I don’t mean to sound presumptuous and I definitely don’t want to sound pretentious, but the reason I titled this blog post the way I did is because it will deliver solid value to your life. I don’t want to brag, but most of the other eBay guides out there flat out suck. They talk about hacks and small tips you could use to make incremental improvements. The problem is they ignore the 800-pound gorilla in the room. The reality is most people playing eBay wrong. They’re simply clueless regarding the eBay game. This is why it should be no surprise to you that the vast majority of people who promote on eBay aren’t really making all that much money. They really aren’t.

For every successful eBay merchant, you probably will run across 100 disappointed and discouraged people. The good news is this doesn’t have to happen to you. You just have to understand the following. First, there’s too much saturation on eBay. It seems like everybody’s promoting the same niches and not venturing to where they need to go. Second, a lot of the pricing is a race to the bottom. People are going to eBay to get bargains, instead of availability. You have to understand that if you want to make money, you have to get people to buy from you because you’re one of the few people who have that item available. That’s how you win the eBay game. Unfortunately, eBay has transformed into a race to the bottom. It’s as if everybody’s selling the same exact product and the buyers are looking for the lowest seller.

Another problem with eBay is that there are all sorts of keyword tricks. The problem here is that people are no longer competing based on value and quality. Instead, they gain a competitive advantage if they know how to gain the system by targeting the right keywords. Knowing all of these can save you a tremendous amount of tears later on. You would be able to figure out a winning strategy by simply becoming aware of the reality on the ground as far as eBay goes.

Find niche demand first

The first thing that you need to do is to look for niche demand. This is stuff that people are looking for that may not be on eBay. This is stuff that people have a pressing demand for. They are ready, willing, and able to whip out their wallets, take out their credit cards, and spend real money to meet that particular demand. The good news is most of your competitors are probably clueless regarding this because they are too focused on copying everybody else. They’re too focused on becoming a part of the saturation problem on eBay.

So how do you find niche demand? First, you look for forums where people talk about certain problems. The good news is that almost all forums from all four corners of the globe involve people talking about their problems. Look for certain trends and cross-reference these with chatter on social media. When you hear a lot of chatter regarding certain issues and certain problems, then you’re on to something.

Next, after you have cross-referenced forum issues with social media trends, the step is to get search engines to vet this information. You might be digging up lots of false positives. You might be imagining all sorts of demand when none exist. That’s exactly the situation you don’t want to find yourself in. You don’t want to build an eBay business on ghost demand. You want real demand the best way to do this of course is to use search engines. Pay attention to search trends. Are people looking for solutions related to the issues that you’ve dug up? If so, then you’re on to something.

Find other sellers

Now, I’ve got some bad news. It seems that regardless of how “niched” you particular product category is, chances are quite good that somebody in the past have sold that stuff before. This is actually not that bad. By simply paying attention to what they did and whether they sold or not, they can be teaching you a lot of important lessons. First, you can figure out what they did wrong. For example, if somebody held an auction and nothing sold, this doesn’t automatically mean that there is no demand. What this may mean is that the seller targeted the demand wrong or simply used the wrong strategy. Figure out what they did wrong and fix their shortcomings. This is the best way to let your competitors do your homework for you.

Find a drop shipper you can trust

Now that you have a long list of solutions to problematic eBay selling, the next step is to find the right product source. Look for a drop shipper that focuses in your niche. The good news is that there is no shortage of Chinese drop shippers. There are many custom manufacturers that are ready, willing, and eager to provide drop shipment solutions to long-term strategic partners. Your job is to be one of those long-term strategic partners.

How do you know if you can trust a drop shipper? You have to focus on four key factors. First, they have to have the right product mix. Either they’re making that product currently or they have the capability and infrastructure to build that product. Also, the product has to meet certain quality guidelines. There are many Chinese manufacturers and a lot of them actually produce high-quality goods regardless of what you hear in the media. Zero in on these high-quality producers.

Second, they have to be able to deliver. In other words, their delivery track record should be solid. They can just say, “OK, we will ship to you,” and then you end up with no shipment.

Third, insist on fast delivery. In the United States, people don’t have the luxury of time. People are extremely impatient. They want things immediately. That’s just the name of the game, so it’s really important to filter your potential drop shipper partners based on their ability to deliver quickly.

Finally, pay attention to their customer support infrastructure. Do they have a call center? What are their refund and exchange policies? How fast is their customer support turnaround timeline? You have to remember that even though you’re selling these materials on eBay, your partner’s shortcomings can quickly rub off on you. If they screw up your customers enough, your brand on eBay might be so degraded that you probably will no longer be able to do business on eBay. That’s how crucial finding the right drop shipper partner is. You need to spend a lot of time on this part of the eBay business building timeline.

Create a BRANDABLE eBay presence

Now that you have taken care of the logistics, the next step is to create a presence that is easy to brand. What this means is that you need to create your own e-commerce site and use eBay as a front end. Get a nice looking logo. Get a nice motto. Everything you have to do must be brand specific.

Don’t just rely on eBay

Now, this is the part where a lot of people mess up. They think that they just need to tap into eBay’s massive internal traffic and they’re good to go. I wish that was the case. You have to remember that you’re dealing with niche products. These products are so specialized that there’s not that much competition and not much saturation. Still, you can make quite a bit of money on these niche products. If you were just to rely on eBay’s own internal traffic, you might not have a leg to stand on. You have to promote on social media and forums, and drive traffic to your eBay page. Eventually, this can lead to an upward spiral where you can tap more and more of eBay’s internal traffic.

If you’re serious about truly making money on eBay, forget about doing things the normal way. Forget about conventional wisdom. Instead, focus on niche demand.