So you found the perfect TV stand on Kijiji and the seller is only looking for half your budget. How do you proceed? Do you bombard them with messages letting them know you’re the guy? Do you send them a polite email asking if they’re still looking to sell? What do you do? What do you do?
Well, that definitely depends on which website you’re using. There are tons of classifieds and listing websites these days, each with their own philosophy and their own etiquette. Craigslist is very open, kind of the weathered hippy of the bunch, where just about everything goes. You can get stuff, you can get jobs, you can get people. Kijiji is a little bit more professional, but only because it seems like everybody but you is paying to be heard. Then there’s eBay, with its high-paced bidding system giving you anxiety and buyers’ remorse when you realise that your crazy rage-bid is actually going to win.
The point is, each listing and classifieds website has its own method to win. The best possible approach is to start by reading the website rules if there are any to ensure that your messages or bids won’t be automatically filtered out. The second step is being quick and being diligent. It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for – property or a date – ads are posted much faster than you could ever respond or even really see all of. You can, however, make a dent by making good use of the filters provided and understand each category.
Once all that is done, formulating a good message is the next big step. Different levels of formality are required for different situations, but good grammar, good spelling, and decently correct language is usually a good idea for anything more important that Billy Joe’s old rims. For jobs and property especially, it’s an excellent idea to have a few canned responses ready in your email (you can do this with most clients), in order to quickly and efficiently respond to as much as possible.
However, as with anything online, be sure to only include personal information that you’re comfortable making public. As careful as you can be, you’re still communicating with strangers and there’s always a chance that they could be gathering your information for reasons you don’t particularly agree with. If you’re the type who responds to personals, this is incredibly important, and not just for women. If planning to meet, make sure it’s somewhere in public for the first time, with many people around and that at least one person you trust knows what you’re doing and where you’ll be. It might seem silly, but it is much safer in the end. Anonymity on the internet makes it the perfect place for predators.
But, to end on a less somber note, classifieds websites are somewhat of a boon. Anybody familiar with videogames will tell you that one of the best features is the ability to sell whatever you don’t need for some quick cash to buy something else you don’t need but really really want. So, happy scouring!
For an extra treat, check out Freecycle.org! All the benefits of Kijiji and Craigslist but everything is free!