Friday, October 21, 2005

Self Help Show

Val Smithson: We’re back! And we’re talking to our guest Mr. Jeff White on how he used eBay to make his first million. As our special guest, he’s willing to share his secrets so you too can make your dreams come true. Jeff, what’s your secret?

Jeff White: Well Val, the product isn’t important. What’s important is the presentation. Who really cares what the actual thing is? None of us are looking for more crap to fill up our living rooms! What we’re looking for is a story in the making; something that we can show our friends.

Val Smithson: Fascinating, fascinating… tell us more.

Jeff White: My first big score on eBay was an old phone. Admittedly, it was a pretty cool phone but I picked it up for a tenner down in Chinatown. The optics of the piece were great: it had a rosewood patina and this fantastic dragon motif. It was a real gung-hay-fat choy-triad-big-trouble-in-little-china type-of-thing. I realized that I could just put it on eBay and hope that somebody upped my price or I could give it a bit of spin. Why write “good phone, great price” when I could amp it up a bit.

Val Smithson: Don’t hold us in suspense. Tell me, what did you write!

Jeff White: I wanted to build some persona and character so I submitted an appropriate description: “You are biding on a rare and wonderful item, if you are interesting in China culture, no miss this good chance to get this items! it will be a good condition to display or collect.”

Val Smithson: And it worked?

Jeff White: Well… I had to work it up a little with some autobiographical content. Really, who could resist a line like this: “I am a fanatically antique collector highing on make friends, I know lots knowledge of antique. my grandfather told me that, our grandsire is a aga in Qing dynasty, collecting antiques are very popular in China then, so my grandsire had largely number of antique since he is a very very eminent aga. and the antiques passesed through generations.”

Val Smithson: Wow!

Jeff White: You get it? It’s the story and not the product that people wanted to buy. I tell people to forget the product and focus on the narrative. How is someone going to describe what you’re selling at a cocktail party? If they’re not, you’ve already lost.


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