Cooney auctioneer is making history
Miller third woman to lead state auctioneers association
Town of Oconomowoc - Oconomowoc's Carol Miller is the newly elected president of the Wisconsin Auctioneers Association.
Miller, owner of Baileys Honor Auction and Estate Services, was the first woman to win the Wisconsin State Auctioneers Championship, and is just the third woman to lead the state association in its 60-year history.
It was a natural progression.
"I served on the board of directors a few times and as vice president and president elect," she said.
Miller said her goal is to have the association stay the course of its mission.
The organization works to promote, educate and further the professionalism of the auctioneer identity in Wisconsin.
"We're looking at including educational programs and online educational opportunities for members," Miller said.
Members of the trade association are licensed by the state, required to follow state and federal regulations, must attend ongoing continuing education, adhere to a strict code of ethics, keep up with trends in the marketplace, be knowledgeable and honest, attend conferences and workshops and network with other professionals to improve service to customers.
"We're keeping a watch on legislation that might impact the auction industry, such as laws for sales, whether firearms, Internet sales," that could affect the trade, she said.
Miller said auctions can be done live, online or simulcast, and the association has members that do it all.
"We're always concerned about delivering good and honest service to clients," she said.
To that point, Miller said an upcoming educational opportunity will focus on state rules and regulations.
"We keep the membership up to date. We will have government officials from the Department of Transportation; Department of Revenue; Safety and Professional Services; Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Department of Natural Resources making members aware of any changes and information that impacts the industry in the area," she explained.
Auctions are an option for consumers that are growing in popularity.
"I think there are probably less auctioneers, but as far as the amount of opportunities, there are a lot, as more and more products come to the marketplace. People are more aware because of television shows that have brought it to the forefront," Miller said.
Auctions are not always the course of last resort, she noted.
"A lot of people think of foreclosures," when houses sell at auction. "But in selling real estate for estates, the auction method works well for all sorts of property," Miller said.
"It's also a great competitive bidding process for companies changing inventory or leaving a business. It's a fair way of settling business, personal and estate assets. It's becoming more and more popular," she added.
Different auctioneers specialize in different areas.
"There's a lot of advanced education and specialization that auctioneers can choose to pursue," Miller said.
"Auctioneers can specialize in large equipment, benefit/fundraising auctions, fine art, estates. Some people just sell firearms," she said, naming a few specialties.
In Lake Country, estates, antiques and collectibles are the most popular auctions, Miller said.
"You'll see live auctions and online at the same time. You'll have live audiences and audiences on the computer
"You can have a large online audience and can reach a world market, or combinations," she said.
"You get a lot of young people who buy a lot online, so it's something they find beneficial to them. That's the way they like to shop," the association president said.
"Sometimes, for those people who can't get around well, the online works better for them, and the items are shipped to them," she added.
Miller is familiar with the different types of auctions.
"I do a monthly antique-and-collectible auction that is live, but we do take bids before that. Three to four times a month auctions are just online, and we also do a simulcast every few months," she explained.
"Ninety percent (of auction items) sell to a local market, within a 40-mile radius, but some won't sell at all.
"Maybe you have a unique collection, and you have to get to a bigger buyer base," she explained.
"We had a jewelry auction (online) last week, and bidders were from Australia and Canada. We had someone from Kansas buy general craft supplies.
"When you pick an auctioneer, you want to pick someone who is picking up on trends.
"If you've never gone to an auction, or are considering having one, look for someone who is a member of a state and national association. I encourage people to attend an auction in their area. Experience it live or look at an online auction. I think it works excellently for settling estates of all kinds. You can sell livestock, specialty things, just about anything and everything," Miller said.
For more information on the association, or to find scheduled auctions, visit: www.wisconsinauctioneers.org.
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