Interacting With Yard Sale Customers

How to Be Helpful Without Harassing Shoppers

Yard sale sellers talking to shopper
Burke/Triolo Productions/The Image Bank

Whether your customers are shopping at a yard sale or a high-end boutique, they prefer to buy from sellers they like. However, it can often be hard to find the balance between being friendly, and being a seller who just won't leave your customers alone to shop. Before having your next yard sale, learn the etiquette behind talking to potential yard sale shoppers.

Interacting With Yard Sale Customers

The first thing you want to do is let early birds browse your yard sale. If you have everything ready, and it won't stress you out, this will make them feel comfortable as you put more items out or get ready for more people to arrive. Shoppers who arrive before your starting time still have plenty of cash, and an early bird is also a bird in hand.

However, you can feel free to turn away early bird shoppers if you're not ready to receive them. You don't have to feel obligated. Dealers and dedicated yard sale shoppers are the ones who show up early, so they're likely to come back another time.

One of the most important things you can do is start the sale on time. Some shoppers undoubtedly routed your sale based on your stated starting time, so you don't want to mess up their schedule. Additionally, you'll want to greet customers as they stop by, as it's both polite and identifies you as the person holding the sale.

Customer Tips

When it comes to cost, you don't want to launch into an extensive explanation of your pricing system, especially when shoppers first arrive. It's fine to say something like, "Welcome. The paperback books are 50 cents each. Everything else is marked." If your pricing requires more explanation than that, it's too complicated and can turn off potential buyers.

Make sure to take your customer cue from the amount of interaction. If the customer starts chatting after you greet her, feel free to provide some small talk. However, many prefer to get right to the goods and see what you have. Either way, you'll want to keep a watch on your sale and your shoppers. If a customer raises her head and looks around, she may have a question. Use your observances to approach her and ask if you can help.

Don't Do This

Avoid following your customers around the sale. It's offensive. Even if you're just trying to help, they'll assume you suspect them of stealing. Additionally, you don't want to comment on every item your customer notices. It's pushy, and a yard sale isn't the place for high-pressure sales. Rather, you just want to let people browse. Shoppers don't care that you bought it on vacation, your daughter wore it to homecoming, or that your sister gave you a new one for Christmas.

Don't waste your or the customer's time “selling” him on the item he's already holding. If he wants its history, he'll ask. Most likely, he just wants to pay you and leave. Lastly, you won't want to get offended when customers ask for a lower price. Haggling is just part of the yard sale culture, and you don't have to accept any offer that's too low. In fact, hagglers expect you to make a counteroffer.