(Photo: From left to right, the ringmen of Kruse Energy: Kenny Garman, Jim Richie, Dylan Hall, Frank McGrade, Marty Hill)
Kenny Garman, one of Kruse Energy’s ringmen and a big believer in the time-honored live auction tradition, knows exactly what he’s looking for when he scans a room full of buyers.
“When they lean forward. They’re all sitting in chairs behind rows and rows of tables, their books are open, they’re talking to their neighbors. But when you see someone stop talking to his friend, look at his book, and lean forward to look at the picture of the item up for purchase, you know they’re going to get in,” he says. “It’s all about body language.”
A ringman’s job is to be among the buyers, spotting bids and communicating these bids with the auctioneer. The job is challenging, fast-paced, and a genuine joy for those ringmen who love the interaction. Beyond spotting bids, they’re also informally tasked with monitoring the energy of the room and hope prices continue to rise in the market place. Down in what Kenny calls “the trenches,” he simultaneously tries to get bidders a good deal while helping sellers maximize their profits.
“It’s all split-second decisions, and everything happens really fast. You’ve got to really read the bidder,” Kenny says. “You’re talking to the bidders, pressing the flesh. You’re in there figuring out their emotions and thoughts, trying to convince them why they should be bidding.