As our business continues to grow so does our team and as our team grows it requires education. This weekend 5 of our team members graduated from the Professional Ringman Institute (PRI) at Branson Missouri joining 5 other PRI designation holders at DreamDirt. Since the inception of DreamDirt we’ve promised to provide the most highly qualified auction team possible. We’ve set the bar high and made it mandatory that each and every ringman working at our farmland and machinery auctions be a PRI graduate.
You are familiar with the ringman, that person during the auction that walks the crowd and assists bidders and turns bids into auctioneers with a loud “yes” allowing the auctioneer to advance the bid. The Ringman is an integral part of your auction and their professional training and experience will ensure you are getting what your asset is worth. From my experience people tend to place lesser value on a ringman and their qualifications because lets face it, how hard could it be to see somebody raise their hand and yell “Yes”. Seems pretty easy doesn’t it? The truth is, the job of a ringman is actually very complex and their responsibility is tremendous to our sellers.
I have at times had experiences that show me the average person does not understand the role of a ringman in an auction. We show up everywhere we go taking our job very seriously whether we are doing a freebie for a local organization or selling a multi-million dollar farm. Our performance at either one leaves an impression on those watching us and we are always representing somebodies fiduciary interest, there is no room to relax the standards . From time to time our seller will ask us to allow one of their friends or relatives to ring for the day, sometimes at a charity event the organization will have pre-assigned somebody to be a “bid spotter”. The truth is, you CAN NOT throw an untrained person into an auction environment and let them just holler “YES” and expect to achieve a top result because there is much more to it.
At PRI our Ringmen learn a multi-faceted communication system that works between the auctioneer and ringmen and between the ringman and the bidders. From the time a person walks into our auctions they are greeted by a ringman who will help them register, understand the auction process and and important information about the asset we are selling. They can answer their questions about the asset and provide them with the proper paperwork they will need to make the best informed decision. That person becomes a customer and the ringman will follow them through your auction providing the customer service necessary for them to have a smooth user experience. When a ringman understands a customers goal they can help them achieve it. Imagine the power of an informed consumer that can bid freely because they have the information and support necessary to learn what they need to know to make decisions quickly. That level of customer service to our bidders has been a powerful tool for our sellers. At times because our team understands agriculture and investments as well as associated programs they can help a bidder understand how certain decisions and price levels affect them. We would hate to send a bidder home that was capable of bidding more but didn’t have the support or information necessary to make that decision. The seller doesn’t win and the bidder doesn’t win that way.
Of the states we operate in, the state of Iowa has the lowest standard or requirements for an auctioneer/ringman to sell farmland. In fact, Iowa has absolutely no requirement of any sort. When you are vetting auctioneers in Iowa you could be talking to a person thats never sold a farm, doesn’t have any experience or education, or even required to carry any type of insurance like we do as licensed salepersons. In Iowa we are a full fledged licensed real estate brokerage with our team members holding real estate licenses. In Missouri we hold Auctioneers Licenses, in North Dakota we must also have an Auctioneers License and file bonds, and in Nebraska we must have a real estate brokers license and insurance to sell or ring an auction and accept an offer on the real estate. In Iowa, any person can be a ringman and that often is the case. In attending auctions across the state to bid on farmland for clients it is a regular occurrence to see ringmen that have never had even a bit of training, and may actually be ringing their first and only auction just because they were available to help a friend out for the day. I have actually wintnessed auctioneers I am connected to on Facebook ask “Is anybody available to catch bids for us tomorrow for a few hours”. For a farmland seller thats a dangerous situation for several reasons but chief among them is that it should be obvious an untrained ringman could never be as effective as a trained ringman. When you are selling a farm its an important matter and trusting it to untrained in experienced auction. Auctioneering is a profession and you should expect the same level of professionalism from the entire time as you would from a doctor or your lawyers office.
Having worked with hundreds of farm sellers in the past I have noticed that as a seller you are more likely to get hung up on things that probably are insignificant compared to things that will actually help you achieve the best price on your farm. Understanding the auction process and the qualifications of the people that will represent you farm and your one and only opportunity to set the best price you can should be your number 1 concern. As the old saying goes “experience doesn’t cost, it pays”. Nothing could be more true of a well trained and experienced auction team. Ensure your auction staff will have PRI certified ringmen and auctioneers representing you and you’ll be getting valuable insurance against an undesirable result.