professional bid spotter at a fundraising auction

“What in the world are Professional Ringmen?”

Professional Ringmen is an auction term used to describe a person or persons who work the auction floor before, during and after the auction and are primarily used during the Live Auction. They work directly with the Auctioneer, your staff and your guests. You may know them as “Bid Spotters”. They have received in-depth training on all aspects of the auction process, are experienced in bid spotting and making guests feel comfortable to make just one more bid to support your cause. Simply put, Ringmen can help you take your Event to the next level and can easily add an additional 10 -15% to your Live Auction revenues.

Yes…. 10-15% or more.

Professional Ringman, Connie Waddell works with Auctioneer, Mike Grigg to maximize bidding.

The Professional Ringman’s objective is 3 fold:

Prior to the Auction:  Ringmen help “warm up” the audience; answering questions and making sure everyone is comfortable with the auction process; they do this with initiative, a genuine caring and a keen sense of humor… a perfect balance.

During the Auction:  Ringmen become an extra set of eyes and ears for the auctioneer during the live auction process. Their communication link with the Auctioneer is solid and trusted. They are the auctioneer’s “Right Hand”. Ringmen bring an energy to the room that promotes excitement and fun; this increases the number of bids and ensures everyone is having a great time at your event. A good Ringmen never pressures your guests. They play a key role in bid spotting; are trained to spot bids in a split second and react immediately. That trained split second reaction is just one of the keys to a successful event. No missed bids, high energy. Sounds simple and looks simple, but it really isn’t. But it is fun and exciting.

Post Auction:  There is nothing quite like a congratulatory handshake and a pat on the back for a job well done. The Ringmen provide the subtle reassurance to every winning bidder they significantly helped the cause. The Ringmen will also extend a sincere thank you to the runner up bidder for their help along the way. This is really no small matter; it is genuine, gracious and complimentary…. and this is huge.

Most Common Objection:

“Ringmen will cost us too much money, besides we have volunteers for bid spotters, we don’t need to spend the extra money.

Be careful where you decide to “save money”, hiring a Ringmen or two is without question one of the best investments you can make to increase your fundraising net profit. Just 1 additional bid at the $500.00 bid level will more than pay for the cost of a Ringmen and you can realistically expect a 10% to 15% or more return on your Ringmen investment.

Not using quality Ringmen during a live auction will probably cost you money; trouble is you will never know how much

The direct involvement of a Ringmen can double, even triple a stalled low bid. I’ve seen it and done it myself many times. It is something a volunteer just doesn’t know how to do and that costs you money. Ringmen are trained to react very quickly, literally in tenths of seconds. It is that difference in timing that will increase your bottom line and they rarely ever miss a timely bid.

In addition, hiring Ringmen frees your volunteers to attend to other important responsibilities like helping to arrange and organize items for check out. Anything that can be done to increase the efficiency at check out and decrease the time your guests stand in line is always a big plus.

“How can I be assured the Ringmen will be polite and courteous with our guests?”

Excellent question, your Auctioneer will be your guiding resource on this. The Ringmen is a direct reflection of the Auctioneer. Simply put, good solid Auctioneers do not recommend bad Ringmen. Go with your Auctioneers direction and reputation. Your Auctioneer knows your specific needs and they know the importance and value of quality Ringmen.

“What does a Ringmen cost?”

It varies upon the type of auction, time and day of the auction, the number of items and location. For a typical benefit auction you can expect to pay between $250-$500 per Ringman.

“How many Ringmen do we need?”

It depends on the layout of the room and the number of guests. Trust your Auctioneers recommendation.

Number of GuestsNumber of Ringmen
50 – 1501
150 – 3002
300 – 5003
500 and Above4 or more

To give you an example just how important Ringmen are, at the recent Barrett-Jackson Collectible Auto Auction held at the Orange County Fairgrounds, they had 10 Ringmen in place. Each Ringmen in their section worked directly with 150-250 attendees. In 3 days Barrett-Jackson grossed over 14 million dollars. Barrett-Jackson knows the importance and the value of quality, strategically placed Ringmen. 

Bottom line: Professional Ringmen are very entertaining, respectful and add a nice touch of class to round out your event, just one more element to assure your event is an incredible success and will be the talk of the town. Once experienced, your guests will lead the message, “We had a great time, it was the best event we have been to all year and you really must attend the next one!”

I hope this gives you some behind the scenes insight of the auction process and allows you peace of mind with your Ringmen decision. You are officially one of the few who understand what the word Ringmen means in the auction world and now understand the exceptional value Ringmen bring to every Benefit Auction event.