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At auction schools across the United States, one bid calling technique is almost universal at every school: How the auctioneer ends his bid calling for an item, and declares the item, “Sold!”

For those attending live auctions, it may seem that every auctioneer has their own technique, while actually the contrary is true. Almost all auctioneers learn to end their bid calling this way, and almost all do it exactly the same.

What is this technique?

First, what is the basic construct of bid calling? We discussed this structure here: What do auctioneers say? Basically, there is the chant which denotes both the have and the want. The have is the amount that is bid, and the want is the amount the auctioneer wishes someone to bid.

When the auctioneer is getting ready to sell the item, standard bid calling structure denotes that the auctioneer slightly inflect his or her voice, and say the want, almost as a question, “Want?” then, if no bid comes in, the next word is, “Sold!” and then the have and then the buyer (usually a buyer number).

Thus, we call this “Want? Sold! Have & Buyer”

An example might be that an auctioneer is selling an automobile, and has an opening bid of $1,000, and then says: “I have $1,000 and I want $1,100, $1,100, $1,100, I have $1,000, bid $1,100 …” Let’s say there is some bidding that follows, and now the auctioneer has $2,500 and wants $2,600. Nearing the time he intends to say, “Sold!” he starts his ending as this: “$2,600? Sold! $2,500 Number 23,” with Number 23 being the winning bidder’s number.

Even better, here’s this technique in action. In this video is Peter Gehres, Auctioneer, 2010 Michigan Auctioneer Champion. Note that for each car, Peter ends the auction of that car with what he wants, then the word, “Sold!” then the have (the price the car sold for) and then a buyer number. For instance, watch the first car, where he ends it just this way: $2,200? Sold! $2,100 Number 51.

Not only is this technique important for auctioneers to utilize for the buyer’s sake, the others involved in the auction — especially the clerk — need to hear the ending just this way so that the price and buyer number are recorded correctly. In fact, most auction software is written according to this order of closing, so it is almost imperative auctioneers utilize this technique; and most all do.

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.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.