How to Buy on Facebook Marketplace

So you want to snag an epic deal on Facebook Marketplace, but you don’t want to spend a ton of time or money to do so? Then you’re going to want to stick with me until the end of this article, because you’re about to learn how to buy anything on Facebook and get a great deal along the way.

I’m going to break down the exact method that I use to engage multiple sellers at once, negotiate with them and buy below list price to save you big money. I’ve used this same method over the last three years to get epic deals on Facebook like this Fitbit for $50 or the camera that I’m recording on for $300 versus the listed price of $500.

Step 1: Get specific on what you’re looking to buy and your search criteria.

The first step when it comes to buying on Facebook Marketplace is to make sure that you get specific on what you’re looking for and your criteria for that item.

Let’s say for example that you’re buying a camera, well there are a lot of different types of cameras, there’s digital cameras, antique cameras, tons of different types. So you might have to ask yourself, for example, do I want a DSLR camera? Do I want a point and shoot? Do I want a mirrorless camera? With that camera, am I looking for accessories? For example, is it important if the buyer is going to give me a tripod as well, or a different set of lenses than just the kit lens.

Having specificity in terms of the things that you like in a product can help guide your buying decision so that when it comes down to the actual negotiation for the item, you know whether or not you’re willing to invest time with this seller, or walk away from the deal. 

Step 2: Assess all marketplaces available to you.

The second step when it comes to buying something on Facebook Marketplace, is to make sure that you assess all the marketplaces available to you. Check out how other Facebook sellers are listing that same exact product not only in your area, but in the surrounding area, whether it’s your state or nearby states. This can help give a sense of what the local marketplaces are doing in terms of valuing that particular product you’re looking for.

Say for example, we’re using that camera example again. If we were to see that sellers in other states are listing that same exact camera that you’re looking for for $300, but the seller in your state is selling it for $400 then you know that your seller locally is overpricing their item on Facebook Marketplace. Another good place to check out is camelcamelcamel.com.

This is an online database that essentially tracks every single product SKU on Amazon, and then tells you how the price has changed over time. So this can be a good way for you to understand when this particular product you’re looking for either goes on sale or whether or not it even ever goes on sale.

Another place you can check out is eBay which will show you whether or not there is a large price discrepancy between eBay and Amazon in terms of how sellers are selling that particular item. I found that for smaller purchases, for example, like iPhone cables and things like that there’s not that big of a price difference between the two sites anymore. However, for larger purchases, for example, like camera lenses and things like that there can be a decent price discrepancy between the sorts of offerings on Amazon and eBay.

Again, the purpose of this second step in assessing the marketplace is to simply get a better understanding of the broad price ranges that other people are selling these goods for so that you can better understand whether or not you’re going to be getting a great deal. 

Step 3: Calculate what it’d cost the seller to sell the product somewhere else.

The third step when it comes to getting a great deal on Facebook is to calculate how much would it cost the seller that you’re talking to, to sell that product online or somewhere else?

Let’s say for example, that you look at a Sony A6000. Well, if you were to look on Amazon, you would find that a Sony A6000 with a kit lens costs about $400 in terms of its going rate. So if I were a seller of an A6000 and I had to use Amazon to fulfill my sale, I would not only be subjected to having to pay for about $15 in shipping fees, but also Amazon’s cut in terms of their listing and final closing fees. If you’re going to run that through an Amazon profit calculator, you would end up seeing that the seller is really only going to stand to make between 355 or $375. After all fees have been considered, a very similar calculation can generally be made for eBay, I find that when you’re selling something on either eBay or Amazon, you can consider at least 10% if not 15% of your margin to be cut into the final sales price, just because that is the cost of doing business on either one of these major e-commerce platforms.

So why is this important? Well, if you know that the seller of the item that you want on Facebook Marketplace would have to go through all these hoops and ladders and pay for all these fees in order to make $355 or $375. Then you also know what is probably going to be a price floor or a comparable price floor of what they might be willing to accept in your own negotiations.

Most of the time sellers on Facebook Marketplace are listing things just because they don’t want to sell it somewhere else. They don’t want to go through the trouble of having to pack that item, print the shipping label, pay for the shipping label, deal with all the fees, the eBay listing fees, the Amazon listing fees, they just want to meet up with a person and sell the item. And so knowing that is really important because it allows you to understand what they could actually stand to make in their alternative case, it helps you think like the seller, and that will be an important piece when you’re going into a negotiation on the item that you want to buy. 

Step 4: Contact multiple sellers at the same time and negotiate.

The fourth step when it comes to buying something on Facebook Marketplace and snagging a great deal is to contact multiple sellers of the product that you’re looking for at the same time, and then to begin to negotiate.

What I like to do in my negotiations is to make sure that I communicate three things. The first one is, are they open to negotiation? The second thing is that I’m willing to pick up that item very quickly. And the third thing is to ask any questions that the listing may not have answered for you.

An easy way to help you stand out from other buyers of the same item is to demonstrate that you know what you want, and that you have a timeline for when you want that. A strong first message is a great way to do that. One of the things that Facebook Marketplace sellers hate is when people use the, is this available default question in their first message to them. Yes, it’s obviously available. That’s why the listing is up. And so instead, try something along the lines of, “Hey, I’m really interested in XYZ item, and I could pick up as early as tomorrow. Two questions for you, A is price negotiable? And B, XYZ questions that you might have about this listing.”

In this simple message, I’ve communicated three things to the seller. The first one is that I’m highly interested and I’m already talking about logistics to pick up the item. The second thing is that I want to get a good deal and that’s why I’m asking about negotiation, and the third thing is I have questions that their listing didn’t help me answer, so I want to get clarification so that I am on fair grounds as I continue to navigate the negotiation process. These are three green light signals for any seller that you are a serious buyer, and that they should take you seriously.

If there is a reference in the listing about OBO or best offer, then you should ask them, what is the current best offer? You should also ask for more pictures in the case where the pictures they provide you with are not clear. This can help you better understand exactly what you’re getting into and whether or not you’re okay with those sorts of things. For example, on this particular camera that I’m recording on, there’s a very small blemish on one of the turn wheels, but it doesn’t affect the functionality of the camera, and so I didn’t really care about it. But that being said, knowing that these sorts of things existed before I scheduled that meetup was super important because that became a negotiation piece in getting the price down later on. So asking for pictures and having clarity on everything about the item is really important for you to have all the potential chips in your corner so you can play them. As the negotiation plays out.

There are three pieces of leverage that you can commonly use in 80 to 90% of your Facebook Marketplace purchases.

The first one is the condition of the item, if there are any defects or anything that the listing didn’t initially tell you, but later on in your conversations with the seller you’ve learned about, then it’s a good enough reason for you to ask for a reduction in the price.

The second factor is how long has the item been listed on Facebook Marketplace? If the seller has had to renew the listing multiple times, or has already listed this for several weeks, then they are likely more motivated to get rid of the item than somebody who has just listed it the day before and the the last piece of leverage is how quickly you are able or willing to pick up the item. If you can really commit to doing a quick sale for the seller, then sometimes they’ll have more leeway and flexibility when it comes to price just because they want to get rid of that item, when a seller tells you that they’re willing to come down on their price or change their price this is when you want to show your hand. This is when you’re going to share more about what other sellers have been telling you or what their best offers are.

So what you want to establish with their seller at this point that you’re talking to is what is their best price? Or are they willing to beat the other price that you have in place?

Here’s an example of how that might shake out in a potential message. “Hey, I’m really interested in your product still, but in talking to another seller in the area, he’s saying that he’s able to do X dollar amount. So what is your best price? I can take this off your hands this week.”

In the case where you don’t have another offer on the table you can always use the background that you did in step number two of the other marketplaces, remind the seller that if they were to sell us on Amazon or eBay, they’re going to be paying upwards of 15% off their final price, just in fees and also they have to go to the post office, put it in a package, ship it safely and so on. And so what you’re doing instead, as you are coming to them and saying, “Hey, I can take this off your hands within the day or within the week and so what do you say?”

Another sample message that you can use when you notice something about the item that wasn’t in the initial listing is sending a message along the lines of, “Hey, I noticed XYZ that didn’t seem to be in the initial listing. Knowing this now I’m willing to do X dollar amount, does that work?”

This is just a simple way for you to see and explore whether or not there are again, willing to come down on their price based off the fact that they weren’t fully honest or upfront about their listing, or that you learn something else in your discovery process as you explored buying this particular item.

From my personal experiences as a seller, I can tell you that the worst buyers to deal with are the ones who don’t know what they want, how they’re going to get the item or when they’re going to pick it up, or don’t even have a good sense of what they’re buying. So what you’re doing by being enthusiastic, motivated and educated, is you’re demonstrating to the seller that, Hey, this is a potential great lead for me to get rid of this item. Now, let’s jump into step number five. 

Step 5: Reach an agreement and schedule the meet up.

The fifth step when it comes to getting a great deal on Facebook Marketplace is to reach an agreement and schedule the meetup. So you’re gonna want to settle on payment method as well as the time and place of the meetup.

When it comes to location, I recommend a public place, examples are Starbucks, your local library, your post office and so on, just because stranger danger and because others are going to be present around you as this deal is happening.

When it comes to payment method, I personally like to use Venmo when I’m buying things on Facebook Marketplace, and the reason why is just because it’s digital, and you can actually redact transactions on Venmo once you send the money off. It’s up to you though some people like cash some people like Zelle as well as Quick Pay and so on. I just like to stick to Venmo, if not Venmo, then PayPal.

There are two things to keep in mind when it comes to the hours leading up to the meetup as well as the meetup itself.

The first one is that you should go ahead and send a quick message to the seller to confirm that the sale is still happening on the day of the sale. Sometimes work comes up or other things happen in which the seller will actually flake on you and so it’s good that you go ahead and confirm that it’s actually happening before you go trek out to the location that you guys have agreed upon.

The second thing to keep in mind is that when it comes to the meetup, most sales are as is sales. This means that once the deal happens, it’s done and so a good tip to keep in mind is that if you’re buying something like a camera, for example, bring your own SD card so that you can see whether or not the camera actually works and make sure that everything is functional before you exchange money.

We’ve just gone over five simple steps to getting a great deal on Facebook Marketplace!

Big takeaways

There are two big takeaways I want you to remember.

  1. The first one is that I want you to always enter every sales conversation as educated as you can be. Get as much information from the seller as you can before you enter a price negotiation because you’ll have the most leverage to get the best deal.
  2. And the second thing to keep in mind is to make sure that you are positioning yourself as a very serious buyer. Say that you’re willing to pick up things within the week or within the day and talk about the actual logistics of the sale so that you can demonstrate to them that you are ready to make a deal today. 

Leave me a comment in the video sharing what you’re hoping to buy on Facebook marketplace or what deals you’re able to snag because of this method.

In my next post, I’m going to go over how to sell things effectively on Facebook.

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