Everyone is fascinated by the auctioneers’ chant and wonders, “What do they do when they’re not selling items at auction? Do they have a real job? They only work 4 to 8 hours a week! They really have it easy!”
Today’s auctioneer is far more involved in the making and breaking of an auction and the company’s success than you could ever imagine.
Most, over a period of time, have developed an innate ability to determine the approximate value of an item in 20 seconds or less. Today’s auctioneer is an appraiser, mathematician, accountant, entertainer, business person, friend and enemy rolled into a 45-second burst of speed.
Everything in all business comes down to the same things; metrics, making the numbers, product management, presentation and prices received for the product or products sold. Whether it is intellectual or material property, it is all the same.
The next time you attend an auction think about the fact that the auctioneer has about 45 seconds to sell an item (selling about 100 items an hour). In these 45 seconds the decisions that are made can make the difference in the auctions gross of thousands of dollars.
Details of the 45-second process:
1. Is the right item being displayed?
2. What is the item’s estimate?
3. Is there a reserve price the item needs to bring?
4. If there is a reserve, at what dollar amount can it be sold for so that we can still make money?
5. Where in the room is the person or people I know that buy this type of item?
6. What do I say to encourage bidding if the item stalls (attributes, rarity, size, condition, etc?)
Think about what it takes in this never-ending battle of wits and business management – all within 45 seconds, for hours at a time. This human computer must function without a flaw. For each hour an auction takes there are over one hundred hours of preparation. This answers “What do they do in their free time?” Nothing is free – especially time.