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How to Respond to a Domain Inquiry

One of the best feelings in the world as a domain investor is when someone inquires about buying one of your domain names. Every inbound inquiry is a sales lead and an opportunity to turn a domain into thousands of dollars.

Like all sales leads, not every inquiry will turn into a sale. Not every person will be able to afford your domain or go through with a purchase. There are, however, some things you can do to increase the odds that an inquiry turns into a sale.

Respond Quickly

This is the most important thing you can do. Any salesperson will tell you it’s important to respond to leads as fast as you can.

In most industries, someone who inquires about purchasing something is also evaluating alternatives. The same goes for domain names; many buyers are considering a couple of different domain names and trying to figure out which one they can afford.

Responding quickly may mean not losing a potential customer to another domain.

Get on the Phone

If you can, respond by email and a phone call. Getting the prospective buyer on the phone will allow you to:

  • Establish rapport
  • Understand why they are interested in your domain name
  • Give you the opportunity to overcome their price objections by explaining the value of good domain names
  • Increase trust

In today’s world of robocalls and telemarketers, people don’t always pick up their phone. No answer? Just leave a message or send a text message.

Don’t Play Hard to Get…

At least not at first. 

Price isn’t the only factor domain buyers thinking about when deciding to purchase a domain. They also want a simple, fast transaction. If you are slow to respond to negotiations, they might decide to move on because the negotiation requires too much work. Make it as simple as possible for domain buyers to buy your domains!

If you get to an impasse — the buyer refuses to meet your price — then it’s time to play hard to get. Sometimes people wait just a couple of days before capitulating and lowering their price. Stand strong a bit longer to see if the buyer comes back to you and increases their price instead of the other way around.

Be Polite

Many negotiations have been ruined by someone who upsets the other party. You’re trying to close a business transaction, so check your ego at the door. 

The buyer might call you a squatter. That’s not cool, but getting upset about it won’t move your negotiation forward. The thicker your skin, the more likely you can look past petty name-calling and get to the finish line.

Don’t Treat Lowball Offers As A Dead End

If someone sends an email offering $100 to buy a domain you think is worth $50,000, don’t immediately dismiss the inquiry. 

roadblock sign

Many domain buyers have no idea where to start and they just want to understand approximately how much the domain costs. After getting the answer, they’ll consider if they can afford the domain and if it’s worth negotiating. 

Sure, if you tell them it’s $50,000 and they return with a $100 offer, that might be a dead end. But don’t dismiss a low offer out-of-hand; at least respond with a price

Set a Price

Speaking of which, you definitely want to tell your buyer what your price is!

Some domain investors respond to inquiries by telling the prospect to “make an offer”.  The thinking is that the buyer might offer more money than you were going to ask. 

That might happen, but in practice it rarely does. You’re asking someone who knows little about the value of domains to place a value on it. Instead, anchor the negotiation by giving a price that leaves room to negotiate.

Figure Out Who Is Inquiring

The Internet sometimes lends anonymity. That’s unfortunate in a domain negotiation because one of the biggest advantages you can give yourself is to figure out who you are negotiating with.

Who is it? How big is the company? What do they want to use it for?

Sometimes, you can gather this information from the domain inquiry. Landing page services collect the phone number, IP addresses, and names of the inquirer. A bit of searching on Google and LinkedIn might identify the buyer.

This is another reason to get the prospect on the phone. After establishing rapport, you can ask deeper questions that will assist in your negotiation.

It’s also wise to figure out who is inquiring is to avoid a legal trap. Some lawyers and companies will inquire about a domain name to try to entrap the domain owner. They use the negotiations as evidence that you registered the domain primarily to sell it.

That doesn’t mean that the other party has a legal right to your domain, but they might try to trick you into writing or saying something that incriminates you. 

Be Flexible

Not all entrepreneurs and businesses can pay thousands of dollars at once. Overcome the buyer’s financial roadblocks by offering creative financing options. 

Consider these options:

  • A payment plan where they pay the price over many months
  • A lease or lease-to-own/option to buy 
  • Accepting equity as part of the transaction (it can be lucrative!)
  • Trading their services/goods for part of the cost. 

You can also let the buyer pay with a credit card so they can extend the payments. For big purchases, refer them to a domain financing company such as Domain Capital.

In addition to payment terms, consider what forms of payment you will accept. Be careful before accepting PayPal for a domain. Maybe take bitcoin?

You can also increase trust by using a domain name escrow service.

Be Sure to Follow Up

Some buyers want the domain now. Others have a lot on their To-Do list, so stay on their radar by following up. 

laptop in front of a clock

A simple way to remember to follow up with a prospect is to “snooze” an inquiry in your Gmail inbox or add a reminder on your calendar.

If you get lots of domain inquiries, consider using a lightweight CRM system such as PipeDrive.

Ca-ching!

Treat every domain name inquiry as a special opportunity. Contact the prospective buyer as soon as you can. Treat them with respect. And follow up!

The better you handle your domain inquiries, the more domains you’ll sell. That is your goal, after all.

And if you’re not getting inquiries on your unused domains, why not list them for sale at Namecheap?

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Andrew Allemann avatar

Andrew Allemann

Andrew is the founder and editor of Domain Name Wire, a publication that has been covering domain names since 2005. He has personally written over 10,000 posts covering domain name sales, policy, and strategies for domain name owners. Andrew has been quoted in stories about domain names in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and Fortune. More articles written by Andrew.

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