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There is a wide world open to auctioneers to do lots of things. Yet, we ask today if just because you can, does that mean you should? We think the short answer to that is, “No.”

Auctioneers can have with reserve auctions or absolute auctions, they can bid for the seller in certain instances or not, they can settle with their sellers in 15 days or 30 days, and likely make a myriad of other choices every minute of every day.

I’ve taught auctioneer education classes around the United States for years and if there’s one thing auctioneers appreciate, it’s when I tell them an “absolute” — you can (or can’t) do this or that. It’s easy to remember, and they remember it.

One of the most glaring auctioneer-related “you can do this” is that the bid can be reopened after, “Sold!” in a specific circumstance. However, does that mean auctioneers should reopen the bid in that circumstance? It does not.

Can auctioneers selling live or online “as-is” not provide any preview or inspections prior? Possibly. However, does that mean that auctioneers should not have previews of property selling at auction — or deny all requests to preview? It does not.

A ‘value proposition” is a promise of value made to a customer and how it is to be delivered, communicated, and acknowledged. Similarly, perception is far more discerning than reality. Reality often speaks in “you can” while perception might rather ask the question “should you?”

I work with attorneys all the time, and often they tell me the realities of the law. They routinely hire me to give them the industry knowledge they lack since they aren’t auctioneers. They essentially hire me to help them understand the perception issue, and more broadly, the wide variety of additional implications.

Here’s something that I’ve learned in my years as an auction expert witness: Often the law will permit something that should not be executed. Here’s why: Your next client, your bidders/buyers, that jury pool and even the general public don’t care as much about the law as they care about you doing the “right thing.”

Finally, I have a strategy to suggest. Seek to find all the legal ways in which you can conduct yourself and your business. Then, with all that information, cull that list (yes, it needs to be condensed) to end up with only the things that are reasonable to do — which constitute the “right things” to do.

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.