Designation Academy is critical first step for auction start-ups, new specialties

mayoThe National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy provides auction professionals the foundation they need to start building a business, says Craig Fleming, of Tired Walls Inc., Orlando, Fla.

Fleming, who took the Auction Technology Specialist and Certified Estate Specialist courses at the Las Vegas Designation Academy on Dec. 9-15, says there were several takeaways he would be able to put to use in his auction company.

From CES, he says he learned how to be more sensitive to the emotional states of potential sellers, who might be going through personal tragedies. He also picked up examples of auction forms — postcards, contracts, checklists — that he says he would benefit from immediately.

ATS provided good examples of the key elements that make up successful online auction, Fleming says. Although live auctions will never go away, he says he believes online auctions are the way of the future.

“If you want to stay relevant over the next 25 years, you need to embrace technology as a way of doing business,” he says. “If you don’t, you will get left behind. Not only will your business suffer, the clients that you serve will also suffer.”

Another Designation Academy attendee, Amy Beatty, of Amy J. Beatty Valuations LLC, Fort Wayne, Ind., took the Graduate Personal Property Appraiser course.

Beatty is new to auction educational designations and a relatively new auction professional, having graduated from auction school last summer. She brings a 25-year background as a coin dealer to the auction business.

She says she took GPPA because many of her clients request appraisals, and she wants to ensure the reports are as accurate as possible.

Instructors Rich Schur, CAI, BAS, MPPA, and Tim Luke, MPPA, were an excellent combination for the designation, Beatty says. Schur has a teaching style that makes things easy to understand, and Luke is a dynamic speaker.

She also was happy to be learning alongside a diverse group of classmates who brought with them myriad perspectives from different locations across the country.

The GPPA course gave Beatty more confidence to perform thorough appraisals, she says. She now has a better understanding of appraisal structure, process, research, documentation and ethics.

“By the time we left, I think we all had that confidence that we could really succeed in presenting a good USPAP-compliant appraisal, no matter what it was that we were given,” she says.

“This is such a great opportunity to enhance the skill set you already have and put the full weight of the NAA behind what you know.”

Beatty says she now feels confident in her abilities to defend appraisal work, whether in court or in a situation where an insurance company or the Internal Revenue Service might be involved.

In early January, Beatty was redesigning marketing materials for her company, letting clients know about the education she received from the NAA.

“I’m so excited to be able to put initials after my name,” she says, referring to the GPPA designation. “I feel like I’ve gone back to college 25 years later.”

Ailie Byers, of Scofield Auctions Inc., North Conway, N.H., attended the Designation Academy to earn her Benefit Auctioneer Specialist designation.

She says the Las Vegas location was great, as education, lodging and meals were all in one convenient location. A class of about 20 students, she says, was ideal for sharing experiences and ideas.

Other auction professionals talked about unique items to sell at benefit auctions, as well as best practices for marketing several different types of fundraising auctions. Byers says it was good to hear about real-life stories of success and failure.

She recommends the BAS designation to anyone who wants to add the specialty to their auction business.

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Filed under Auction Industry, Auction marketing, Auctioneer magazine, Education, Marketing, NAA Members, Technology

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