Vincent Nguyen

December 19, 2013

Finding serious buyers isn’t just about making a profitable website and then slapping your site up for sale. You’ve still got a ton of heavy lifting to do before you can find the right buyer.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when listing your website for sale is to assume it will sell just because it’s available.

Buyers are wary and already have their shields up so you want to try your best to make sure they see you as credible in the sea of shady sellers out there.

The good news is that it’s easy to be more trustworthy than your competition.

Here’s how you do it:

Always Provide Verifiable Proof

Proof, proof, and more proof is the name of the game.

Every time you make a claim you’ve got to back it up with screenshots and any other evidence you can put together. This means if you say, “My website received 30,000 visitors last month from organic search traffic,” it’d be even better to be specific and say, “My website received 32,128 unique visitors from organic search traffic in the last 30 days,” then show screenshots of your verified Google Analytics to further cement the proof. Better yet, explain in your auction copy that you’re willing to share access to your analytics data to remove all doubt.

If you claim your site brought in $573.68 in the last 30 days then take screenshots of each one of your monetization methods and show how it adds up to $573.68 exactly.

But wait, what’s better than screenshots? Well, pictures can be doctored easily, so if you really want to show the buyer you’re legit then record a video and put it on YouTube.

Always Be Transparent

When you think about transparency you have to remember to show off both the good and the ugly. Yes, that means letting the buyer know upfront about all the work that he will need to put in and how much knowledge of your industry is required.

You may think that highlighting the negative details would turn someone off purchasing but that’s not true. (In fact, depending on the type of buyer they are, it might even be a selling point.)

When you are open about this information, two things could happen:

A) You hook the buyer because he knows you’re not hiding anything. If the seller is willing to be upfront about the unattractive details then there’s definitely a serious person behind the screen (you.) What’s adds more credibility than that?

B) The buyer walks away because he thinks to himself that’s too much work. That’s fine, he probably wasn’t a serious buyer anyway and that saves you time since he would have walked away later anyway after you invest hours talking to him. You know what this means? Only the right buyers are left reading.

For example, let’s take a look at a featured listing in the medical industry we’re currently selling.

In the auction, we mention that it is a profitable website that doesn’t need upkeep because the website’s monetization method is through a Practice Exam and all the pages needed are already written. We could have stopped there, possibly making the buyer think there’s zero work, but that wouldn’t have been true.

Under “Work Required” we mention that the Practice Exam needs annual updates that the buyer would have to maintain. That detail shows the seller isn’t trying to play up the passive income part without being honest about the work needed.

Another example of showing both the good and the bad is a listing on Flippa that sold for $5,060. The seller openly admitted to getting penalized by Google’s Panda update last year.

“…when I acquired this site, I was told that this site did rank for some valuable keywords organically at one time before getting slapped by the penguin. So the potential is there to recover those rankings and possibly double or triple the current income. I do not know what to do to recover rankings, so if you do, your earning potential with this well-established site is pretty huge.”

He even states that he doesn’t know how to fix this issue.

The interesting thing about this is that the right buyer who knows how to solve that problem will look at that listing, say no problem, and leap at the chance. Also, seeing that sort of honesty makes you think the seller has nothing to hide.

Always Be Accessible

As a seller, you should be easy to contact when needed. This means you need to give an email address, legitimate social media accounts, and maybe even a Skype account for good measure that you’re willing to share with potential buyers.

This also ties in with the previous point of transparency. If a buyer can reach you then he immediately feels safer knowing you’re not hiding away in the dark corners of the internet. You’re a real person who is serious about selling and it’s always good for the buyer to feel like he can talk to someone about their concerns.

Always Be Closing

Always Be Closing
One way to really close the deal with a skeptical buyer is to point to your previous sales, experience, and social proof. Just the other day we were on a call with a seller we weren’t sure about. After looking through his previous Flippa sales and his track record of building profitable sites, we realized this guy had chops.

Second, having your own blog or a guest post on a trustworthy website you can reference is a good idea. It will give the buyer deeper insights into who you are, where you’re coming from, and your expertise.

People buy from people. Remind the buyer you’re both real and that you’re an expert is a win.

For an example of someone who absolutely crushed all the points mentioned above, check out Andrew Youderian’s sell of TrollingMotors.net

Credibility is a HUGE topic and there’s definitely more to it than one blog post can cover. What are some of your best tips on gaining credibility as a website seller?


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Discussion
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  1. Cynthia says:

    Is your firm capable of working with a hearing-impaired seller? I have a web site that was founded in 1998, is content-rich and monetized, and I’m ready to retire. But I am NOT able to make or receive phone calls …

    • Greg Elfrink says:

      Hey Cynthia!

      Yes, just let us know in our Zendesk ticketing system. We have sold many websites without ever needing a buyer-seller conference call. There is a lot we can do that doesn’t require any kind of phone call at all.

      We look forward to your site submission :-)

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