• Andrew Sweet

My First Auto Auction: The Fruit Cup 100M Dash

If you have followed the Drivably story you know that we started a car dealership first. We did this for a variety of reasons. The main one being for us to fully understand what our customers experience on a day to day basis. I like to think I have a diverse background of experiences that has prepared me to deal with most new situations.  That general hypothesis was shaken in 2018 when I went to my first in lane live auction.

I changed schools a lot when I was young.  Fortunately, I was in the same school district from about 3rd grade on.  What I felt the morning of my first day was what I only could have imagined changing high schools your senior year would feel like.  No friends, not sure where to go, and feeling like you might get beat up if you look at the wrong person for too long.  It was obvious to everyone that I wasn't supposed to be there.  

The auction, however, was not high school.  Everyone who worked at the auction was very nice and professional.  Moreover, so where all the other vendors who were present.  The same can be said for all the buyers who were looking to find a few good deals.  After getting over the basics, people, process, sights/sounds, etc, I quickly switched into observation mode.

The first thing that stood out to me was how few of the cars were actually bought by someone physically at the auction.  It got me thinking, why are all these people here if 2 out of every 3 cars go to an online buyer.  I looked for confirmation from one of the regulars who let me know this is a normal occurrence. 

Next, was how few of the people there were actually focused on the cars rolling through the lane.  Keeping with my school theme, there were times I thought I was at a reunion.  In every line of sight there were groups of 4-7 people hamming it up having a great time.  Ironically enough, these same groups had little in the form of research or insights from what I could tell.  Most just had a rolled run list in with a few scribbles on each page.

Lastly, I witnessed pack mentality first hand.  And no, this was not during a bidding war on a car ripe for the taking.  It was during an event that not one word can describe.  An hour before lunch a melancholy woman who worked for the auction started to roll a trolly cart towards the lanes.  At first glance I wondered why this individual looked so un-energetic bordering on upset.  I recall feeling guilty for this unsolicited judgment.  Between that thought and the next 5 seconds, I learned exactly why she looked the way she did.  She cautiously moved through the double doors that separated the cafeteria from the main lanes.  Trying to go unnoticed I suppose.  Her cart was filled with about 50 fruit cups if I had to guess.  Before the doors closed behind her it instantly felt like black Friday.  All the individuals who were making small talk moments before and not paying attention to anything car related, were called to action by the squeaky cafeteria cart.  Grown adults (100% men from what I could see) with little regard for this woman or anyone else, swarmed the fruit cup cart to get their essential nutrients for the morning.  

Naturally, that last anecdote is a bit bizarre, but overall the experience confirmed a few things for me: 

1st: People who have the right information tend to win. 

2nd: Those who focus on what they are going after tend to get it.  Ironically enough, that applies to buyers looking to source vehicles over the internet and those in-lane dialed in on the free snacks.

3rd: If you're starting a new business be sure to promote unlimited fruit cups at your grand opening.   

Whether you're a dealer looking to maximize revenue through inventory acquisition, a remarketing rep looking to provide more value or even a fruit cup loving inventory buyer interested in finding the right cars for your dealership Drivably will be a game changer for your business. If you're ready to take your business to the next level set up a meeting on my calendar here!


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