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More investors sell successfully at the high 3-figure and 4-figure levels, compared to those with multiple 5-figure domain name sales.

A single 5-figure sale can make a monumental difference in a domain investing career. It might open the door to acquire higher-priced names, a larger portfolio, or simply feeling financially secure.

But how does one move from 3-figure or 4-figure sales to that $10,000 plus level? That was the question asked by NamePros member Sammy Jakes who suggested the topic for this article.

I have not yet moved to 5-figure domain name sales personally. Therefore I scoured suggestions and ideas from others, along with a look at the data, and strategic approaches from those who do regularly sell at 5-figure plus levels.

I specifically asked for ideas from those who do have 5-figure sales, both in a NamePros discussion thread and in a Twitter request. Thank you to all who responded, and others who shared ideas mined for this article.

@biggie nicely summarized some of the key considerations:
simplest way... to ask for such amounts.

and probably the most difficult, is to acquire domains that are worth those amounts.

and that's where capital, knowledge, experience, timing, research, etc. etc comes into play.
might be best for those just entering with lower budgets to scale up, incrementally.

Acquire Better Names

The most-mentioned idea: if you want to sell at higher prices, improve the quality of your names. Eloquent statement from @trelgor:
To reach for the top you need something to stand on.

TonyNames (NamePros member @blogspotter) shared his view of what acquisition price is required in the current .com market.
You won't likely get a dot com that you can sell for 5 figures for less than $500 or even $1000. That is the level of competition now. But you can get plenty of $5 closeout names that you can sell for 2-5k.

@okaydomains shares a similar sentiment, suggesting that even at $200 plus the quality can be there for a high-value resale.
You need better names, and to get better names you're going to have to pay more. So stop looking for names in the pending delete lists, GoDaddy closeouts, etc and start buying expiring domains at auction from the registrars/dropcatchers. If you're willing to spend even as little as $200-$500 on a domain the quality goes through the roof.

Keep in mind that just paying more for a domain name is not enough. You need to research to make sure that the domain warrants that wholesale price.

Concentrate On Sectors That Sell High

Some sectors are more likely to have buyers willing to pay 5-figure prices. So one way to help secure your first 5-figure sale is to invest in domains in these lucrative sectors.

Of course, other investors will think the same, so there will be more competition for acquisitions and sales.

Research High-Value Keywords

Perhaps the most important research skill is to build up your own list of keywords that tend to be associated with high-value sales.

Start with a list of $10,000 plus sales, and as you read through it make a list of keywords associated with high-value sales. Here is a link to NameBio listed $10,000 plus .com sales from the last 5 years to use as a starting point in your search for valuable keywords.

As another option, go to a curated brandable marketplace, such as BrandBucket, and search for names by price level. Look through the list and try to distinguish what makes names priced $10,000 plus different from those priced under $10,000. What keywords or characteristics do the high-value names have?

You may also find analyses, such as this one from the NamePros Blog on $25,000 Plus COM Sales in 2021, helpful.

Up Your Skills

Perhaps the place to start if you want to sell more names at higher prices, is to invest the time in your own skills in research, domain selection, pricing, and negotiation.

Have Sufficient Number Of Quality Names

As well as having quality names priced right, several commented on the need to have a sufficiently large portfolio. Highly-successful investor AbdulBasit.com shared his perspective on this.
All of my sales are either in 4 figures or in the 5 figures range. What I've learned over the decade of domaining is that you need to scale up in numbers. Quality of the domains only doesn't work. One needs to have quantity along with the quality. I've seen many domain investors say that they should go for quality only but that's not enough if one is targeting to have consistent income and want to make it as a full time business.

Last year I had at least one 5 figure sale a month on an average. So far on the similar track this year as well. As of today, I've now 6,750+ domains. It took 11+ years to reach this many domains. Quite a long time...

In the end, I would say that once you've added a very few thousands of domains, you'll see 4 and 5 figure sales happening on a regular basis. Keeping in mind that to reach at that level of numbers, you will not compromise on the quality of domains.

Focus On Inbound

While there is no absolute rule, once you outbound a domain name, you have weakened your negotiation position, in many cases. Your best chances for 5-figure sales will be names that you are prepared to sit on for some time and wait for the right offer when a potential purchaser has identified that as a name they want and come to you.

Price For Success

Views vary whether one should use buy-it-now or make-offer, or both, in domains earmarked for a five-figure or above sale. I think there is some logic to setting a buy-it-now price somewhat above the level you would be happy with, along with a make-offer option.

The buy-it-now price helps solidify that this is a high-value domain name in the buyer’s mind. It will support a negotiation, a topic considered in the next section.

A 5-figure name might be a lot of money to an early-stage startup. Consider offering lease-to-own, or other creative financing options.

In his comments, long-term investor @trelgor, who has a large portfolio, stressed the importance of slowly growing a quality portfolio including regular repricing of your best names to reflect the current market
My advice is to keep slowly building a solid portfolio and reprice the best continuously. ‘The best’, as time moves on, can very well be a handreg from 5 years ago. Build from the ground up to allow higher prices, or even offer-agnostic thinking, on a select few. This is the strategy I use for full time domaining in the 10k portfolio range, that can not allow for long stretches of low sales numbers.

Negotiation

The same domain name that one investor sells for low 4-figures might, in the hands of a different investor, sell for mid 5-figures. Building your negotiation skills is an important aspect of increasing your chances for a 5-figure sale.

There are a number of threads on negotiations on NamePros. AbdulBasit.com shared This Negotiation Turned Into A Successful Sale. The specific sale in that case was 4-figure, but the flow of the negotiation is applicable to higher value sales.

James Iles interviewed Mike Robertson of Fabulous on negotiation techniques in How To Perform Outbound Sales: Part 4 Negotiation and Closing.

If wondering what one can learn about domain name negotiation from a former FBI negotiator, check out Keith DeBoer’s article Never Split The Difference: An Interview With FBI Negotiator Chris Voss.

Or check out Darryl Lopes’ NamePros Blog article Learn Negotiation From Watching Movies.

There are many other discussions on NamePros about negotiations and tactics. It is important to balance reading about negotiations that failed with those that succeeded, as we can learn from both.

If you simply don’t have confidence in your own negotiation skills, you might place a few premium names with a broker or using an agent to represent you in the sale, an option now at several marketplaces.

For brand type names, you may want to consider use of a brandable marketplace. They have a wealth of non-public sales information and expertise, and if they price your name in 5-figures it is a strong indicator of the value of your name. Plus they will handle the negotiation for you.

Don’t Need The Money

For successful negotiation, it is important to be able to stay firm and sometimes have sales not happen. It is much easier to negotiate effectively if you do not depend on revenue from domain name sales for living expenses.

Spot Emerging Trends Early

A number of domain investors made 5-figure sales over the past couple of years because they foresaw the incredible interest in terms like ETH, even in generally unpopular extensions. Others were in early on metaverse and NFTs. While early-stage investments are always more risky, they might well be the route to a 5-figure sale.

@HotKey commented on the importance of keeping a close eye on social media, and reprice a few domain names that are in newly trending areas. He notes that, personally, at any one time only about 5 domains are in that class. This would be one form of pricing a few names as outliers, a topic we continue in the next section.

Try A Few Outlier Sales

Doron Vermaat of Efty recently shared on social media an approach that I think has a lot of merit. The basic idea is to identify a few of your domains that might sell for much higher prices, and reprice just those few domain names at outlier prices, significantly above your regular sales prices.

He suggests using the metrics we mentioned earlier in the research segment to identify those outlier domain names, considering information such as a record of high-value sales in similar names and the sector.

Look at NameBio for similar names that have sold to end-users and price yours based on data. Don't be afraid to ask $75k for a one-word .io or great two-word .com, but do not try and shoot the moon. Wealthy individuals and companies did not become successful by overspending.

He goes on to stress the importance of pricing and negotiation skills.
Be prepared to negotiate. Part of putting a high BIN on your best names is to set an anchor and manage expectations. If a buyer sees a $75k price tag they are more likely to open with a serious offer if the name has strategic value to them.

The advantage of just pricing a few domains, he suggests up to 5% of your portfolio, as outliers is that you have not created a situation where your pricing may result in zero sales. If one or two of your outliers sell in a year, it will have a significant impact on your profitability.

Are You Happy At 4-Figure Sales?

Many domain investors do well without ever having a 5-figure or 6-figure sale. The right sell-through rate with names priced in the $1000 to $5000 range, where it is likely most retail sales fall, can work just fine. So don’t fell you have to strive for 5-figure sales, particularly if you are early in domain investing and still improving your portfolio.

In his comments @topdom reminded us
I feel I missed some 5-figure sales in the past. But being too greedy is not healthy either. You need to guess the sweet spot (time and price) for each domain separately.

I hope that NamePros readers will add to this article by sharing views, experiences and ideas in the comment section. Here are some particular questions, but feel free to discuss any aspect of reaching 5-figure sales.
  1. For those who have made 5-figure sales, please share what you can about how the sale happened.
  2. Do you think buy-it-now, make-offer or both are best for 5-figure sales?
  3. What sectors do you think are most open to paying 5-figures for domain names?
  4. What are some keywords that you associate with high-value sales?
  5. Do you apply the outlier approach in pricing a few of your domain names much higher?
  6. What other tips would you like to share?
PS If you have not already done so, could you please vote in the poll on retail and wholesale sales. It is a topic I will soon be covering in the NamePros Blog.

Thanks to NamePros member Sammy Jakes who suggested this topic for a NamePros Blog post. Sincere thanks to all who contributed, at NamePros and on social media. Our strength as a community is sharing of strategies and ideas.
 
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