How well do you know your buyers?
In your city, county or metropolitan area, how many of them collect stamps, own boats or live in households with incomes that exceed $150,000?
If asked, how could you find out this information, and how would you present it to sellers?
Better yet, how can you bring a handful of the most qualified, interested buyers to what you’re selling — even if they live thousands of miles from your business?
Newspaper advertising, radio spots and TV commercials might work to some extent. Even a well-marketed Internet auction, promoted through online listings, direct mail, websites and blogs, could attract a good number of potential buyers.
But marketing experts and some National Auctioneers Association members say the most successful auction marketers are likely those who know how to properly collect and interpret data.
That research, or data collection, doesn’t have to be complicated.
In fact, Sarah Sonke, CAI, AARE, simply has a set of questions she asks all potential buyers and sellers when they call. The same questions can be placed on a “registration” or “contact us” form of an auction company’s website.
Sonke has a system in place to collect useful data from all potential customers. She gathers the information as soon as possible, and about once a week, she adds it to a database — something that also serves as a list of customer profiles.
“The person on the phone puts bread on your table,” says Sonke of AuctionFirst North Carolina, Raleigh, N.C. “You might want to put whatever you’re doing aside and spend a reasonable amount of time (with a caller).”
The trick, says marketing professional Bryce Gartner, is in identifying metrics — internally and externally — that will keep Auctioneers relevant to their customers.
Data, Gartner and Sonke say, can provide Auctioneers a competitive advantage when it comes to winning business from potential sellers. With the right types of information, Auctioneers can confidently explain to clients the marketing that will work best for a specific type of buyer.