Sara Rose Bytnar is a third-generation auctioneer that specializes in real estate and fundraising auctions. Born and raised in an auction family from Toledo, Ohio, Sara followed her passion in the auction industry and relocated to Naples, Florida where she manages her family’s auction business.
MiLLENNiAL caught up with Sara to learn about her victory as the #1 female auctioneer.
1. Being an auctioneer is not an easy profession. Where did your initial influence for this profession come from and when did you realize you had a knack for the job?
I’ve had the great privilege of growing up within an auction family. My grandfather started our family’s company and I grew up looking up to my mother and three aunts in the business. Being the youngest of five females within our auction family, I listened and watched my family succeed in the business. Not until I was an adult did I really jump in with both feet to find my passion for the business. Once I found my own place within our company focusing on the operational aspects of the business and marketing focus, did I really start to stand out.
2. What is the trickiest thing about being an auctioneer?
The trickiest part of the auction business is juggling all the different facets of the business. Most auctioneers work in multiple sectors, so it’s important to manage your time and execute your strategy, no matter the asset you’re selling.
3. What are three critical skills needed to succeed in your industry?
The auction business is competitive by nature, but in order to succeed it’s crucial to have a solid business plan, a deep professional network, and passion for the industry.
4. Give us some insight into the life of an auctioneer, i.e. how many days do you work per week, office routine (if any), booking the job, what it pays, etc.
The auction business is incredibly versatile. On any given day you can be signing contracts for a real estate auction, to traveling across the country to raise millions of dollars for non-profits. It’s the furthest thing from a 9-5 job, but those that are fortunate to be able to succeed in the business are thrilled to be working 80 hour weeks when we have the opportunity to change people’s lives on a daily basis.
5. What kind of training is required to become an auctioneer?
Depending on the area of focus, an auction and/or real estate license may be required to conduct an auction. I’ve made education a priority for myself to continually evolve our company and improve upon the best in technology and business practices to further our company’s earning potential.
6. You just won the National Auctioneer Association’s 30th International Auctioneer Championship! Explain what that competition was like. How many people did you compete against? What type of exercises were you required to perform? How was the scoring system designed?
Twenty women competed from around the country for the right to be known as one of the best auction professionals in the world. The contest included a preliminary bid-calling round, an interview round, and final round of bid-calling including seven women. In addition to a trophy and championship ring as part of the title, I have the incredible honor of representing the National Auctioneers Association at the annual St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Children’s Auction in Memphis, TN. There, we conduct an auction for the children getting treatment and their siblings to be able to have fun and take home toys.
Both the women’s and men’s champions are millennials which really speaks to the industry’s depth. The talent, and perhaps more encouraging, the drive behind the young talent in the auction profession is electrifying. The NAA’s youth is highly motivated and continuously innovating some of the industry’s brightest new technologies and exceptional businessmen and women.
Following my mother as champion has truly been a dream come true. I’ve looked up to my mom personally and professionally my entire life, so to be able to follow her as an International Auctioneer Champion is something I’ll always cherish.