This is the 3rd year that I've participated as a mentor in the Thirst Relief Mentor Auction sponsored by Thirst Relief International and ShootQ. With the help of an EBay savvy family member, I've put together a few tips to help you win a mentor and put your donation to good use. Check back tomorrow for tips on getting the most out of the mentor that you've won!
Tips for bidding & winning mentor auctions on EBay:
Identify your mentors. Select your ideal mentor, and then identify two or three more people that you would be interested in learning from. It's important to identify several possible mentors in advance in case you get outbid on the mentor you initially wanted.
Know what's included. Some auctions only include a particular product, some are giving you a couple hours of their time and dinner at WPPI only, and some are willing to give everything they have. Make sure you're bidding on a mentor that is going to give you something that you really need and value. Personality alone may not be enough to help you out in the ways you need it, and some people you've never heard of may actually end up being the most helpful.
Watch your favorites. Once you've identified the mentors you'd like to work with, click "Watch This Item" under the bid button to help keep track of the mentors you're interested in so that you have a quick link and summary for just the auctions you're interested in.
Place maximum bid. I believe in having a budget and sticking to it, which is why I advocate placing your maximum bid right up front. This doesn't mean that you are actually bidding your total budget right off the bat, it just means that you're telling EBay the maximum you are willing to donate and then letting the system incrementally bid for you against any potential competition until you've reached your maximum bid. It's also useful to place your maximum bid an odd amount above the whole dollar amount you've budgeted. So, instead of $500, bid something like $507.89, so that you're just above the other people who weren't savvy enough to think outside of the zeros. With this method you may actually win for less than your maximum bid, or you will be notified as soon as someone has busted your bidding budget, so that you can move onto another option that might be within your budget. It's the most efficient bidding method, so that you aren't spending your precious time watching an auction instead of doing things that will help your business.
Get notification. You can set up EBay to notify you in a variety of ways, so set up a notification that works best for you- whether it's email, text to your phone, skype, or some other method. That way you can be on the ball when you need to and not worry about it until then.
Note ending times. Each auction ends at a different time in order to allow losers from one auction to find another auction they can win. Note the order in which your favorite auctions end so that you can be proactive about the plan you'll take to find a great mentor so that you can put your donation budget to good use. (Note: It appears that this year's auctions end in alphabetical order by last name.) If you find that all of the auctions you're interested in are bidding higher than your budget, than it might be a good time to start considering other mentors out there. Remember that your budget was established as what you are willing to donate to the Thirst Relief cause, not just what one person's time is worth. Everyone in the auction has been invited because they have something valuable to offer, and they've all agreed to participate because they want to help others. Taking a chance on someone you've never heard of means your bidding budget still goes to a good cause, and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you can learn from someone who spends most of their time working "out of the spotlight".