Another excerpt from the Customer Satisfaction and Retention chapter of The 7 Essential Steps to Successful eBay Marketing.
Formatting the Text for Your Terms of Sale
When entering the boilerplate text for your terms of sale in your item descriptions and About Me or eBay Store pages, make sure your terms are easy for your customers to read. Create a subheading in larger, boldface type that reads "Terms of Sale," "Our Policies," or something similar, and then list your policies in a numbered or bulleted list. Recall the text "chunking" and list-creation techniques discussed in Chapter 3, and extend these same practices
in your terms of sale to instill user-friendly readability.
Use the same font and type size for listing your terms of sale that you use in your item descriptions. Using a smaller type size can create distrust in readers as it has the appearance of "fine print." Even if your intentions are simply to save screen space, your customers may suspect that you are using this notorious trick to sneak something past them. Remember your goal of transparency and how it inspires trust.
You should also avoid using larger typeface, red lettering, or all capital letters for your terms of sale. It´s the text equivalent of screaming at your customers, and no one likes to have rules and regulations screamed at them. Even though some eBay buyers simply don´t read stated policies carefully, using such typefaces insults the intelligence of every potential customer who browses your item listings. Insulting potential customers is no way to win friends and influence people-and certainly no way to run a business.
What Do Your Terms of Sale Say About Your Business?
The demeanor you use in writing your conditions of sale reveal much about you and your business. You´d be surprised at how many sellers get this angle all wrong. Many sellers will create a laundry list of conditions of sale-"No International Bidders, No Personal Checks, Winning bidder must contact me within five days of auction close, Negative Feedback will be left for those who don´t comply with terms of sale." And these are fairly mild examples; some sellers come off much worse!
Figure 6-1 shows an astoundingly nasty list of sale conditions pulled directly from a misguided eBay seller.
Although the seller may think that he is insulating himself from potential problems or customer fraud, he is also sending a message to legitimate bidders that he is an unpleasant person with whom to do business.
Authoritarianism is bad salesmanship. Remember, one of the founding principles of eBay is that "people are basically good." You will scare off customers if your terms of sale seem to assume that they´re attempting to defraud you.
Instead of saying, "We leave negative feedback for non-paying bidders," try something like this: "We are delighted to leave positive feedback upon completion of each transaction." Both statements imply the same result: good bidders get good feedback and bad bidders get what they probably deserve. But the two statements send different messages about the seller making the statement. It´s OK to be firm with your conditions of sale. However, it´s equally important to phrase those conditions positively to reflect the most favorable light possible on your business.