Andy White, Megan McCurdy win 2013 International Auctioneer Championships

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Andy White and Megan McCurdy hold their trophies after winning the men’s and women’s divisions of the 2013 NAA International Auctioneers Championship.

(INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.) – The International Auctioneer Championship began last Friday morning began with 100 contestants — 73 men and 27 women. That evening, the field was whittled down to 15 men’s finalists and seven women’s finalists.

And by night’s end at the J.W. Marriott hotel in downtown Indianapolis, Andy White, CAI (Ashland, OH), and Megan McCurdy, CAI, BAS (Wichita, Kan.), stepped ahead of the others, won their respective fields, and took their iconic places among the world’s best collection of auction talent known as IAC Champions.

In other words, as any past IAC Champion can attest, their lives just changed as the pair will go on to represent the NAA and the auction industry for the next year at many state association meetings, at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and through a host of local, regional and national media opportunities.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I think I made it through [my speech] as best I can make it through it,” an emotional White told a packed ballroom. “Judges thank you so much. NAA, thank you so much. And again, if I have not met you, I look forward to meeting you, and I look forward to representing you.”

Before this year, White had competed four times in the IAC (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012). He was the Ohio state bid calling champion in 2007.

Some 45 minutes after the event had completed, a still very amped McCurdy paused long enough from taking celebration photos and accepting congratulations from a myriad of well-wishers to share her thoughts on a long, trying, competitive day.

“It’s pretty amazing,” McCurdy said. “It was a fantastic day. It was full of tough competitors all day long in the men’s and women’s division.

“I’m just very thankful to the NAA and everybody who participated in it. It was just an amazing day. I’m excited to see what the future holds and what the next year holds for me. But, I’m ready to do anything I can for this industry.”

Like White, McCurdy had also participated in the IAC four times prior to this year (2007, 2009, 2011, 2012), and was a state bid-calling champion, having won the Kansas title in 2010. She also is currently serving as the President-Elect of the Kansas Auctioneers Association.

Earlier in the evening, Halie Behr earned the 2013 International Junior Auctioneer Championship (ages 12-18), becoming the second female in two straight years, and the second female overall, to win the competition, which began in 2007, following Julia Sparks in 2012.

Also, Chad “Cracker” Johnson, BAS (Chiefland, Fla.), was awarded the Chuck Cumberlin Sportsmanship award – a designation that drew a standing ovation from the packed house of his industry peers.

RUNNERS-UP AWARDS

Men’s: First runner-up, Dustin Rogers, CAI (Mount Airy, NC); Second runner-up, Jason Miller (Quaker City, OH)

Women’s: First runner-up, Christine Strobietto (Jay, OK); Second runner-up, Emily Wears, ATS, BAS (Solon, Iowa)

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The NAA announces winners in 2013 auction marketing competition

The 2013 Grand Champion in the National Auctioneers Association/USA TODAY Marketing Competition is Williams & Williams, Tulsa, Okla.

Williams & Williams also won Auction Marketing Campaign of the Year.

Rich Penn, Rich Penn Auctions, Waterloo, Iowa won Best in Show — Photography. Williams & Williams won Best in Show — Advertising/Public Relations.

This year’s competition received more than 800 entries. A panel of marketing and advertising professionals with backgrounds in branding, promotion, public relations and graphic design judged the entries. Criteria included creativity, effectiveness, clarity and visual appeal.

The marketing competition is a contest for NAA members. It provides auction professionals the opportunity to highlight their innovative creations from the past year. The annual competition is presented in partnership with USA TODAY.

Winners will be formally recognized during the NAA/USA TODAY Marketing Competition Awards Reception in Indianapolis at the 64th International Auctioneers Conference and Show in July. Winners receive an award and their entries are displayed at the conference.

The competition comprises 63 categories in six divisions: Photography, Postcards, Brochures & Catalogs, Newspaper/Magazine Print Advertising, Public Relations & Marketing, Digital & Social Media and Auction Marketing Campaign of the Year. Two Best of Show entries are selected, one from Photography, and the other from the remaining categories. The two Best of Show entries compete against the winning entry in the Auction Marketing Campaign of the Year award for the top award of Grand Champion.

Winners are as follows:

Grand Champion
Williams & Williams, Tulsa, Okla.

Auction Marketing Campaign of the Year
Williams & Williams, Tulsa, Okla.

(Second place)
Toni Benysh, Halderman Real Estate Services, Wabash, Ind.

Best in Show: Photography
“My Bikes Never Looked Like That”
Rich Penn, Rich Penn Auctions, Waterloo, Iowa

Best in Show: Advertising/Public Relations
Distinctive Capabilities Video
Williams & Williams, Tulsa, Okla.

Photography

Estates & Personal Property
Chad Metzger, CAI, Metzger Property Services, North Manchester, Ind.

(Second place)
Lonny McCurdy, AARE, McCurdy Auction, Wichita, Kan.

Auction Team
“Teamwork”
Nick Cummings, CAI, Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co. Inc., Washington Court House, Ohio

(Second place)
Simmons Auction Team 5/24/12
James Pike, AARE, Key Auctioneers, Indianapolis

Auction Crowd
Chad Metzger, CAI
Metzger Property Services, North Manchester, Ind.

(Second place)
“Determining Factor”
Austin Booker, Booker Auction Co., Eltopia, Wash.

Auctioneer in Action
“Lady Liberty”
Wendy Lambert, BAS, Lambert Auction Co., Coppell, Texas

(Second place)
“Lion Eats Auctioneer”
Jonathan Kraft, Kraft Auction Service, Valparaiso, Ind.

Benefit Auction
Connie J.M. Johnson, BAS
Kurt Johnson Auctioneering, White Bear Lake, Minn.

(Second place)
“One More Time for the Kids”
Kevin Oldham, United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

Buyer Excited About Purchase
Bidder #483
Jonathan Kraft, Kraft Auction Service, Valparaiso, Ind.

(Second place)
“Call the Bank Honey”
Wendy Lambert, BAS, Lambert Auction Co., Coppell, Texas

Equipment Auction
“Bidders in Action”
Gary Boggs, CAI, Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co. Inc., Columbia City, Ind.

(Second place)
“Not Your Everyday Fishing Boat”
Rich Penn, Rich Penn Auctions, Waterloo, Iowa

Farm Auction
“Every Man’s Dream!”
Jamie Cochran, J.G. Cochran Auctioneers & Associates, Boonsboro, Md.

(Second place)
Brumme Auction 3/22/13
David Anthony Kaufman, CAI, Kaufman Realty & Auctions, Sugarcreek, Ohio

Real Estate Auction
“Sign of the Times”
Kevin Oldham
United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

(Second place)
Lonny McCurdy, AARE
McCurdy Auction, Wichita, Kan.

Creative Photography
“My Bikes Never Looked Like That”
Rich Penn, Rich Penn Auctions, Waterloo, Iowa

(Second place)
Farm Auction Aerial
Scott Musser, CAI, BAS, Musser Bros. Inc., Pasco, Wash.

Wild Card
“Crilow Farm”
Curtis Yoder, Kaufman Realty & Auctions, Sugarcreek, Ohio

(Second place)
“Grandpa’s Helper”
Katie Imholte, Black Diamond Auctions, St. Cloud, Minn.

Postcards

Personal Property (Antiques, Collectibles, Etc.)
Art Auction
Richard Hart, CAI, BAS, GPPA, Baterby’s, Orlando, Fla.

(Second place)
Mikulecky Tractor Auction
Michael Schultz, CAI, Seifert Schultz Auctioneers, Upsala, Minn.

Automobiles & Trucks
Contractor Consignment Auction
James Pike, AARE, Key Auctioneers, Indianapolis

(Second place)
Manning Estate
Kevin Oldham, United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

General Household & Estates
Wilson Estate
John Malone, CAI, Tasabah & Associates, Paragould, Ark.

(Second place)
2 BR Cottage on Sand Lake
Jason Buher, GPPA, Sheridan Realty & Auction Co., Mason, Mich.

Benefit
Art Auction
Richard Hart, CAI, BAS, GPPA, Baterby’s, Orlando, Fla.

(Second place)
Spring 2013
Richard Hart, CAI, BAS, GPPA, Baterby’s, Orlando, Fla.

Business Liquidation
Kevin Oldham, United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

(Second place)
Michael Fortna, Fortna Auctioneers & Marketing Group, Annville, Pa.

Commercial/Industrial: Machinery & Equip.
Duffield Postcard
Lea Cieslak, Purple Wave Auction, Manhattan, Kan.

(Second place)
“Town & Country”
Roger Hansen, CAI, Hansen & Young, Prairie Farm, Wis.

Farm: Machinery & Equipment
Thorburn Retirement
Jason Buher, GPPA, Sheridan Realty & Auction Co., Mason, Mich.

Farm and Ranch Real Estate
Kiowa County Postcard
Kevin Oldham, United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

(Second place)
155 Acres Offered in 4 Tracts
Troy Crowe, Sheridan Realty & Auction Co., Mason, Mich.

Residential Real Estate: Traditional
“The Farm House of Halifax”
Jerry Manning, CAI, AARE, CES, J.J. Manning Auctioneers, West Yarmouth, Mass.

(Second place)
“Waterfront Estate on Devil’s Lake”
Doug Sheridan, Sheridan Realty & Auction Co., Mason, Mich.

Residential Real Estate: Luxury
“Historic Home: Bleak Hill”
Mark Motley, CAI, AARE, of Motley’s Auction & Realty Group, Richmond, Va.

(Second place)
Hallbrook Luxury Mailer
Jeff Cates, CAI, AARE, CES, Cates Auction & Realty Co. Inc., North Kansas City, Mo.

Recreational Real Estate
“Buffalo Lake Hideaway”
Kevin Oldham, United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

(Second place)
Gilbert Postcard
Kevin Oldham, United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

Development Land Real Estate
389 +- AC Dev. Land
Mark Motley, CAI, AARE, Motley’s Auction & Realty Group, Richmond, Va.

(Second place)
Wexford Subdivision
David Counts, CAI, The Counts Realty & Auction Group, Abingdon, Va.

Commercial/Industrial Real Estate
Walnut Street Mailer
Jeff Cates, CAI, AARE, CES, Cates Auction & Realty Co. Inc., North Kansas City, Mo.

(Second place)
Green Bay
Bridget Siler, Hansen & Young, Prairie Farm, Wis.

Multi-Property Real Estate Auction
August 21 Valley Cottage and Monsey
Richard B. Maltz, CAI, CES, David R. Maltz & Co. Inc., Plainview, N.Y.

(Second place)
Double J Resort
Jim Vander Veen, AARE, Big Red Auctions, Holland, Mich.

Brochures & Catalogs

Personal Property (Antiques, Collectibles, Etc.)
Spring 2013
Richard Hart, CAI, BAS, GPPA, Baterby’s, Orlando, Fla.

(Second place)
Lake Side Farms Catalog
Kurt Aumann, CAI, ATS, Aumann Auctions Inc., Nokomis, Ill.

Automobiles & Trucks
Mikkelson Falls Flyers
Rich Penn, Rich Penn Auctions, Waterloo, Iowa

(Second place)
November Eltopia Surplus Mailer
Alesha Russell, Booker Auction Co., Eltopia, Wash.

General Household & Estates
Bills Estate
Arden Schrader, Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co. Inc., Columbia City, Ind.

Hopkins Estate Liquidation
Bill Bryant, CAI, AARE, GPPA, The Counts Realty & Auction Group, Lynchburg, Va.

Benefit
Spring 2013
Richard Hart, CAI, BAS, GPPA, Baterby’s, Orlando, Fla.

(Second place)
Winter 2012
Richard Hart, CAI, BAS, GPPA, Baterby’s, Orlando, Fla.

Business Liquidation
Fun Town Factory Liquidation Brochure
Jeff Cates, CAI, AARE, CES, Cates Auction & Realty Co. Inc., North Kansas City, Mo.

(Second place)
Eggimann Truck Parts
Kevin Oldham, United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

Commercial/Industrial: Machinery & Equip.
Yellow Iron Auction Brochure
Scott Musser, CAI, BAS,    Yellow Iron, Pasco, Wash.

(Second place)
Online Only
Harry (Jay) Ruby, CAI, GPPA, Global Force Auction Group, Thurmont, Md.

Farm: Machinery & Equipment
Lincoln Farm
Gary Boggs, CAI, Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co. Inc., Columbia City, Ind.

(Second place)
November 30 Equipment Auction
Cary Aasness, Aasness Auctioneers, Dalton, Minn.

Farm and Ranch Real Estate
Brochure-Mid-Delta
Toni Benysh, Halderman Real Estate Services, Wabash, Ind.

(Second place)
Midwest Farms
Dennis Bennett, AARE, CES, MPPA, Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co. Inc., Grabill, Ind.

Residential Real Estate: Traditional
“Villa by the Sea”
Maximillian Spann Sr., CAI, AARE, Max Spann Real Estate and Auction Co., Annadale, N.J.

(Second place)
“Castle House”
Barry Baker, CAI, AARE, CES, Ohio Real Estate Auctions, Grove City, Ohio

Residential Real Estate: Luxury
French Chateau Auction Brochure
Williams & Williams, Tulsa, Okla.

(Second place)
Private Bayfront Estate
Maximillian Spann Sr., CAI, AARE, Max Spann Real Estate and Auction Co., Annadale, N.J.

Recreational Real Estate
E.C.H.O. Hunt Club
Kevin Oldham, United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

(Second place)
Mickle’s Valley View Ranch and Canyon West Golf Club
Will McLemore, CAI, McLemore Auction Co., Nashville, Tenn.

Development Land Real Estate
Kiowa Land Brochure
Kevin Oldham, United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

(Second place)
Renick Farms
Rex D. Schrader II, CAI, Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co. Inc., Columbia City, Ind.

Commercial/Industrial Real Estate
Indian Springs Country Club Auction Brochure
Williams & Williams Auction, Tulsa, Okla.

(Second place)
Walnut Commercial Brochure
Jeff Cates, CAI, AARE, CES, Cates Auction & Realty Co. Inc., North Kansas City, Mo.

Multi-Property Real Estate Auction
Milwaukee Multi-Property
Kevin Oldham, United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

(Second place)
R.I.J. Holdings
Jerry Ehle, Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co. Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind.

Newspaper/Magazine Print Advertisements

Small/Medium Size: One/Two Color
Corporate “Integrity” Ad
Rich Penn, Rich Penn Auctions, Waterloo, Iowa

(Second place)
Miller & York Small Ad
Kevin Oldham, United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

Small/Medium Size: Full-Color
Newspaper Footer
Richard Hart, CAI, BAS, GPPA, Baterby’s, Orlando, Fla.

(Second place)
Hudson Estate Ingrams Magazine
Jeff Cates, CAI, AARE, CES, Cates Auction & Realty Co. Inc., North Kansas City, Mo.

Large Size: One/Two Color
Spring Peotone 2013
Dan Matthews, CAI, GPPA, Matthews Auctions LLC, Nokomis, Ill.

(Second place)
Upcoming Auctions
Lonny McCurdy, AARE, McCurdy Auction, Wichita, Kan.

Large Size: Full-Color
Pottery Appreciated
Peter Gehres, CAI, CES, Belhorn Auction, Hilliard, Ohio

(Second place)
Back Cover Film Orlando
Richard Hart, CAI, BAS, GPPA, Baterby’s, Orlando, Fla.

Public Relations & Marketing

News Release
Brunner Press Release
Kevin Oldham, United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

(Second place)
Mikkelson Publicity Program
Rich Penn, Rich Penn Auctions, Waterloo, Iowa

Company Newsletter
Farmland Update
Toni Benysh, Halderman Real Estate Services, Wabash, Ind.

Company Brochure
Introduction Brochure
Melissa Davis, CAI, AARE, BAS, Reppert Auction School, Indianapolis

(Second place)
AmeriBid Company Brochure
Robert Hart, AmeriBid LLC, Tulsa, Okla.

Company Promotional/Give-Away Item
Florida Realtors Conference & Expo (Water guns)
Beth Rose, CAI, Beth Rose Auction Co., Maumee, Ohio

(Second place)
Topless T-shirt
Mark Motley, CAI, AARE, Motley’s Auction & Realty Group, Richmond, Va.

Non-Traditional Marketing
Ruzic Construction Retirement Auction Podcast
Aaron Traffas, CAI, ATS, CES, Purple Wave Auction, Manhattan, Kan.

(Second place)
Eltopia Seller’s Guide File Folder
Camille Booker, CAI, CES, Booker Auction Co., Eltopia, Wash.

Bidder Card
Richard Hart, CAI, BAS, GPPA, Baterby’s, Orlando, Fla.

(Second place)
Motley’s Industrial Auction
Mark Motley, CAI, AARE, Motley’s Auction & Realty Group, Richmond, Va.

Company Promotion: Signage, Vehicle & Outdoor Advertising
Outdoor Billboard with NAA & FAA Logos
Cliff Shuler, Cliff Shuler Auctioneers & Liquidators, Titusville, Fla.

(Second place)
Auction To Go!
Mark Motley, CAI, AARE, Motley’s Auction & Realty Group, Richmond, Va.

Auction Promotion: Signage, Vehicle & Outdoor Advertising
New Orleans Redevelopment Authority Streetcar Campaign
Paul Lynn, AmeriBid LLC, Tulsa, Okla.

(Second place)
Robert’s Stadium
Andrew Wilson, CAI, CES, William Wilson Auction Realty Inc., New Harmony, Ind.

Digital & Social Media

Company e-newsletter
Lonny McCurdy, AARE, McCurdy Auction, Wichita, Kan.

(Second place)
William Burch, World Crest Auctions, Grand Prairie, Texas

Company Website
Richard Hart, CAI, BAS, GPPA, Baterby’s, Orlando, Fla.

(Second place)
UC Hunting Properties – UC Hamele Auction & Realty
Kevin Oldham, United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

Online Advertising Campaign
Hacienda Pinilla Online Campaign
Kevin Oldham, United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

(Second place)
Silver Mountain Resort Email Campaign
Jarem Atkinson, AmeriBid LLC, Sandy, Utah

Video: Company Promotional
Distinctive Capabilities Video
Williams & Williams, Tulsa, Okla.

(Second place)
Grafe Introduction Video
Judd Grafe, Grafe Auction Co., Spring Valley, Minn.

Video: Auction Promotional
Kiowa County Video
Kevin Oldham, United Marketing Services, Kansas City, Mo.

(Second place)
French Chateau Auction Video
Williams & Williams, Tulsa, Okla.

Radio: Company Promotional
Matthew Hurley, CAI, AARE, Hurley Auctions, Greencastle, Pa.

(Second place)
Bid for Blue
Aaron Traffas, CAI, ATS, CES, Purple Wave Auction, Manhattan, Kan.

Radio: Auction Promotional
L&L Farms
Williams & Williams, Tulsa, Okla.

(Second place)
Matthew Hurley, CAI, AARE, Hurley Auctions, Greencastle, Pa.

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Conference and Show to offer four courses for state licensing requirements

July 17

“UCC and Contracts”

(Three hours of continuing education credit)
Instructor: John Schultz, ATS

This course is an intermediate course tailored for the practicing Auctioneer to serve as a refresher on the Uniform Commercial Code, the importance of solid contracts and an examination of case review and case studies to illustrate issues of weak contracts, warranties and application of the UCC in auctioning personal property. This course addresses aspects and issues of the UCC through a more thorough approach than is generally covered in a basic UCC course, and it addresses the contractual process from the basic elements of the contract through formation and issues of warranties. Finally, this course will explore issues of inspection as they apply to both live and online auctions.

July 18

“State Specific Comparative Auction Law”

(Three hours of continuing education credit)
Instructor: Wendell Hanson, CAI, AARE, GPPA

This course is designed for the multi-state licensed Auctioneer who wishes to have a clear understanding and legally comply with the various state laws as they move from one state to another. This course presents an auction law overview of all 13 states requiring continuing education (AL, AR, GA, IN, IL, KY, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI) and explores the legal similarities and legal differences between each state. Each state’s laws are presented individually and in comparison covering the key points of the following: definitions, licensing and reciprocity, bonds vs. recovery fund, escrow, advertising, continuing education and the rules and regulations. This course also examines grounds for revocation and suspension of a license.

July 19

“Industrial Auctions: 2013 and Beyond”

(Three hours of continuing education credit)
Instructor: Burdette Wilber

This course is designed for the commercial and industrial Auctioneer who wishes to explore ways to stay competitive in the rapidly changing marketplace. This course covers new business development tools, traditional, hybrid and individualized contract agreements, environmental issues, venues, payments, buyer contracts, marketing and processes from set-up through follow-up. This course will explore the traditional practices for this sector as well as current trends and practices with an emphasis on how to incorporate a fresh approach to contracting, marketing and conducting industrial auctions.

July 19

“Business Practices: Post Auction – How We Handle Money, Taxes and Data”

(Three hours of continuing education credit)
Instructor: Wendell Hanson

This course is an intermediate-to-advanced business practices course designed to address issues facing multi-state and travelling Auctioneers specific to how information and funds are collected, managed, handled and distributed. This course will include a review of payment processes and escrow and trust accounting practices, with a more advanced discussion on fund security, data security, consumer protection and other federal regulations affecting Auctioneers that present unique challenges for multi-state licensed professionals. In addition, this course explores changes to sales tax codes as well as collection and reporting requirements in a comparative chart to assist the multi-state Auctioneer and auction companies with tax compliance issues. An introduction to the Streamlined Sales Tax Project by applicable states is included along with a review of other unique sales tax issues that exist in some states. This course will be presented forum style.

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10 ways to boost your business without breaking the bank

Low-cost marketing for businessMany auction firms today can’t afford $20,000 or more in marketing campaigns to establish a name for themselves — or earn new business — in their communities.

The good thing: they don’t have to.

Today’s marketing opportunities are often inexpensive and effective. The use of several low-cost marketing techniques will probably produce similar results as pricey promotions, such as public relations campaigns and TV advertising.

Whether you’re running a multi-million dollar auction company, a small business or even a part-time operation, consider these marketing ideas:

1. Get your name out there

Business cards might be among the oldest marketing tricks in the book; however, they still work. And with online business card production and printing as low as $10, to start, through companies like Vistaprint.com, they’re a great value.

Another thing to consider as a business card is a similar-sized magnet, as these giveaways are often valued by customers who place them on their refrigerators.

If your business vehicle features advertising for your auction company, it’s not a bad idea to stick about 10 “giveaway” magnets on it. Park your truck in a public parking lot for an hour or so — with magnets on the tailgate — and you might be able to pick up a few new consignors.

Also, don’t underestimate the value of inexpensive stickers to give out to auction attendees or buyers at checkout.

2. Make online connections

Many customers these days, especially those who are not familiar with your community, are probably finding auction professionals through online search.

Check out the April 2013 issue of Auctioneer to pick up some best practices for search-engine optimization in “10 ways to improve SEO.” The higher your page rank, the more likely you’ll be to earn buyers and sellers. Create a blog, add maps, use social networks and consider descriptive URLs to attract customers.

Also, consider creating an online forum on your website just for your customers. Answer their questions and let them provide feedback through a portal controlled by you or a member of your auction staff.

Other inexpensive ways to market your business include auction calendars and electronic newsletters. Members of the National Auctioneers Association can post their auctions to the NAA Auction Calendar for free, and members also receive generous discounts on Constant Contact email marketing software.

3. Establish a referral network

Members of the NAA and state Auctioneer associations already know the value of professional affiliations; however, don’t forget to stay involved in groups that represent, or reside in, your local community.

These might include chambers of commerce, political groups, churches or charitable organizations. Volunteer your time to groups that provide speaking opportunities or that agree to recognize you or your company for your service.

4. Connect with the community

It also might be a good idea to purchase a booth at local trade shows and state fairs. Don’t look at these opportunities as chances to place pamphlets and advertisements in front of attendees. Rather, provide education on the auction business, offer free bid-calling lessons or display some popular items coming up for auction.

Consider “cause marketing,” a campaign that supports a charitable cause while at the same time promotes your auction services and increases awareness and loyalty among community members.

Some ways to connect with your community include sponsoring children’s sports teams and making other donations to charitable causes. You can always conduct fundraising auctions at your facility.

Whatever you do, be sure to write news releases after the events and send them to local publications, radio stations and TV affiliates.

5. Look professional

It’s not too difficult to stand out in a crowd given some of the cost-effective technologies available on the Internet. Consider do-it-yourself logo creators, toll-free numbers and virtual offices.

Some popular logo creation sites include Logotournament.com, Logomaker.com, Elance.com, Hatchwise.com, 48hourslogo.com and 99designs.com.

Services like Evoice.com get you started with free trials of telephone numbers, and Regus.com provides an opportunity to set up virtual offices.

6. Reward loyal customers

Have you ever considered a loyalty card? It could be a great low-tech way to keep customers coming back, similar to those cards used by grocery stores, sandwich shops and gas stations. Consider a 10-percent discount for every $100 spent, or, offer to drop the buyer’s premium every 10th purchase (up to a certain dollar amount).

One thing auction professionals could offer loyal buyers is a gift card program. Encourage your buyers to purchase $10, $20, even $30 gift cards and suggest they give them to friends and family as gifts. It would be a great way to get new buyers to your auctions, and it’s a potential way to encourage higher bids.

7. Advertise auctions onsite

At registration and at checkout, be sure to display flyers and postcards for upcoming auctions. If it’s an estate sale, then it might be a good idea to promote the same type of event, but don’t limit your marketing to auction type. An attendee who just purchased $100 in coins also might be interested, or might know someone who is interested, in farm equipment at next week’s auction.

Also, harness the power of email marketing. Be sure to ask attendees to opt-in to your company’s email lists at registration and at checkout.

8. Educate the community

On non-auction nights or an hour before an auction begins, consider offering free bid-calling classes to members of your community. Encourage them to have fun by teaching them tongue twisters and the basics of the auction chant. Encourage them to return week after week with the promise of advanced training or time at the microphone through amateur bid-calling contests.

You also can teach attendees about the basics of buying and selling at auction at open houses throughout the week. Give people a tour of your auction facility so that first-time buyers and consignors feel less overwhelmed with the auction process.

9. Make the news

Local media outlets are always looking for news into which they don’t have to put a lot of work. Send news releases about upcoming auctions and completed auctions on a regular basis, and be sure to include these elements:

•    The story behind the sellers and/or individual auction items
•    Details about the event, including its type and when and where it is taking/took place
•    Results or expected results of the auction, such as the number of attendees, the number of lots and prices
•    High-resolution photos and, if possible, video

In your news releases, be sure to avoid comments on the weather such as “On a bright and sunny October day,” as well as analysis of people’s moods, such as “A good time was had by all.”

In addition, consider promoting yourself as a thought-leader in your community by sending regular columns to local editors. Even if you don’t write about your auction business, your regular presence in local publications will certainly bring good name recognition.

10. Ask for testimonials

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of a positive testimonial about you, your auction business or an employee. Attach comment sheets to buyer and seller forms, and be sure to ask satisfied customers for permission to post their reviews on your website, in advertising and in company newsletters.

Encourage loyal customers to submit reviews of your auction business on websites such as Yelp.com. Also, place testimonials on you company’s social media platforms, especially LinkedIn and Facebook.

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How to increase traffic to your auction company’s website

If SEO — search-engine optimization — sounds scary, it shouldn’t.

Sure, some steps may seem daunting, and others are certainly for the experts, but the basic rules of getting your auction website to rank higher in search-engine results aren’t that overwhelming.

For example, consistent navigation, good blog posts and some simple rules for properly naming the components of a website will get you a long way.

While some parts of search-engine optimization require basic knowledge of HTML, most of today’s website-building programs provide SEO-friendly fields or templates to which you can add content that will be indexed by search engines.

Even if you don’t manage your company’s website — or for that matter have no idea what people are referring to when they mention SEO — it’s good to have basic knowledge of the subject.

Whether you maintain your website yourself, outsource the work or have employees manage it in-house, get as much search-engine traffic as possible with these best practices:

1. Navigate your way to the top

Search engines are happy when websites are designed to make things easier for their users. So, it’s important that visitors can easily find what they’re looking for.

Start with making sure a menu navigation bar, similar to what’s found at http://www.auctioneers.org, is consistent throughout the pages of your website. For example, the National Auctioneers Association’s homepage has the NAA logo in the top left, and seven tabs run across the top of the page.

No matter which of the tabs a user clicks, all content above the orange line at http://www.auctioneers.org stays consistent, and this optimizes user experience. Visitors who want to go back to the homepage can simply click the NAA logo at any time.

Another important thing to note is the footer of the NAA’s website also stays the same no matter which page a user clicks on. This also should remain consistent throughout.

2. Come up with quality content

Search engines pay a lot of attention to websites with new and constantly updated content. Your website will certainly have some static pages — contact forms, about us, services, etc. — but engaging resources for readers should come in the form of new web pages or blog posts with stories, photos and video.

Some content ideas for an auction business include the following:

•    How to buy at auction
•    How to sell at auction
•    The top myths about auctions
•    Fun facts about auctions or Auctioneers
•    A list of the highest prices ever paid for your company’s auction items
•    A list of auction results from recent sales
•    A history of your company or a story about your auction career
•    Blog posts about current events in the auction world

Try to add at least one new piece of original content to your auction company’s website per week.

3. Use phrases for links

Throughout a website, auction companies have the opportunity to prompt their users to other pages, forms or articles that provide further information. It’s better for users and search engines if your linked text is descriptive, as it will help users make better decisions before clicking, as well as help search engines understand the content of the linked page.

For example, a company’s “about us” page might include the call to action, “Click here to check out our services section to learn how we can help you.” It’s better to embed a link to the services section in the phrase “check out our services section” than it is to embed the link in “Click here.

4. Pay attention to page titles

Title tags are some of the most important elements toward achieving optimal SEO for your website. The tags are displayed at the top of a website browser, such as Firefox or Internet Explorer.

For example, if you go to EdibleArrangements.com, at the top of the browser is “Edible Arrangements Fruit Baskets & Bouquets, Chocolate Strawberries.” If you conduct a Google search for “Edible Arrangements,” the same description comes up in search results.

So, for your auction company’s website, make sure your title tag doesn’t say something like “XYZ Auctions | Home.” Instead, provide detailed title tags that help search engines out, such as “XYZ Auctions, Auctioneer in Oklahoma – Auctions, Real Estate, Art Auctions, Estate Auctions.”

Title tags are in HTML, so they’re easy to change; however, don’t replicate your title tags across all pages of your website. Each page should have unique tags, such as this for a “services” page: “XYZ Auctions | Auctioneer in Oklahoma | Auctions | Real Estate | Services.”

5. Make time for meta tags

Although recent reports say Google no longer pays attention to meta tags for keywords, it’s still a good idea to get meta tag descriptions as accurate as possible. Other search engines might still place weight on keywords in meta tags.

Meta tags are summaries of your website pages that use easy-to-read, compelling language.

For example, an auction company’s homepage meta tag might be the following:

“XYZ Auctions provides professional auction services for clients in the Kansas City Metro Area. Our auction professionals are highly educated in the auction business and have combined experience of more than 50 years. They specialize in estate auctions, livestock auctions, antiques and collectibles. XYZ’s Auctioneers are members of the National Auctioneers Association.”

Again, as with page titles, make sure every website page uses unique meta tag summaries.

6. Use your URLs wisely

Search engines are more likely to pay attention to document pages that have easily understandable structures. Make them relevant for search engines and website visitors.

It’s a pretty simple idea, but an auction company’s “about us” page is much more effective if it’s structured like this: http://www.example.com/about-us.html. A page called http://www.example.com/Page3.html provides search engines and visitors little help.

Another thing to note is dashes are more effective between the words that describe pages. Avoid capitalization, underscores, spaces or no spaces. So http://www.example.com/xyz-auction-history.html is best for SEO.

7. Provide hierarchy with headings

In HTML, heading tags provide cues to readers regarding the importance of what they’re reading. They come in six sizes: <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5> and <h6>.

Web browsers display headings as larger text on a website. So, going down a “services” page, an auction company might use these three headings (with body copy below each):

<h1> Auction Services in Chicago

<h2> Ready to buy or sell?

<h3> Our terms and conditions

This hierarchy makes the page easier to follow for the reader, and search engines place importance on the headings. The most important keywords should be in the <h1> tags, so avoid using multiple uses of the tags on single pages. Also, don’t use heading tags for body copy.

8. Describe images with alt tags

It’s important to embed into the source code of your images an alt tag, which offers a brief description of the subject of the photo. Search engines pick up on alt tags to determine what a web page is all about, and they sometimes will be indexed in search results for images.

In addition to providing content for search engines, alt tags help visitors understand what’s inside image placeholders when pages don’t display them properly. This is especially important when visitors come to a website using a mobile device.

Avoid generic tags like DSC107.jpg. Pictures on an auction company’s website might have alt tags such as “Auctioneer calls bids at estate sale.”

9. Get a Google Webmaster account

An easy way to track the effectiveness of your website and keep it functioning properly is to sign up for a free Google Webmaster account at google.com/webmasters.

More than a resource center, Google’s tool identifies website problems, suggests areas for improvement, records search inquiries that drive traffic to your site and reveals external web pages that link to your site.

10. Increase inbound links

Probably one of the most important but difficult steps toward achieving good SEO is in getting other websites to link to your auction company’s web pages.

Search engines will place more trust in a site that has multiple inbound links from other websites, as this alerts Google and other search engines to the popularity of a site.

Building inbound links takes a lot of time and effort. Start with interesting content, and then let consumers and other professionals know about the resources available at your website. Encourage them to link to your content from their websites and social media platforms.

For even better SEO, consider these additional tips:

•    Create a Google map that points people to the physical location of your business
•    Monitor visitors with a statistical program such as Google Analytics
•    Use a social network, such as Facebook, to bring traffic to your site
•    Place links in your company’s email newsletter to your website
•    Purchase pay-per-click advertising
•    Include a sitemap
•    Use custom 404 pages

Sources: Petsittingology.com/blog and kb.weebly.com/seo.

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Conference and Show field trips offer real-world learning opportunities, camaraderie

National Auctioneers Association members and other attendees can break away from the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis during Conference and Show to learn more about auctions, government, automobile racing and appraising masterpieces.

Attendees have the opportunity to venture out July 17-18 for these field trips:

Traveling Tour: Christy’s Auction House

Auctioneer sellingEach Wednesday, Christy’s Auction House puts on a general consignment auction that attracts 1,400 people, spans four buildings and includes five auction teams. During the trip, attendees will learn the ins and outs of setup for the event.

“The greatest benefit for those on this tour will be seeing and learning about the general logistics of running an auction house on a weekly basis,” says Jack Christy, CAI, BAS, CES, MPPA.

Christy owns Christy’s of Indiana, Indianapolis, which includes the auction house. The business began 38 years ago and has been in its current location for 18 years.

Those on the tour will learn about aspects of the weekly auction, including how the auction house schedules various items. Many consigned items have assigned auction times.

Walking Tour: Learn How to Work with Your State Representative

As a state senator, Dennis Kruse, CAI, of Kruse & Associates in Auburn, Ind., spends a good chunk of time in the Indiana State Capitol — just three blocks away from Conference and Show at the JW Marriott.

“It makes sense for me to combine my two backgrounds for a group interested in learning more about state and national government,” Kruse says of the trip he’ll lead at the Indiana State Capitol.

Kruse plans to give NAA members a tour of the building and speak with attendees on topics including how to effectively communicate with elected officials, how a legislative bill is created, how the bill becomes law, and how public policy affects Auctioneers and their businesses.

He also would like for the group to sit in on a legislative session.

“Hopefully people will leave with a better sense of the best way to work with their elected officials back home,” Kruse says.

Traveling Tour: Indy 500 Museum

Attendees also have the opportunity to see a facility touted as one of the most highly visible museums in the world devoted to automobiles and auto racing.

The trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame will feature a tour of the warehouse in the building’s basement. The behind-the-scenes tour will include a look at cars that are in the process of being restored, versus cars on display in the general portion of the museum.

Dick Whittington, CAI, MPPA, of Whittington Auction & Appraisal LLC in Wilkesboro, N.C., is organizing the trip. He is an expert vintage car appraiser and has visited the museum several times in the past as a racing enthusiast. He says the trip will be enjoyable for auto appraisers and race fans alike.

“With a bunch of people with like interests going, there will be great camaraderie and a lot of fun,” Whittington says.

Walking Tour: How to Appraise Museum Quality Art & Antiques

Jane Campbell-Chambliss, CAI, AARE, CES, MPPA, says she hopes to hone attendees’ eyes for fine arts during a trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Campbell-Chambliss, of Jane Campbell-Chambliss & Associates LLC in Annapolis, Md., has appraised more than 50 masterpieces in her 35 years appraising fine art, and she says it takes time to perfect the craft.

During the tour, she says she will stress the 14 points of connoisseurship — aspects such as design, age, detail and condition — while also evaluating museum pieces during the tour.

“You have to look at every piece the same way,” Campbell-Chambliss says. “Remember that the devil is in the details.”

Her strategy isn’t only for Auctioneers appraising masterpieces.

“If I am doing a household appraisal, I’m still using that connoisseurship eye,” she says.

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Ringman profession might be good place for younger generations to get their start

Excitement and energy at an auction not only comes from an Auctioneer’s fast-paced bid calling and management of a crowd, but also from the rapid movement, subtle communications and bidder encouragement that comes from professional ringmen.

Professional ringmen help bring in more money at auction, say National Auctioneers Association members.

“Having professional ringmen in a benefit auction will pay for themselves tenfold,” says Jeff Maynard, BAS, President and Chief Executive of Maynard & Associates, Tempe, Ariz.

Angie Meier, of Champion Auctioneers Inc., Ennis, Texas, agrees a professional ringman can significantly increase auction sales.

Auctioneer and RingmanPro skills

Being a professional ringman, or bidder assistant, requires skills that are crafted through years of experience with auctions, NAA members say.

“Ringmen need to understand exactly where the bid is, where the bid needs to go, what the audience is, who has the money in the room and be able to know an individual bidder — whether they will be bidding again or not,” says Letitia Frye, CAI, BAS, PRI, of Letitia Fry Auctions, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Basic skills that set the most talented ringmen apart from the rest are “posture, professionalism and a clear diction of voice,” she says.

At auction, ringmen might use different terms to confirm bids. Every Auctioneer/ringman team has its own style, molded by the individuals’ personalities.

“I have found that the word ‘yes’ is much more powerful for benefit auctions than the different ‘yep’ or ‘yea’ chants,” says Kathy Kingston, CAI, BAS, of Kingston Auction Co., Hampton, N.H.

Evolving profession

The role of the professional ringman at auctions has been gradually changing.

Not only must a ringman use skills acquired through auction experience, he or she must learn a set of skills necessary to read people through body language, members say.

“The ringmen help develop that synergy and together we can really bring that room to life,” Maynard says, referring to the relationship he has with ringmen while working as an Auctioneer.

Learning about a person based on his or her facial expression can be challenging.

“There is a lot more of a psychology and a strategy involved,” Frye says.

Teamwork

Frye says most movements by a ringman have meaning known only by the Auctioneer and other bidder assistants. These actions can be as subtle as adjusting a necktie or brushing hair.

“Ringmen are watching the movement in the room and giving a vocal or a visual response to the Auctioneer,” Frye says. “There is a constant communication. The Auctioneer is never alone in the room.”

Ringmen and Auctioneers work together to control the room, she says.

“Your team must really understand you. It is like having a great dance partner. When I move left, they move right,” Frye says.

Ringmen have different ways of communicating with Auctioneers. Each Auctioneer and ringman crafts his or her own form of communication with one another, Meier says.

“When you work with an Auctioneer so much, you can have a conversation with them through their chant,” says Meier, an instructor for the Texas Auction Academy.

Ringmen might have personal influence on bidders. They can touch bidders on their shoulders and encourage them to bid again.

Maynard adds, though, that the winning bidder is not the only person of importance. Those who they bid against are just as important, as they are the ones who often drive prices higher.

A handshake and a smile when the bidding ends shows losing bidders they are appreciated, Maynard says.

The ringman plays an important role in benefit auctions, he says. The personal contact is important because benefit auction bidders might be less familiar with auctions than bidders who attend other asset-specific sales.

“They infuse some excitement into the event. Ringmen are extremely beneficial to the Auctioneer, the nonprofit and the audience,” Maynard says.

There might be a good opportunity for younger generations to get into the auction industry and learn its inner workings through being ringmen.

The profession provides Auctioneers a chance to mentor younger generations in order to allow them to have an opportunity to make a good living in an industry they should be proud of, Frye says.

“It is a very honorable profession and an aspect that often goes overlooked. What ringmen truly do add to the bottom line is unbelievable,” Frye says.

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