96: Winning The Close Ones
Having helped auctioneers with proposals for over a decade, I’ve found that many auction proposals follow similar outlines and use similar selling points. So, how do you separate your plan from the competition’s one?
The way you present it.
Our culture is becoming more and more visually stimulated and educated; and your marketing materials need to reflect that—especially your proposals.
Display media choices & other marketing tools.
Don’t just list the media you plan to use; show it. Grab screen captures of the websites on which you plan to list. Splay covers of brochures or postcards of similar properties you’ve sold. Maybe even include a digital tear sheet showing what their ad will look like in the newspaper. You can find similar ways to illustrate press release work, too. This tactic will save you from burning through past auction brochure samples and allow you to include these samples in PDF presentation via email. In the past, I’ve even inserted a chart showing the subcategories and quantities of planned direct mail lists.
And it wouldn’t hurt to show online bidding screens or a picture of someone bidding online to illustrate that process, especially for an online-only auction. On at least one occasion, an auctioneer has hired me to build a sample ad or even a full direct mail piece of the property to demonstrate to the seller what they can expect.
Demonstrate numbers with charts & graphs.
Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.” But knowledge that isn’t easily understood or retained loses its power. Charts and graphs not only make your information more indelible, they allow you to impress people by the fact that you’re even curating the statistics they illustrate. If you have some of the following information—and it it puts your work in a favorable light—leverage it for your case!
• Percentage of bidders and/or buyers (on-site vs. online)
• Average quantity of registered bidders per asset type or per geographic location
• Sale prices vs. assessed values
• Price per acre per crop type or land location
• Breakdown of areas of specialty by quantity of auctions in each category
• Quantities of online only, simulcast, and offline auctions
• Media (specific or categorical) choices by number of past bidders or buyers
Illustrate your experience with maps.
My chiropractor has a map in his waiting area showing all the countries from which his clients have come. Anecdotally, I’ve found that biplane‘s coverage map has given my career experience more credence than the number of auctions I’ve advertised or even the years I’ve been in the business. To many folks, those units of measure are ambiguous. Numbers might be relative, but geography is typically a concrete value—especially when selling real estate. So, show your prospect the nearby locations where you’ve held similar auctions: ““We’ve sold X properties near yours.” Or show them the geographic expanse of your work, whether that’s by county or by state: “We’ve sold your type of asset from coast to coast.”
The free website, BatchGeo.com, can help you quickly create maps of multiple locations from your database. Or maybe create a state or county map showing the number of properties that you’ve sold in those boundaries or number of acres successfully auctioned in them. I’ve been impressed by auctioneers who have mapped in what states and countries they had online bidders and from which they had online buyers.
Your offer—all the things you are promising to do and for what price—will be the deciding factor in whether or not you get the job. For situations when the proposals on the table will all have similar offers, make sure your proposal gives the impression that you’ll execute the auction with unmatched dexterity. One way to do that is to use fewer words and more images.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever read an entire real estate sales contract, even though we’re preparing to buy our third home in less than a decade. I’ve never finished reading the iTunes service agreement or all the entry rules in contests to win a trip to the Super Bowl or a new F-150.
And I’ve never read the Bible from cover to cover.
There. I said it.
I’ve memorized literally chapters of the 66 books—including every verse of Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the canon. I’ve studied entire books going verse by verse. But genealogies or major prophets usually kill the hitting streak.
I’m grateful that God supplemented all those inspired words with his inspired nature. Even in its “groaning,” decaying state, Creation teems with colorful illustrations of his creativity, evidence of his perfect engineering, and analogies for his transcribed principles. It’s no wonder that Romans says nature alone is enough to show us our need of redemption—a rescue from the entropy of our soul. And it’s critical that we, who have been restored, worship his revealed glory—so that the rocks don’t have to cry out in our place.
[footer]Stock image of graphs purchased from iStockPhoto.com.[/footer]