Hello everyone! I have been thinking of writing a guide of sorts on the strategies I use for buying things advertised in trade chat for some time, and now I'm finally getting around to it. In this topic I will discuss my strategies on how to spot good deals in trade, how to haggle, what/what not to say, general tips and tricks, and how to get a read on the seller to get the best deal possible. So let's get to it!
Spotting a good deal in trade chat can make you mountains of gold, but sadly some goblins ignore trade chat and stick to the AH. While learning how to use and farm the auction house for profit is something you should definitely be doing, I believe anyone who ignores trade chat is missing out on incredible opportunities. But how do you sort out the good deals from trade chat's constant worthless spamming?
FIRST THINGS FIRST - SPOT THE DEAL
First of all, as any goblin should, you need to be familiar with your server's economy and the general value of goods. This can generally only be gained through experience and many many searches and scans of the auction house. However, there are also great resources out there like theunderminejournal.com to help you understand an item's average value whenever you aren't sure. Never be too shy to do some research.
That being said, it becomes important to keep an eye on trade chat while you are going about your goblin-y business in town. I recommend keeping an eye out for these things:
*Materials you need for crafting
*Any high demand items being sold in bulk
*The color purple(yes, the color purple)
*An item being advertised well below what you know to be the item's average cost
*Advertisements with the word CHEAP
*Any valuable item being advertised without a price quote
Much of the above is pretty self explanatory but I want to go over the reasoning on some of them.
Any high demand items being sold in bulk: - The reason you look for this is pretty simple. Most reasonable folks understand that if they are trying to sell something in bulk, a discount is expected. You as the buyer also need to understand that the seller is "stuck", if you will, with a large amount of items that he wants to turn into cash. And since he is advertising in trade chat he is most likely looking for a quick sale. This will not always be true of course, but it is true often enough to be worth your time to inquire further.
The color purple: - In my opinion, the color purple may as well be gold. IRL sex sells, but in WoW purple sells(okay sex too, but I digress). I highly recommend you take notice every time someone links an epic item in trade chat for sale. I found [Theresa's Booklight] in trade chat just the other day for 200g simply because every time I see purple I investigate further. There is no denying the appeal of epic gear and items in WoW. People will spend thousands of gold extra on an item that is barely better than a blue simply because...well...IT'S PURPLE!!!
Any valuable item being advertised without a price quote: - This situation is what inspired me to write this topic in the first place. Any time someone does not list their price in trade chat is an opportunity to practice your haggling skills. The art of the offer. Many of the best deals I have ever made were because I whispered someone who did not quote their price in trade. Many folks ignore adverts without prices which opens the door for you to swoop in and make an incredible deal.
BEFORE THE OFFER
Whenever you inquire further into a deal in trade chat, you are very often asked to make an offer. This moment is crucial. Handled incorrectly the seller may even put you on ignore, so knowing what to do when making an offer is key to your success. But let's roll this back a little bit.
Any time you are inquiring further into the price of an item advertised in trade, there are two options. You can whisper the person right away with what you are offering, or you can ask them what their asking price is. I strongly recommend you never make an offer up front as you may overshoot what the person was willing to sell it for. My personal tactic is always to simply ask, "How much?" And as I mentioned at the beginning of this section, this often leads to - "Make an offer?"
Knowing how much to offer for an item you desire is a very tricky business. There are several things you need to take into account before doing so:
*The average market value of the item
*The supply/demand of the item
*If it is crafting materials, do you need these materials?
*Your previous success in re-selling(flipping) this item in the past
*Your gut feeling
*Did you spot a "tell"?
*How much profit do you want?
The average market value of the item: - Knowing this is the most important part of deciding what to offer. Take the time to look it up on TUJ if you are not sure.
The supply/demand of the item: - If the item is in low demand and high supply, even if you can get it cheap I generally recommend avoiding it. A good example of this would be vendor bought recipes where far too many people on your server have discovered said vendor and flood the AH with recipes. It is also important to understand the ebb and flow of supply and demand on certain items. Darkmoon Faire items tend to become very cheap when the Faire goes away, and spike in price/demand when it comes back.
If it is crafting materials, do you need these materials?: - If buying crafting materials at average market value still makes you a profit when you craft items with your professions, then buying the materials at even just a little bit under market value is worth it. A chance at cheaper materials shouldn't be overlooked just because you can't haggle the seller down to half-price.
Your previous success in re-selling(flipping) this item in the past: - Every server is unique and as you sell things you begin to see which items are especially easy to sell. There are items that generally sell well no matter what server you are on, but every goblin should find their "go-to" items for an easy flip. Once you've had some experience flipping, you can become more confident adjusting your offers higher and higher if needed with the confidence of knowing your item will flip for an easy profit.
Your gut feeling: - This recommendation may not be for everyone as it is not about hard data, but I have always listened to my "gut" when deciding how much gold to offer. There are certain things you can pick up subconsciously about the way a seller is communicating that will help you decide how high or how low you can go with your offer.
Did you spot a "tell"?: - This goes hand in hand with your gut feeling. Many sellers often give away that they are somewhat desperate for gold or want to finally get rid of the item they are selling. Some of these "tells" are more subtle, and some are quite obvious. Keep an eye out for phrases like, "I really need gold," or "I've been trying to sell this forever." If you catch one of these tells I highly recommend lowering what you would have originally offered.
How much profit do you want?: - Deciding this is also very key before you begin making offers. If you will accept nothing but 100% profit on the item, you will more than likely have to make your first offer below that price point as sellers almost always make a higher counter-offer no matter what you offer. Deciding how much profit you want out of the item should be based on all of the other factors listed above. If you know it will resell easily from experience, then being stubborn about your profit margins may simply end up losing you potential profits. Something else to consider as you learn your server's economy and its player-base is some people take offense at "low-ball" offers. You can kill a deal before it has really even started if you offend someone by offering what they consider to be way too low. They may not even consider any higher offers, and they may even put you on ignore. Keep this in mind before making that crucial first offer.
THE ART OF THE OFFERNow that you have made all the considerations, it is time to make an offer. Remember that your first offer generally needs to be below what you are eventually willing to spend as the seller will most likely counter-offer with a higher price no matter what you offer. After making said offer, one of a few different things usually happens:
*The seller says YES!(woohoo)
*They make a higher counter-offer
*They ask if you can go higher
*They say hell no
The seller says YES!(woohoo): - This is always wonderful, and while it isn't terribly common that a seller will accept your first offer, it does happen. HOWEVER...you have another option when a seller says yes right away. You can lower your offer. This move is very risky and I don't recommend doing it often, but there are times when you should consider it. If the seller gave you a "tell" that they really want to be rid of this item you will often have success at lowering your offer. There are alot of ways you can lower your offer, but I recommend the most truthful approach you can think of. I often go with something along the lines of, "I apologize but now that I've given it a little bit more thought I can only offer..."
They make a higher counter-offer: - I underlined this for a reason. You will receive a counter-offer from the seller a good majority of the time. It's how haggling goes and you need to be ready for it. If you like his counter-offer and it still falls within the profit margin you'd like to make, by all means accept his offer!
However, if it cuts the potential profits more than you would like or if you are confident that you can get him to lower his price, make yet another offer of your own. This offer can be the same as the original as a reiteration of how much you want to spend, or somewhere between your original offer and his counter-offer. It's amazing how often repeating your original offer will get the seller to agree or at least make a much lower counter-offer. Whatever happens be ready, willing, and able to make multiple offers before closing the deal.
They ask if you can go higher: - After making your initial offer you will get this question from time to time. I prefer it greatly to the counter-offer as the seller is leaving the ball in my court and many times the seller is actually decently happy with my first offer anyway. When this happens it is a "tell" of sorts, especially if you noticed any earlier tells. Deciding where to go from here is tricky. If you noticed earlier tells, I recommend sticking with your initial offer as they will most likely take it. If you feel like they really won't sell unless you offer a little more, consider upping your offer close or up to the max you're willing to spend and you will most likely close the deal.
They say hell no: - All is not lost. Granted, closing the deal can be quite difficult from here but certainly not impossible. Sometimes in this situation you will find that the seller becomes quite rude. Try not to take it personally. If you can keep a calm head and manage to stay cordial, you will have better success at turning this bad situation around.
In this situation I recommend asking the seller how much they are looking for. It is not ideal to put the ball in their court but in this case it is often necessary to keep the deal going. If the number is way higher than you are willing to spend, you may want to just end it there. If it isn't terribly above your maximum offer, consider making a counter-offer of your own.
There are quite a few little tricks you can use during the process of haggling with someone in trade chat. Some of them are obvious, and some of them are off-the-wall and will amaze you at how effective they can be:
GENERAL TIPS AND TRICKS
*Be polite. - This almost always helps close a deal. Sometimes you have to stick to your guns and be a bit stubborn to get a great deal, but you can still be polite along the way.
*Combine items into a package. - If a seller has multiple items you are interested in, consider making an offer on all of them as a package deal. You can often get all of the items for cheaper than you would have low-ball offered for each of them separately. This works for the same reason buying one item in bulk from a seller works, you are saving them time and effort. Remember to consider "tells" regarding each item, your past success at flipping them, supply/demand, etc.
*Use emotes as currency. - This works, I am telling you it works. I have been in quite a few deals where the seller and I kept offering back and forth and we couldn't come to an agreement. As soon as I offered to throw in a "hug" or a "high-five" with my next offer the seller immediately accepted the deal.
*Develop a rapport with the seller. - People are always more inclined to give a good deal to people they like and respect. If the opportunity presents itself, identifying things you have in common with the seller in-game or in real life and chatting a bit about it can really open up more oppotunities and you just might make a new friend as well. An added bonus is that this seller will remember you and may even return to you with more great deals!
*Be nonchalant. - As you make more and more deals you begin to understand that it isn't the end of the world when you can't close a deal. Make sure to approach every seller with an attitude that in the end you can take it or leave it. The seller NEEDS to sell his item, you don't need to buy it. Using this approach will generally get you a better deal and make the seller consider your offers more carefully before saying no. - (Idea courtesy of @UtesDad )
*"Let it cook." - Sometimes letting the seller stew while you "consider your options" before making another offer will often provoke the seller into accepting your original offer. Controlling the rhythm of the conversation is a very important skill for a haggler to learn. - (Idea courtesy of @Stede)
*Invite the seller to group. - If you spot a good deal in trade and you want to snatch it up before others, inviting the seller to group ASAP will often encourage them to sell to you even if they receive other whispers before yours. - (Idea courtesy of @Camirex )
*Offer a strange amount. - This trick is one of my favorites. Any time you have decided to low-ball offer or whenever you feel it may be successful, offer a weird amount of gold. What I mean by this is if you would offer 2100 for something, try offering something like 2093 or 2107. Avoid offering a divisible of 5 in this case as visually it looks like a normal offer(2105 or 2095 for instance). When you do a strange offer like this, especially when you come across a bit timid, you give the seller the impression that you are offering everything you have. Not only can this be incredibly successful, but sometimes the will counter-offer you with an even lower total so as to help you out and not take "all your gold."
*Make 2 offers in the same whisper - This method is a way to show the seller that you were looking to spend X, but that you've "conceded" and are willing to spend Y. Let me give an example of how this works with a scenario.
You whisper a seller asking for a price and they ask you to offer. You say 500g and they say no. So you ask them a price again and they quote you 1500g. Now you can say something like this: "Well I was really hoping for 700, but I can do 1050." You are really only offering them one offer of 1050, but in essence you've upped your price twice in the eyes of the seller. You are also giving them a sense of "winning" because to them it appears you went well above what you were looking to spend. It allows you to haggle and "win" because you've haggled their price down by 450g, and they feel like they won because they got you to spend 350g more than you were "hoping to." Keep in mind that all of this is subject to the market value of the item whether or not it is even worth haggling the deal. If the item's market value is only 1200g you'd need to do some serious haggling to get the seller down to a profitable price point if they're trying to get 1500 out of it.
*Use the add-on TradeForwarder - This add-on allows you to see everything being said in Trade chat as long as someone else with the add-on is in a capital city, regardless of where you are! Great for when farming or doing dailies etc. - (Idea courtesy of @xazark )
WHAT NOT TO DOThere are a few things that I've found kill a deal very quickly, or limit your profit potential. Just don't do it(sorry Nike).
*Insult the seller: - No matter how they may be behaving, insulting the seller is a bad idea if you intend to close a deal with them. Just don't do it.
*Ignore the seller: - Ignoring an offer the seller has made in the hopes they'll make a better offer is generally a bad idea. Communication is key, don't stop communicating or you will kill the deal.
*Make a preemptive offer: - I addressed this early on in the guide, but I feel it is worth repeating. If a seller has not yet quoted a price, always give them a chance to quote their asking price first when you whisper them. You may find their offer to be a great deal, no haggling needed. If you offer too early you may end up paying more than the seller would have asked for.
*Change your mind too often: - When you begin to come to an agreement with a seller, be careful about changing your mind and asking for a different deal. This can kill the deal altogether. Without some obvious tells and a lot of practice I don't recommend trying to change an agreement once it is reached.
*Come across too desperate or excited: - Act like a kid in a candy shop and you give too much power to the seller, he knows how bad you want it. - (Idea courtesy of @UtesDad )
I may not be Jerry Springer but I would like to add just a couple more thoughts. This is the first guide I've ever written in regards to making WoW gold and I am quite certain I've left some key points out that I will scramble to add in later. That being said I really hope this is helpful to all of you looking to start tapping into Trade Chat riches, and perhaps encouraging or informative to those of you who already do. Let me know what you think! Also, please feel free to share your own tips and tricks and I may edit them into the main post!(credit will be given to you of course)
Have fun making WoW goldz!
TL;DR - Buy thing low - sell thing high