Sponsored by Beloit Auction & Realty
By Meghan M.M. Trimm
Whether you are buying or selling, finding an auction house with a great reputation for professionalism and integrity is important. An easy-to-use buying platform is like icing on the cake. But there are a few other things to consider. Here are the six ingredients of an excellent auction company.
One way to know an auctioneer (and auction house) is worth your time is to find out whether they are certified by the National Auctioneers Association (NAA). NAA is an organization devoted to educating auctioneers in best businesses practices–including a strict code of ethics. NAA auctioneers know that trust is everything in an industry that sometimes gets a bad rap.
Let’s face it, there are auctioneers who are doing it wrong. And they will pay for it in loss of customers. But you can avoid that conundrum by looking for a certified auctioneer.
To advance the profitability and longevity of their business, every auctioneer requires a good relationship with buyers and sellers. The education of the NAA reinforces this concept and produces professional and honest auctioneers.
Certified auctioneers often post their credentials on their business cards, websites, and auction catalogs. So look for the CAI and other designations that prove their membership and training. Click here if you’re wondering what all those letters mean.
Reviews are both essential and misleading for auctions. Remember, auctions are a double-sided platform – that means they must try to make both buyers and sellers happy. As you can imagine, that doesn’t always work out for all parties. And yet, first-hand testimonies are a key way to get to know a business before you buy.
Therefore, you need a double-sided approach to reading reviews. In auctions, competition is at play, so those customers giving reviews may either be on the winning or losing end. When you look at a review, decide if the person giving it was a buyer or a seller. Then try to understand how the interaction described might have affected both parties. Most importantly, ask yourself if the auctioneer’s behavior was professional and honest. Sometimes bad reviews come from unhappy parties, even if they auctioneer acted correctly. Sometimes good reviews come from happy parties even if the auctioneer did not do the right thing. Sometimes there is not enough information given to tell. In these cases, withhold judgement.
It’s also important to consider where the review is posted.
- Websites like Yelp are okay, but they are not hacker proof. This is because the rely on email to verify the identity of the reviewer. Anyone who has made a gmail account knows how easy it is to create any number of accounts. If you have three email addresses (One for work, one for home, and one for online subscriptions – for example) you can submit three separate reviews and sway results in your favor. If you are particularly miffed at losing a bid, you can create email accounts just to say negative things on reviews.
- The Better Business Bureau’s reviews are a little more secure, because they link your review submission to your email and your name. This still falls victim to the yelp problem, but they do make it slightly harder.
- The best place to find trustworthy reviews is Facebook. Surprised? Don’t be. As Facebook becomes increasingly important for life in society, people are spending more and more time there. Personalities and reputations are closely tied in. That means Facebook profiles are more sacred and interconnected to life than email or even our even our names. Reviews made on Facebook are verifiable because they are connected to our online identities. While it’s easy to make stealth email accounts, Facebook does not oblige multiple accounts by the same person if they can help it. That means people must live with what they write in a Facebook review, and so they must give a review they can stand behind.
Beloit Auction & Realty happens to have a 4.7 star status on Facebook thanks to the community of customers who have given their opinions. If you haven’t reviewed Beloit Auction, you can do that here. If you’re looking for a place to buy and sell in the Midwest, consider us. We’ve got a good reputation.
What’s the difference between a review and a testimonial, you ask? Audio. Testimonials are given orally on podcast, video, or in person. These are great because they are declarations about a business directly from the mouths of customers. You can really tell how the reviewer feels about the company.
If you like the nuisance of listening to human voices and reading body language, a testimonial offers those advantages. Keep in mind, though, they are one-sided. Businesses collect positive testimonials on purpose, not bad ones.
Still, you can learn all kinds of aspects of a business from the details testimonies provide. Generally, they are curated, even asked for, and focus on different topics. They tend to be more well-planned and better articulated than heat-of-the-moment reviews.
You can often find testimonial videos on Facebook in the videos tab of pages and in the about sections of websites. Don’t be afraid to search for testimonials in your favorite search engine. You never know who has posted videos about the auctions you are looking up.
Auction houses that do a good deal of business online will have their policies laid out somewhere on their website. These can usually be found under the terms of each auction. These should be clearly articulated and easy to find. Read through them. I know, I know. It sounds like work. But it will pay off. And you’re reading this aren’t you?
Make sure you are on-board with payment policies, pick-up and delivery or shipping policies, and any guarantees that the auction makes. Don’t assume things are guaranteed unless it is explicitly stated. Also find the buyers and sellers fees so you know what to expect. Write down questions you have, and don’t be afraid to call and ask questions. Good auction houses want you to have a clear understanding of the process.
There are three important reasons they care. This is why the tend to post their policies everywhere:
- So that you don’t sue them later. Not reading the terms of auction is the leading cause of too many law suits. Be a savvy buyer.
- So that you will feel more comfortable using their services as buyer or seller. They want you to dive in and do business. The best way to do that is to be informed.
- So that you will recommend them to friends. Your review, testimony, or word of mouth referral is the currency on which auction live. They want you to love it. So, they need you to understand and be comfortable.
Auctions have no advantage when customers are confused. When you are well-informed everybody wins.
Bidders will appreciate auction houses that work hard to make the buying process as simple as possible. Some auction houses, like Beloit Auction, even allow customers to leave absentee bids as a free service. But the most convenient form of bidding is online and via smart phone application. Now days, buyers can get a tan on the beach and bid at the same time. Don’t sell yourself short by choosing an auction without these capabilities.
As always, especially online, get a feel for the content the auction produces. Are they welcoming, professional, and honest? Check out social media, website, and online bidding platforms as well.
As a seller, be aware of the advantages the internet gives you and choose an auction house that represents itself online with continuity of professionalism and integrity. A wider audience is available to auctions that are online and easy to navigate.
See For Yourself
If you’re done shopping online for an auctioneer, it’s time to take the leap. Following these first principles, you can’t go wrong. So try an auction near you. You’ll learn the rest as you go.
See you at the auction!