The Timing Couldn’t Be Better for Online Auctions
Carolina Auction & Realty – Tom Jordan
By Jennifer Bilodeau
American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute Advancing the Art, Science and Business of Horology
Tom Jordan isn’t just an auctioneer; he is also the son, grandson and great grandson, of professional watchmakers. His great grandfather and grandfather went to Hamilton Watch Scholl, Lancaster, PA. His father went to Elgin Watchmakers School in Elgin, Illinois. When Tom discovered he had a client that had moved from England to the U.S. with fifty antique clocks and wanted Tom to auction his collection, Tom was excited to help his client successfully market and auction his timepieces. He wanted his client to be profitable and satisfied with his auction services.
Tom Jordan is involved in many different auctions, but he especially enjoyed this auction, since it involved timepieces. He felt a special connection to his client’s antique clocks (dating from the mid 1700’s through the late 1800’s). Tom had grown up around timepieces, so this auction was one he had looked forward to.
The day after this particular online antique clock auction ended, an enthusiastic Tom Jordan shared, “The auction went great! We had nineteen bidders on fifteen clocks that placed 184 bids over a 14 day period. Everyone was locked in. They already knew what they were willing to spend. We were happy with the results and so was our client.”
Tom feels as if he has always tried hard to establish honest and open communication with his clients. He wants each auction (whether online or in-person) to be a “win-win” outcome for the buyer and seller, both.
“People want to trust their auctioneer. As an auctioneer, you are accepting responsibility of the seller’s livelihood. Our clients call us when they have a problem. I have to own that problem. I have to give them that feeling that we are truly there for them. We are going to take care of them,” Tom stated firmly.
Researching the Auction Software
Tom Jordan has been an auctioneer for years, so he knew thorough research paid off. When it came time for him to expand his business online, he made sure to do be meticulous about his research. After carefully examining and comparing different “bidder platforms” (auction software), Tom chose Proxibid.
Tom liked that about them. He also wanted a company that could provide seamless customer service and technical support. In addition, he also knew that Proxibid had a good reputation for advertising online and drew a lot of traffic.
Proxibid also offers free training for buyers on how to bid online. “We chose Proxibid because we can offer easy step-by-step training for our buyers through them,” Tom continues, “With one phone call, Proxibid can help train people on how to get ready to bid online successfully.”
“People enjoy buying online because they can log on from the comfort of their own home and research the items they are interested in, ahead of time. They don’t feel rushed or pressured because we provide a lot of information and customer support for them,” Tom says.
“The auction takes place in a fourteen-day time span. This gives our buyers time to watch the videos on the items, perform more research on the Internet, check on shipping cost and ask us questions. Our staff is always helping to prepare the bidder. We want to be as up front and honest as possible with them,” Tom focuses on good communication with the buyer, as a winning way to do business.
Researching the Items to be Sold
Tom does his homework before posting his client’s items for an online auction. He and his staff also filmed each clock, so that the buyer could watch a video online of the timepiece while it ran. He also included a detailed description with each photo. In addition, Tom saves all of the videos he makes of each clock on youtube.com permanently, in case another person ever needs to research that same piece. In a sense, he is “recording” history.
Each of Tom’s online auctions display related or “niche” pieces to sell to “niche” buyers. Tom knows that this saves time for buyers that are looking for specific items, instead of having to sort through a variety of unrelated items (which may happen at traditional, on-site auctions). He categorizes each auction to make sure he advertises it properly online.
Advertising is Still Everything
Tom continues to perform auctions on-site for such clients needing business liquidations and selling commercial equipment, but whether he is auctioning items on-site or online, he advertises all of his auctions online. He finds that many of his buyers will see his ads online, and then show up at his on-site auctions or register to bid online.
As a member of the NAA (National Auctioneers Association), NAA provides training for their auctioneers on how to advertise successfully online. One of the first things they taught Tom how to do was to perform SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for his business and his online auctions.
For example Tom enters his own SEO keywords before an auction, (in this particular case, he used Google keywords such as, “antique clock auction” or “antique clocks for sale”), he finds that he can attract buyers from all over the world.
For this specific clock auction he was performing, he had buyers placing bids from all over the U.S. to Singapore and even Australia. He says people from other parts of the world will set their alarms to bid in the middle of the night or when they know the auction is coming to a close. Tom says many people try to “sneak” a bid while everyone else is sleeping. This may or may not work for them, depending on how close to the end of the auction they place the bid because United Country – Carolina Auction & Realty doesn’t follow the “eBay way”.
Not Following the EBay “Way”
On eBay, during the last 30 seconds, anybody can place a bid and “knock” the other bidders out of the buying; even if the other bidders have been watching the item closely and have been bidding diligently. Tom didn’t want that to happen to his buyers and sellers.
Tom uses ‘anti-sniping’ software that detects when somebody places a bid last minute. The software extends the sale automatically for 15 – 20 minutes, sometimes up to an hour, depending on how many bids are being placed. This pushes the bidding out and Tom feels as if this is another “win-win” for the buyer and the seller.
Advice from One Professional to Another
Tom Jordan has been successful in growing his reputable business by adding online auctions. Even if you don’t wish to sell online, he suggests that, “Everyone needs to buy a computer. It doesn’t have to be expensive. But at least buy something that will get you online and get you on the Internet. If you have a service or product, consider advertising or selling it online. If you aren’t online, you will miss great opportunities to buy and/or sell. And, as we all know, right now is the time to buy.”
If you have or know of someone that would like to sell their clock collection call Tom he can offer it to the world. His phone number is 919-832-8005 and web site www.CarolinaAuctionRealty.com.
Tom is a member of the North Carolina Auctioneers Association (AANC) and the National Auctioneers Association (NAA). He attended Indiana University for three years to receive his auctioneering training. He and his staff have over 30 years combined experience. They sell both real estate and personal property using the auction method of marketing. Carolina Auction & Realty also specializes in Business Liquidations, Estates Commercial Equipment and Real Estate. Tom Jordan is a licensed auctioneer & real estate broker in 4 states.