With a little bit of preparation and a few followers...
As you may know, I started unseat.me to solve my own problem- I needed to connect my extra baseball tickets to my friends that wanted them. In past years I would run a draft where a handful of people would pick the games they wanted and then I would be left with my games plus whatever didn't sell. unseat.me was a handy tool to sell those few extra games. This year I decided to do things a little bit differently and ‘take my own medicine’.
Instead of doing a draft, I notified my regular buyers that I would be pulling out the games I wanted to keep and posting the rest on my unseat.me page. There were some grumbles about fairness and not being able to choose from as many games but, I am the season ticket holder and most people were OK with that. My first email on the subject was a simple ‘head up’: “Guys, I will be posting my tickets on my unseat.me page soon. Start thinking about which games you want.”
A week later I sent another email: Save the date. “Next Monday at 8pm I will be posting all of my available games. This is a first come first served scenario and fortune favors the well prepared. Set up your unseat.me account ahead of time so you can log in and save yourself a step when it comes time to buy. I will be sending detailed instructions over the weekend. Please let me know if you have any questions.”
The weekend before my sale I sent two more messages. The first was a list of the games I was planning to post- the entire season minus the games I wanted to keep. The second email had detailed directions for how things were going to go on Monday when I posted the tickets. Here is the email:
Are you ready? OK, here we go:1. Tickets will be posted at 8pm on Monday. First come, first served. This is not a draft. It is a land grab. Please note, I pulled out my games so not everything will be available.2. Sign up for unseat.me and log in before 8pm to save yourself a step in buying. You can click the Facebook connect button to make it easy or, if you prefer, you can enter your email address and set a password. Then you will be asked to 'name your page'. That will be your home on unseat.me and you can name it anything you want. My page is unseat.me/lael. Another person named her page unseat.me/seattletix (you can guess what she has tickets for...). Keep it simple.3. At 8pm on Monday I will post my tickets. At this point there is no 'shopping cart' feature so you will have to purchase each game individually. My advice is to start with the game you want the most as high demand games are likely to go quickly. On your first purchase you will be asked for your credit card and shipping address. On all future purchases that information will be stored so you can get through the process more quickly. Find other games you want and go through again.4. After you finish the purchase process I will receive a notification that the tickets have sold. At that point I will click accept and you will be notified that the tickets are yours. NOTE: In the time between you finishing the purchase and me accepting it, the tickets will still look like they are available for sale. If someone else tries to buy those same tickets the later offer(s) will be declined. I will do my best to respond quickly to minimize this possibility.5. At the end of the process I will have a list of who got what. You can also see what games you bought by clicking "Offers Made" at the top of your unseat.me page. I will contact each of you to arrange delivery. If possible it would be great to hand off the tickets in person but I can mail or email to anyone that would prefer it. Your money will be held in escrow until you receive the tickets and either a) you click Received or b) ten days have elapsed. It would help me if you click Received but if you buy a bunch of games that might be a hassle and I get that. Either way is fine for me.When: Monday February 25 8pmWhere: http://unseat.me/laelQuestions? I am expecting some so fire away!
On Monday afternoon I I figured out the prices for each game and logged in to my unseat.me Dashboard to enter those prices. This was a tricky bit. Any time you enter a price and or quantity for an event on unseat.me that event automatically displays on your public unseat.me page. I did not want my events to display until 8pm so I had to click Do Not Display after entering the price and quantity. It was easy enough to do that but something I had to remember as I worked through the process.
At 7:45pm Monday I sent one last email letting people know that is was almost time to buy. Then , at 7:59pm I started clicking display. At 8pm on the nose sales started coming in.
By 8:15pm the action was fast a furious. The original 7 buyers I had invited to purchase my tickets were all accounted for and another 4 buyers had shown up. Every time I refreshed my ‘Offers Received” page there were several new offers for me to accept. Even though unseat.me gives sellers 24 hours to accept an offer it was important for me accept offers as quickly as possible in order to accurately reflect what was still available and give buyers a sense of how quickly things were moving.
At 9pm all but 6 of the games I had posted were sold. I had earned back almost all of the money I spent on my tickets and my list of buyers had ballooned from 7 to 17. All 17 of those buyers automatically became “followers” of my seats so they will be notified about new listings and price changes throughout the season and for future seasons. As my list of buyers grows, I will be even better positioned to do a similar sales event next year. Plus, every buyer I spoke to said the process was easy and straightforward. Some took more games than they would have in the old draft and others we happy to take fewer or just a few special games.
Keys to making this work: fair pricing, hype, creating an event around the listing and having a short list of people to start with.