18th June 2012
The Good Telephone Bidders Guide
Last week our telephone bidders once again had a powerful influence on the strong prices achieved in the final sale of our Spring Season. But what are the secrets of successful telephone bidding at Grosvenor ?
CONTACT US EARLY. We have a finite number of incoming telephone lines and of trained staff to man them. These are allocated on a first-come, first served basis and for popular sections of the auction availability may well disappear well before the day of the sale.
ADVISE US BEFOREHAND OF THE LOTS ON WHICH YOU WISH TO BID. We may be able to keep you on the line over a period of time but to prevent misunderstanding do need you to indicate to us which lots are not to be missed.
ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE READ THE CATALOGUE CAREFULLY. If something interesting only catches your eye as we arrive at it during the auction there may be no time for your Grosvenor representative to react. Once the gavel has fallen and we have moved on to the next lot it will be too late.
CHECK OUR CONDITIONS OF SALE. Note, for example, that your ‘extension’ requests should be agreed with us prior to the auction, as they should by those bidding by any other manner.
CALCULATE THE TIMING OF YOUR PARTICIPATION. Particularly if you are in a different time zone, do check carefully the likely time of the auctioneer’s arrival at the lots that interest you. Our rate of selling is brisk – normally between 200 and 250 lots per hour – and will vary according to the volume of bidding in the auction room and whilst the auctioneer controls the best ‘tempo’.
PROVIDE A RELIABLE CONTACT NUMBER (OR BETTER STILL TWO). Mobile telephones are convenient if you are away from your home or office but landlines are much better. If your phone might be answered by a work colleague or family member do ensure that that they will be aware of the importance of the incoming call and transfer it to you without delay. A backup contact number is a sensible additional safeguard.
SPEAK CLEARLY AND DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BECOME DISTRACTED. This might seem obvious but we sometimes encounter clients who attempt to hold conversations with a third party at their end whilst the auction is continuing. A noise-free environment is also recommended. It may be amusing to us that you are calling from (as has occurred in the past) a Belgian restaurant, a yacht at sea or an England v South Africa test match in Cape Town but the background noise can sometimes prevent your being heard clearly (particularly if you are sitting close to the ‘Barmy Army’).
MAKE YOUR INSTRUCTIONS UNAMBIGUOUS. We will contact you to confirm arrangements in good time beforehand, sometimes during the day before. This is a good opportunity for you to agree with your Grosvenor representative how you intend to phrase your instruction to bid.
RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO CHAT. Your representative has the difficult job of listening both to you and the progress of events in the auction room. If a crucial lot is imminent please help him by keeping your comments to a minimum.
BE DECISIVE. The auctioneer will normally first take bids within the auction room in order to keep the auction flowing before turning to a telephone bidder. He will allow a little extra time for your listener to keep you advised of bidding increases but once you have appeared to stop bidding he must move on and is unlikely to be able to return to you.
LEAVE BACKUP BIDS TO BE EXCUTED IN THE EVENT OF US BEING UNABLE TO CONTACT YOU. The best laid plans sometimes go awry. Backup minimum bids provided beforehand can be administered in the auction room by your Grosvenor representative should we, for any reason, be unable to contact you.
There is certainly an advantage in submitting your bids before the sale so that they are placed on the auctioneer’s ‘book’, most notably in that the first received bid does take priority in the event of a ‘tie’. There is also much to be said for using an auction agent as these professionals can administer your bids calmly and with an enhanced level of confidentiality.
However, if you yearn for direct involvement and are unable to attend the auction in person, we will endeavour to meet your wish to bid by telephone. But remember always to contact us promptly as this service is very popular and availability is strictly limited.