Domaining MBA Monday: Selling Domains To End-Users, Part One

domaining_mba_mondayTGIM and welcome to my first multi-post series on MBA Monday. This series will be spanning the next three weeks and will be focused on selling domains to end-users. When I first started Linton Investments our focus was developing and monetizing domains and selling names to other Domain Investors. Over the years a few end-user sales made a major impact in our revenue stream causing me to shift our focus away from Domainers. While you will typically find more liquidity when selling domains to other investors, many of the biggest deals will come from end-users, but it’s definitely a whole different ballgame.

Here is my plan for this series so you know what’s coming today and what is coming up over the next few weeks:

  • Part One – buying domains that have multiple potential end-user buyers
  • Part Two – contacting end-users directly vs. fielding inbound inquiries
  • Part Three – negotiating the deal

So today I’ll start with how to find domains that have multiple potential end-user buyers. Which brings me to the first lesson that took me a few years to learn:

Avoid buying domains with only one buyer in mind

I find that many new Domainers will buy a domain with one specific end-user buyer in mind, but it’s often a name that would only be interesting to that one buyer. Then, if that buyer doesn’t bite, they’re out of options. There’s an easy way to determine if there might be a good number of people interested, good old Google. Do a Google search for the domain name you are looking at buying and take a look at what you see. What you want to see is many people using your keywords either in the title tag of their site or within the domain name itself. This brings me to lesson number two:

If the keywords in your domain are used by many different companies, either in the title of their site or in the domain name itself, they could be potential buyers.

This is why I love one-word domains so much and why short brandable names have become our core focus when it comes to buying and selling names. A good short one-word domain tends to have a very large group of potential buyers. The more words you add, the smaller your market tends to become. Once you get to three and four-word domains there may still be buyers out there, but there are most-likely significantly less.

There is of course an exception to this rule (as there are to most rules) which is when it comes to selling geo-targeted domains. In this case you can really look at something like LosAngelesLawyers.com as a one word domain with a geo-specifier in the front. A lawyer in Los Angeles might be very interested in a domain like this since they may care more about ranking well for “Los Angeles Lawyers” than “Lawyers” as their business is very geo-focused. You will, most likely find this out when you do your Google search and see this term used in the title tag of numerous sites.

phone_call

Now comes the key step that can save you a lot of money when it comes to selling domains to end-users. First, make sure you can come-up with a list of at least five (preferably) ten potential buyers. Next call them all on the phone. That’s right, I said it, cold call. People get junk email every single day and I’m sorry to say it but your email will most-likely be seen as junk if it goes anything like, “Did you know that a valuable domain like this can help you with blah, blah, blah…” Looks like a sales letter, sounds like a sales letter, must be a sales letter, and I don’t know about you but as a consumer I’m trained to delete sales letters. This leads me to lesson number three:

If you’re too afraid to pick-up the phone, you might be too afraid to do what it takes to sell domains to end-users.

I know it’s a bold statement and some might slam me in the comment section of this post (which you’re more than welcome to!) but I’m just sharing what has worked for me personally. If you don’t want to make the calls yourself (which I don’t) then hire someone who is good on the phone and is comfortable cold calling. As I’ve said many times before, I’m interested in building businesses, not creating new jobs for myself. Plus I know that there are people that can do a better job cold calling than I can and the same might be true for you.

There are two important points here, the first is that you determine interest before buying the domain, and the second is that you are reaching out over the phone. You should only buy a domain if you have at least some form of expressed interest from one or more parties if you are looking for quick flips. If your time horizon is longer then you could buy names knowing that you’ll sell them over the next couple of years but I’d only recommend that once you have a few good sales under your belt.

While you can still send emails to prospective buyers, a phone call is the best way to really judge interest. If you can get someone on the phone or even if you can leave a message for the right person this will go much further than any email can.

Last, but certainly not least, there is no right or wrong answer here. I use a variety of techniques to sell domains to end-users but what I’ve outlined above is what has resulted in some of my biggest sales over the years. I don’t recommend that you look at this as the only way to sell domains to end-users but instead one time-tested way to do it and a good way to help you avoid buying domains that you can’t flip. Stay-tuned next week for Part Two of Selling Domains To End-Users!

As always I’d love to hear from you, good or bad I want to hear it! Comment and let your voice be heard.

(Photo Credit)

READ PART TWO ->

{ 24 comments… add one }

  • This Week In Domains November 12, 2012, 12:21 pm

    Couple of questions

    1. If you call end users before you buy the domain, then they may potentially contact the current owner of the domain and do the deal. Have you seen this happening?

    2. Do you have a standard script that you use when you call end users to sell the domain?

    Reply
    • Morgan November 12, 2012, 3:21 pm

      Great questions @ThisWeekInDomains – see answers below:

      1. This could happen but in most cases they won’t know how to do this, especially if the domain is expiring in which case there is no owner to respond. It is a risk and if you really think you’ve found a gem then buy it, but when you’re starting out it’s better to hedge your bets as much as possible.

      2. Every domain is different and every company is different so it really comes down to doing the research and determining the specific value proposition that would make sense to them.

      Reply
  • Jason Thompson November 12, 2012, 4:28 pm

    Looking forward to the part two and three. Great series Morgan!

    Reply
  • Mike H November 12, 2012, 4:39 pm

    Am I understanding this right… you call businesses trying to sell them names that you don’t own??

    Reply
  • Scott Bender November 12, 2012, 4:50 pm

    Morgan:

    Ever since i got back from the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. convention, i’ve been on the phones cold calling to sell a few of my local Orlando GEO-based domains.

    After nearly 100 calls, i’ve got one or two very strong prospects for sales and only ONE A-hole.

    Cold calling is very easy and something I enjoy doing. I know it is not the norm or something most people like to do, but just practice. It will come easier.

    Thanks again for the post Morgan.

    All the best,

    Scott Bender Orlando Florida

    Reply
  • Morgan November 12, 2012, 5:16 pm

    Thanks @Jason!

    @Mike – you are correct. Definitely don’t lie to anyone, just let them know that you can acquire the domain for them. AntiCareer.com discusses this technique as well in this post – http://www.anticareer.com/how-to-make-money-by-flipping-domain-names/

    That being said, once you get a few solid flips under your belt you might feel comfortable buying the names and taking the risk since you’ll have a better understanding of what sells.

    @Scott – Right on Scott, love to hear it!

    Reply
  • Louise November 12, 2012, 5:53 pm

    I’ll be watching this series – thanx! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Morgan November 12, 2012, 6:52 pm

      Absolutely, glad you are enjoying it so far @Louise!

      Reply
  • Jen November 12, 2012, 8:06 pm

    I really appreciate you’re tackling this topic and look forward to this series.

    I’ve gotten pretty rusty on the phones but am slowly building my nerves to just get er’ done.

    Reply
  • Morgan November 13, 2012, 9:53 am

    Thanks @Jen – looking forward to sharing Part Two next week!

    Reply
  • Ezequiel November 13, 2012, 5:55 pm

    Morga, would you recommend hiring people for cold calling on sites like odesk.com as well? Or where?

    Reply
  • rhakim November 17, 2012, 2:52 am

    Do you have any tips on how to start the conversation, who to contact, and how to get the contact number

    Reply
    • Morgan November 18, 2012, 8:29 am

      Good question @rhakim – this will be answered later on in the series but it’s not easy and it is different for every single name. That’s why I always say, Domaining is a great way to make money but definitely not an easy way.

      Reply
  • Jamie December 6, 2012, 4:48 am

    1 of a 100 Questions..

    What if you do have the next big Domain but your lost?
    I think with a point in the right direction I can get myself in front of the right groups. I know that I could market my domain. The big thing is that I have 0% experience in the .com world.

    Reply
    • Morgan December 6, 2012, 6:50 am

      @Jamie – if you do have the next big domain people will be emailing you all the time putting offers on it. Great domains get lots of offers. If 2-3 month can go by without an offer it might not be the next big domain, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sell it, it just means that you might need to really look at why you think it is so valuable and how you can present this to your target buyer.

      Does the domain have a high exact-match search volume? CPC? Is it used in advertising campaigns as a common catch-phrase? What is it that makes it valuable? Now find the perfect person/company that already sees this value and reach-out to them.

      Reply
  • Cameron W. January 24, 2014, 12:56 am

    I have never imagined of even thinking of cold calling. I have a generic letter I got from a succesful domain broker, have only sent out a dozen emails, no reply. How do I find the tele number? In whois info? Leads from google search results? Time to go see part 2. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Deon Takpuie July 6, 2014, 9:32 am

    Whaaaat! I can’t believe I am reading this now, I really need to start selling to end-users again, especially with geo-specific domains, yes, and I mean cold calling πŸ™‚ Thanks, Morgan!
    @Cameroon, I am not sure about the telephone number, a company should include this in their contact us page, otherwise look for others.

    Reply
  • My list February 12, 2015, 11:37 am

    Thanks for this guidance Morgan. But it would be great if you share one example at least that how to the up the call with potential client.

    Few people requested this as well. Who should we talk to? The owner of the company, their management team or the technical team who manages the website?

    Reply
    • Morgan February 13, 2015, 6:20 pm

      Always talk to a decision-maker, if you’re talking to a manager or director who has to “check with their boss” you’ll have a lot longer path to making a deal. The person who manages the website is definitely not the right person, focus on decision-makers always. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • George October 22, 2016, 6:27 pm

    Dear Morgan,

    When contacting end users selling a geo targeted domain, should I contact end users who already have a website, and try to get them to replace their current domain? Or contact end users that don’t have a website already, saying how you can build a website round the domain that you’re selling.

    Thanks, George

    Reply
  • Merlin May 5, 2018, 7:27 am

    Hi Morgan
    Just found your web site and I notice that most of the comments are quite a few years old; so, the main reason for me contacting you, is to ascertain if this blog is still live?
    I’m a Uk based writer and a dillettante domain name ‘dabbler.’ I have a small portfolio of domain names that I would like someone to ‘broker’ fro me. Can you suggest where I might find such a person?

    Reply
    • Morgan May 7, 2018, 8:41 pm

      @Merlin – yes, just take a look at my blog, I write almost every single day so very much alive. I think you might be looking at old posts…I’ve been blogging for ten years.

      As for finding a domain broker, you’d first have to determine if your domains are really worth anything. Brokers typically only work on names that have real value and they know will be super interesting to end-users. Domaining.com has a nice list of brokers – you can find it here: https://www.domaining.com/directory/domain-brokers/

      Reply
      • Merln May 8, 2018, 4:32 am

        Hi Morgan
        Many thanks for your reply, I appreciate you taking the time to do so. i will take a look at the link you sent me. thanks again.

        Reply
        • Morgan May 8, 2018, 11:25 pm

          @Merln – absolutely, happy to help!

          Reply

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