Iowa auctioneer travels Midwest
By KRISTIN DANLEY-GREINER
Eight-year-old JJ Wise learned how to be an auctioneer from his dad Steve, a professional auctioneer from Manly. The family hosted bi-weekly consignment auctions in their auction barn starting back in 1994.
Today, JJ Wise continues to love the “auction method of marketing,” and took over his family’s business in 2014. JJ Wise Auctioneering and Land Proz (www.landproz.com) now is based out of Klemme, led by the younger Wise who conducts hundreds of auctions across the Midwest every year.
“Auctioneering is something that I feel you’re 50 percent born with and 50 percent learned,” Wise said.
He graduated in 1996 from the World Wide College of Auctioneering and currently serves on the Iowa Auctioneers Association’s board of directors. The 33-year-old specializes in farm-related auctions selling land, farm equipment, business liquidations, vehicles, people’s personal collections and more.
“I do a lot of traveling and sell at five car auctions per week. It’s my career. I put about 1,500 miles a week, traveling to Minneapolis three times a week, out to Mount Vernon, Iowa, then in Des Moines,” Wise said. “I recently traveled to Fergus Falls, Minnesota, to sell a farm.”
This auctioneer loves the variety in sales, but truly enjoys selling cars the most.
“I went to school to be an auto mechanic. I’ve always had a love for cars, but being an Iowa kid, I also have a liking for agriculture auctions,” he said.
He’s also endured a few emotional auctions over the years, too.
“I was too young to experience the farm crunch in the ’80s, but I’ve worked with a lot of guys who talked about those times. It’s really hard for these guys to say goodbye to farming, to watch their possessions be pieced off,” he said. “You have to be a kindhearted person as an auctioneer. You’re not only their salesman, but you’re their moral support. You’re the one helping them.”
The auctioneering business handles everything from start to finish, Wise explained. He lines up the merchandise, handles all of the publicity and advertising, as well as payment collection.
“Sometimes we’ll line up a food truck to come in so they have something to eat while there,” he said.
In addition to the in-person auctions Wise handles, he also conducts online auctions. A recent one he ran featured 50 John Deere collector toy tractors.
“Bidders can bid at their convenience then we set a pick up date, which is when they pay for their item. There is a buyer’s fee involved that’s added on to the final bid price,” he said. “The online portion has really changed our business, but it’s something we had to do to keep up with technology and better serve our buyer base.”
Wise said individuals can choose for in-person auctions, online auctions or a combination of both.
“An auctioneer tries to steer a client in the right direction as far as what type of auction is best for their assets. There are a lot of ways to market things now and one thing we do differently is that we complete a walkaround video for farm equipment. If there’s a tractor for sale, we’ll show it running in the far distance live, get up close footage and show off its benefits. That way they can learn as much as they can about it before traveling to the auction,” he said.
During cold and flu season, Wise is extra careful with his health, but knows that many people are counting on him whether or not he’s sick.
“You just hope for the best. I’ve been in situations where I wake up with a sore throat. I’ve thankfully never lost my voice. I’ve woken up with the flu the day of a sale and no matter what, nine times out of 10 I go to work,” he said.
Wise also enjoys a bit of friendly competition. He is a two-time Iowa State Fair finalist in the bid calling championships and has earned the reserve champion title before. In 2018, he ended up one of 20 contestants who advanced to the final round, which he’s done three other times.
“The last time I competed at the Iowa State Fair I was first runner up and then I’ve been second runner up. There’s a lot of auctioneering contests out there. In 2014, I competed in Boston, Massachusetts, at the World Automobile Auctioneering Contest, which was a blast. There were 50 to 70 guys entering that from all over the world,” he said.
Wise can be found on Facebook at JJ Wise Auctioneering or online at www.northiowaauctions.com, www.landproz.com and www.bid-to-buy.com.
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