Recently, I attended my first National Auctioneers Association (NAA) conference after 40 years in the business, and what a treat! There, I exchanged ideas with fellow auctioneers and learned new tips and modern tricks about auctioning collectibles and antiques.
More than 1,500 attendees from the U.S. and abroad participated in the 59th International Auctioneers Conference and Show held in Nashville. Networking and clinics were the major focus of the conference, where participants had the chance to meet and share the business challenges associated with a declining economy and discuss tactics. The experience gave you the chance to realize you’re not the only one stuck in the pond without an inner tube.
At the conference, I was struck by how much technology has been a major focus in taking the auction community from the 20th to the 21st century. It’s easy to see how auction practices, production and education changed little over the years until very recently. The late 20th century brought about the most profound changes in more than 100 years. Yes, the electronic age with cell phones, computers and the Internet has made all the difference in the industry.
While being knowledgeable is the most valuable asset an auctioneer can have, you can’t be competitive without adding the electronic tools that are available today. Thanks to the digital age, an auctioneer can sell something in Kansas to a buyer in Bolivia or Barcelona with the click of a mouse, expanding the market worldwide, rather than the previous 100-mile radius limit for an auction.
Auctioneers are bringing the world of antiques and collectibles to you via the Internet and its associated technology. The National Auctioneers Association is the largest professional organization for auctioneers. This year’s conference reflected the state of the modern auction and methods available to its conductors. After 40 years of absence, I’m glad I made it to the show and was able to pick up some tips and maybe even some new tricks in the trade!