“Auctions are much more than just selling an item someone knows nothing
about. But, how to we communicate that to a public who has never
witnessed one?” asks auction professional Chip Kugler.
An Auctioneer is in control of their environment, which not many other
professionals can say. They are in constant communication with ringmen
and other staff during an auction. In other words, according to Kugler,
those and other factors make an auction much more than a regular sale.
In fact, he’s adamant there’s a defined difference.
“Auctions are not sales,” he says.
X-Factor: Finding your niche
Find your niche and build on it. “If there’s something that you really
like… chances are they have a collector’s club,” says Kugler, a former
presenter at NAA Conference and Show. “Join these groups to meet new
people and increase your potential clientele. Let everyone know that
this is your niche in the market and you are who they should come to.
“As they get to hear you and get to know you, and as their members need
to sell their collection, by putting your face in front of them is going
to grow your name so that you are the go to person to sell their
You can market yourself and your services within the group by asking to
speak or demonstrate your auction skills at club events. This will put
you at the forefront of their mind when it comes time for them to sell.
Also, by joining these groups you can also gain access to emails and
addresses of people you know are already interested in the type of item
you have. This will help build up an email list for future auctions you
X-Factor: Reaching potential clientele
The number one source of potential new clients is referrals. Referrals
are key to making sure that your company is the one selected out of the
lists of companies online.
“Ninety percent of people who need auctions, have only been to one
auction in their life,” says Kugler. “They don’t know the difference
between your company and another company listed on the web.”
Keep in contact with key people, such as attorneys, accountants, and
real estate agents. If a real estate agent sells a house, somebody must
sell the contents. These types of professionals are a great place to
start building your referral list.
Benefit auctions are also a great way to get your name in front of your
community. Offer to help with a live auction at events around the
community and put your business in the top of people’s minds. Even if
you don’t make any money off these auctions, you will gain leads for
“If you’re trying to grow your business in your community, you’ve got to
get your name in front of those people who have never been to an
auction,” says Kugler. “How do you get your name in front of those
people? There are different charities all the time that are having a
mini auction or silent auction.
“Offer your expertise at these events and get in front of those hundred or so potential clients.”
Face-to-face contact builds stronger relationships, better business
contact, and reminds people that you are still in business. You must
spend time with people face to face and make sure to thank them for
This will help strengthen your “spheres of influence” and gain more business.
X-Factor: Explaining your business to potential clients
Remember, when you are talking to potential clients, that they don’t
know the business like you do. They want to know what you are going to
do to make it easier for them.
“We need to back up and slow our speech down to explain where we are
coming from, why we need this done, and when we need this done,” says
Kugler. “Know that you are the expert. That is why they called you.
“It is important to not only tell but also show clients why they should use you as an Auctioneer.”
This article was an excerpt from a presentation given at the 2015 NAA
International Auctioneers Conference and Show. Want even more tips
regarding this topic? NAA members can access the full audio of this
presentation and many others in the NAA Knowledge Center