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Five Things I Wish I'd Have Known When I Started Selling on eBay

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There’s nothing ordinary about Roger Keyserling (user ID: KeyWebCo).

He came to sell on eBay as a result of a personal tragedy that left him on disability for an extended period of time.

Unfortunately, that’s not uncommon. But, the fact that Roger survived a gunshot wound to the neck as a result of a carjacking is…especially given that he died three times on the operating room table.

That’s all in the past though, and—frankly—Roger doesn’t have time to dwell on that. He now lives and breathes selling on eBay. And, that’s not an exaggeration. Roger Keyserling, of Odessa, Missouri, wakes from a dead sleep every time he hears an eBay alert on his cell phone.

“When I hear that alert, it doesn’t matter how dead asleep I am, my brain is automatically awake and I answer that buyer question. That’s when you make the sale.” 

No, you don’t have to adopt this radical approach to be an eBay rockstar, this is just one of the secrets to Roger’s personal blend of success. Prompt…OK, immediate customer service.

What else sets him apart as a seller on eBay? This probably stems from his near-death experience, but Roger religiously “pays it forward.” He truly wants others to be successful, as well—especially those who are just starting out.

As a result, here are five things Roger Keyserling wished someone had told him when he first started selling on eBay:

  1. Don’t just list a bunch of random items
Roger started out by listing as many items as he could—all from his mobile phone—in no particular order. However, he later learned that he was far more likely to show up in searches, sell multiple items and attract repeat buyers, if he spent a little more time organizing his inventory on the front end. Now he places items into specific store categories like “Thanksgiving,” or collections like “Your 2014 Ugly Sweater Party.” You have to think like a shopper.

“This way you won’t just sell the Thanksgiving napkins, you’ll sell the napkin rings too!”

  1. Do social media right away, but don’t use your personal accounts
Roger cultivated a sizeable following on Facebook and Google+ right away. However, months later someone told him that he should have created accounts specific to his business. Why? Because business social media pages—that have been registered and verified—carry a lot more professional weight (and instill far more trust) than personal pages, especially those that are cluttered with personal photos and questionable comments from high school pals. Making the switch set Roger back quite a bit in terms of admin hours, but it was worth the effort. Here are some more tips on selling with social media.

“If I’d have done social media right last Christmas, I’d have 2 Anchor Stores by now!”

  1. Start with a labeling system to manage your inventory
If Roger had this to do over, he’d use a labeling system for inventory management. He currently uses large, color-coded plastic bins to group item types. Yes, he knows his system like the back of his hand, and it works flawlessly, but as he expands and hires warehouse staff to pull and ship product, he’ll have a much harder time making the transition. Always be thinking about how your current business model and practices will scale. More on inventory management.

“If I would have started with a labeling system my inventory would be way easier in the future.”

  1. Use the eBay tools that are available to you

When Roger first opened his store, he hadn’t yet heard about eBay's promotional tools. Now he regularly uses special offers to entice buyers to buy more, and buy often. Deals like “Save 15% When You Spend $100,” or “Spend $30 and Get 10% off” encourage customers to add additional items to their order just to qualify for the discount. And, according to Roger, they do just that.

“When eBay started offering promotional tools…that was like a light coming on in a dark closet.”

  1. Collaborate with other sellers
Roger was active in the eBay Community from the beginning, but he didn’t always know the right questions to ask. Now he works with a growing number of fellow eBay sellers in the community and on the eBay for Business Facebook and Twitter pages. He regularly helps newbies, trades ideas, and even collaborates with other sellers to cross-promote their products in his own collections. Does this seem above and beyond? Not really…this act alone brought him 10,000 extra views on his Google+ page. Paying it forward has its rewards.

“The best results come from people working together to learn…because everyone has different viewpoints, experience, and ideas.”

It’s probably clear at this point that Roger is always working, always hustling. Did we mention that he also runs a farm and does accounting for a friend’s store in Kansas City? This is just who he is. He subsists on four hours of sleep a night because he’s got a lot of living to do.

Thanks for sharing your story, Roger!

Related Reading:

This Is Your Community—And Now It’s Better


Amazing person!


thank you Roger and I am going to do what you said to do !!!!I I am inspired by you!!!!!

by nmdc · Adventurer

Business has been extremely slow this month.. Found your blog & it reminded me.. there are still great amazing people like you out there.. Thanks.. 


I just wanted to state (since it was implied) some of us came here from owning businesses and we didn't expect everything to be simple.  I've had inventory from day one and I still have those records.  My selling life is clear as can be-because I used to be an accountant.