We just had our 4th weekly SCM Live Zoom session. Each week on Thursday at noon PST, we ask SCM experts to join us and predict the sale price of cars currently offered on Bring a Trailer.

Recently, our guests were Matt Crandall of the Avant-Garde Collection, Alex Cartio of Cartiology (and a BMW 8 Series fanatic) along with Mercedes specialist Dean Laumbach.

We discussed what makes a seller get top dollar. Everyone agreed that 50% is the actual car being sold, and 50% is the seller and how they present the car.

The goal of a seller is to create an air of assurance for an online buyer, so that they feel like they know what they are buying — even if they haven’t seen the car in person.

Crandall noted that some sellers treat BaT like it is Autotrader, with a few grainy photos, no paperwork and incomplete descriptions.

Videos are important, Crandall said.

Avant Garde is known for their videos – Matt noted that customers have come to his Portland, OR location wanting to “drive the route” of the videos.

Former panelist and SCM contributor Stephen Serio talked about a Ferrari 328 that was being offered.

“The seller simply disappeared and wouldn’t answer a simple question like, ‘When was the last belt service done.’” Serio said.

As Serio predicted, the car failed to sell.

Crandall said that if a car he is interested in is for sale on BaT, he contacts the seller right away, and starts a dialogue so he can learn as much about the seller as possible.

On the buying side, Laumbach said,“I don’t want to waste the rest of my life making $250 bids. If I’m willing to pay $100,000 for car I’ll put in a starting bid of $90,000. That scares off the trolls, and leaves me with the real bidders as my competitive set.”

With the BaT automatic, two-minute extension rule when a new bid comes in, you’re not going to snipe or “steal a car” with a bid that comes in one second before the auction closes.

Decide what YOU think is a fair price to pay, bid to that number, and walk away if it goes higher.

The world of online auctions continues to develop. The canny buyers and sellers are learning the new rules of the road, and they are positioning themselves to buy smart and sell right.

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