It was an amazing auction item, a prize if I ever saw one. We had received a foursome to an exclusive Denver golf course. The donation still amazes me. When the generous gift came in, our entire committee was thrilled! We knew right away this item was far too good for our silent auction and would instead bring our live auction to the next level. $1,000. We knew it would get at least that much.
On auction night we started the bidding at $400 and waited for the battle to begin. Unfortunately, we’re still waiting. The golf foursome sold for $500. $500! Sound familiar?
We’ve all been there, but why?
After the event I asked a few of my guests, who also happened to be friends, why they didn’t bid. I mean, what a steal! What my friend told me illustrates beautifully that not everything will work great in a live auction. My friend was blunt:
“You don’t get it, do you? I can’t bid on that item while standing next to my wife, are you kidding me? She would kill me.” He shook his head. “Now, had you put it in the silent auction, it would have been easier to bid $800, even $1,000 for it.” His wife wasn’t a golfer and to spend that amount of money on something that was just for him? That wouldn’t have sat well. It’s clear - there’s a good chance that your auction guests travel in pairs and aren’t making their bidding decisions alone.
So keep this in mind when you are planning your next event.
What items are best for your live auction? Anything that will clearly interest a traditional couple or family as a whole. A football helmet or a round of golf? Probably not.
At that same event a Disney Vacation sold for way more than it was worth in the live auction. $3,000 in fact, all thanks to a spouse with dreams of family vacation dancing in their head.