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“Adapting Auctioneer Tactics to Marketing”

By Ron Evans

Have you ever seen a charity auctioneer work a crowd to get the money flowing on an auction item? It requires a masterful balance of energy, personalized attention, and sheer performance. When it works, it’s a joy to behold.

We don’t need auctioneers every day. But exploring the tactics they use is a valuable exercise. Here are a few:

Regularly tag and recognize influential supporters on social media, in emails, in speeches, in person, etc. For example, good auctioneers know the people in the room. It’s all about the gentle push. “Jan, I’ve heard this is totally your thing. Are you going to let him steal this incredible sculpture for only $500?” Personal attention paid to individuals in front of others influences their behavior.

Vary the tone, speed, and delivery channels of your communications. There are practical reasons auctioneers talk fast (they usually get a percentage of the take, so talking fast sells more items). But everyone will agree that it also grabs attention and adds energy to the message. Always write in third person? Try it in first. Send a video message sharing your passion instead sending all text.

Sell the benefits to the customer, not the benefits to you. I remember one auctioneer saying “This painting is going to be the one on the local news tomorrow.” That was a strong hint that media attention was only a credit card charge away. What tangible and/or emotional benefits will come to the customer if they purchase your product?

Sell highly sought-after products and experiences. I’ve never seen a bidding war over everyday offerings. This means that what we are selling, if not special, must at least be perceived as being special. Items and experiences that are more rare are thought to be worth more. Competition is a wonderful thing.

Give clear instructions about what the customer needs to do after they take action. At an auction, you’d better let people know where to go to pay. What is the “next step” you want customers to take after they have purchased from, or donated to, your organization?

Time for you to implement. It’s Ron’s Monday Mission™:

Review the list above with your team. Let it spark a conversation. “What DO we want people to do right after they donate or purchase?” Right now, you probably send them back to your homepage and call it done. You’ve got their attention. You can literally send them anywhere you want. What’s their next step? Implement your change in the next seven days.

Have a great week,

Ron

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