What auction professionals can learn from beer

The beer industry has poured a pathway for increased market share and better branding.

By Nancy Hull Rigdon, contributor

Auctioneers can turn to beer to grow their businesses – no drinking required. Really, it’s true – just ask Nelson Jay, BAS. Before his career as a benefit auctioneer, Jay spent 20 years working in the beer industry, including at Redhook brewery, as well as in marketing.

“As I was building my auctioneering business, I kept coming back to all these things the beer industry does that we, as Auctioneers, can learn from to achieve greater success,” Jay said.

For instance, brewers gain market share through branding, marketing activities and consumer engagement including promotional partnerships.
These same opportunities exist for Auctioneers – it’s just a matter of taking advantage of them to grow your business, he said.

The current boom of the beer industry makes it an industry worthy of emulation, Jay said, citing data showing the number of breweries in America has recently topped 4,000, just shy of the historical high 4,131 breweries recorded in 1873.

He boils down the brewery-like road to auction success to three key takeaways:

Beer Tip 1: Brand development is crucial.

Jay stressed that to attract a following, you must create an identify to follow. To start, ask yourself some questions: Who are you? What do you want to be? How do you help customers? From there, hone in on two, maybe one, answer. The answers, he said, may be strikingly similar to those of beer brands.

“Will your brand focus on mass appeal? Low cost? Premium? Trusted? Better than others?” he asked.

He also stressed to always circle back to authenticity and consistency.

“Brand your business and express your own personal brand through networking interactions,” he said.

Beer Tip 2: Claim your digital space now.

Don’t waste time in setting up your social media pages and other online presence.

“This will help grow your online search results and establish you as a modern enterprise,” Jay said.

The research, he said, speaks volumes. For instance, he highlighted two crucial facts: 1) Next to referrals, the most likely way prospective customers and clients will find you is online; and 2) Consistent brand message and online identify will help drive search results.

Even if you aren’t active on social media, go ahead and nab your space so it’s there when you’re ready, he said.

Tie in your branding, and make sure your logo, general information, images and colors are consistent with other materials and messaging.

Beer Tip 3: Partnerships can add value to what you deliver to clients/customers.

By definition, a promotional partnership, Jay said, is an opportunity for two or more entities to come together to enhance each individual organization’s position by offering more combined value than any one individual organization may be able to deliver. The ideal partnership should benefit the client or customer as well as each party participating in the partnership.

To begin, Jay recommended brainstorming partner prospects. Then, ask yourself, What do they do really well? And then, think about how that may benefit you and what you could offer in return.

As you explore partnerships, don’t get too caught up in what’s in it for you, he cautioned.

“Think about what is in it for the other half of partnerships,” he said. “Remember – helping others will help you grow.”

This article was an excerpt from a presentation given at the 2017 NAA International Auctioneers Conference and Show. Want even more tips on this topic? Full audio of the presentation is available in the NAA Knowledge Center.