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Avoid Awful Auctioneers: Ask the Right Questions

avoid awful auctioneers: ask the right questions
Selecting an auctioneer is like online dating. Choose the right person and you’ll end up happy and content. Pick the wrong person? Well, then you’re headed for disaster and misery.

Here, though, is where the similarities end. A browse of dating profiles usually uncovers myriad red flags. Lives in Mom’s basement? Pass. Mom’s in their profile pic with them? Hard pass. With the process of picking an auctioneer, the signs aren’t as easy to read.

Landing the right auctioneer is a tough process, but it’s an important decision. Putting together a money-making event can be a ton of work and worry. The right choice will bring in the dollars. Choose poorly, and your event could be a low-dollar disappointment. Luckily, a top-tier auctioneer can take some of that stress off your plate by adding value to your event. But what if you settle on someone less than the best? They won’t step up and bring in the amount of money your organization needs.

How do you know what qualities to look for, and what traits you should steer clear of? This guide will help you sort through the candidates and pick a winner.

Are they qualified?
Unfortunately, many operations call themselves auctioneers but don’t have the qualifications. with no backing. Anyone can say they’re an auctioneer. Only trained pros truly are worthy of matching with. Look for auctioneers who’ve attended auctioneering school, earned certifications and joined associations.

Do they have a track record?
Any auction house worth its salt should have past successes to brag about. This likely is going to be your event’s only revenue-generating expense–make sure you pick a winner. Look for lists of clients they’ve served at past events. Also important: they should be able to tell you a total. For example, Sayre & Jones has pulled in more than $300 million just last year for charities. That’s a number we’ve worked hard for and are proud of.

Is their client list diverse?
Specialty is fine for some. If an auctioneer focuses on art and antiques, that’s great. Unfortunately, they likely can’t drive in the dollars for at your gala. Look for someone whose list of past and current customers isn’t so one-note.

Are they open to questions?
The list of questions you’ll want to ask is long. How much is your organization involved in the planning process? What will engagement on the day of the event be like? Can you help me land auction items? Will you assist in raising money outside the auction? How do you increase guest engagement? A real pro should be happy to field your questions. What’s more, they’re happy to answer, and the responses should align with your goals.

…and one question you should worry less about
Your first instinct when looking for an auctioneer might be to bargain hunt. That’s not the best idea, for one simple reason. The low-balling auctioneers tend to be the lowest performing auctioneers. The answers to the above questions are much more important than the price tag. If an auctioneer delivers a low price and only brings in a low dollar amount, it’s you who is losing in the long run.
When picking your auctioneer, there’s a lot of factors to weigh. Is the decision making process weighing you down? Feel free to reach out to us. We can help you ask the right questions, and make the best choice.


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