Sunday, April 24, 2011

On Conducting an Auction

Part 2:

After making it through the initial contact it was now time to speak the the other party. I really don't like trying to make deals over the phone. Its mostly due to the fact that I just can't get a good read through peoples voices. I'm really a visual person. So, the telephone and I just are not the best of friends. But in this circumstance it was a necessity.

The conversation went well enough. Straight forward questions about the hows and whys of an auction. He voice reasonable concerns about the bidding process and even discussed putting reserves on some items. True to form, I had no clue as to whether or not I was still in the game. Now the waiting game really began. What would they do?

The answer was both quick and good. They wanted to meet again, all of us, to discuss dates for the auction. This one piece of good news does one thing and one thing only to an auctioneer anticipating a potential good sale, it makes them even more nervous than before. Everything switches from I hope I get it to "lets get it going!". Of course you cannot let this out so inside it stays until the most important day of all, signing the contract.

In the old days of auctioning, people met, agreed to terms, shook hands and held an auction. In Ohio, its not quite so simple anymore. When I first started selling even the written contracts were very simple. Sellers name, auctioneers name, date of the sale, percentages and signatures. Easy. Not anymore. My current contract is three pages long. It is filled with required statements such as who is responsible for unsold items and do you really, really intend on selling this stuff.

Explaining the contract and setting up the necessary grounds for preparing the auction took over 3 hours. Sounds silly doesn't it. The reality is that explaining all of the terms of the contract takes time. I really spend a lot of time making sure that they completely understand what is going to need to be done to conduct the auction. I don't know what other auctioneers do but if they aren't going through this phase, they are just asking for trouble.

Contract signed, set up planned, family advised, GAME ON!

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