The Best Sellers Guide - Get a 100% postive rating!

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Greetings!

Ever wondered how to get and keep your seller rating at 100%??  Well it isn't that hard at all!

Follow these easy steps, and you will find you can maintain your 100% rating, as well as increasing your business!
1)  Reply, reply, reply.
Buyers love to hear back from sellers, as it gives them confidence knowing you are willing to answer their questions, as well as showing you take an active stance in selling.  This shows also that you want their business!  Ignore minor questions about shipping, item description at your own peril!  Going that little bit further than others will get you repeat business, as well as making the buyer feel positive about buying from you!
 
2)  Always be on time.

Nothing annoys someone more that not being able to contact their seller after they have made their purchase.  Making your buyers wait many days before you give them a shipping total will not endear you to them at all.  If possible, get your shipping prices set before listing your item.  On larger items, this may be a problem, but if you are selling multiple items, it is worth going to the post office to get a quote on shipping.  At the very least, get a sheet from the post office which lists the costs for items based on weight and dimensions.

3) The 3 P's of Posting!
  i) Price properly! 
You want people to come and buy more from you?  Then don't gouge the cost of your postage onto your customer.  A customer will respect you a lot more when you give them their product at a good shipping price.  I usually go by this rule of thumb - Cost of packing material + shipping cost = total shipping cost.  If you think you need more for time spent etc, well you should have already factored that into your sale price when you listed.
And always offer bulk shipping offers where possible.  People will love you for it, and it encourages them to buy in bulk.  For example, an item I was selling recently incrued about a $4 per item shipping cost.  However, to express post about 10 cost only $9.  When offered the alternative, I sold 9 more items than I would have because the person wanted to take advantage of the express shipping!  And they have said they will also become a return customer because of my great turn-around time!

 ii) Pack soundly! 
No one likes buying something online and then having it break mid-transit.  Don't skimp on your packing materials.  If you think it needs more packing to be secure, it probably does.  Make sure things rattle and move the least possible when sending items. 
Always check with the buyer about their preferred method of delivery.  In some cases, you won't be able to guarantee thesafe delivery of an item, and your buyer needs to know about this!  In the end, $1 of bubblewrap, tape and a secure cardboard box can save you a world of hassles, and negative feedback.

  iii) Post promptly! 
I can't emphasise this enough.  I've received more glowing seller feedback from people because I have an excellent turn-around dispatch.  In fact, some people have received items from me the very next day because they paid through paypal.  Encourage people to pay as soon as possible, because it makes your posting easier.  They will love how fast you get the item to them.  I forsee about a window of 4-5 days at most for people to retain item and customer satisfaction.  Those who pay and get the item the very next day have always left glowing reviews for myself.  If you care about your rating, post promptly!

4)  Deal with issues ASAP!

Don't leave potential timebombs time to fester!  The customer will become more and more annoyed at you!  And when people feel like they have been forgotten, cheated or aren't getting anywhere, BAM! they leave negative feedback.  Make sure people know when they buy from you what the terms are. 
Let them know the exact condition of they item they are buying.  If you feel the item is best sent via insured mail or registered post, LET THEM KNOW!  No one wants to open up a box and find the item they were purchasing from you is either damaged or mis-represented.  Believe me, gaining the trust of the customer and sorting out problems will gain you a lot more credibility - and a good seller rating!

5)  Don't be afraid to go the extra mile if you can't send on time!
I have a small box of "treats" I like to keep on hand for just such an occaision.  If I can't make a posting, or there has been some kind of delay, I will add in a small gift as my way of saying thanks for waiting.  The difference you get is amazing!  People will respect you for your honesty, and the small gift takes away the sting of the item being sent late!  Seriously, even items like keyrings worth about $0.20 each help.  If they are associated with the items you are selling (ie same brand etc), it helps even more. 
Another thing you can do is upgrade their postage for them (although if there is a delay, you should try to let your customer know as much ahead of time as possible)..  And let them know you are doing so - "Dear Sir, due to an unexpected delay, your item was only able to be shipped today.  However, as a valued customer, it is my pleasure to inform you that I have sent the item to you via express rather than normal shipping.  You should receive the item quite soon.  Please inform me of when it arrives if you can.  Thank you for your patience".  A pleasant note like that does wonders. 
Remember, all people have to go on when buying from you is how good your rating is!  100% means people will buy from you with confidence!  Its worth the extra effort!

6) LEAVE FEEDBACK!
Once you get payment, thank your customer!  Let them know that they will be receiving feedback shortly!  Your seller rating is gold, and you want as much positive feedback as you can get.  If they pay quickly, give positive feedback!  Let them know you have done it, and after a few days after scheduled delivery, send them a quick note to ask if they received the item in good order, and if so, if they could give you positive feedback for the item.  Reciprocity does work, and the more you leave feedback for others, the more they will leave for you.  Remember, as a seller, your entire image is based on your feedback.  Buyers don't need their feedback as much as you do, so give them an incentive to leave it for you!

I hope this gives you all an idea of how to be a top rating seller.  Value adding, communicating well and delivering prompt, well packaged items will gain the trust of those who you sell to, and help you maintain a 100% rating all through your ebay career.  It is well worth it to spend a little extra time making sure your customers are happy, and value their experience of purchasing through you.  Remember, you only have 100% maximum as a seller... One negative feedback and you can't regain your 100% status!  Its worth keeping, I assure you!
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