Ask almost anyone — and they’ll tell you that auctioneers, “talk fast.” However, some auctioneers don’t talk fast. Why is that? Where are all these slower-talking auctioneers?
As we’ve noted before, there is basically “ground speed” and “engine speed” when it comes to evaluating auctioneers’ sounds. Ground speed is the time it takes from describing the lot until, “Sold!” Engine speed on the other hand is how fast the auctioneer is reciting the numbers.
Below is our original treatise concerning the speed of an auction and a follow-up article with various links concerning the purpose of the auctioneer’s “chant.”
The engine speed as well as ground speed is rooted in tradition. Wholesale car auctions have fast engine and ground speed … because they always have. Benefit or charity auctions have slower engine and ground speed … largely because they always have.
But that’s not the entire story. As the sophistication of the bidders goes, so goes the speed. Bidders who regularly attend auctions expect a quick pace, while those who may only attend one or two auctions a year (or less) appreciate a slower cadence.
As we’ve long held, auctioneers who talk too slowly risk boring the bidders, and those who talk too fast risk the bidders not understanding what the bid is — and not bidding. Auctioneers are typically in-tune with the proper speed (engine speed and ground speed) in order to maximize proceeds.
In fact, the same auctioneer might be talking really fast at his car auction in the afternoon, and slow down considerably at the gala auction later that evening. As well, chants can be made up of some fast-talking, and some slower talking … all at the same time.
When sellers or consignees hire auctioneers, it is important those parties to such agreements consent to the pace of bid calling that is expected to be delivered — no different than how the auctioneer will dress or otherwise present himself or herself to the audience.
Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services, and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.