Auctions are interesting “people” events – and have been for centuries. In fact, it’s hard to imagine anything that is not sold at auction. Livestock, automobiles, real estate, antiques – you name it, and auctioneers have successfully sold it.
Auctions are as modern as today’s technology, yet as old as mankind. Recorded history describes auctions in 500 B.C., and later during the Roman Empire. The “Oxford English Dictionary” of 1595 is the earliest English reference to the auction. And everything has been selling well at auction ever since.
The most widely recognized talent of the auctioneer is undoubtedly his or her ability to “talk fast.”
The rhythmic chant, developed over the decades as a means of creating excitement and moving the sale of property at a steady pace, is certainly the attention – getter on auction day. But the success of an auctioneer depends upon many other factors.
The professional auctioneer is first and foremost a marketing specialist. In order to best serve clients, the auctioneer must have a working knowledge of the value of the items being offered. The auctioneer must know how to use advertising to attract the people most interested in your property. That stimulates competition, thus securing the best possible results for the seller. Professional auctioneers are also versed in the Uniform Commercial Code, and, they are experts in the psychology of selling.
The auctioneer wants the seller to be satisfied with the final bids received. At an “absolute” auction, each item goes to the highest bidder regardless of the bidding price, but – if the seller requires it – there are alternative methods by which his or her interests can be further protected.
With real estate, for example, the property may be advertised “to sell – subject to the owner confirmation.” This means the seller has the right to accept or reject the final bid. The seller may also choose to sell the property “with reserve.” Here an item is identified as being offered with reserve, or a minimum amount the seller is willing to accept for the property.
These techniques protect the seller, but they are also fair to bidders because they are fully explained before the auction gets underway.
When you arrive at the auction site, register for a bidder number and read the rules printed on it or displayed on posters. Ask questions if you don’t understand a policy.
Inspect the merchandise carefully, as most is sold on an “as is – where is” basis. This means it is not guaranteed. When you buy an item, you become responsible for it. And you must pay for everything you’ve purchased before leaving the site, even if you aren’t taking everything with you that day.
You’ve all heard the old story – and you’ve seen it acted out in countless sitcoms and commercials – about the fellow who attended an auction, scratched his nose or sneezed and came home with an item he hadn’t intended to buy. Well, don’t be frightened away by such tales. The auctioneer realizes when you are bidding and when you are not. In order to bid at an auction, you need to make contact with the auctioneer or the ringperson – the person who is taking bids for the auctioneer and relaying that information to him or her. To do this, hold up your bidder card, your hand or shout “yes!” The auctioneer will make eye contact with you, take your bid and immediately turn and seek another bid. You may remove yourself from the process at any point by shaking your head ’no.” And, should the auctioneer misinterpret your signal, simply report the mistake right away. The rapid-fire chant of the auctioneer, though a familiar sound throughout the land, remains a mystery to many. In simplest terms, the chant is merely a series of numbers connected by “filler” words to give the buyer time to think between bids. Rhythm is as important as speed in developing an effective chant, but nothing is more vital than clarity. Auctioneers will adjust their speed, depending on the bidding experience level of their crowd. The numbers in a good chant will be easily understood.
Remember, the auctioneer’s intent in chanting quickly is not to confuse bidders. Confused bidders who get frustrated aren’t going to be repeat customers at auctions, and the auctioneer knows that. The quick chant is part of what makes auctions so unique, and is intended to help move the sale along so that a large number of items can be sold in a short amount of time.
The auction method of marketing has proved an effective price – setting mechanism that takes into account current market variables.
That’s true for whatever commodity is being sold. The pricing of such raw materials as grain, tobacco and wool is directly tied to the auction block, yet the auctioneer’s gavel also helps establish the value of more glamorous commodities such as fine art, antiques and classic automobiles.
The objectivity and fairness of a well – run auction is often favored by the courts to carry out their decrees and by executors and trustees to help fulfill their responsibilities. The legal presumption is that a public auction of property to the highest bidder is a sale among disinterested third parties.
At an auction, buyers get exactly what they want, and at a cost of one bid higher than someone else was willing to pay!
The auction. Whether you are a seller or a buyer, it’s your best alternative!
*Courtesy of the National Auctioneers Association
TWI Auctioneers has experience in all types of real and personal property including: Farm, Construction, Real Estate, Industrial, Collections, Antique Tractors & Engines, Benefits & Fundraisers. Now Specializing in Benefits & Fundraisers as well as Contract Auctioneering, TWI helps meet the needs of many auction companies and non profit organizations.
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If you are thinking of hiring a professional auctioneer for your non profit event, contact us today. All inquiries are held in the strictest of confidence and our staff can educate you on the benefits of selling by the Auction method. Contact your Auction Professional at 616-785-3711.
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