Having this appreciation allows auction professionals to build the best
teams and be competitive in any market from local to global.
“The more diverse we are, the better we can run our business,” says Frank Kitchen, BAS, of Glendale, Arizona.
Diversity: What do your buyers look like?
“What do your buyers look like? How many of your buyers are 100-percent
just like you?” asks TiWanna Kenney, BAS, of Pflugerville, Texas.
“What’s the risk of having buyers who are not different from you? What’s
the risk of saying ‘I only work with this one client’?”
The answers seem obvious. Only working with a specific group of people
immediately limits the buyer pool and potentially lowers the top dollar
amount for a lot – something no auction professional wants to have
Or, when it comes to attracting that next sale, is your staff built to
handle and manage, for example, a family that comes through the door and
wants to sell but doesn’t speak the same language you do? Is your
company built to auction in Spanish or another language that may be
dominant in and around your local area?
“Does your staff reflect your buyers?” Kenney asks.
Having staff who can identify, relate, and communicate effectively with
those buyers may mean the difference in a bid that day and turning them
into sellers in the future. In other words, can your staff meet the
needs of your buyers? That’s the question that needs to be answered,
according to Kenney.
The benefits are not just external.
Internally, within the walls of your company, having diversity in your
staff can lead to one or more of the following: increase in innovation
and drive through idea sharing; resilience in tougher business times
because of an expanded base, employee retention and engagement;
long-term growth for your company; opportunities for government
contracts or other similar contracts that ask for diversity; improved or
increased profit margins; and an increase in moral/ethical value.
Diversity: How to get started
Those all sound good, but if those are end goals, where does someone
begin the process of encouraging and implementing diversity in their
auction business? Here are a few, immediate ways this can happen.
– Examine and modify your business’ mission statement. Your mission
statement is the foundation on which your entire business sits. (If you
haven’t developed one, now is the perfect time.) Therefore, if diversity
is something you want to have reflected in your business, make it a
part of your mission statement so that everything planned and developed
refers back to it.
– Hiring of staff and volunteers. If your current staff doesn’t reflect
your buyers and sellers, or you see untapped potential in your
community, focus on finding individuals who can help you connect to
– Embrace diversity in your marketing. People gravitate toward images
and messages they can relate to. Creating an inclusive image through
marketing can help bring those new buying and selling groups through
– Social media and mainstream media. “Social media is social proof,”
Kitchen says. “We’re so willing to go put up a thing about the
Kardashians. We’ll go put up a poop emoji. We’ll go put up stuff that’s
not really going to affect us in a positive way. But, how awesome is it
for us to go pop up a picture of this auction where we helped out.
“I’ve had people say ‘I didn’t know you auctioned, Frank.’ That’s my mistake, not showing people what I was doing.”
Whether it is diversity on your staff, in the industry overall, or just
repositioning your brand story to the general public, momentum has to
begin at the individual level.
“Nothing changes unless we do,” Kenney says. “So, if we don’t change the
way we market, and if we don’t change what we’re putting out there,
it’s never going to come to fruition.”
This article was an excerpt from a presentation given at the 2017 NAA
International Auctioneers Conference and Show. Want even more tips on
diversity or hear more regarding this topic? Full audio of the
presentation is available in the NAA Knowledge Center.