Posted on

How to maximize profit from your auctions

As you plan your auction event, you are possibly already looking for windows of opportunities which allow you to maximise your event revenue. This is understandable, especially considering that you are investing both time and money into planning this event. Whether it’s a charitable mission or whether you have a high-profit item you would like to sell, every extra dollar you manage to raise is an extra dollar you can further invest into your goals and dreams.

It’s common to hear that many vendors are not able to determine how much revenue they make or lose during an event, and that’s due to not having an adequate bookkeeping system. In fact, companies like Xero Hornsby are designed to help with a multitude of tasks, including monetary misconfigurations.

Since maximising revenues is critical for holding auction events, you are here to find some tried-and-true methods of doing so before your next significant appearance:

Increase Participation

According to experts, there is a general rule for guaranteeing a successful fundraising event, and it involves following the 3 E’s: Entertain, Engage and Extract.

If this is the first time you’ve heard about this technique, it means drawing in volunteers and members of the public that are interested in highlighting some of the unique selling points (USPs) of a product or package. Using an emcee walk does typically keep people entertained, or you can use a cordless mic to get close to the audience participating in the auction.

To engage the crowd, think of the room set-up, of design, of an agenda that can make people feel like they don’t want to leave the room. For the final part, extracting the highest bids, focus on offering highly desirable items which carry a high value. It’s essential not to auction the same things again and again, but instead have diversity. In other words, bring in more attendees and diversify the auction offerings.

Pre-Auction Bidding

If you’re unfamiliar with pre-auction bidding, the name should say it all. Incorporating the ability to publicise specific items prior to the event, it allows people from outside your network to mingle and attend the event. This can be done either by attending, through e-mails with their bids, or through an online software. If the guests attending the auction are not interested in the items, then the person who made the pre-bid is declared the winner of the sale.

Some organisations are able to gather unique auction items (i.e., vacations, jewellery, trucks, or air compressors) which could sell like hot bread. For these prized possessions, offer a pre-auction bidding, which will attract interest and a vast array of different personalities.

It’s essential to note that these types of pre-auction biddings should be used solely for large events. This advice relates to the fact that if you only have a limited number of items (for example, nine) out for bid, there is a chance that pre-bidders will invest so much cash that nobody at the event will be able to purchase anything. This problem would mean that you’re not performing the entertaining duty we’ve previously mentioned, and subsequently, your guests will get bored. Eventually, you may even lose next year’s audience, and you will be unlikely to generate the interest you would like.

Create a Balanced Market

We have spoken about the idea that having too few auction items can be detrimental, and that you want to avoid creating an imbalanced market, either for the buyer or the seller.

To put things into perspective, a seller’s market refers to when you have a handful of items but too many people present in the room. Although this has the capability of driving individual prices up, you might be missing out on potential revenue from bidders who have already spent their money on purchasing another item.

In comparison, a buyer’s market refers to when auction tables are filled with a variety of different items. The problem appears when bidders can leave low bids for multiple items, whereas others won’t generate any interest at all. Your goal is to sell as many pieces as possible, and that can’t happen with an information overflow for your guests.

As a general rule of thumb, you can calculate your odds by seeing how many guests will attend, and then divide that number by two. For example, if 100 people are bound to participate, then you will possibly have 50 buying units. Experts say that around 1 to 2 items are purchased per person, and so you can now calculate how to achieve an excellent balance.

VIP Auction Preview

For moderate to a grand event, creating a VIP auction preview party can make attendees feel more involved and more important. It’s a small way to generate widespread interest, and you can hold a party around an hour before the event, or even the night before, in order to pump your guests up.

The main idea is to offer your VIP guests the chance to preview some of the auction items, afterwards placing their bids while sipping a colourful cocktail or a whiskey neat. There are even more “tricks” you can use to maximise profits from your auctions, including:

  • Offer VIP auction preview tickets to those who sell or promote a number of tickets on your behalf
  • Offer VIP access to companies or people who have sponsored your event
  • Offer VIP tickets to individuals who donate items for the auction
  • Offer VIP access for an additional charge (i.e., $10, $50, or $100); some attendees will pay a premium to be allowed to preview items before others.


Be creative! These are just some of the ways in which you can maximise your revenues from the auction event you have created. It’s imperative to be different and to think outside the box while making people feel involved in your ideas. For example, don’t offer VIP tickets to every person, this misspells the concept of VIP. Instead, allow selected individuals to feel exclusive and unique.