This may seem like a given, but not all benefit auctioneers are born salesman. As the saying goes, a great salesman can sell ice cubes to an Eskimo and make them feel glad they bought it. The successful benefit and charity auctioneer works very hard and tries every strategy to get the most revenue for your nonprofit organization.
An experienced auctioneer understands the psychology of the live auction. He will mingle with the guests before the auction to get to know them and to find out what type of buyers they might be. He also knows that they will be more likely to buy from him if they know him. A live benefit auction is emotional and involves crowd-psychology. A successful benefit auctioneer will be clever at reading people and will use empathy, putting himself in the guests’ shoes. It is imperative that he draws on these skills throughout his sale – from determining the starting bid of the item, to knowing when to call the item “sold”.
With his past experience, the benefit auctioneer usually can recognize what items are worth on sight. If he is not familiar with an item, he will investigate. He learns as much as he can about the history and donor of the item. An expert benefit auctioneer promotes every feature of that item and uses creativity to increase its value. He understands that a donated item may seem to hold great value to some while appearing worthless to another.
To be an effective salesman, a benefit auctioneer must also be exciting and fun. Harry F. Bank said, “A salesman minus enthusiasm is just a clerk.” The benefit to having a live auction is that it creates more excitement and entertainment for the buyers. The auctioneer that gets the best results is an energized salesman.
The professional benefit auctioneer uses his honesty and integrity to his advantage. He knows that he is more likely to get buyers when the crowd trusts him. A recent study by Harris Interactive determined that 92% of auction attendees have a favorable impression of auctioneers. At the end of your benefit event, your auctioneer wants to see happy buyers leaving the auction. His profession depends on satisfied benefit and charity event guests.