How to Run A Live Auction: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

A live auction has been a popular method of selling various goods for centuries, including fine art, antiques, collectibles, real estate and more. During a live auction, bidders and auctioneers gather in the same location to bid on items of interest in real time. This could be anything from a small community event to a large international gathering, with the goal of being the highest bidder to win the item.

The auction’s success depends on several factors, including the quality of the items, the auction house’s marketing efforts and the auctioneer’s skills. An auctioneer must possess excellent timing, the ability to read the room and a clear speaking style. They are responsible for managing the bidding process, resolving any possible disputes and maintaining control of the auction at all times. The role of an auctioneer requires finesse and expertise.

Are you wondering how to run a live auction? If you’re a beginner, do you know how to prepare for it? Here’s what you need to know. 

Preparing for the Auction

The first step in understanding how to run a live auction starts with preparation. This requires a great deal of planning, organisation and attention to detail. 

Here are some crucial steps to ensure you are prepared for a live auction.

  • Determine the items to be auctioned

As an organiser, you need to identify the items that will be up for auction. This could include property, artwork, collectibles, or any other type of goods that can be sold through an auction.

  • Set the reserve price

The reserve price is the minimum price at which the item can be sold. You need to determine this price beforehand to ensure that the item sells for a reasonable price.

  • Establish the auction date, time and location

This is a must. It is especially needed when promoting the auction to attract potential buyers.

  • Prepare the auction space

The auction space needs to be prepared to ensure that it is ready for the event. This could involve setting up tables, chairs or other equipment needed for the auction.

  • Train the auctioneer and staff

The auctioneer and support staff must be trained to ensure that the event runs smoothly. This could mean providing training on how to handle bids, how to manage the auctioneer’s pace and how to handle any technical difficulties.

  • Conduct a test run

A test auction is crucial to make sure that all equipment and staff are prepared for the event.

Setting the Stage for a Successful Auction

To have a successful live auction, whether you’re putting up a valuable artwork, a rare collectible or a real estate property, you must set the stage properly. A few tips to help set up an effortless and lucrative auction are:

  • Choose the right venue

To make your auction a success, choose a venue that suits your needs. Take into account the location, size, and atmosphere, and ensure that it’s easily accessible and convenient for attendees. To elevate the auction experience, opt for a venue with audio-visual facilities.

  • Promote the auction

An auction needs to be promoted to get the word out about the auction and attract potential buyers. Promote your auction extensively through various means, such as social media, email marketing and local newspapers. Ensure to include crucial information like the date, time, location and list of items sold. Encourage participants to share the news with their friends and family. 

  • Register bidders

Require bidders to register. This typically involves asking for personal information, such as name and address, and proof of identity.

  • Hire a professional auctioneer

An experienced auctioneer can add life to the event and skillfully manage the bidding process. Search for an auctioneer who understands your industry and is familiar with the items you’re selling.

  • Prepare your items

Before the auction, put in the effort to prepare the items for sale. Clean, repair or restore them, and label or tag them properly. This will enhance their value and attract more bidders. Provide clear descriptions and pictures of each item so attendees can familiarise themselves with what’s up for auction.

Running the Auction

So how to run a live auction? The success of an actual auction mostly depends on the auctioneer. 

An auctioneer has an exciting and demanding job. The task is to guide the sale of properties or items to the person who offers the most money. 

Before starting the auction, the auctioneer must be thoroughly knowledgeable about the items for sale, including their background, worth and relevant information. This understanding will allow for the precise description of the items and response to any inquiries from potential bidders. An auctioneer must also ensure that all bidding protocols and regulations are conveyed to the attendees.

Conducting an auction can be an intense and dynamic process, with the auctioneer calling out the current bid and encouraging attendees to bid higher. To be successful, one must possess exceptional public speaking skills and the capability to quickly evaluate the audience and assess the level of interest among the participants. It is also crucial for an auctioneer to keep control of the auction and guarantee that all bids are genuine and follow the set rules.

Closing the Auction

An auction needs to be closed to finalise the sales of the auction items. Here are some of the things to remember when closing an auction:

  • Final call for bids

The auctioneer would make a final call for bids on each item that is still up for auction. This is typically done to give bidders one last chance to make a higher bid before the item is sold.

  • Declaring the item sold

Once the final call for bids has been made and no further bids are received, the auctioneer will declare the item sold to the highest bidder.

  • Payment and settlement

The guide would explain the payment and settlement process for the items that are sold in the auction. This could include information on payment methods, when payment is due and how buyers can collect their items.

  • Unsold items

The guide would explain what happens to items that are not sold in the auction. This could include options, such as returning the items to the seller, offering them for sale in a future auction or donating them to charity.

  • Closing remarks

The guide would include some closing remarks from the auctioneer, thanking everyone for their participation in the auction and providing any final instructions or announcements.

Helping Hand Group: Lending You a Helping Hand

If you need assistance with your next auction, we can help you.

The Helping Hand Group has positively impacted communities for over 25 years by helping various charities, community groups, schools and sports clubs raise funds. Our team makes fundraising events even more exciting by offering a wide range of enticing prizes, from once-in-a-lifetime vacations to priceless experiences, artwork, music, movies and sports memorabilia. Using Ballot Bidding®, electronic silent auctions or live auctions, Helping Hand Group has a successful history of raising funds for noble causes. Get in touch with us here.