One of the things I enjoy about being an auctioneer is that I am constantly learning new things. Someone once told me they had never seen anyone more committed to life-long learning than me. At the time they were referring to my formal education which I’ve pursued throughout my life. For instance, I didn’t get my masters until I was in my mid-50s and my doctorate when I was 61. However, I’ve always been looking for seminars and conferences that would help me learn and grow.
In the auction business your education comes from different sources. Indiana does require anyone seeking an auctioneer’s license to have classroom training and regular continuing education classes when it comes time to renew your license. While that training is helpful, the real training comes through hands-on experience. I’ve been blessed to have had auctioneers teach me things that schools do not cover. Although we compete with one another for business, several have been more than willing to give me pointers to help me develop as an auctioneer.
My buyers have also been a valuable source of information. I now have two bookshelf rows filled with books to help me identify items I might sell, but my buyers have been more helpful than any books. I have one buyer that specializes in primitives and small antiques. When I need to know what something is he is the first one I ask, and he can usually tell me. Another regular attender of my auctions has been buying and selling for nearly 40 years. He has been a wealth of information which he’s been willing to share with me. Today, a new buyer called me on the phone to finalize a purchase he had made at my last auction. He lives some distance away but seems like he would be a good buyer so I asked him what he collected or liked to buy. He not only told me but gave me a brief history of the items he’s most interested in. I definitely saved his contact information.
Regardless of what you do, you should always be looking for ways to learn more about your career and your interests. Look for people who have more experience than you do and pick their brains. Some, if they think you are a competitor, might not be willing to share their knowledge with you. That’s fine. Just take a day and talk to someone 100 miles away. Chances are they will be more than willing to share what they’ve learned.
When John Maxwell was starting out he made a list of some of the most successful people he knew and called to make an appointment to meet with them. I believe he offered them $100.00 for an hour of their time. He showed up with a pad of paper and some questions written out, and when he left those meetings he had learned much he could apply to his own life.
I like being recognized as a life-long learner because it recognizes that I care enough about what I am doing and the ones for whom I’m doing it to want to constantly improve. I hope you do, too.