Potential new clients often think ‘an auctioneer is an auctioneer.’ But, when they hire a traditional auctioneer and their event fails to raise excitement and falls far short of its financial goals, they are quick to understand the advantages of hiring a professional benefit auctioneer.
Scott is quick to acknowledge that when it comes to traditional and benefit auctions they are two separate disciplines. A traditional auctioneer is selling a specific product. A benefit auctioneer must sell himself first in an effort to generate the excitement needed to raise the most money for the charity.
Scott stands firm in his belief that charisma, salesmanship and the ability to analyze the audience are three of the most important qualities a benefit auctioneer must have. In a recent interview he explained his position.
“Experienced fundraising auctioneers know when to be entertaining – but they also need to know when to be serious and how to read the room to generate the most revenue possible, Yes, making the audience laugh or tear-up at the appropriate times is part of the job. But you can never loose sight of the fact you are there to generate bids. That’s where charisma, salesmanship and audience analysis come into play.”
Scott defines charisma as the ability of the benefit auctioneer to captivate and motivate the audience and salesmanship as the auctioneer’s ability to keep the bidding alive by playing bidder against bidder, thus achieving the highest bid possible for each and every item.
To be able to analyze an audience, the auctioneer must have the ability to sense the energy and mood in the room, understand the attendees likes and dislikes, and discover what triggers their “emotional buttons.”
Experience and versatility are also important because every organization and every auction is unique. A benefit auctioneer must be able to adapt to the venue, the audience and the auction items.
The ability to work comfortably in front of a crowd, while at the same time being entertaining is also crucial. Many traditional auctioneers perform for relatively small gatherings. A benefit auctioneer must be able to work the room whether it consists of 100 guests or 1,500.
Scott was recently quoted saying, “When it comes to the size of the live audience – the more the merrier. I have an instinctive understanding for the mood in the room, as well as the different personalities. That allows me to adjust my techniques to make sure everyone has a great time. The large size of the crowd doesn’t scare me – it inspires me.”
But, in the end, fun is still the name of the game. If an event is not fun – and time seems to drag on – profits at the benefit drop and ticket sales for next year’s event will suffer. A professional benefit auctioneer can prevent that from occurring – and that’s crucial to the charity’s bottom line.
Charisma? Check. Salesmanship? Check. Audience Analysis? Check. Experience and Versatility? Double check. Fun and Enthusiastic? Check plus!
A benefit auction is far too important to leave in the hands of a novice or nonprofessional auctioneer – no matter how good their intentions might be. Auctioneers are not created equal – and the difference between a successful event and one that fails to generate it’s fundraising goal could be as simple as the person leading the charge.
Don’t fall short of your goal. There are only a limited number of professional, full time benefit auctioneers in the United States. Many of the committee chairmen and benefit organizers that have worked alongside Scott have applauded his efforts and rewarded his talents by hiring him year after year.
That trust speaks volumes. Scott Robertson, “The Voice of Experience.”