Beware of the man in the tuxedo

I'm always curious to know more when I hear or read about someone who says he 'specializes as a fundraising auctioneer'.

Why have I not heard his or her name before? Who is this person? Is he or she professionally trained? What kind of auction experience did he or she have before becoming a benefit specialist or expert?

Fundraisers are a collaborative event. A professional auctioneer will make sure that all the behind the scenes work is properly and completely done. This is the first of many important steps that it takes to produce an evening of giving that is both seamless and successful.   

I have been an auctioneer working in the Pacific Northwest for over twenty-five years. I have auctioned off date nights with Hollywood stars. children's art, school teachers' homemade baking, tens of thousands of wholesale and collector cars, as well as California real estate. I have worked with hundreds of other auctioneers. Among the lot of us, we have a few thousand years of experience combined and have easily seen hundreds of billions of dollars change hands. Boy, that makes me sound old!

Like any other profession, it takes years of learning and doing to master one's craft. A proficient auctioneer is not as easy to find as it seems. What you can expect of him or her when you find one is this:

A great auctioneer connects with your audience.
He or she establishes the tone and momentum of the auction.
An auctioneer never misses a guest with his bid card in the air.
He communicates and carries on with everyone with ease and finesse.
After he sells the crowd every single live auction lot, he is still able to draw more money out of your guests during the special appeal!

It's true that we all have to start somewhere. The question is, do you want an auctioneer who's wet behind the ears to use your event as his guinea pig? Before you hire someone; ask for his or her credentials, have a look at his portfolio, watch her in action. Best to see it before you believe it. You know what they say, “If it sounds too good to be true..."