How to Sell Successfully on eBay - Advice From the Pros

Today we feature a blog from none other than Cliff Ennico, author of such books as  the "Small Business Survival Guide" and "The eBay Marketing Bible!" It features a quote from our very own Kathryn Petralia among many others on how to be successful as an eBay seller.

Last week I gave a presentation on Internet sales taxes at the eighth annual eBay Radio party inLas Vegas– a confab of some of the top eBay sellers in the United States and Canada.

For those of you who don’t know, eBay has its own Internet radio station with a variety of programs to help people become more proficient at selling stuff on eBay.  The URL is

During the conference I tracked down about 30 of the top eBay sellers and e-commerce experts in the room and asked them the same question:  “In your opinion, what is THE secret to selling successfully on eBay, or indeed anywhere online?”

Here are their answers:

“Like they say in the ‘Godfather’ movies, it’s business, not personal; when you sell on eBay, run it like a business.“ – Danni Ackerman, owner of the “Udderly Good Stuff” eBay store (

“Flexibility – being nimble enough to change your product mix and your marketing mix in light of new competitors or other changes in your selling environment.” – Betsie “eBetsy” Bolger, Content Manager for eBay Radio (

“Never give up; never stop learning.” – Marcia Collier, author of the “eBay for Dummies” series and “The Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide” (

“If you’re selling antiques and collectibles, really know your stuff.“ – Rose Downes, owner of “The Fuzzy Lobster” eBay store (

“Don’t hit every thrift store in town; pick your favorites, hit them at least twice a week, and really get to know the owners because if they like you they will give you a ‘heads up’ when they get really cool stuff.“ – Lynn Dralle, author of “The 100 Best Things I’ve Sold on eBay” (

“Do not accept ‘no’ as an answer.“ – Janelle Elms, founder and CEO of the Online Success Institute (

“Ship your stuff as fast as possible after it sells.“ – Bryan Goodman, owner of the “Mr. Bigfoot” eBay store (

“Sell only what people want, at a price they are willing to pay.” -- “Grannie Annie,” owner of the Grannie Annie’s Little Grass Shack eBay store (

“Know your numbers; your gross sales are important, but your operating margin is a lot more important.“ – Jim “Uncle Griff” Griffith, host of eBay Radio and author of “The Official eBay Bible” (

“Do everything you can to help the customer find you using great keywords in your eBay listing titles.“ – Cindy Hamilton, owner of the TwirlPlanet eBay store (

“Consistency in presentation.“ – Melinda Jackson, host of “The River, the Ranch and the Bay” Internet radio show (

“Patience, and a little good liquor.“ – John “ColderICE” Lawson, CEO of 3rd Power Outlet (

“Research and education; the more you know, the better you are.“ – Christopher Lesley, owner of “The Golden Pineapple” eBay store (

“Never skimp on ‘void fill’ when shipping your eBay items; you can use packing peanuts, bubblewrap, air pillows, paper or anything else, but be generous and fill every nook and cranny.“ – Robin LeVine, co-owner of the “BubbleFast” eBay store (

“Always keep on top of eBay’s changes.“ – Debbie Levitt, founder of the As Was website design and business consulting firm (

“When you’re selling antiques and collectibles, condition is key; even in a tough economy, people will still buy items in mint or near-mint condition.“ – April Peavey, owner of “My Vintage Generation” (

“Working capital is a revenue-generating asset; use it to make money.“ – Kathryn T. Petralia, co-founder of online asset-based funding source (

“Patience; when you sell computer parts to businesses, it takes a while for the customer to make up its mind to buy, and they ask tons of questions.” – “Postie,” owner of the Fat Free Parts eBay store (

“When taking photographs for your eBay listings, look at the ‘histogram’ on your digital camera; it will tell you if you’re overexposed or underexposed.“ – Cindy Shebley, co-author of “The eBay Marketing Bible” (

“No matter what happens on eBay, keep a positive outlook; don’t let negative buyers get you down.“ – Kat Simpson, co-host of the “eCom Connections” Internet radio show (

“Know when to sell your product; don’t be afraid to buy stuff that isn’t moving right now and wait until the opportune moment.“ – Jason Smith, owner of the “Tiki Pug Music” eBay store (

“Always take the blame, even when it’s not your fault.” – “Tiffany,” owner of the Tiffany’s Designer Deals eBay store (

“The customer is always right; even if the customer is wrong, the customer is always right.“ – Brandi Tolley, owner of the “Buy BIG from Brandi” eBay store (

“You need to comply with the law and pay your taxes, but you don’t have to become a legal and tax expert; get a good local accountant and business lawyer and let them help you with the necessary paperwork so you can stay focused on building your business on eBay.” – Cliff Ennico, author of “The eBay Seller’s Tax and Legal Answer Book”, “The eBay Business Answer Book,” and this column (

Cliff Ennico ( is a syndicated columnist, author and former host of the PBS television series "Money Hunt." This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state. To find out more about Cliff Ennico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit our Web page at