Your auctioneer wants to bring his team of “ringmen” but it’s an extra expense. You have volunteers who can “spot bids” for the auctioneer, so why pay the extra money? Is it a good use of your donors money? I submit that it is.
In this article I’d like to explain the difference between a bid spotter and a ringman and make my case for hiring a professional ringman for your next auction.
A bid spotter is just that. They spot bids and relay them to the auctioneer by waving or maybe shouting “Over here!” But a professional ringman is something completely different. Ringmen are extensions of the auctioneer. They not only look for bids, they encourage the bidders by interacting in a fun way with the bidders.
If you will forgive the shameless self-promotion, take a look at this video of me working as a ringman for Andrew Bost here in Austin.
Notice how when the bidding stalls out at $1100 other ringmen and I go to work, encouraging the bidders and driving up the bid, eventually selling the package in the end for $1700. ($600 more than without us). I would submit that with ringmen at the auction, it will not cost money but even more money will go to the bottom line.
All that being said it’s your decision. Most charity benefit auctioneers would rather not use volunteers at the event at all, but if you really don’t want to pay for professional ringmen, I suggest you call on professional staff from your organization to come out and help. They would come out and only be responsible for helping the auctioneer with the auction, and you can require them to attend a training session with your auctioneer on a day other than the event itself. That way everybody is prepared and ready for a fun and fruitful event.