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I’ve told thousands of prospective auctioneers and real estate practitioners how to get business when they start their business: Empathy.

Forbes magazine has an excellent article concerning although about keeping employees: https://www.forbes.com/sites/shephyken/2018/02/25/a-600-billion-employee-engagement-problem-solved-empathy/.

As I have said, and Shep Hyken confirms, listening is the first step. Be interested in your prospective client’s situation/story and it’s much more likely that person talking is to hire you. Talking about yourself and/or being uninterested in them will likely result in them hiring someone else …

We own and operate The Ohio Auction School and often our students ask us how they can get started in the auction business. After we listen to them, we suggest they do the same when they get that first appointment.

While listening is the first step, the next couple steps are just as important … when the prospective client stops talking, ask a follow-up question, and be interested (engaged) in the answer. Clients are looking for partners — people interested in them and endeavoring for a win-win relationship.

Further, if clients don’t feel you understand their situation, how are you going to help them? In fact, it seems reasonable you can’t prescribe a solution until you as an auctioneer understand the problem.

Another good lesson for auctioneers, despite circumstances appearing the same, is that not everyone has the same problem. A house full of valuables and debris for one client might mean they need to maximize proceeds, while another needs the home empty and clean to market the real property.

We as consumers have choices and tend to do business with people we like and trust; we tend to like people interested in us, and not just determined to tell us about them. Relatedly, if you aren’t interested in me, why should I be interested in you?

Especially for those just beginning in business — but important for everyone — is that when you get a client to sign the contract, “hit a home run …” In other words, exceed expectations so that your now delighted clients will tell their friends, neighbors, family, and coworkers how wonderful you are …

There is no better marketing for an auctioneer than a referral from a happy past client. Testimonials from trusted friends or associates are the most powerful influences in regard to who we hire. If someone I trust says you’re great, I will tend to think the same.

Also important for auctioneers is the realization that your bidders/buyers are likely future sellers if they see professionally-managed auctions where prices are maximized. Nobody goes home or bids online where the auction is mismanaged and says, “That’s the auctioneer I’ll be using …”.

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.