Competitors or colleagues or both

I haven’t posted much the past few days as I was getting ready for an auction I had on May 21. In addition to my own auctions, I’ve been working for other auctioneers as well. Last week I worked for two different auctioneers, and this Saturday I’ll be working for a third. Another auctioneer asked me today if I was available to work two auctions for him in June.

It’s a little odd to be working for your competitors, but I also find it rewarding because it sends a positive message about what who we are and what we are trying to do. While at their auctions I have the opportunity to tell their crowd about my upcoming auctions and even have auction flyers at the cashier table they can pick up. I extend the same courtesy to any auctioneers who attend my auctions even if they aren’t working for me. As I like to tell my crowd, we are competitors who want your business, but we are also colleagues who can work together for the benefit of all. I think that is a very positive message to send in this cutthroat world in which we live.

Let’s face it…auctioneers haven’t always had the best reputations in the past. The way to turn that around is to operate with the highest ethical values, hold one another accountable to those values and work together to turn around the image some people have of the auction business.

Have you ever bought something at auction and then found out it didn’t work or was damaged? I have, and it didn’t make me feel very good. That’s why I try to point out any flaws on items we sell before the bidding starts. Sometimes something isn’t noticed until after the sale, but when the buyer gets it he or she sees the damage. If they mention it to one of my workers we void the ticket, tell everyone the flaw and try to sell it again. If it’s electrical I tell my crowd to plug it in before they leave the auction. If it doesn’t work they don’t own it. One auctioneer I sometimes work for gives his buyers 7 days on anything electrical. We are trying to treat people fairly. The old adage of “Buyer Beware” that was so prevalent in the auction world is one we are trying to eliminate.

I never talk negatively about any of the other auctioneers in the area. No one ever rises higher by putting others down. In fact, if I feel an auction is out of my level of expertise I will suggest the seller contact another auctioneer who I know will do them a better job. I did that earlier this week.

Regardless of what we do for a living, working together is always better than working against. I will try to get every auction I can, but if another auctioneer gets it and needs my help I will do whatever I can to help them. I have found that most will do the same for me. That makes this work fun.

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