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I have written about the speed of an auction, the faster you sell them … the better the prices are, and most recently the time between auction items in regard to saving time.

Auctioneer David Whitaker of Ames, Iowa noted recently that too many filler words also contribute to “additional time, and time is money.” We’ll explore this question here: Can an auctioneer be using too many filler words?

I suspect the answer to this question is yes — there can be too many filler words. Simply put, the more words (or parts of words, or sounds) an auctioneer uses between the numbers would lengthen the time necessary to express those words, parts of words, or sounds, and thus require more time.

One very basic bid calling practice can shorten bid calling significantly without sacrificing the necessary communication with the bidders. This bid calling technique is known as “non-transitional bid calling.” It is different from “transitional” bid calling which requires additional words.

Typically when students in auction schools learn to bid call, they learn to bid call in a transitional fashion. That is, when a bid is received, they pronounce that the bid is accepted and then ask for the next higher bid. Such as, once a bidder bids $300, the auctioneer would say, “I have $300 and I want $325.”

Experienced auctioneers typically use non-transitional bid calling technique which removes the “confirmation” of the current bid when received, and replaces that confirmation with the word, “now,” or moves on to the next higher bid request immediately. For instance, once a bidder bids $300, the auctioneer would say, “Now $325” or “$325 …”

Although the difference between non-transitional and transitional bid-calling may seem insignificant, non-transitional bid calling can save upwards of 30% in time needed to sell an item. An auctioneer using transitional bid calling might take 45 seconds to sell an item of personal property where an auctioneer using non-transitional bid calling might only take 30 seconds to sell that same item of personal property.

Another aspect of limiting filler word use involves the opening for offers on an item. Some auctioneers merely say, “I’d like $300 …” while others say, “Somebody give me $300 …” or “Start me out at $300 …” Clearly the more words or sounds that are used at the beginning of each item impacts the total time needed for the auction in total. Saving only 1 second per item — for 1,000 items — saves almost 30 minutes total.

Similarly, I remember attending auction school decades ago, and an instructor telling me, “Once you develop your chant, the less filler words you will use — at this stage in my career, I have trouble fitting them in at all.” While it is largely believed that filler words, or sounds, are necessary for a pleasing, encouraging bid calling technique, maybe less is more to some degree?

Can an auctioneer be using too many filler words? If items can be sold with the same crowd engagement and opportunity to bid — and pleasing sound — with less filler words, then less filler words should be used.

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 serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.