As many of you guys know, I’m sort of a Craigslist junkie. I have sold literally hundreds of items on Craigslist over the years, and I can’t remember ever having any big problems with a transaction.
Since the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is only a couple of weeks away, many people are now interested in selling their current iPhone in order to finance the new iPhone. This is a smart move, as value of the last generation phones will dip and continue to do so once the new iPhones come out.
So what’s the best way to go about selling an iPhone on Craigslist? I’ve discussed this topic several times on our Podcast, Lets’ Talk iOS, but now I’ll fully break down what makes a successful Craigslist selling experience.
Honesty is always best. Be up front about the condition of your iPhone. Don’t lie, and don’t try to mask obvious flaws with the device. You’ll save yourself a lot of time, embarrassment, and potential confrontations if you are honest about what you’re selling. Don’t try to scam people. It’s never a good thing, and can come back and bite you in the butt.
Oh, and turn off Find My iPhone, please!
Get a burner phone number
That said, you still want to use common sense. It’s best not to give out your real phone number on Craigslist, or any public website for that matter. The last thing you want is someone calling your real phone number harassing you about an iPhone that you sold two weeks ago.
I use Google Voice as my burner phone number, and it works great. I include this number in all of my Craigslist posts, which makes potential customers feel more at ease knowing they can contact you.
Including a phone number also allows customers to text you, and when you receive a text, you’ll know that it’s directly related to your Craigslist selling activity. It’s a great way to filter Craigslist from the rest of your life.
Get a burner email address
When you create your Craigslist account, create a burner email address that’s only used for Craigslist activity. The same principal mentioned above applies. People feel better about doing business with you if you advertise your email. Having a Craigslist-only email address keeps all of your Craigslist selling activity separated from day-to-day life.
State in your post that you prefer texting. Your phone number is there just in case, but make it obvious that you want to be texted about potential sales. Texting allows you to quickly filter out nonsense, and separate the legitimate inquiries from spam and low ball offers.
Be assertive, yet friendly
Don’t be curt in your post, but be very up front about your expectations. Let the buyer know that you will not stand for low ball offers, and that they will simply be ignored—state this in your ad.
Remember, this is your iPhone and your life that you’re dealing with here. Stand up for yourself, and let people know from the tone of your text that you mean business. People will try to test you on Craigslist, and they will try to get a deal. That’s fine, but don’t be a pushover.
I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me to do trades. I don’t do trades on Craigslist. Never have and never will. I only deal with cash. If that’s your stance, be sure to state that in big bold letters. Tell potential buyers that you will ignore any requests for a trade.
Take great pictures
Don’t post without pictures. If you don’t include pictures, 90% of the time your post will be looked over, even if legitimate. Post good, well-lit photos of your iPhone. If your office looks like a dungeon from a horror film, go outside and take photos.
Expose flaws, and don’t try to hide them. Being up front about the appearance and condition of your iPhone will put people at ease.
Take pictures of everything that comes with your iPhone, including the box and accessories. It may even help to put your Craigslist email address on a piece of paper and include it in the shot, vouching for your ad’s legitimacy.
When you post your photos on Craigslist, be sure to upload the photo that best-describes your iPhone first. The first uploaded photo will be used as the featured image for your ad. This is the photo that’s displayed in the Craigslist listings.
Use bullet points
People love bullet points. Highlight the best parts of your iPhone, and why the buyer is getting a good deal. List things like storage size, condition, operating system, etc. Let them know if the device has ever been dropped. Little details like that can go a long way.
Use a brief and accurate headline
Don’t try to explain everything in the headline; that’s what the body of the ad is for. Be brief, yet descriptive. Don’t use all caps. Describe the condition of your iPhone at the end of the headline.
Price your iPhone in such a manner that you have a little wiggle room to price haggle. It’s human nature to want to get a good deal, and although it’s happened to me a number of times, it’s rare that someone buys your item at the exact price you asked for.
If you want $350 for your iPhone, ask $400 in the listing. Be flexible, but don’t be gullible. Firmly let the potential buyers know when you’ve reached your rock-bottom price.
Meet in a busy public place
Stress to the potential buyers that you will only meet publicly to make the sale. Malls, banks, and grocery stores make good locations. You want to go where there’s lots of people in a well lit area. Don’t meet in parking lots, always meet indoors. I like malls, because they’re big, have tons of people, have tons of cars, and have tons of exits just in case someone wants to act a fool.
Do not, under any circumstance, invite people to your home, or go to their home. Don’t meet in shady areas, even in public.
Don’t meet at night time, even if the guy insists that he works third shift and he can only meet you on his lunch break at 4:00am. Use common sense. If there’s one thing in this list that you should never compromise on, it’s this.
Meeting for the sell
Once someone bites on your sale, it’s time to arrange the meet up. Hopefully you’ve followed the main rule—meeting in a safe public place with lots of people. Be prompt. I find that it’s best to be there a few minutes before the buyer, which gives you time to relax, check out the surroundings, and get comfortable. Even in a public place with lots of people, you’ll still need to be observant and smart. Arriving early helps you do this.
Smile, be friendly, look them in the eye, and conduct the sale.
Show the product, let the buyer check it out, and get things moving. Don’t spend time haggling over price in person. You should only accept what was agreed on. If someone wants to haggle, let them know you’re not going to put up with it. If they insist, just leave. Remember, until the money is in your hand, it’s still your iPhone. Don’t let someone pressure you into doing something you don’t feel comfortable doing.
Count your money immediately after the transaction, shake their hand if your feel comfortable doing so, and make your exit. If the person looks a little shady, I usually let the buyer leave first, so as to not be followed. Or you can always walk around the store for a while to foster a clean break.
It’s better than eBay
Craigslist gets a bad rap, but I’ve had great success using it. I’ve sold countless items on Craigslist and have never had any real issues. The main thing is to use common sense. If you don’t have a good feeling about a sale, even if you’ve crossed all of the I’s and dotted all of the T’s, call off the sale. You can always sell another day, and you should never feel pressured to sell anything.
The fact is, Craigslist is largely safe to use if you do it the right way. eBay is full of scammers, and it takes forever to get your money. Even when you do get your money, there’s the whole thing about disputes, which can cause frustration and loss, and then there’s PayPal, which can be all sorts of terrible.
I would never use eBay unless it was my absolute last resort. If you live in a metropolitan area, there are tons of potential customers out there that can make your day. The trick is simply finding the right one.
Have you ever sold your old iPhone on Craigslist? What was your experience like?