The last time a National Auctioneers Association summit focused solely on technology was 1999 — a time when Auctioneers were navigating the rise of eBay.
Fourteen years later, the NAA’s first Internet Only Auction Summit comes at a much different, pivotal time.
“In the time since eBay began to hit its stride, consumers have become accustomed to conducting business online,” says summit organizer Will McLemore, CAI, of McLemore Auction Co. in Nashville, Tenn.
The summit is set for Feb. 5-6 at the Holiday Inn Express in downtown Nashville. The main goal of the event, according to organizers, is to assist attendees in conducting better online auctions. The summit seeks to accomplish this with a structure that allows attendees to share best practices on topics such as marketing and conducting online auctions.
“We are pleased to offer this ground-breaking educational program for people who are conducting these kinds of auctions,” says NAA CEO Hannes Combest, CAE. “Historically, the NAA has not provided events specifically for this sector of the industry. However, as auction professionals begin to use this option more, we need to ensure people are educated on best practices.”
This year’s event takes a more forward-thinking approach to the market.
“This summit is proactive. We understand the trends in place and are anticipating the future. So how do we continue to get better?” McLemore says.
Discussions during the summit will range from attendees’ experiences with social media and new media to a six-point deconstruction of the online auction process.
Chris Rasmus, CAI, of Rasmus Asset Advisors in Alexandria, Va., says the first day of the summit will focus on the six steps of an online auction: pre-contract activities, event preparation, promotion, closing, removal and reconciliation. A panel of successful auction professionals will discuss each step.
“We’re going to get down to the nuts and bolts of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it,” Rasmus says. “We’ll talk about how we differentiate ourselves from other auctions. How do we compete with eBay and Craigslist or the local dealer who wants to bid one price for everything? We’ll talk about what makes us better, what gives us the competitive edge.
“This is about learning from each other. We are all blazing the trail together.”
In addition to auction professionals who are serving on discussion panels, the summit will feature two speakers — Silicon Valley technology executive Kent Parker and author and online marketing expert John Arnold.
Parker has spent 13 years as a senior-level executive in the technology industry and is known for improving business efficiency by capitalizing on technological advancements.
Parker spoke during the 2012 Indiana Auctioneers Association Annual Convention, where he discovered many Auctioneers weren’t taking advantage of opportunities to know more about their customers.
“As an Auctioneer, imagine what it could mean for you if you knew exactly what each buyer had bought at previous auctions, their bidding patterns and behaviors, and when prospective buyers might be interested in upcoming auction events,” Parker says.
Arnold, a former salesperson, has more than 10 years of experience driving profit and market share growth through training programs for Fortune 500 companies and has authored several online marketing books.
He helps businesses effectively use social media and mobile media — Facebook, Twitter, apps for mobile devices, text messages, mobile bar codes and mobile websites.
“You have to get a consumers’ attention in three seconds. It is the smallest attention span in history,” Arnold says.
If you do capture your audience’s attention, the tools can be powerful.
“Since mobile technology is always with people, if you make your message engaging, people will spend a significant amount of time with you in their down time — in the elevator, at red lights, waiting in line,” Arnold says.