Does Storytelling really work? That’s a question I set out to answer a few weeks ago.

Here’s what I learned: YES!

I took to eBay to review the asking prices on recent postings of an item I wanted to get rid of. I calculated the average price, added the average for the accessory items and determined my asking price.

I started the bidding at $24, hoped to sell for $35, the difference being the average of the item plus the accessories as currently listed on eBay.

But I did something different rather than simply list the items and take a photo. I took several photos of the item and each accessory. And I told a story. The package sold for $53, over double my ask and a 51% premium over the average.

Here’s the story I included with my posting:

"This was initially a gift. It became a profession. When our 10-year old first expressed an interest in photography, his Grandmother bequeathed him this Nikon EM, the two lenses and a flash. Untold miles of film later, this portable laboratory and teacher taught all the required lessons. Someone was a good student. He’s now a cameraman in Hollywood, working in the film industry. I have no idea how many afternoons were spent mowing lawns to buy film. The four filters were as valuable as another semester. This EM is ready for the next student."

And here’s the lesson:

People love to buy things. Shopping, comparing and haggling price is a game, especially in some product categories. This is an old (25+ years) film camera. I don’t even know where one can buy film, much less process it anymore. The lenses won’t fit my DLSR. So anyone interested in this product has to be a collector or a reseller. Either way, telling a story is more engaging and interesting, more involving than simply saying “excellent condition.” Worth an extra 51%, too.

Photos of camera as used on eBay