Classic Response to a Domain Inquiry | DomainInvesting.com
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Classic Response to a Domain Inquiry

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I get random legit email inquiries for some of my domain names, but many of my friends get a whole lot more of them than I do. They get annoying after a while, and instead of politely responding to a $500 offer for a domain name that is worth six figures, people are tempted to respond rudely, In my opinion, this does nothing effective. If a guy is offering $500 for a six figure domain name, he either thinks you are an idiot or he doesn’t have a clue about domain values.

I do have a response that I like to give to random legitimate inquiries, and I would like to share it. I think it may be a bit passive aggressive , but it helps educate, as people are far more knowledgeable about real estate than domain names. This response took a bit of time to construct, but it’s now easy to cut and paste (with the exception of the link that might be difficult to include in some email systems.

My response is built for an email that went something like this:

“I see you are the owner of XXXXX.com, and it isn’t developed yet. My company is in the process of developing a website which would be perfect for the domain name. I would like to offer you $x,xxx, which I believe is a fair price for XXXXX.com.”

My response:

Dear XXXXXX,

Thank you for your interest in XXXXXX.com. This is a domain name I bought for a specific purpose, but I haven’t yet had the opportunity to develop it as I am working on a number of projects. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t sell it anywhere near that price either because it’s worth much more.

When I visit Palm Beach, I always travel on South Ocean Drive. In between Mar a Lago and Sloan’s Curve, there is a beautiful undeveloped plot of land right on the Intercoastal Waterway, and it sits next to twenty and thirty million dollar houses (check it on Google Street View. Unfortunately, the owner hasn’t developed it. I, too, have plans to build a beautiful house (further inland) and it would be perfect for that plot of land because I can dock my boat right in the backyard.

If I approached the owner of that plot of land, and I said, “I looked at the MLS and your plot of land is worth about $4,000,000 – I would like to offer you what I believe is market value” – do you think he would sell it after years of not selling it (and by the looks of the trimmed lawn, it is well maintained)? I am sure he has been approached by many and has turned them all down as he presumably doesn’t need the cash and the land is a better investment than money in the bank earning less than the rate of inflation.

If I really want that plot of land, I will need to offer much more than its worth, in order to convince the owner to sell. Likewise, my domain name will be as difficult to acquire, especially because your initial valuation is so low. If you still wish to purchase my domain name, you are going to have to knock me down with an offer. Until that time, I wish you well in all of your endeavors online.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and his company earns revenue from domain names. Elliot is President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Elliot is the publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Read this blog's disclaimer for information about the publisher, comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts.

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Comments (18)

    Leonard Britt

    Rick Schwartz has stated on numerous occasions that most companies, ” just don’t get it” when it comes to domains. I have gotten numerous offers of $50-$150 which I am confident are worth far more. Educating a buyer has to be done delicately and for offers in this range I often just don’t respond.

    April 2nd, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Michael Carter

    i respond to all emails, regardless of the offer size – i like recipients to reply to my email inquiries and try to act in kind.

    April 2nd, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Jon

    This email is very good. The reply I use for all inquires is to say that I would be happy to discuss it with a motivated end-user. To all their future replies I just say that they need to make a motivated end user offer that will really impress me. I don’t go into any discussions about anything and just keep pasting the above. It worked several time.

    April 2nd, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Kellie

    I like Michael’s take. You never, ever know how things will turn out if you don’t bother to respond. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to simple reply. I’ve turned $50 offers into five figure sales. I’ve stalled out on $10k initial offers after the first email.

    April 2nd, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Sammy Ashouri

    Low-ball e-mails are a bit annoying, but I do enjoy knowing that people are interested in my domains. I also see some extremely clever e-mails written out, which I do reply but just with a 2-3 liner mentioning that the price is too low. I’ve even had a couple who-is stalkers for a couple domains, but I guess it’s part of the business.

    I probably wouldn’t ever send a very detailed e-mail like the plot of land one, but… that is an extremely well written out e-mail with the thoughts of domainers. I’m sure if someone actually takes the time to write out something REALLY clever in an e-mail inquiry, I’ll probably end up using some sort of “similar” example ;).

    April 2nd, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Johnny

    I like it. Very well written.

    It makes you stop and think about domains differently.

    .

    April 2nd, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Steve M

    That’s a nice msg and approach.

    For me, I thank them for their interest and direct them to my site for further info & pricing.

    The serious, qualified buyers get back to me. The tire kickers, curiosity seekers, and uninformed/unrealistic “buyers” go on their way.

    Quick. Easy. Friendly. Professional.

    April 2nd, 2009 at 4:13 pm

      Russell Kith

      I like your response, Steve. If someone is making an offer not worth your time, you shouldn’t spend too much time with a response.

      April 16th, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Kelly lieberman

    I think the response is genius! I am going to bookmark this page and use your response (altered a bit) for my next ridicullous inquiry.

    April 2nd, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    owen frager

    Great letter.
    I remember someome sharing one on a board that was much simpler.
    Up to $40K- ignore
    $40K-75K- LMAO
    75K-100K- Ignore again
    100K plus- LOL until they say “what do you want then”
    Then quote three x the best offer and wait for them to offer to split the difference

    April 2nd, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Ohio Civil Engineer

    I’ve had someone offer to buy an LLL .com for $1800 and then after I kindly educated them on the value of such a domain and how it would be perfect for their business, closed the sale for $10,100.

    However, I’ve put a few people in their place when they act like they’re doing me me a favor by making a pathetic offer for a domain. Sometimes you’ve got to let the them know who daddy really is.

    April 3rd, 2009 at 1:24 am

    DnDot.com

    As we know there millions of domains out there and some people do not really know the value of their domains otherwise so many good domains would not drop daily. So there are people out there who try and spot an opportunity and find one of these people. I do not get annoyed when I get low ball offers because it shows that people are interested in my domains. I have noticed that sometimes I can profit from such a situation because if their offer is too low for a particular domain I just reply and say that I have other domains in that price range.

    April 3rd, 2009 at 4:39 am

    Stephen Douglas

    Hi Elliot,

    The most expedient and professional response is one that takes into consideration that if the initial offer isn’t up to the true value “area” of your domain, you let the enquirer to “ride it out”.

    Here’s a quick and easy way to do that:

    “Dear So and So,

    Thank you for your enquiry about my domain, xxxxxx.com. This domain is currently unavailable for purchase unless you are willing to pay low/mid/high 3/4/5/6/7 figures (choose your sugar).

    I’m sure you are aware that a domain such as this is extremely valuable, and as long as you keep it renewed, is one of the most powerful appreciable marketing assets you can own. If you aren’t aware of domain values and sales pricing, you can find weekly “reported” sales of domains (many go unreported) at DNjournal.com.

    We will not respond to further communications unless your offer is within the range of our expected sales price as indicated above.

    regards,

    XXXXXXXX (me who has the domain you want, and if you want it, pay me its value, or spend the same amount of money buying banner ads and adlinks promoting some lame “replacement” domain your company purchases, thinking it is saving itself money.)

    *the last paraphrase is just a thought you should keep in your head as you sign off. lol

    In actuality, never give examples or try to “sell” the value of your domain to an interested party. Either they will pay for what they want, understand domain values, have the finances to pay your price, or they don’t. Telling them sales analogies is just a waste of your time, other than helping you get more familiar with why you are justified to want more money for your domain and are having fun!

    I lost a $5,000 sale one time when the US rep for a Fax online company wanted to buy my domain, and forwarded my cold call email explaining its “value” to her European supervisor. The supervisor wrote back to me chastising me for “talking down to them” because he was so “knowledgeable” on domain values already. This was about three years ago. I ended up selling the domain to his competitor for half the price, but not before telling him “you’ll never get the typein traffic and brand recognition from this domain, that your website actually uses to describe your prodservs, and it was a pleasure selling the domain for even half the price to your competitor. You’re an idiot.”

    I don’t do that anymore, because it’s just a waste of time to talk to people who don’t get it unless they are civil and ASK for explanations on the domain’s value.

    April 3rd, 2009 at 7:51 am

    Mark

    I wish I were as tactful as you. My usual response is “are you on dope?.

    April 3rd, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Russ

    If they really want a domain they’ll email, call, and fax you – SEVERAL times. We ignore the rest (mostly one-off emails usually from a free gmail/hotmail acct).

    April 3rd, 2009 at 10:59 am

    DomainVictor

    That is a very pedantic email and does not look professional at all. In fact, if was a business owner/decision maker and got an email like that I would feel like the writer was a snot nosed punk kid who was a know-it-all.

    I can’t imagine a potential buyer would recipricate that email with a more “legitimate” offer. Much better to respond with the tenor of your first paragraph only and mention your significant investment to date. Remember to thank them for their interest.

    April 3rd, 2009 at 2:41 pm

      Elliot

      @DomainVictor

      This is just one way to respond to educate and show parallels between real estate and domain names. I also think a response like this shows that the domain owner doesn’t need the cash from a domain sale, so the offer better make it worthwhile.

      I am not talking about getting an offer for UpperWestSideDogWalkingCompany.com. I am talking an offer for a domain name that is in the high 5 figures or low six figures.

      April 3rd, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    DomainVirus

    Elliot, I tested your version with an email inquiring re: a high grade domain with a low 3 figure offer – that person was ‘hurt’ so much he’s calling me a prick :-)

    April 4th, 2009 at 4:45 pm

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