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Dealing with vague gear buyers, what's your tactic?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by bedroommuso, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. On a couple of occasions when selling gear, I've had some particularly vague potential buyers. And when I say vague, I mean, either what they say is really not specific, or they are asking specific indirect questions to cleverly try and get you to answer in a specific way. Either way, it's hard to tell if they are genuine.

    For example, one person called me up expressing interest in an amp I had for sale.. the tone was abrupt, and vague like "Tell me about it". Not being one to beat around the bush my usual answer is "what particularly do you want to know?". In this particular case then the questions that followed were ones that had very limited value regarding old used gear, and nothing to do with actual condition, tone, real world experience or specifications, for example "How much did you pay for it?". That was about the extent of the call but the person still "wants to have a look".

    Just wondering how people deal with these sorts of buyers? If they can't communicate over the phone in a way that makes them appear serious, how do you know or find out whether it's worth inviting them over to your house?
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    The ones that are not robbers are usually just ignorant about the gear and don't know what to ask. They need you to give them a sales shpiel about why they want the thing you're selling. In a few cases they are just uncomfortable talking on the phone, in which case the only thing you can do is use a reassuring tone of voice.

    There's nothing you can do to be sure they are not robbers. :)
  3. I put on my tinfoil hat.
  4. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    You shouldn't be doing any deals at your home. For example, amp breaks, angry buyer knows where you live. Even more so if you have a family. Meet some place public, or their house.
  5. rubbadubdub


    May 8, 2012
    At least they phone. All i get is text messages most of the time. I now put on my ads... ''text and i will call you back'' or more often ''texts will not be answered . Please call for details''. If they can't speak to me then I don't want to do business with them anyway. Sounds harsh but I see it as a way of filtering out timewasters. I hate endless questions by text message. If they cant afford a phone call then how can they afford my item. If it's a complex piece of kit then i will suggest that they google the item. Beats me how they don't do this as a matter of course anyway as they obviously have internet access in order to see my ad. I don't mind people asking anything much but if they want a review then they should make the effort before contacting me. It's very easy for dreamers and undecisive people to widow shop by text and fairly easy to avoid them. Not many will bother ringing and even less will turn up to view in my experience. If they seem genuinely interes then nothing is too much trouble for me to demonstrate the item as I do want them to be happy with it. Sometimes i check them out. I put an old Hofner guitar up for sale and refused to sell it to someone who wanted to break it up to sell as parts. No way was he getting his hands on a 50 year old guitar with my help.
  6. Fair enough if it's a simple item that doesn't need to be tested or plugged into the wall, you could meet somewhere random. But in some cases I could see going to someone elses house to be either more of a risk or more of a waste of time. If the person is a nutbag, I'd feel more safe at my place than theirs, at least I know who's there and what is lying around. Also, if they don't decide buy, then you have just blown money and time travelling.

    Completely agree rubba. I find just ignoring texts and emails a good way of filtering.

    What about over the phone - what sort of questions do you ask to tell that they aren't a window shopper? And what sorts of answers give them away?

    I like the idea of "checking them out", too. I've often thought trying to avoid selling my gear to people who go around and hoard all the good amps and bargains. I think in some cases (and where I live) good cheap used gear is becoming scarce, so there's less to go around but specific hoarders are making it worse... Especially for the younger gen who want a used amp that's not a Behringer..
  7. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    I view it is a teaching opportunity. I remember the first amp I bought. I probably sounded like a buffoon to the guy I bought it from. If you get someone like that again, try to help them gain some knowledge.

  8. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    My tactic is not to deal with vague gear buyers.
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    If they don't mention the name of the item in their first response, it's a scam. In fact, if they use the word "item" it's a scam.
  10. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
  11. rubbadubdub


    May 8, 2012
    Bedroomuso I think it's very good of you to avoid selling to gear horders. They should be easy to spot though as they are perhaps more likely to know what they are buying and be less vague I would expect. I would have no problem with any buyer who seemed genuinely interested in something even if they were clueless about it so long as I thought that the interest was ultimately in perhaps buying it. I love talking about gear when people approach me at gigs or when playing out but that's not the same. The problem for me is when I get the impression that they are just dreaming and have no intention of buying at all.
    I find that if you ask them some questions about why they are considering your item it helps to work out wether they are serious and opens up the conversation for highlighting the positive features for them. If they play death metal they probably don't really want my telecaster for example. I don't want to sell something to someone if I think it's not for them. I'm not a ruthless salesman and left a retail job for that reason.
    If you're confident with talking to strangers it helps but there's no simple answer. Everyones different but I find that a lot of people are vague because they are shy on the phone or havn't thought about what they need to ask. They don't need a hard sell but just a little reassurance that you aren't out to rip them off.