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Selling Guide > 6. Writing your advertisement

'If you've
got it,
flaunt it!'

 BMW 330SE


6.
Writing your advertisement

   Your car needs to sound like it is worth a call, so list all it's good points on a piece of paper as well as those points which are essential to any buyer.

Essentials information
   You will need to give the exact make, model and year of your vehicle.
Body type and numbers of doors. i.e. '3 door hatchback'.
Engine size and features i.e., '1.4ltr 16valve'
Automatic transmission if applicable.

The other essential information you should include is of course your asking price and your phone number... whatever you do, don't forget your phone number!

Selling points
   If your car has low mileage, a low insurance group, one careful owner, or is very economical, then it's probably worth mentioning it.
A full service history is a good selling point.
If your car has 9-12 months of M.O.T. Left then this is a definite selling point, but if your car has only a few months left, it may be worth getting a new M.O.T.

If you are a non-smoker, tell them that it's 'never been smoked in'. If most of your mileage has been on the motorway, say so.
And of course, mentioning that the car has had a full valet is a very good selling point.
Just put down enough to make sure your advert stands out from the rest so you get the calls.
It may also be worth mentioning that this is a 'Private Sale', and buyers like it if you have a good reason to sell, such as having a baby and needing a bigger car.

Now that most sales are on the internet, a good picture, or set of pictures is essential. See below

Fiat Punto

And if space permits, add 'No canvassers please' to the end of the advertisement.

You can also add your e-mail address, you could even go so far as to publish your own web page or e-mail photos and details to prospective buyers. The Internet has the advantage of not being limited by space.

Attractive features
   List all the cars attractive features such as CD player, air conditioning, leather upholstery etc.
But don't ever do it and waste precious space by stating the trivial and the obvious, it's a rare thing to find a B.M.W. without alloy wheels, and a chrome gear-knob isn't much of a selling point.

Tell them the exact paint colour, 'greenish-blue' doesn't sound as good as 'Metallic Pacific Blue'. If your car colour is Pacific Blue, but it looks green, especially in the photo (it DOES happen! See this) you need to tell them. If you paintwork needs it, then have the car buffed - this can make a dramatic difference and turn a negative colour into a positive.

Update: We have found that photos make all the difference when it comes to making a car look attractive, the background you snap the car against is almost as important as the car it's self! Of the two photos above, one looks like it is taken at a stately home, the other looks like it was taken at a breaker's yard, the former is far more appealing. It's what is called 'selling the lifestyle' in the advertising industry. While it's probably not worth driving your SUV to the top of a mountain to get the 'lifestyle' shot, it is a good idea to take the picture in front of you house rather than in the car park at work. We have photographed cars at the park, at country churches, courtyards, and by the river side... you never have to travel more than a couple of miles to find an attractive location and this could make all the difference. A nice sunny day helps too! Spend some time looking at AutoTrader and see what a difference good photos make compared to bad ones -- it can be quite good fun looking for the really bad photos! Find the best one you can, and try to better it.

Update: This Mercedes S600 was sold on the AutoTrader web site in August 2005. There were many enquires, but the first person who saw it, bought it - the money was in the bank within two days of the car going on sale. These were the photos that were used:

Using the Parkers Guide, a car like this would typically be worth £24,000 in poor condtion - which this car was! After a valet, alloy wheel refurbishment and some smart repairs and bonnet and wings resprayed (total cost £950), the car reached it's asking price of £29,000.
To show off the car at it's best, the customer hired the services of CM Photography upon our recommendation. The Photographer supplied approx ten photos of the car and some addtional photos of the house, which will come in handy at a later date should the customer want to sell the house.

If you wish to take your own photos, follow these useful tips from CM Potography:-
  • Use your camera's highest resolution settings. If you have the setting on your camera, use a low ISO around 100 or 200 for maximum quality. If necessary use a tripod.
  • Ideally, shoot when the sun is low in the sky, this tends to give the most flattering lighting.
  • Consider the backdrop of your image. A location can either add or take away from the final look.
  • Shoot from a low position. Most people take images standing. Avoid this and keep low.
  • Watch for reflections. You may or not want the surroundings reflected in the car's paintwork. In particular you don't want to see yourself taking the image. A circular polarising filter available for some cameras, can help bring reflections in and out of the image as desired.
  • Use your flash to fill in shadows. You may have to force the flash to fire. Check your camera manual to find out how. If you are using your flash check your images and avoid bright spots from reflections of the flash light.
  • Don't just take one or two snaps, photography depends on a lot of luck, so take dozens of photos from all angles, with and without flash, then veiw them on your computer and pick out the best. Remember that you will need one photo that looks great even when it is a small thumbnails -- load this one into your web advert first and it will show up ad the photo in the listing.
  • If you can't take a good photo to save your life... find someone who can! It could be worth paying somebody to do it.


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How to write an advertisment

 

DannyDanny Argent ~ 20/11/03

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