What Happens When An Introvert Terrified Of Sales Sells His Car?

I hate selling but I just sold my car. So, here are the 22 things I just learned about sales and self-confidence from selling my car.


The Context

When I moved to Colorado 2 years ago, I bought this 2014 Toyota 4Runner.

The intention was to get something for off-roading and camping so that I could validate the potential of living on the road in a van.

Did it work?

Well, in 2022, I ended up buying a van and starting life full-time on the road. I’ll let you decide 😅

I kept the 4Runner around as a worst-case backup plan (and because I knew it’d take some time to sell it), but after a year on the road, I didn’t need a backup plan anymore.

So, I decided to list it for sale.

This is everything I learned – from personal development, to emotional resilience, to self-confidence – in the 5 weeks that followed.

Before The Process Even Starts

1. Pursue this process BECAUSE you’re terrified of it

I was terrified of the selling process. I’ve never sold anything in my life.

I was jumping into the world of sales by selling something worth tens of thousands of dollars. This ain’t no 25 cent lemonade.

But not only that, there are just so many things that could go wrong in this process.

And on top of that, I don’t consider myself someone who gets energy from being around other people.

As I started the process, I wrote:

Man this is a huge learning and growth opportunity for me. To feel these feelings that are making me want to not do anything, then pushing through those feelings and actually getting it done, that’s gonna be a huge moment for me.

I can do this. Just keep breaking it down to the next micro-actions.


Pursue this process BECAUSE you’re terrified of it. The fact that you’re terrified means you’ll grow and growth is something that you value. You’ll learn how to manage uncertainty, gain emotional resilience, patience, self-confidence, and learn how to interact with strangers.

2. Control the control-ables

A lot of this process is out of your control: who messages you, their intent to buy, their offer price, etc.

But some things you can control. Taking control of those things will reduce the amount of convincing you have to do to sellers.

I got it professionally detailed (for $300) and tried to take professional-looking photos. I studied what photos to include, I studied which locations to take the photos at, and I waited for the perfect lighting that day.


Control the control-ables. Start by having a good product that sells itself. This means a well-maintained vehicle that’s incredibly clean and has minimal flaws.

Get it professionally cleaned and detailed. Take outstanding and professional pictures for the listing. Make it stand out amongst the crowd.

This way, when you’re physically present with buyers, you don’t have to go through the anxiety of admitting what’s wrong with it, or spend time trying to convince them why they should desire it.

My hero image vs someone else’s ACTUAL hero image I just pulled from Facebook Marketplace:

Which one do you think buyers will click on?

3. Don’t buy something unique

Look, we all want something that looks cool and turns heads driving around town. You aren’t gonna get that driving a stock vehicle that everyone else has.

But here’s the catch: When the time comes to sell, the more unique your vehicle is, the harder it’ll be to sell.

See, banks don’t like unique.

Kelly Blue Book doesn’t like unique.

There’s a reason why the recommendation for building wealth in real estate is buying cookie cutter tract homes. Why? Because cookie cutter means you have lots of comps and when you have lots of comps, you can sell easier.

I had numerous buyers seek financing and their banks said the valuation was thousands of dollars less than what I was asking.

On my end, I was trying to sell with the valuation that the upgrades added to the vehicle, but banks don’t see the same value from unique features (winch, roof rack, “wow” factor).


So next time you’re thinking about buying a vehicle that you may eventually sell, please, don’t buy something unique with expensive upgrades.

Either that, or just accept that 1. the process will take longer and more mental energy than you want or 2. that you’re not going to get top dollar for it.

My 4Runner vs the base KBB model that banks pull up on their software:

“Ah yes, bank, please tell me more how these vehicles should be the same price.”

4. Make sure you can back up your price

On a similar note, because I wanted a premium price, I had to back up why and how I got to that valuation multiple times with buyers.


Don’t be afraid to ask a premium price for something unique. Just make sure you can back it up.

5. Be organized

I had the 4Runner professionally cleaned and detailed.

I had all the service records and CarFax in a little folder I brought to my meetings with buyers.

I shared the notable weaknesses/flaws they should be aware of.

Everyone I met with was overly impressed with how clean it was and how organized I was. A phrase I heard multiple times: “I can tell you took good care of it.”

And I think this helped build trust in the buyers.


Be clean, organized, and transparent.

Meeting With Buyers

Now on to learnings from meeting with buyers.

6. What to do the SECOND you meet them

I had just finished reading 2 books on selling before this process that were incredibly helpful:

  • The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracey
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Something that came up multiple times in these books was how to interact with buyers and how to build trust.

By the end of meeting with countless buyers, I started to get the hang of how I’d meet with them.

The very first exchange went something like this:

As soon as you step out of the car to meet them,

  1. Say their name with enthusiasm. e.g. “John!”
  2. Go in a shake their hand
  3. Be genuinely excited to see them. e.g. “I’m so glad you reached out man!”
  4. Lead them to start looking at the vehicle. e.g. “Let me show you around!”

Having a process where you’re completely in control should help reduce the anxiety of trying to navigate the awkwardness of the social situation. Being genuinely excited to see them will also make them feel more calm around you and not as awkward.

Starting with this process helped reduce my own anxiety of the social situation and I think it helped build trust with them.

Just image an alternate situation:

  • Get out of the vehicle
  • Wave at the buyer like a stranger from 10ft away
  • Awkwardly stand there and say something like “Hi. How are you?”
  • Buyer responds “Good.”
  • Not sure how to respond to that, you slowly turn and say “So uh, this is the 4Runner…”

Yeah I’ll pass.


Be genuinely excited to see them and know EXACTLY what you’re going to say the minute you meet them.

7. Skipping this next step is a crucial mistake

Almost immediately after that process from above and as the buyer starts looking around, I learned I needed to ask for a very, very crucial piece of information.


Early on in the interaction, specifically ask what they’re looking for.

You’ll think everyone just wants a 4Runner and has the same use case as you did, but you’d be very mistaken…

From all the buyers I met with…

  • One buyer wanted something for off-roading and that they could sleep in the back of.
  • One buyer was looking for something more reliable.
  • One buyer specifically wanted more horsepower so that they could tow a trailer.
  • One buyer was moving to Alaska.
  • One buyer loved the look and appearance of it.

Sure, there was some overlap in their desires, but the core reasonings changed.

I’d be wasting both of our time if I talked about how unique the appearance was to the buyer who mainly wanted more horsepower to tow a trailer.

The information you get here frames the entire rest of your interactions with them.

Which, brings me to my next learning.

8. Speak in terms of benefits, not features

Nobody wants the 4LO feature, they don’t care. Instead, they want to be able to get to unique and remote camp sites.

Nobody wants a roof rack. They want to ski, snowboard, kayak, and haul their camping gear on road trips.

The benefits you mention and talk about should ALL tie back to exactly what THEY are looking for.

e.g. For the buyer moving to Alaska, I talked about how the aggressive winter tires will help with the snow, or how they could use 4LO if they get stuck in the snow up there.


Speak in terms of benefits, not features.

9. Sharing weakness builds trust

Something else I learned from reading those 2 books is to share weakness, but do it in a specific way.


Specifically share weaknesses to build trust with them. But, when you do, use the phrase “[insert weakness] BUT [insert strength]” because everything before the “but” gets canceled out.
– “The fog lights don’t work BUT the external LEDs do work.”
– “The backup camera doesn’t work BUT the touch screen does work.”
– “There are 2 chips in the windshield BUT one as already been professionally repaired.”

It’s hard to speak of the results of using this, but I think it helped build trust with the buyers.

None of them pushed back on any of the weaknesses I brought up. None of them said, “ah that’ll be $250 to fix, can you come down $250?”

During The Selling Process

10. Abundance mindset

Early on, I got an offer for lower than I wanted. But, in that interaction, I felt the pressure to just accept it because “what if this is the best offer I’ll get??” I felt pressure, but in reality, it was fear. It was fear because I didn’t believe in myself and my confidence that I’d get another buyer interested in it.

In that moment I kept repeating to myself, “Abundance mindset, abundance mindset, abundance mindset.”

It completely changed my frame of mind.

I was now confident that I’d be able to get another buyer interested.

I’d figure it out, and that’s all I needed.


Keep repeating this to yourself in every situation where you feel any sort of pressure:

“Abundance mindset, abundance mindset, abundance mindset.”

Which leads into…

11. Don’t fold too soon

I felt the pressure to fold, to accept an offer lower than I wanted too many times…

But just think, if I had accepted any of those early offers, I would’ve left thousands of dollars on the table and lost these experiences to learn and grow from.


The longer you endure this process, the more you’ll learn and grow from it, which, is part of why you pursued this process in the first place.

But also, the more offers that you get, the more you’ll understand what’s a good price (more on this later).

12. What determines a fair price

I had multiple people ask how I got my valuation and say that their bank valued it for thousands of dollars less than what I was asking.

In one case, I felt pressure that what I was asking wasn’t a fair price. I think I felt this because there was (in a way) an authority figure giving an answer and authority is one of the core pillars of persuasion from the book Influence by Robert Cialdini.

But at the end of the day, just because a bank values your vehicle for lower that you do doesn’t mean you’re obligated to accept that valuation. If someone agrees to pay what you’re asking, that is the value of the vehicle.


In a very literal sense, a “fair” price is one in which both parties agree to pay. A bank’s opinion is just that, an opinion.

13. When to lower the price

I had all my leads dry up for about 2 weeks. I lowered the price just under $30k and within 2 days I had 2 new people message me that were genuinely interested in meeting and purchasing.

Coincidence? You decide.


If your leads have dried up after a week, lower the price.

If you can price it under notable round numbers “20,000, 25,000, 30,000, etc.” you’ll probably reach more people who are searching and filtering by “cars under $25,000.”

14. If it’s been on the market too long

After about 3 weeks on the market, I started to get nervous that people might think “man, it’s been on the market 3 weeks? There must be something wrong with it.”

So, what I did was bake that assumption into my listing.

I added an “Update [date]” to the top of the listing, directly addressing any concerns and why it’s been on the market for “so long.”


After 3 weeks, assume people will click on your listing thinking “there must be something wrong with it” and directly address those concerns.

15. The leads will continue to come

None of the leads that messaged me towards the end said anything about it being on the market too long.


If you have a good product, you took good pictures, you priced it appropriately, and you addressed any possible concerns, the leads will continue to come.

16. Things change VERY quickly

There were SO many instances that reminded me of this.

Towards the end, I had zero leads, felt a bit disappointed, and was tempted make significant changes to my price and listing.

But then, all of a sudden I had someone message me wanting to check it out in person and willing to do my list price.

All in an instant, everything fundamentally changed.


Things change VERY quickly. Don’t lose hope.

Making A Decision

17. Leverage the Secretary Problem’s stopping rule

There’s a problem in mathematics that has a LOT of parallels to selling your car.

The Secretary Problem involves sequentially interviewing a fixed number of candidates without revisiting rejected ones. The goal is to select the best candidate while maximizing the chances of making an optimal choice.

The optimal mathematical stopping rule suggests rejecting the first 36.8% of candidates as a benchmark and then selecting the first candidate surpassing that benchmark. This strategy yields a probability of about 37% of selecting the best candidate, regardless of the total number of candidates.

I kept this in mind during my process. After a couple weeks (of genuinely meeting with buyers and trying to get a price I was happy with), I decided to map all the offers I had received against each other.

Based on this, the stopping rule told me that anything over about $27,000 I should accept. Within a couple days I had an offer for $28,500, and alas, I accepted it.

There will always be what-ifs, but if you can leverage math to your advantage, you can minimize the what-ifs.


Apply the Secretary Problem’s stopping rule:

Take note of the first couple of genuine offers you get that you don’t accept. After a certain time (couple weeks), calculate the benchmark price that you should accept based on the actual previous offers you’ve gotten.

18. Don’t make a decision with brain fog

One afternoon I was messaging with someone that said their budget was about $3,000 less than what I wanted and they were just curious if it was still available.

The next morning, the potential buyer who scheduled an appointment to meet up bailed on me.

It was right after I had lunch (lots of carbs) when I was feeling more tired and lethargic than usual.

I felt so tempted to just message that buyer from the previous day and accept their low ball offer. But, I thought, I feel a bit more emotional right now and my brain is foggy, let’s just wait until tomorrow morning when I’m fresh again before making any decisions.

And because I waited, I got about $3,000 more than taking their low offer.


Don’t make any decisions when you’re feeling emotional or have a foggy brain after eating carbs.

Make your decisions when you have a clear head and can fully and rationally “logic out” the decision.

19. You’re not responsible for other people’s feelings

Towards the end of this process, meeting with the final buyers, I felt a bit bad that they were pitting against each other.

But I thought look, I’m not responsible for making either of them happy. I need to act in my own self-interest.


A reminder for yourself: You’re not responsible for making anyone happy. If someone’s upset you won’t accept their offer or that you didn’t go through with them, their feelings are not your responsibility.

Act in your own self-interest.

20. It’s not over until the money clears in your account

Two weeks in, I had met with a buyer that was willing to do a price I was happy with. We agreed to do the deal and shook on it. I was absolutely ecstatic. I got a price I was happy to accept only 2 weeks into listing.

That was a mistake…

Over the course of the next day, he talked to a few banks and was shocked at the current interest rates so much that he ended up bailing on the deal.

The emotional rollercoaster that put me through taught me this lesson.


It’s not over until the money clears in your account. Just because you shake on a deal doesn’t mean it’s over.

Don’t get excited, you’re just subjecting yourself to destroy your mental health when and if they bail on you.

21. A offer with financing is almost worthless until they talk to a bank

On a similar note to the above, many buyer’s offers changed significantly after talking to their bank for financing.

They told me they’d agree to do X, then after speaking with their bank, their offer would be $4,000 less.

Towards the end, I asked the buyer how they would be paying (financing/loan vs cash) and essentially disregarded their spoken offer before actually speaking with their bank.


If a buyer is financing (i.e. not paying cash), then an offer submitted AFTER speaking to a bank is worth 10x more than them saying “yeah I would do X” without having talked to a bank yet.

22. Remember to consider your mental and physical health

Lastly, I spent many days skipping lunch or dinner to meet with buyers. Over the course of a couple weeks, I lost about 4-5 lbs of weight, and stopped going to the gym because I didn’t have the time.

It made me think, how much is that health cost worth financially?

My situation may have been unique because I 1. live in a van and 2. stored my 4Runner about 25min (45min with traffic) away from where I decided I’d meet buyers (since I knew that area better).

But alas, maybe contrary to some other learnings…


At the end of the day, take into consideration the affect that this process has on your mental health driving to and from, meeting with buyers, messaging back and forth, etc.

A done deal can be worth a lot more in mental and physical health than the extra cash you might be able to squeeze from continuing to meet with buyers.

Was It All Worth It?

Honestly, I’m happy it’s all over. But that said, I definitely learned a lot from this process.

I feel burnt out from Facebook Marketplace right now, but I’ve gained a lot of self-confidence, patience, and emotional resilience.

So, was it worth it?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *