Last week I held a FREE teleclass teaching you how to procure items for your benefit auction without leaving your home. This week, I’m sharing ONE of the ideas I presented.
Interested in hearing all 7 secrets for procuring great items? For a LIMITED time, enjoy a recording of that call here.
From 2009 through 2011 I sold a number of author-related items at my client’s benefit auctions:
- 4 auctions sold dinners with well-known authors
- 3 auctions sold “have your name written as a character in a novel” opportunities
- 1 auction sold a set of two advanced reading copies from a famous author
- 1 auction sold a private slide-show presentation with the author. He was sharing stories and photos from the high-adventure trip he’d conducted as part of his research for some upcoming work.
Each of these was a live auction item, selling for thousands of dollars.
And with the exception of one item — the advanced reading copies — all of these items were procured through a direct connection or close “friend of a friend” tie.
But not the Advanced Reading Copies (ARC).
The ARCs were a cold call.
A cold email, actually.
No doubt after another consultation during which I was harping about what sorts of items we SHOULD be procuring, my action-oriented client started poking around online. She thought of an author she liked, did some research, and found the author’s website.
She sent an email, sharing a thoughtful story about her nonprofit and her excitement about the upcoming gala auction. She made an ask.
A few days later, she got a response.
Two ARCs of the author’s upcoming books would be making its way to her offices.
(Do you know what an ARC is? ARCs are special because they are uncorrected proofs of new titles. Publishers provide these to VIPS (booksellers, journalists and celebrities) before the book is printed for mass distribution. Book collectors LOVE these. They consider them to be the “real” book because they could contain errors that add value. It’s like a coin with an off-center impression, or a pro-football player’s jersey with a misspelled name … it’s worth more because it’s a mistake.)
We sold those ARCs for $1100 in the live auction.
While these were being sold in the live auction, we were selling other author-related items in the silent auction. Most commonly it was a collection of signed books. Those generally sold in the double digits. For the most part, those books were procured through online means, often by sending an email through the author’s fan club website.
Do you understand why it’s important to know WHAT to ask for?
If you ask for the stars (private dinners, ARCs, “your name written into a book”) and get the moon (signed books) … well, at least you got the moon.
But if you ask for the moon because you didn’t know stars were available or even existed, you can only get the moon.
(Or get nothing at all. But that’s a risk in either case.)
- Stars = thousands of dollars.
- The moon = tens of dollars.
When we talk about procurement, it comes down to knowing WHAT to ask for, knowing WHEN, WHERE, and HOW to ask.
Then knowing HOW to best sell the donation to maximize your sale.
If you’re procuring online through an author’s website, do you think it might be important to ask for the right thing? Like something that will sell for thousands instead of $50?
I hope so. It can be the difference between a live or silent auction item.
If you stop what you’re doing RIGHT NOW and take one hour to listen to this audio training before I pull it off the site … well then, I KNOW you’re starting to understand what I’m saying.
Listen while you can.