Say Goodbye to Feeling Awkward and Hello to Buying and Selling Confidently Online

In collaboration with Gumtree

Taking a photo of a camera to list on Gumtree


I’ve talked a lot on here about decluttering your home and your life, but what do you do when you’ve figured out what you need and what you don’t? Sell it!


Buying and selling with Gumtree

My go-to place for selling our preloved items is Gumtree. I’ve sold so many things on the platform in the last few years – from pushchairs and travel systems to bundles of baby items. It’s one of my favourite ways of raising cash to fund family days out, home decorating projects and saving towards those big life purchases.

While I love the simplicity of selling our once-loved items (and buying things I want!), I always dread the meeting up and selling/buying part. As someone who grew up with social anxiety, it’s something that never fully leaves you, which makes striking up conversations with strangers difficult at times. It also made bartering hard too – I’d crumble and say ‘yes’ at a buyer’s first offer instead of negotiating.


The solution to our awkwardness

Turns out, I’m not alone in feeling awkward about buying and selling online. Apparently, according to new research from Gumtree, 67% of people who prefer phoning when contacting the buyer/seller for the first time said they find the initial call to discuss the item awkward, more than a third (34%) feel anxious when meeting, almost half (49%) worry about the buyer/seller not turning up, 37% dread the buyer trying to haggle on price and more than one in ten (12%) even worry about whether the other person is going to be too chatty*.

To help us overcome this, Gumtree has teamed up with the How to Academy and negotiation expert Gavin Presman to create a guide to ‘The Etiquette of Buying and Selling Online’. The guide offers seven steps to buying and selling confidently and is packed with advice from Gavin and Gumtree’s loyal users.

The guide (which you can download here) is full of useful, easy to follow advice that walks you through the process of buying or selling confidently. It covers research, how to list your item to attract buyers, communication, meeting up, closing the deal and more.

Some of my favourite advice from the guide includes:

On researching and meeting up…

“Make a list of things you want to ask beforehand so that you don’t forget anything”


On creating an attractive and effective listing…

“Most importantly, include as many pictures of the item as you can. If there are any faults, even minor ones, take a picture and show them clearly. Not only will this avoid unnecessary haggling later, it will build the buyer’s confidence that you are telling the truth about the condition of the item, so they are more likely to want to buy from you.”


On how to make a buyer feel comfortable…

“Ask the buyer how they are planning to get to you and offer any local advice on the best way to make their journey stress-free. If you want to make the buyer feel more comfortable, do all you can to help them to get to your place easily. You may want to offer to meet them close by if it’s difficult to find, or you can help by sending them a map and/or concise instructions.”


On negotiating confidently…

“When you are bargaining, the most important thing is to know what your ‘walk away’ point is, whatever side you are on. This is the lowest price you will accept. You don’t need to tell the other person this, but if you are clear it will be easier for you to negotiate a deal.”


A masterclass in negotiating confidently


As well as launching the guide, Gumtree and the How to Academy are also hosting an interactive workshop on 4th September at 6:45pm at the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design, London. It’s free to attend, and you can book your tickets here.

Last week, I went along to a preview of the workshop to find out more about negotiating face-to-face. The workshop was led by Gavin Presman, a negotiation expert, and was a great introduction to the new guide.


Gavin Presman presenting a workshop preview on The Etiquette of Buying and Selling Online, Gumtree's new guide


There were lots of practical tips, advice and stories – with some really interesting statistics shared by both Gavin and Gumtree. I found it really interesting that 12% of people feel awkward examining an item before buying, and that 61% of us feel uncomfortable asking for a discount. I believe the new guide will be really helpful for both buyers and sellers, offering that confidence, reassurance and practical advice that will help us all buy and sell confidently.


Preparing to list my camera on Gumtree using the guide to help me do so confidently

Becoming a confident buyer and seller

With the advice in the guide and the experience I’ve gained through the interactive workshop, I’m confident that my future attempts at buying and selling online will be even more successful. I’ve learned how to list an item effectively, to know my ‘walk away’ price and how to be a friendly buyer or seller.

I have a lot of things to list on Gumtree over the next few weeks, so selling my old camera and the last few bits of our baby gear will be a great way to test out my new negotiating skills. I’ll keep you updated!

Thank you to Gumtree for working with me on this feature. Don’t forget you can download The Etiquette of Buying and Selling Online here or book your free tickets to the workshop on 4th September here.

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  • Great tips. I’ve got loads of stuff that I could sell but had a bad experience recently both selling and trying to buy something both of which I pulled out of which put me off doing it again. I dread the whole meeting up and especially when a buyer agrees to buy and then tries to haggle the price down when they turn up :)