI (unpaid item) system in place for auctions and the new shopping cart for store/fixed price listings (where you must pay before an item is yours), these problems will hopefully be a thing of the past!
See this listing here.
I am always a little unnerved by the eBay changes that come out every Spring, but there is always a silver lining and I hope that you all see that.
The eBay changes force us to re-evaluate and make our businesses run more like “real” businesses. When I was a buyer for May Company, your slow-moving inventory (6 months or older) better be gone or you wouldn’t get a raise.
It is the same way when selling on eBay. We are our own bosses and that can be both good and bad. These new eBay changes are in a way a better boss and will help all of us Entrepreneurs get a raise this year! If we don’t monitor our inventory, take care of slow-moving items and strive for TRS, we are going to drastically lower our profits. It is very motivating–especially for me and I hope for you also!
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eBay PowerSeller and third-generation antique dealer, Lynn Dralle, is the creator of Boot Camp in a Box, the home-study course where you can learn to implement the Dralle Method to maximize your eBay profits.
If you liked today’s issue, you’ll love this step-by-step course that is guaranteed to be the most complete and enjoyable guide to selling on eBay that MAKES YOU MONEY.
Read all about it here.
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Lynn is an experienced eBay Power Seller, author, and teacher. If you want to know the eBay tips, tricks, and tools that Lynn uses for buying and selling at an online auction click here.