And that, in part, is why representatives from The National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees were available during the National Auctioneers Association’s 2011 Conference and Show.
Neil Gordon, who will become the NABT’s President this year, says that in addition to more traditional items, such as business equipment and furniture, trustees handle raw land, wine, art, boats, antique rifles, jewelry, stocks, patents, memorabilia and more.
In the past few years, he says there has been an average of more than 1.6 million bankruptcy cases annually in the U.S. There are about 1,200 bankruptcy trustees in the nation.
To earn business from these trustees, it’s all about awareness, and that’s a big reason why the NAA and NABT created a partnership about one year ago, says Tamara Ogier, who will become the NABT’s President-Elect this year.
“We sell everything, and there’s really nothing that’s too weird for us to sell,” she says. “That’s where you guys (Auctioneers) come in. We need help. We don’t know about all these things. We just know that somebody has it, and it might have some value.”
She says a variety of auction professionals are necessary to help sell many assets. NABT trustees are being encouraged to find the right Auctioneers for specific markets.
“Know what you’re good at, and tell the trustee about that,” she says.
She also recommends that NAA Auctioneers be persistent in their quests to earn bankruptcy business. She says it’s a good idea to take some auctions that might not make any money, as this could build goodwill between Auctioneers and trustees.
“They’re people,” she says. “If you keep putting your name in front of them, eventually there may be a need.”
In her law office, Ogier says paralegals often help her find the right Auctioneers. Therefore, she says it can’t hurt for Auctioneers to market their services toward support staff, as well.
NAA Auctioneers who become members of the NABT can access directories and forums that might help them find, or offer assistance to, trustees in their areas.