advertising, agency duties, auction, auctioneer, auctioneers, auctions, fiduciary duty, marketplace, online auction, white-label
Time and time again, auctioneers are trying to find the “right platform” to use for their online auction. Their concerns, however, rarely center on the auctioneer’s prime directive — maximize the seller’s position.
“Easy to use,” “Good communication,” “Cheap,” “Responsive customer service,” “Amenable” … even one auctioneer uses a certain platform because the owners are “Nice.” Thank goodness they’re nice …
We’ve written numerous times about this phenomenon. It seems “cost” matters, but “benefits” for the seller don’t matter. Here is one such analysis of that issue: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2023/02/15/auctioneers-tell-me-benefit-doesnt-matter/.
Maybe the only benefits that matter are for the auctioneer — as in “Easy to use,” “Good communication,” and the owners are “Nice?” How do sellers benefit from any of this? They don’t.
Auctioneers with years and years of experience and market notoriety give the advice to new auctioneers to use a “white label” platform because they say using a “marketplace” platform isn’t in the auctioneer’s interest — so apparently we don’t care if it’s not in the client’s interest.
Agency duties are often forgotten about — such as obedience, loyalty, disclosure, confidentiality, accounting, and reasonable care. Avoiding marketplace platforms only because other auctioneers tell you to … violate duties for most auctioneers to be loyal and provide reasonable care.
Why is that? Most auctioneers don’t have a marketplace of their own, and most auctioneers are not very good at marketing otherwise: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2020/10/05/youre-not-marketing-your-auction/. I see it time and time again when my phone rings from a seller rightly disappointed with the results.
We have suggested any auctioneer just starting out to use a marketplace platform — then work to build that database of bidders — mindful that any database isn’t an assurance those bidders will bid again, nor that they are interested in your next auction of a different type of property.
When I started in the auction business, I didn’t want to run expensive newspaper advertising, send out pricey mailings and dodge traffic to put signs at nearby intersections at 4:00 am … but I did it — not because it solely benefited me, but rather it benefited my seller which in turn benefited me.
Today, we and thousands of other auctioneers use a variety of marketing techniques, including a marketplace platform (and even buyer’s premiums) when our seller benefits. It’s best to find win-win situations, where you work to help your seller which then helps you.
Alternately, as a new auctioneer, you would join a franchise model, where you would benefit from other auctioneers in that group and their bidders? If that sounds like a marketplace, maybe it is? Oh, and did I mention you’re being misled?
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, Brandly Real Estate & Auction, and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Western College of Auctioneering. He has served as faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.
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