Auction time! In the last installment we talked about some key components of the live auction that are often times just as important as the items you are offering to your patrons (sound, lighting and dining arrangements). And, they are VERY important! But, make no mistake – the Live Auction is all about the show, and the show is how your Auctioneer interacts with the crowd, how he speeds up or slows down his “chant”, how he splits a bid going from an even to odd number of bidders in the room and knowing the proper progression from $500 to $5,000.00. And you thought it was just getting together some items and letting the local weather man or volunteer number chanter take over. I can assure you the weatherman or local media personality is no more qualified to perform these duties than an auctioneer is at performing theirs.
Let’s talk about items: How many items? What type of items? And in what order? Test question: How many of you remember how many items we should have in our silent auction? Is the answer (a) as many as possible (b) how ever many fill up the tables we are given or (c) about 20% of your attendance? If you picked “c”, you are correct! Now, the appropriate number of live items is 20% of THAT number. So, if you have 300 attending, the silent auction target number is 60 items and the live auction target number is 12. With those numbers, you will create a demand factor that gives you the best chance for high dollar bidding.
Next up – what type of items? One of the best exercises you can do with your committee is for each member to separately write down their top 5 items they’d bid on if money was not an issue. If you find common items among your group, that’s a good place to start procurement. A REALLY good way to know what items are selling well is to hire Granger Thagard and you get a copy of our “Hot List” and you have a clear path to success. But, good free advice is to think about syndicate bidding. That is, big ticket items that 4, 6, 8 or 10 people can enjoy. What you have done by doing this, is exponentially increase your bidding potential from a single checkbook to 4 or 5 checkbooks (think dinner for 5 couples or beach house with 4 rooms) – and you’re off! Time to have an auction!
Next entry, we’ll talk about marketing your live auction and preparing your crowd to BID!
Happy Bidding! – Joey