online car auction

The Psychology of the Live Auto Auction: “S,” Social Proof

In this series, we have been examining the live auto auction environment, the inspiration for our business. We spoke about the pulsing, tense frenzy of the auction floor. In the last post, we discussed what happens when a buyer bonds with an item at auto auction. He defends it as if he already owned it, and there is a horde of thieves lined up to take it away. The business of RideSafely – Auto Auctions evolved from our deep understanding of the auction environment, so we are able to present your inventory in a way that a buyer will step up with the sense of endowment, claim your vehicle, and defend it.

The business model that RideSafely Auto Auctions is reinventing creates a CESSpool of panic, competition, desire, and fear. In this series, we have broken the live auction floor into four psychological factors, which comprise the acronym “CESS.” In this article, we discuss the first “S,” social proof.


Social Proof

There is a current ad campaign featuring a woman who is using her cell phone to scout all the products she sees on an airplane. The implicit message is that the other passengers know what they’re doing.

In the live auto auction example that initiated this series, our hero sees the guy in the mechanic’s uniform and says to himself, “This has to be a good car; why else would this mechanic be here?” Then, our guy blows his budget by 25%, guaranteeing a bad outcome. This is a perfect example of social proof in action.

The Fix

  • First, be prepared. In Pennsylvania, auction houses have to list the cars in advance.
  • You can list the cars that interest you, and get there early to kick some tires and start some engines.
  • You should have a target price on anything you might bid on.
  • Some people advise that you set a firm point at which to drop out.
  • Your calculation has to include your expected resale price, the cost of your time, tax, tags and title work if you are not a dealer, and a reserve for lemons.

For the Dealer

You want social proof on your side. If you own a live auction house, you might have your people, or paid acting students, bidding on the cars on which you want to make the most profit! The best social proof that we can offer online is comparable vehicles.

Next article in the sires of CESS: The Psychology of Live Auto Auction: “S,” Scarcity

RideSafely – Online car auction offers buyers the opportunity to compare your inventory at a touch to Edmunds, Kelly Blue Book information, which invariably provides an optimistic view of the value of your cars and trucks.

We are creating an environment where the customer will come to us first looking for quality and value, banking on our lowest-price guarantee on all BUY NOW listings.


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Posted by on Monday, November 28, 2016


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