“Some awesome bargains … name your price … we have no bids yet, so bid now … we’re practically giving things away … heavy discounts … almost free … pennies on the dollar” and the list goes on, and I cringe every time I see such so-called auction marketing.
Let’s start with this premise: Auction marketing is distinctly different than other marketing. Retail operations need buyers and when they get some, they order or manufacture more product to sell. Auctioneers need buyers and when they get some and sell property, they need more sellers.
To describe this difference, I met with some potential clients at a house/barn the other day filled with personal property — 5 cars, guns, coins, jewelry, tools, and much more. The sellers (the two daughters) had interviewed one other auctioneer before I arrived to meet with them.
After looking around at the inventory, I sat down with them, where they disclosed that were ready to sign with the “other” auctioneer. Noticing his business card on the cocktail table, I asked if I could show them an ad he had recently placed on Facebook?
I asked these two women if they were looking for someone to “give their parents’ stuff away — sell it all at steep discounts — and/or provide all the buyers big bargains?” Their reply was, “Of course not!” They were now ready to sign our contract.
Auction marketing is almost as much about getting buyers there for the current auction as it is finding sellers for the next auction. Auction marketing needs to suggest — imply the possibility of discounts (the prospect of a deal) but not expressly say so, as to not drive away future sellers.
We regularly discuss at (The Ohio Auction School) that auctioneers during the auction shouldn’t be announcing “Wow! What a deal you just got!” nor “You stole that” or the like. We then pose the question, “Would a seller in attendance go home and tell their spouse, ‘Boy, that’s the auction we should take our stuff — they were giving things away!'” Probably not.
Auctioneers are advised to either get up-to-speed on this subtle but material part of auction marketing or hurry and find someone more schooled to place their advertising — unless, of course, an auctioneer wants their last auction to possibly be?
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, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.