How I Got 23 Phone Calls and 9 Emails and Sold My Car in 3 Hours on Craigslist

I recently made a decision to sell my car because I want to buy a new cross-over SUV so I have a little more room in the vehicle for things and what not. My old car (I now say old car because I sold it in about 3 hours after listing it) was a 2001 Ford Focus. I know that Focus’s are not considered hot or hip vehicles, even though there are some out there that trick them out, so I had thought about going the easy route and trading it in when making my new purchase, but the business man in me just couldn’t hack the thought of getting a trade-in value for the car that I knew would be 50% less than what I could sell it for on the private market. Because of that, I decided to put my marketing background to work for me and listed it on Craigslist and a local news station’s classified section here in Utah, It worked like a charm.

Within 3 hours of listing it I had received 24 phone calls and 9 emails and 3 people had scheduled to come see it that same night, although I only made it to appointment #2 because that looker bought it so I had to cancel on #3. Looker #2 actually gave me $500 to hold it for them while they went to look at just one more Focus, but then called me about 10 min. later and said, “I have decided I’m buying it for sure without looking at the other one and I’m on the way to my bank right now to get a cashier’s check.” The best part is I got my listing price for it and the price was the blue book price I found for the car on And we are talking about a Ford Focus; this isn’t a highly in demand vehicle. I know this because there were over 200 of them listed on for sale in years between 00′-07′, and ranging in price from about 1k-14k. Many of the listings had been on there for over 3 weeks and have had 1000 plus page views. I honestly didn’t think I would sell this car and would end up trading it in.

So here’s how I did it.

First of all, I cleaned the car really well inside and out and cleaned the heck out of the engine. The engine honestly looked new it was so clean. Then I photographed it with my $140 digital camera (more to come below), and then I listed it on both sites and linked the Craigslist add to the more robust add at (more to come on that later too).

Here are a few images of my Craigslist listings. Obviously I provided a thorough description of the car and it’s features and provided great details on the premium audio system in it a well as I knew that was a hook for many potential buyers. However instead of just using a title such as:

2001 Ford Focus

I used this title to set it apart and “focus” on the better features of the vehicle:

****2001 Ford Focus SE/ZTS****35 MPG, Premium Stereo System

You can see from the picture below that in the listings, mine stood out because I used the **** in my title, it’s real easy to see, even in the picture, because it’s really the only one that stands out. All others are just plain text strands, although some use ALL CAPS, which is a great way to get your add flagged…idiots.

Now, once the looker clicked into the add, I provided more details on the vehicle including features, mileage, etc., but more importantly I provided the looker a chance to visit my other add on (see image below for how I set up the link on Craigslist) which allowed for more and larger images along with a free CARFAX report and many other specific details.

Once the visitor found my add on Craigslist they could go over to my ad on and basically be re-sold on buying my car and see a ton of more pictures that are larger and more quality. You can see what I’m talking about here as I show an image of the many offered pictures, and take this tip away from this read if this is all you take away, when taking photos of whatever you are selling…take a ton from all angles and show as many pictures as you can. Pictures sell! When on the pictures of course would become large for viewing.

Now just so you can see I’m not misleading you, I took a screenshot off of the night of the 18th before changing the add over to being marked as sold, along with deleting my Craigslist add, and you can see there were 95 page views at that time on my ad…about 20 of them were me viewing the add to make sure it looked right while I was making adjustments etc. Point being…it didn’t take long to sell it and didn’t take that many visitors at all.

To prove my point again, go search and you’ll find hundreds of Ford Focus’s listed right now. At the time I’m writing this post there are 291 listed with the first one showing at a price almost half the price of mine.

Hopefully you can see that doing a few small things can improve your sell rate and speed in drastic ways and I hope that these tips help, for those of you out there that are rocking sells on Craigslist and other classified sites.

And that is how you get 24 phone calls and 9 emails and sell your car on Craigslist in 3 hours!

4 thoughts on “How I Got 23 Phone Calls and 9 Emails and Sold My Car in 3 Hours on Craigslist

  1. Tim Davies says:

    Sounds like you have the “sell a car” process down really well. The question now is, what are you going to do to buy a car?

  2. Darla Dixon says:

    I sold my father’s huge Ford sedan in the late 80’s. We lived in Savannah GA and it was the middle of summer. I thought to myself, who would want this huge aircraft-carrier-of-a-car, and why? Well, the air conditioning sure worked great. So I placed newspaper ad: “Cool and Comfortable.” It sold right away, to a couple that was expecting a baby. Craigslist is great, but this was before Craigslist, so it just goes to show that the right marketing terms work anywhere.

  3. Mat Siltala says:


    This is an awesome post and it makes me feel good that the methods I was teaching about a year ago are still working well on Craigslist. Like with anything in Marketing, you have to make yourself stick out an you have done this well my friend. Great read and post bro!

  4. Pingback: Free Local Marketing Options That Brings Real Traffic | Internet Marketing Blog

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