Hiring a Specialized Auctioneer: What Does it Mean?

August 27, 2019
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Does your auctioneer auctioneer have the knowledge and experience needed to sell a specific type of property at auction?

If you are searching for an auctioneer and you have a unique item or special type of property to sell, the first thing you should find out is if the auctioneer has the knowledge and experience to sell the specific type of property at auction.

Specialization by definition means: 

(a) the process of concentrating on and becoming an expert in a particular subject or skill. 

(b) a particular area which someone concentrates on or is an expert in.

(c) the limiting of one’s study or work to a particular area, or a particular area of knowledge.

First off, you have to understand that auctioneers are typically business owners and by the nature of entrepreneurship, they can be very resourceful and self-reliant.  Figuring things out and “solving problems” is the general nature of their business, so when posed with a challenge or issue, most auctioneers will first try to figure it out.  This can be a very strong quality in a business professional, however, over-confidence in one’s ability can also become a detriment.

As an auctioneer, I have accepted and sold items at auction that initially I knew very little about.  I assumed my job was to study the item or property and then find the market and the value for the item or property to the best of my ability. The elephant in the room is the fact that I wanted the challenge of selling the item (and the commission) that came from the work I had put into the sale. So the real question is, did I have my client’s best needs in mind or my own?

It is safe to believe that if someone advertises that they specialize in 8, 10, or 15 different things, then they probably do not (specialize) in anything. They may have a general working knowledge of several different types of items or property, but specialization requires a person to focus their study on a particular area to gain superior knowledge about it. That is very difficult to achieve in multiple items, categories and property types. Using the word “specialization” brings with it an opportunity for someone to challenge an auctioneers experience or ability.  More importantly, it opens the question about an auctioneer’s intent if they accepted a listing they may not have been qualified to market and sell.  For example, you will probably not see a surgeon that promotes they specialize in heart surgery, brain surgery, foot surgery, eye surgery, etc.

There is the opportunity for an auctioneer to gain a strong working knowledge within a broader range or market segments, like the real estate auction industry.  An auctioneer may have a general working knowledge of the rural farm and ranch auction marketplace and in addition they may sale homes and even a few commercial buildings at auction.  Does this make the auctioneer a “specialist” at selling all of those property types? Probably not, but having significant practical experience at selling these types of properties in a concentrated geographical area over several years can allow the auctioneer to serve clients well and provide a valuable service to them.

Hiring an auctioneer is an important decision and the interview will generally tell you the extent of the auctioneers knowledge and experience about a certain type of item or property.  A seasoned auctioneer will be smart enough to know the auction process and when needed, specialization can be brought into the process by hiring outside consultants and professionals that have both the knowledge and the contacts to help make a specialty auction a huge success.

Learn more about how the auction process works and find one of our professional auctioneers near you at www.UCAuctionServices.com.