Could Have, Should Have, Would Have… If Only!

Regrets. I have regrets often in this business. It’s usually after a “live” auction. Like the one I went to yesterday. I went to the sale preview on two different days. I found all of the items I thought I’d want. I marked them on the auction lot list. I researched values online through Google, and ebay, and amazon, etc. I thought I was pretty ready. I even had money in the bank! Right off I won an item, and then lost an item. Yeah, I think I would have bid higher on the one I lost, but, they had more coming up. Problem is, the first one was the best, and all of the rest went for higher prices. I was still OK. Then I bought an item I had not even seen on the preview inspection. Another regret. I paid too much. No one else bid, so that must mean something. Then I felt pretty good, as I won a couple of additional items on my list. One I got for a lot less than I would have gone. I was going to go as high as $200 on a special tool. I got it for $50! Then it happened. One of the items I wanted came up, and feeling I was lucky on the others, as the price started increasing, I backed out. It went for $150. Looking back, it was something I really did want, I would have gone as high as $350. The problem was this: I had not decided a top price beforehand. The auctioneer went fast, I saw it was going up fast, and I backed down. I lost. Today, even though I really won some nice items, I keep sulking and moaning about this one that got away.

For live auctions, you need to decide in advance on each item, what is the highest you will pay for that item. When is it no longer a good deal to you? If you lose it, and it’s not a good deal, and the other person paid way too much, you won’t be left with regrets. If you ask, “If I lose this item and don’t want to feel bad the next day, it’s because I am willing to pay $______ for it!”

The auctioneer is making money from exciting the crowd. He is speaking fast to sell lots of “lots”. He is speaking fast to keep you from having time to think. People will bid because of pride, “so the other guy” won’t be able to get it.

Your decision on how much you are going to spend per each lot, as an individual item is most important. Your next decision is how much total you are going to spend, based on your financial situation at the time.

I have a request. Please write back and let me know about your wins and regrets at live auctions. Also, do you have any “tips” you can give me before I go to the next auction? For example, is it better sitting in the front or the back of the room? Side or center. Does it matter how you dress (if you dress nice, does it intimidate the competition, thinking you have more money?). What other kinds of tips do you have. I’d like to do better next time!

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