10 Rules for Sequencing a Live Auction

How to Order the Live Auction Items

I have a few loose rules I use to order the live auction. Sometimes the items are nearly identical in value, desire and sometimes the donor for every item is in the room and if that is the case, I’m not convinced it matters so much what the order is.  It the items have been carefully procured based on the audience’s interest and bidding history, a bidding competition will likely be in play. It is that competition that drives the bid to the highest possible amount for that audience on that night.

Rule 1

The first 3 items should be of lowest value and highest desire. It can be good to sell a bottle of champagne or fine liquor as a warm up item. That item does not need to be in the catalog but the clerks do need to know about it.

Rule 2

I recommend that all items with a donor present be sold before the Fund-a-need (FAN) or Paddle Raise. If all items have a donor present then arrange by value from low to high.

Rule 3

Begin with the lowest valued items of highest desire and put all those items before the FAN.

Rule 4

Arrange items from lowest value to highest value before FAN and from high to low after the FAN.

Rule 5

I often sell "like" items back to back. Some people think like items should be scattered. I like to keep the losing bidders attention while interest and desire are already high. Often the losing bidder will buy the next similar item.

Rule 6

Sell highest valued items right before the FAN.

Rule 7

Sell items where the donor is not present and of lowest value and desire after the FAN.

Rule 8

Trips can be sold back to back if they are of similar value and description with different locations. In fact, all trips can be sold back to back.

Rule 9

Know doubles in advance. Doubles should not be printed in the catalog.

Rule 10

High value consignment items should be put right before the FAN.