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Auctioneers are some of the best at telling stories. In fact, we wrote about that here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/auctioneer-stories/.

Our treatise today involves quips, remarks, stores and the like while bid calling. It is widely viewed that auctions are different then they were 30-40-50 years ago. For example, in 1977 an auction was as much a social event as an auction. Today in 2019? It’s much more commerce and much less a social event.

What we mean by that is this: Auction bidders want to buy and get home. If you are an auctioneer wasting time saying, “Don’t let him outbid you … you’ll regret it tomorrow” and any other number of quips, remarks and/or stories while bid calling … you’re better off today concentrating on taking bids and saying, “Sold!”

Sure, live auctions should be entertaining — so there is room to occasionally say something funny or otherwise amusing — but otherwise sell it and move on. Bidders come to auctions to buy, be treated fairly and get back to their lives of work, taking kids to soccer practice and trying to get some needed sleep.

One exception is benefit auctions where the story is sometimes the most important thing. Otherwise, bidders/buyers routinely don’t care where the item came from, who owned it, what the auctioneer thinks about it nor that “I should bid again because a [woman] bid against me …”

Auctioneers routinely sell items every 30 seconds — and sometimes every 20 seconds or even faster. There is no evidence that taking more time realizes more money — in fact there is evidence that the faster the auctioneer goes, the more money will be generated.

The other risk with quips, remarks and/or stories anytime is that we as auctioneers offend someone. “Don’t let a girl out bid you …” might offend the so-called girl (more likely a “woman”) and might even offend the other bidder; why take that chance?

“But she shouldn’t be offended …” an auctioneer might think. We would suggest again — it’s 2019 — not 1819 so referring to any protected (real property) class (for example) might be ill advised (Color, Disability, Familial Status, National Origin, Race, Religion, Sex.)

Have I ever joked or made remarks during an auction? Sure I have, but more lately bidders/buyers have decided they want auctioneers to concentrate on selling things as that’s what our focus has become. We talk with and ask questions such as, “How’ve you been?” and the like before and after the auction but not so much during.

Lastly, the entertainment at any auction is not solely the responsibility of the auctioneer (bid caller.) The registration staff meet bidders for a bid number, the ring personnel and clerks can engage and further amuse/charm bidders. Cashiers meet bidders when they’re heading home and provide one more opportunity for social interaction.

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.