Facebook Marketplace continues to grow in popularity, with over 800 million people using the service monthly. Some of the best-selling items on the online marketplace include furniture, clothing, books and household goods – all of which have the potential to be purchased at great discounts if you’re a good negotiator.
Some people even make a living trading on Facebook Marketplace – they are expert negotiators who know how to strike a deal. In some cases, they will simply sell on items they buy at a higher price; other times, they’ll up-cycle things like furniture before selling it on for a profit. I once sold my own broken Nintendo Wii and spoke with my buyer, who told me he exclusively bought broken consoles on the marketplace, and made spare cash each month repairing them and selling them on.
There are deals to be had on Facebook Marketplace, but you need to know how, and when, to negotiate to get the best results. Here are some tips to help you get the best price you can the next time you see a listing you’re interested in.
Make sure you’re taken seriously as a buyer
Facebook Marketplace is filled with time wasters, and being a seller can be frustrating. People make offers they have no intention of fulfilling, express interest in items they don’t care about, and make empty promises just to string the seller along. If you can be taken seriously as a buyer, you’re more likely to be able to engage in proper negotiations.
Ask a direct question in your initial message that shows you’ve read the listing description fully, tell the buyer how you’ll be paying upfront (cash or via bank transfer), or tell them you agree with any of their selling requirements like a timeframe they need the item gone by. Even something as minor as ensuring you have a profile picture of yourself can improve how seriously you get taken, as it makes your account look more active and trustworthy.
Read the item description fully
The item description should answer most of your questions. Don’t start your negotiation off on the wrong foot by asking the seller if they’ll deliver the item when their description already states they can’t deliver.
More importantly, the description can show you creative ways you can improve your offer without offering more money. For example, if the listing says it needs to be sold quickly, can you pick it up promptly and with minimal hassle to the seller? If the listing says free postage, but you live nearby, can you offer to collect instead and save the seller postage fees?
Now more than ever, contact-free pick-ups are particularly valuable, so see if you can offer to arrange a reliable pick-up that doesn’t involve close contact – can you pay via bank transfer instead of cash? Great, that’s a huge plus to many sellers!
Look at when the item was listed
The listing will show you when the seller put the item up for sale. If it’s only been listed for a day or two, you probably don’t have much room for negotiation. The seller will be getting other messages and you’ll face a lot of competition.
If the listing has been up for over a week, that’s when you’ll really be able to get yourself a bargain if you negotiate well. The seller clearly isn’t in a rush to sell, but there will be less competition when you put your offer in. The longer the item has been listed for, the more you can knock off the asking price.
TIP: Don’t just rely on the listing age Facebook tells you. Some sellers are well-aware that when an item has been listed for a while, they’re leaving themselves open to big negotiations. They’ll avoid this by taking down their item and then re-listing it again. If you’re interested in an item, remember it and keep an eye out for it getting re-listed multiple times.
Check other listings from the same seller
It’s common for sellers to make a whole bunch of listings at once when they’re cleaning out their house. If you see more than one listing you’re interested in from the same seller, use this to your advantage by creating your very own bundle.
You’re in a great position as a buyer if you can offer to take two or three listings off of their hands all at once. In this case, it’s completely reasonable to ask for 10, 20, even 25% off depending on what the listings are.
Cut to the chase
Part of the appeal of Facebook Marketplace is that it’s supposed to be quick. Sellers don’t care about your backstory or why you are interested in the item. They just want to sell it.
Be direct and to the point, and make your opening offer count. This is a great place to grab a deal, but your opening offer needs to be good enough to open the door to negotiations. If you lowball too much, you’ll just be ignored. If you need to ask questions first, that’s OK – but be blunt and don’t beat around the bush.
Offer to put down a holding deposit
If you really want an item and have struck a good deal, try to lock it in. Offer to transfer a portion of the sale price to the seller immediately as a holding deposit. This shows them you’re serious about the purchase and should stop you from being undercut by another buyer later on – particularly if you make this offer on the condition they remove the listing immediately.
There is an element of risk to doing this, so only offer a small percentage of the sale price and only do it if you get a good feeling from the seller. If anything seems off (lack of profile picture, strange item description, etc.) keep your money until you’ve got the item in your sights.
Once you’ve made your best offer, walk away (for a little while)
As with all negotiations, set a walkaway price for yourself – a figure that you are not prepared to go over when buying the item. Once you’ve offered your best price, and are reasonably assured your offer is competitive, don’t get talked into further negotiations. Tell them you’ve made your best offer, and they can get back to you if they decide to accept it.
Keep an eye on the listing after this. If it’s still available after a day or two, message the seller and remind them your offer is still on the table if they’ve change their mind. Pride will often stop a seller from contacting you again independently, but if you open the door again with a gentle reminder, they might accept your offer.
Set an alert if you’re after something specific
If you’re looking for something particular on Facebook Marketplace, don’t forget about the alerts feature. You can set up notifications so that as soon as a listing is made matching your keywords, you’ll get notified right away. Better yet, you can use alerts alongside the search to find listings from sellers who are more open to negotiation.
If you’re interested in something that tends to get listed fairly regularly and are OK with paying for postage, set a wide search area and keep responding to sellers as listings come up. Eventually, you’ll find someone willing to give you what you’re after at a great price. Don’t get desperate and offer a high price for something that gets listed routinely – with some patience, you’ll grab it at a bargain.
Need some practice to get started?
Those are our tips for negotiating on Facebook Marketplace. But negotiation isn’t just limited to online marketplaces anymore. If you need some negotiation practice before you start haggling with real users, consider trying out our demo of Nibble.
Nibble is a negotiation chatbot for ecommerce that lets users make an offer for products they’re interested in. It’s fast, there’s no log-in required, and it doesn’t interfere with the checkout process. When you see Nibble on a retailer’s site, that’s your chance to flex your negotiation skills and grab a deal instantly online.
Want Nibble on your own ecommerce?