Here’s a topic that I know has been covered quite a bit in the domain investing world but I think is still an important one to highlight. Before I go any further I’ll just say, there is no right answer here, everyone has a little different approach to selling domains so take this as what it is, my own opinion and not fact or any general rule people need to follow.
Okay, now onto the subject of my post. When you get an offer on a domain name it’s easy to respond with a quick comeback like, “add a zero” or “sorry but that’s far below what I’m looking for.”
While this will work in some cases and it certainly weeds out most buyers and leaves only the very serious ones, it can easily scare buyers away. I’ve always preferred to start a conversation with someone when they make an offer on my domain so they know I’m a real person they can talk to and negotiate with.
Unfortunately, the reality is, a lot of people think of domain investors as squatters, there’s a negative feeling right off the bat, so if you respond with something snarky, in their head they’ll say, “confirmed, stupid squatter.” I know a lot of people in the startup world who get responses like, “sorry but you’ll need to make a much higher offer,” and they just walk and find another name.
Sure, you could say, “well that’s fine, they can go find another name, I’m waiting for a buyer who really sees the value in my name that I do,” and that’s fine, but I think it’s better to show a potential buyer that you’re a normal(ish) person just like them, and someone that maybe they’d want to do business with.
This technique worked out for me last week with a .vc domain that I sold. The buyer put in an offer of $500, I countered at $4,500 and they went silent. Rather than just let it go, I decided to start a conversation. I reached back out, asked them if they were still interested in the domain and told them I’d be open to going down in price a bit. They got back to me, and a conversation started. We landed at $3,200 and the deal closed last week.
If I didn’t reach back out to them my guess is they would have picked another name. The reality is, I would have taken $2,500 for the name, I paid $99 for it last March and paid the renewal fee this year so taking a ~16x ROI was fine with me. In the end, I locked in a ~20x ROI after the DAN.com fee and I’m more than happy with that.
I’m almost 100% certain that if I had just stuck with that $4,500 counter-offer, the buyer would have found another domain. Meanwhile, they actually had a budget that was above my price expectation, it just took starting a conversation to find that out. While I wouldn’t recommend taking this approach with every domain you have, if you’re shooting for the moon, playing hard to get can work in your favor, but for names you’re looking for liquidity on, starting a conversation can often be the difference between a deal, or no deal.