I find myself saying things like, “When I started in the business…” and, “I remember when…” Instead of thinking those statements date me, I prefer to say they show character and experience.
It’s true folks…I do remember when I started in the business and the only advertising options were the newspapers and mailing out what we called sale bills. Now print ads have taken a back seat to online postings. Estate sales were always done on a Saturday, and when we had an estate sale we would have to get to the sale site around five a.m. just to get all of the personal property out of the house and under the tent. By the time the auction started, around nine or ten, we were pretty worn out, but that’s when our job as auctioneers got started for the day. Today, most auctions are conducted during the week because we know our buyers are busy on the weekends. Time has become our biggest commodity. Our sound equipment used to be our biggest investment; today it’s our website.
On a cold day I would use Hot Hands inside my gloves and Hot Feet inside my boots. Sometimes, the clerk’s pen would keep freezing making it difficult to write tickets. For the comfort of the auction attendees, we usually had those propane fueled torpedo style heaters and if you got too close to them they would melt a hole in your coat!! Yes, I know this first hand. If it snowed in the winter, it didn’t matter, because the auction always goes on! You see, once you actually made it to the auction, you were committed. No one left until the auction was over; that was tradition. Now for those of you who have never attended a live auction event like that, you’re really missing out. Those types of auctions build character!
In 2001, I was presented with an opportunity to sell the contents of 400 offices, 4 offsite storage facilities, and a 30,000 square foot warehouse full of office equipment. I knew I could not conduct a traditional walk around auction, so I turned to the new technology I had been hearing and learning about at our National Auctioneer Conventions, and voila – the rest is, as we say, history.
Using technology in the auction world actually made me respect the tradition of the auction method. Utilizing technology has made many parts of my business easier, however, it has also forced me to learn how to market an asset to an audience I can no longer look square in the eye. I’m no longer shopping for the best sound equipment or outdoor gear; I’m shopping for the best online software.
Here’s a tip…Did you know that on a cold auction day,
if you stand on a piece of cardboard or put your feet inside
of a cardboard box, your feet won’t get nearly as cold? You’re welcome.
So you see, nothing gets done by magic in the auction world. Instead, it’s learning how to balance auction tradition with the utilization of technology. Whenever I can, I still market an asset by visiting individuals and places of business. I use the technology platform as my auction tool. As a past mentor taught me, the secret to having a good auction is “Preparation, preparation and a little bit of luck!”