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Overcoming Lister’s Block: Tips to List More Efficiently

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You’ve heard of writer’s block. “Lister’s block”? Not so much. But after posting a question on our Facebook page a few weeks back, we realized “lister’s block”—that mental high hurdle keeping you from selling your unlisted inventory—is most definitely a thing. For many sellers, the struggle is real.


But it is hurdleable! (OK, not a word, but you get it.) Thankfully, quite a few sellers were eager to share their tips for overcoming lister’s block. Then, like they so often do, our community took it up a notch. Not only did sellers offer great ideas for heaving themselves (and their items) up and over the listing hump, they delivered stellar tips for listing faster and more efficiently, too. So, without further ado, here they are!


Beating back the beast of unlisted inventory? It starts with a plan.


Most every seller who responded to our post said the same thing: Just do it. That means scheduling a specific window of time in your day to list. Some sellers, like Kristie L., even make a game of it. Kristie gives herself a two-hour period each day to see how many items she can list, and cheers herself along by repeating words like “Hustle” and “Focus” in her head. Go Kristie!


Kristie isn’t the only one who uses high-octane words to fuel her listing engine. Lisa S. says she hangs a sign in her “To Be Listed” closet that boldly states “MY GOALS ARE NOT NEGOTIABLE. DO IT UNTIL IT’S DONE.” Lisa also makes listing prep a regular part of her end-of-the-day routine, lining up all the items that “WILL get listed” the next day.


Don’t get side-tracked by social media.


There’ll be plenty of time to comment on your friend’s hilarious cat video later tonight. And politics will still be around tomorrow. When you have inventory to list, push those Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to the side and turn off your notifications, so you can stay focused on the task at hand. That goes for TV, too (DVRs, people!). Don’t let anything come between you and your listings, at least for a couple of hours each day.


Let your listing past inspire your listing present.


Wouldn’t that be a great motivational poster? OK, maybe not. But the core idea is right on the money. Seeing what you’ve listed and its value can be an inspirational tool. Dawn R (who specializes in getting entrepreneurs organized) says she gets “great motivation by seeing my listing numbers grow.” Each day, Dawn notes how many items she listed, their price, and her total number of listings on a calendar. Why? Because “seeing how my time spent listing translates into potential $$ helps me value my time and effort.”


032917_SocialResize_Blog_620x400.jpgSeller Dawn R. tracks her daily listing progress towards her selling goals.

Then again, maybe it’s the very act of listing that’s cramping your selling style? If so, our intrepid sellers have some outstanding ideas for that, too.


To make listing easier, you’ve got to think like Ford (Henry, not Harrison).


What I mean by that is this: it pays to think of all those acts of listing as an object lesson in assembly-line efficiency. Photo-taking. Measuring. Describing. What can you do to streamline each step along the way?


More than a few sellers said they use their phones to take pictures, draft their listings, and even finish them up. Katrina R. says her phone’s camera is just as good as her DSLR, and it takes her half the time to upload them straight from the eBay app. She drafts listings on her phone, then finalizes them on her PC. Barb W. takes photos for multiple listings at one time, then uploads them in order, making it quicker to retrieve the photos she needs for listing later.


A number of sellers also recommended securing a tape measure to the end of your desk or shipping station for quick and easy measuring—especially handy for clothing and packages. Kristie L. says she measure hundreds of fashion items at once, marking it all down on small cards she pins to each (she gets her kids in on the act, too). Then, she has all that info available and ready to go, even if she doesn’t list all at once.


Never underestimate the power of “Sell one like this”.


Yeah, remember that link beneath the photos on any View Item page? Turns out it can be a tidy little tool for streamlining the listing process. Many sellers, like Logan S. recommended finding an item like the one you have to sell, then hitting “Sell one like this” to have many details all filled in for you. Just don’t forget to give your listing a quick review to make sure the title, description, and shipping details from the original listing match what you’re selling.


And for sellers who list items of the same type or category over and over again, using your own previous listings to start a new listing works, um, similarly. That way, you can copy your return policy and shipping info from one listing to another with a single click, which saves you all kinds of time. Take advantage of the hard work you’ve already done to make less work of what’s still left to do.


Thanks to lots of great advice from our sellers, overcoming lister’s block—and streamlining your listing process—doesn’t have to be battle, or a chore. So, what are you waiting for? Stop reading and start selling!


Have your own highway to the listing zone? We’re all ears. Please share your tips in the comments below. And feel free to pass along this article to your eBay colleagues via email, and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. After you’re finished listing, of course.


I work for a company that list a lot on ebay and we sell used / refurbished computers. 

Seeing that we have such a vast amount of different products at times we make errors in our listing. We forget to include details and had trouble with being consistent which created more issues with customers, not good at all. We use a 3rd party software to list it helps out with inventory management and a few things that are much easier to do than on eBay. 

I created a google form sheet so they can focus on testing the items and not try to write everything down on paper and risk the chance to losing then having to write it again on the computer. The form can be used on the phone and you rarely have to write anything on the form it's mostly dropdown and select items once they submit it, it send an email with the result of your test. Once done with testing they focus on taking the best photos. TEST --> Photos -- > Listing This has help a ton with improving our testing , listing time and being consisent. I took a little time to setup but once we did it, it made a huge difference. I bet most people list one item at a time we focuse on batches and we time every process and work on making it better to reduce wasted time doing things, twice. So if you have a goal you test the your amount first which takes the longest for us then everything else is easy. 

Ladies I must say just fabulous insightful tips from each and everyone one of you .Our goal is outstanding service and to be professional and we all want that perfect listing.Thank so very much.

by copper.boom · Guide

I rely on spreadsheets with tabs tailored to each item's category (handbags, dishes, decor, etc). Then if I do all of my measuring at once, or weighing at once, or noting colors, defects, special features, etc, I mark it all down on the appropriate tab and column.


This is especially helpful with clothing when there are so many different measurements, fabric contents, recommended care, and other data to keep track of! I can do the work a little (or a lot) at a time and fill in the blanks as I go without feeling overwhelmed to do it all at once.


Then when I get to the last step, photos, I have all the other info ready to go on my spreadsheet. Items that get listed are either greyed out or hidden on the spreadsheet so that the unlisted items, still a work in progress, stand out as pending.


Photos can be just as helpful as spreadsheets in some cases. As you take your listing photos you can also snap pics of the item on a scale for a quick weight reference, and take photos with a tape measure for quick size reference.


I also tend to create similar listings on the same day and the "sell similar" feature speeds things along. Even if they don't all go live on the same day, at least the drafts are done and ready to go.


Need help getting followers and traffic to my products. Any help?

Rising Star

My tip for the mobile listers - pull double duty with talk to text - say the item specifics into the title as you are setting up your item for photos (or any time your hands are busy.)  For example - LL Bean womens size regular large sweater wool long sleeve crew neck green Indonesia.  It will pick up quite a few of them as recommended specifics.  You can just accept the recommendations then adjust your title.  It doesn't work for every item or specific, but if you're selling items with a lot of specifics, it may save you some time.


I find that when I get home from a shopping spree, it helps to throw everything on the bed and take a photo of it all. Then I jot down on a piece of paper the date and how much I spent and I take a photo of that too. Later, (some times hours, some times the next day) I type it up on a spread sheet. When I am overwhelmed at "what to list next" I go back to my spreadsheet and make a game of trying to get EVERYTHING I bought on such and such a date listed. Unlisted items are bright yellow so I can see exactly what I missed. This helps me keep track of my inventory in several different ways (in case 1 fails). As an ultimate spreadsheet junkie, I categorize each tab by month and make a column for the item and a column for it's "status" listed, waiting, keeping, junk, stock. This way I know if I am just shopping, or if I am actually trying to get up everything I bought. I also track how much I spent each trip and as each item sells, I plug in the sale price and tally up how I did. It sounds complicated, but you can do the same thing on paper with a highlighter!


This is exactly what I needed to read and put into action! 


Perfect timing I really needed this to give me some focus and get back at listing!

Wow, great tips! I didn't know the name before, but I definitely suffer from lister's block, especially as I haven't listed anything in a while and am just starting back. Great knowing I'm in good company, too! 

by orc_terr · Adventurer

WOW! I actually thought I was a lone seller with summer lister's block!!!  Thanks for the inspirational tips.  


We are downsizing and I must have a thousand, yes 1,000 unlisted items... IT'S OVERWHELMING!  I've been busy with many other obligations but when I have an hour or so  I tell myself convincingly, "I'll list a number of items tomorrow."  Next day, I repeat the "I'll do it tomorrow..." and it simply does not get done.


Just reading "shared comments" really does help me want to get back to selling with deliberate speed.



by dozall · Adventurer

I feel so motivated by this ...


It's the holidays I'm about to throw down on some sales