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Agent J’s Tips for Auctioneers

Last week we went over how to behave at an auction. This week we’ll look at the other half responsible for a great auction – the auctioneer or owner. A good auctioneer will have people lining up just to get a seat in one of their auctions. Many people hold auctions just to have fun and hang out with their friends while making a little coin. As the auctioneer,

you are the host and as any good host knows, it is your job to make sure people are comfortable while in your home and hopefully having a good time so they’ll spend more coin. Here are some points to consider when hosting auctions:

1.       Consider why you are having an auction. Auctions are usually a good place to get a good deal on things. This means it is not necessarily a good way to make money. It’s a fast way to make coin and clear out some inventory. Sometimes you may have a hot item that many people are bidding on and you make than the going rate, but quite often this is not the case. Keep in mind that you may make less this way than just having a straight up sale with your items.

2.       What to auction off. Of course the hottest items are 08 or 09 costumes, collectibles (the older the better), hair, and rares (again, the older the better – mafia or anything from 08 being some of the hottest.) This doesn’t mean you can’t have an auction with common items still in stores, but some things just shouldn’t be in an auction: job rares, freebies, mystery box rares unless they are the very rare items such as a gold piano.

3.       Spell the word Auction correctly. ‘Nuff said.

4.       Location, location, location. Make sure you pick an area with enough room to show your items. There is nothing worse than being in a crowded area, people packed in with nowhere to go, the owner yelling “get out of the middle” when there really is no middle. Listen closely now, DO NOT HAVE AN AUCTION IN THE FRONT YARD OR ANY HOUSE!!! They are not big enough. Yes, that includes the mafia mansion. Take the time to clear out a room.

5.       Communicate with people. One of last week’s points was “don’t be bossy”. People feel the need to say lock or start when they feel like the owner isn’t paying attention or doesn’t know what they’re doing. When people come in greet them, tell them you’re going to lock soon. Some owners will even say going to lock after so many more people or minutes. I always appreciate this because it shows they are on top of things. Don’t let the room get too packed. Yes, you will lose some people after the first couple items, but you will lose more people by letting it get too laggy or making them wait too long.

6.       Move the auction along. When you’re setting up for your auction, clear EVERYTHING out of the room, with the exception of chairs if you’re going to use them. (Please, for the love of god, if you don’t have enough chairs, don’t use them at all! Space them so people aren’t blocked by someone else talking.) I realize you want to show off all your flashy rares and you think using a recording booth is cool, but remember – anything animated causes lag, so just put it somewhere else. Clear out your inventory as well. Put anything you’re not going to auction off in a room somewhere so trading and editing your room goes quickly.

7.       Set a reasonable reserve. DO NOT put an item out and then not sell it if you don’t get enough for it. You don’t want bidders to back out of their bid, so don’t do the same to them. If you choose to set a reserve, your reserve should not be equal to the going price of an item. It should be lower and you should be prepared to accept that price if only one person bids. Remember, people are there for a good deal and reserves set too high will cause people to leave. If people aren’t bidding on an item, move on. Don’t sit there and wait and wait and wait for a bid. Again, people will just start to leave.

Here are some things I’ve seen that worked well at auctions.

  • Items up for auction, in order listed in the message box.
  • Rules for the auction listed in message box.
  • Many auctioneers have a friend there to help and handle the actual bidding. Some play games while the owner is trading & give gifts to the winners. This makes an auction a lot more fun and people are more likely to stick around.
  • Personally, I like to start with more expensive items first. There are more people there to bid and they all have their coin still. They’re in the buying mood and I make sure that the big items get sold.
  • The other thing I do to move the auction along is picking up the auctioned item and putting down the next item up for bid at the same time. Only edit the room once instead of twice helps with the lag. People can see what is up next while I’m trading so they are ready to bid once the trade is done.

I hope you find this tips useful. Treat your “customers” with respect and they will give it back. If not, show them the door. J Do you have more tips on holding a good auction? Please share them with us in the comment section below. (And don’t forget to invite me to your next auction.)

~Agent J

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