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Our above graphic denotes an advertisement for Graton & Knight leather belts. This advertisement notes that a better belt increases profits:

… A fraction of 1% saved in power transmitted soon pays the cost difference between a poor belt and a good one. One breakdown may wipe out ten times the cost of any belt. The right belt in the right place boosts profits.

This is an attempt to sell value over price. No doubt Graton & Knight leather belts were not the cheapest, and rather more expensive but supposedly lasted longer. In fact they suggested the increased cost was small compared to the longer life (value) of the belt.

However, imagine for a moment if these Graton & Knight belts did not in fact last longer … it takes much more than advertising or public claims. It requires follow-up and exceeding the public’s expectations.

We often are asked about what auctioneers make as well as what they “can charge” in any certain marketplace/circumstance. Like any occupation, auctioneers are advised to charge commensurate with the business they desire and the level of service (value) provided; said another way, “charge as much as you can so long as you have enough business to sustain your goals.”

Many people ask me “what do auctioneers charge?” and my reply is usually, “it depends.” We wrote about that here last year: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2018/08/24/auctioneers-are-asked-what-do-you-charge/.

Generally speaking, it would seem a reasonable goal of any auctioneer (or anyone) to work smarter rather than longer/harder. For example, if an auctioneer wanted to earn $100,000 a year, it would be likely preferable to conduct two auctions with each earning him $50,000 in commission rather than conduct 25 various auctions each earning him $4,000.

One way to work smarter rather than longer/harder is for an auctioneer to sell value over price. As many companies do, they are able to charge more because their customers (clients) perceive more value. Ask yourself — have you ever paid more because you perceived more in value? Sure you have.

Anthony Iannarino is a famous speaker, author and coach who wrote this article in 2013: https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2013/11/four-ways-to-sell-on-value-not-discounts-gp.html. He notes specifically:

If you want to lead with value, build the culture, coach and train your sales force, align with what your prospective clients’ perceive as value, and do the early work that gives you the right to capture some of the value you create.

If you’ve heard an auctioneer say he or she is a specialist, authority, maestro, virtuoso, master, wizard, pro, hotshot, maven, crackerjack … or even the best auctioneer ever, remember people and products don’t become valuable by the salesperson merely spouting the value. Rather, perception and a culture is what matters — the “customer” gets to decide, not the merchant.

On the contrary, most of us are familiar with the phrase, “Don’t tell me, show me.” For an auctioneer, some of this can be accomplished by winning a contest, or getting hired by (and maintaining a job with) a big-name auction company. I’ve hired dozens of auctioneers over the years — and certainly it mattered much more what they showed me — rather than what they told me.

Want to be perceived as more valuable? My best advice is to remember, “You’re always on stage” along with in this day and age, “Everyone’s always watching.” As Anthony suggests, start with identifying and providing what your customers/clients deem as valuable and as we’ve suggested — exceed expectations — and then repeat.

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, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by the The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.