I was about 10 years old at my first auction. I was hooked from the first moment. The energy in the air, the pulse, the beat, the roar of the sale is the greatest at an auction. It’s the best sales game in the world!
I’ve been to some farm auctions, a few house auctions, and a couple that were antiques. I’ve been to my grandpas, the last earthly items of the Fleischman homestead farm. Mostly I’ve been to lumberyard auctions. Ones that have closed their doors forever.
There are a lot of things you learn at an auction. What the person hung on to. What the person did right, and mostly what they did wrong. It’s a learning lesson every time. This blog hopefully will help you in your business.
1. THROW “WE MIGHT NEED IT SOMEDAY” ITEMS AWAY
It will sell eventually. It’s worth $500. We have to keep it, look what we paid for it. I will use it someday. Or will you. Probably not. And once you start a pile, what’s a little more on top. And whoever questions why it is there. It’s a vicious cycle.
2. LOOK AT IT AS THE FIRST TIME YOU EVER STEPPED FOOT INSIDE.
You get used to dust. And clutter. And messes. So look at your store and your work area as someone has never saw it before. Do that often. What does it look like then?
3. DON’T STOCK SOMETHING BECAUSE YOU ALWAYS HAVE.
Be honest. Spot trends. Run reports. If it’s not selling, it’s not selling. The trend won’t come back… at least in your lifetime. If it’s not profitable, dump it. period. Unless it TRULY adds to another sale.
4. CLEAN THE CORNERS.
Dust and messes start in the corners. Make sure your corners are clean. If they are, your store will be too.
5. TEACH OTHERS HOW TO “SEE” PROBLEM AREAS.
This isn’t just the owners or store leaders job. This is everyone’s job.
6. DON’T BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE.
Have you ever went to a restaurant and thought man, I wish the menu was bigger? I mean never right? Same with your store. People want less, don’t let the options confuse you. Another restaurant story. Most restaurants that have EVERYTHING, usually do NOTHING awesome. Be great at something; become a true expert of one category, one brand and sell the crap out of that.
7. TAKE THE HIT.
Don’t play commission or accounting games. A loss is a loss. Get off the books when it happens. My dad told me a million times when he was growing up with 9 brothers and sisters, “The first bath is the cleanest.” Get it off your books and do not refuse ANY even remotely reasonable offers for your mistakes.
Ok, well that’s it for the overview. You want to dig, deep, deep, deep into the rabbit hole. Take an opportunity to learn from one of the legends in the lumber industry. Here’s my dad giving his advice as we go through the last auction we had from a lumberyard that was in business for almost 150 years… that didn’t make it any longer.
** special notes to the drexel team: don’t ever keep a door slab. They are worthless at an auction. Same for a door frame. Same for countertops. Also take like items of lumber and make a medium size pile. That sells the best.
– Joel Fleischman. Joel is the president & Head Coach of the solution providers for Drexel Building Supply. (drexelteam.com). You can follow him on twitter: @JoelmFleischman. He has provided solutions for builders and their clients since 1996 and a whole bunch of other stuff that you probably don’t care about.