Automobiles, antiques, livestock — everything under the sun from real estate to real chickens gets auctioned off by a group of experienced professionals who have learned through thousands of auctions (and tons of practice) how to create the urgency to buy.
There are a lot of ingredients in this unique recipe that is an auctioneer's powers of persuasion.
Rhythm: Auctioneers are able to keep people in rapt attention for long periods of time, thanks to a rhythmic chant that makes time go by like a river. This rhythm is used to please and excite the audience, and to also build a sense of climax whenever the final bids for an item are about to take place.
Auctioneers want all their buyers to stay comfortably involved with the sale. That's why an experienced auctioneer will often stare in the general vicinity of a specific bidder for a few seconds with an open hand to show they're acknowledging them, and then go on to other areas where potential buyers may be present. At the same time, an open and outstretched hand is universally preferred over the accusatory pointed finger and intense stare.
The best auctioneers are often walking cartoons with signature sayings that define their approach to selling. Many of my favorites:
"I'll make a deal with you. If you bid, and he doesn't, I'll sell it to you! How does that sound?" — This is always said when only two bidders are left and the auctioneer is trying to get one more bid. Once the bid is made the auctioneer will turn to the competing bidder and say, "Guess what? I'll make the same deal with you. Is that fair?"
"Are you kidding folks? You can't get a good used riding lawnmower for a thousand bucks!" — Typically said at public auto auctions for crappy older vehicles.
"The bid is $2,000. Not two-hundred!" or, "What happened to your other fingers?" or "Just wait until I sell YOUR car?" — This is often said to lowballers who will typically flash the peace sign to the auctioneer or other low amount with their hands to try to get the opening bid low.
"This was the $%^^%%!!! car ever made until the Daewoo came out!" - I heard this blunt description of a 1994 Hyundai Excel by one of my fellow auctioneers shortly before the auction fired him. This was followed by, "Oh yeah?! Well I've been fired by better men than you!"