When you attempt to sell a domain name, you are generally in a weaker position than when someone sends you an unsolicited email to buy a domain name. In the first situation, you are trying sell a domain name on your terms, and you need to find a buyer who can meet them. In the second situation, you hold the domain name that someone else wants, and you can choose the terms. This can make a big difference when negotiating.
When you want to sell a domain name, but you would rather not start out in a weak position, I recommend attempting a passive aggressive sales approach. One idea to do this is to reach out to a domain owner who has a similar but different domain name, and ask him if he would sell his domain name. In your email, you should mention that you own XYZ.com and you would like to buy ZYX.com from him.
If you receive a reply to your request, there are generally 4 possible versions:
1) Yes, the price is $
2) Yes, make me an offer
3) I won’t sell XYZ.com, but will you sell ZYX.com?
4) No. I am not interested in selling
You can then make a sales pitch responding to each of these replies.
For the first option, if the price he names is higher than the price at which you would sell your name, you can reply, “That’s a good price, but it’s out of my price range for this name. Would you be interested in buying ZYX.com, a very comparable domain name, for the same price?”
With option two, if you reply with an offer, you should be prepared to buy his domain name if he matches your price. Assuming he says no, like 99.9% of domain owners who would say no to the first offer no matter what, then you can turn around and let him know you would sell yours, a similar name, for that price if he is interested.
For the third option, you have moved into the drivers’ seat, as you are now in a stronger position with him asking you to buy your domain name.
Although the final response isn’t always appreciated, it does show you that the domain owner is alive and answering emails. You could tell him that you had hoped to acquire XYZ.com to enhance the value of your name, ZYX.com, but since he won’t sell, maybe he would be interested in acquiring yours.
I have not sold a domain name in this manner before, but I have had the third option happen to me in the past. I was not inclined to sell the domain name, so I turned down a significant offer for it. Unsolicited domain sales via a variety of methods can be more difficult than fielding inquiries, but that’s how I sell a majority of my domain names. This is one more tool to add to your cache.
Obviously the one caveat is that your name is of equal value or better than the person who you email.