It finally happened. Someone is interested in buying your car, and has contacted you about it. Now, you just have to reply. What do you say? How much information do you share? Should you try to screen the potential buyer? There are some ways to handle your reply and the communication to ensure a safe and professional transaction.
Ways to Receive Replies
Before you even set up your Gumtree advertisement, you need to consider how you want to receive replies. There are three options: by phone, by email or by a combination of the two. If you choose to receive calls, note that your phone number will show up in the advertisement, though a "click to show" link will keep it hidden until the buyer clicks it. If you choose to use email, your email address will not show up in the advertisement, nor will it ever be visible to your buyers, but you must use an online form for replies. Even though the buyer will most likely never see your actual email address, some people choose to set up an address just for the transaction. Not only is it an extra step towards privacy and safety, but it can help you keep replies organised in one place.
Sizing Up the Potential Buyer
Another thing you need to do before you reply is to make sure there are no red flags. Does the email read like a legitimate inquiry or does it sound like a scam? Is the person rude, impatient or overly persistent? Someone who appears to be in a hurry to make the transaction could be up to something. If you think the person is rude, you probably do not want to deal with him or her, even if the inquiry is legitimate. Another bad sign is a person who promises something that sounds too good to be true, such as a willingness to pay you double your asking price or an outrageous amount of money. Someone trying to scam you may even offer to buy the car without knowing anything about it first. Finally, a legitimate buyer will not ask you for personal details such as bank account numbers, email password or your street address. If you choose to interact by phone, be careful with buyers who sound overly nervous or persistent.
How to Reply
Once you have assessed the situation, it is time to make your reply. For you initial reply, never give out too much information. The buyer does not need to know where you live, where and what time you work or even your last name. If the buyer wants to meet for a test drive or inspection of the vehicle, let him or her know you will be glad to do so in a public place.
Discussing the Vehicle
While you want to keep your personal information to a minimum, you will want to share as much about the car as you can. Always be upfront and honest. Answer all questions the buyer has and make any problems or defects known. Not only is this courteous to the buyer, but it will also save you time in the long run. Speaking of courtesy, be kind to all buyers, even those who decide your vehicle is not right for them. Just as you do not want to deal with rude buyers, buyers do not want to purchase a car from a rude seller. Keep in mind that the buyer may also be nervous about the transaction, so showing kindness can help put his or her mind at ease and may even help you make the sale.
Some buyers may request more photos of the vehicle before deciding if they want to meet with you. Feel free to provide as many photos as you can with your reply. Do not try to take photos that hide imperfections or exaggerate the size or appearance of the vehicle.
A Few More Communication Tips
No matter what type of communication you choose, always respond as promptly as possible. Waiting too long could cost you a sale. Also, thank any potential buyer for reaching out to you, even if he or she does not end up buying you car. Be upfront about everything. Be willing to negotiate. If you set a meeting place, show up on time. Be upfront about the price you want for your car as well.
By keeping your replies cautious, courteous, honest and prompt, you can almost always ensure a smooth line of communication with your potential buyer, as well as a simple and professional transaction if the buyer is interested in making a purchase. Just remember to trust your instincts. When a buyer sounds too good to be true or as if he or she is up to no good, there is a good chance you could become the victim of a scam. Even when the buyer seems legitimate, provide as little personal information as possible during your reply.