The recent passing of legendary pitchmen Billy Mays and Ed McMahon got us thinking about the pitchmen of WoW. “WTS [item]” is the /trade chat standard but so much more can be done with this message depending on what your selling goals are.
Name Your Price
In WoW, many people do just fine with a “WTS _____” message in /trade but this simple message leaves room for inefficiencies in trading. First of all, how many people are just going to buy the item without asking the price? This means that before you can even think of exchanging gold, another player will have to message you inquiring as to your price. Worse, some sellers take this logic a step further by responding, “Well what do you want to pay?” Surely there is a price point that is too low, and surely there is a price at which you want to sell it. So just say the price in your advertisement and move on. Yes, you may squeeze a few more gold out of some sucker who might pay more than your asking price, but why waste the time of responding to the majority of buyers who will go back and forth asking about the price and accusing you of charging too much. The exception to this is when you are trying to sell an extremely rare item, as there may not be an established market (and thus price) for the item yet. But if all you’re trying to do is sell a few eternals, or yet another crafted blue item, just state your price.
We’re not saying to not negotiate. Price negotiation is a separate, and valid, issue. What we are saying, is that there are many players who will be turned off by your lack of listing an offering price. Ever see a used car with a ‘For Sale’ sign in the window and a phone number but no price? Want to know why people don’t list their price on cars like that? Because they know the price is probably higher than what most buyers will pay. They also know that if they could only get you on the phone and asking about the vehicle (and consequently showing that you have interest), then they have a better chance of explaining the higher price to you. We highly doubt your stack of Eternal Fires has custom racing rims or that they were driven only on Sundays.
What’s Your Pitch?
In the world of finance, entrepreneurs are expected to be able to summarize their business plans in a succinct format often called an elevator pitch. Now, if you developed such a pitch to offload your eternals most people would think you’re crazy, but it does help to think about your message before you start seeking buyers. This is mostly true if you’re a regular seller of a particular item, or set of items, and you want your selling toon to be associated with this market in the mind of the buyer.
You might even consider developing a text macro for items you sell regularly. We’ve seen people saying things like “Jed’s Eternal Fire Store- We bring the heat!” While ridiculous, these adverts are memorable. In fact, in discussing this matter with the WoWenomics team, every single member could identify the name of a toon on their server that regularly advertised a specific good or service in a funny or goofy way. That is what we call branding and it is a powerful message that resonates with consumers- sometimes even long after the product is gone. To wit, there are many people who, to this day, if we were to say “…Our prices are Insane!” will know exactly what store we are talking about. On a wider scale, if we were to say, “I’m lovin’ it” more people would associate the song with McDonalds than they would with the original artist.
Use It Wisely
Again, perhaps not the most rational approach to selling in WoW, but if you want buyers to come to you even when you’re not advertising, it is one way to go. Perhaps, as a cautionary note, we should also add that there is a very fine line between funny and annoying, so use your message sparingly and don’t spam /trade repeatedly. It may also pay to test it out on a trial audience that is not your mom (who thinks all your jokes are funny) prior to broadcasting to the community at large.
Timing is Everything
Also, think about your timing. Generally speaking, the servers are busiest during the evening and weekend hours. If you’re having trouble getting responses to your pitch it may not be entirely the fault of your approach, but rather the timing of your delivery. Try again when there is a different population pool on-line.
Adapt as Needed
Your pitch may not work initially. It may be bad timing or even bad humor. Keep trying, be innovative and always keep in mind that a good marketer is dynamic and able to adapt to the situation at hand.
…And That Other Guy
We almost feel remiss not to mention the most notorious of the lot when talking about legendary pitchmen who have recently passed. We feel, however, at this point it has become this kind of a situation.