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If there is one question auctioneers hear from new acquaintances, it is, “So, you can talk really fast?” Sure, we can in the United States, for the most part. Other parts of the globe have a tradition of talking a bit slower, such as England. However, generally, auctioneers are known for the fast talking technique employed when they are selling — “bid calling.”

As Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, I’m asked frequently if our school can train someone to “talk fast” Yes, we do such training, and usually after a few days of practice, and critique, most students have the ability to string the numbers and filler words together to sound faster — at least faster than they were a few days prior.

Why do auctioneers talk fast? I think that question has a few answers:

  • Tradition – The auctioneers who worked in the 1920’s talked fast, so the auctioneers in the 1930’s felt that must be the right way to bid call. The auctioneers in the 1930’s talked fast, so the auctioneers in the 1940’s felt that must be the right way to bid call. The auctioneers in the 1940’s talked fast, so the auctioneers in the 1950’s felt that must be the right way to bid call, etc.
  • Economy – An auctioneer talking fast, generally, would allow the sale of 1,000’s of items to sell quicker. If an auction can be complete in 4 hours, that’s probably much better than an auction taking 10 hours for the same number of items. We discussed this in some detail in our blog: http://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/the-speed-of-an-auction/
  • The “yes” factor – As David Palmer, Ph.D, CPA, notes:

    “Fortunately, people often say ‘yes’ or agree with requests out of mindless compliance, they are frequently willing to say ‘yes’ automatically without thinking first. It makes their lives simpler and smoother.”

    Mindless compliance? How could someone cause someone else to act out of mindless compliance? I think the answer is, “don’t give them a lot of time to think about it.” I’ve discussed with auctioneers all over the United States, and there does seem to be agreement that we talk fast to give the bidders less time, “to think.”

  • Entertainment – Who would argue that an auctioneer talking really fast is much more entertaining than an auctioneer talking really slow? I’ve noted numerous times babies, or other young children staring at me bid calling, not even blinking once, in amazement or non-belief of what they are hearing. Fast talking is different than our every day conversations, and therefore more interesting — more entertaining.

With the myriad of other ways to buy at auction — by phone, via the Internet or by proxy, the fast talking of a live auctioneer continues, in my opinion, to allow for the highest prices in the shortest amount of time.

Anytime we give away tradition, economy, entertainment and the propensity to get a “yes” answer, we sacrifice higher prices and therefore automatically sacrifice the best interest of our clients.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.face book.com/mbauctioneer. He is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.