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Robert Tulp: Mastering the Gavel

14 May 2024

In the world of auctioneering, where every word counts and every bid matters, Robert Tulp stands out as a seasoned professional with a passion for the craft. His journey into auctions was not traditional but an unexpected discovery that led him to excel in this unique profession.

Originally starting his career as an agent, Tulp found himself drawn to the details of the auctioneer's role. He was intrigued and enrolled in an auctioneering course in Perth to gain a deeper understanding of the craft. Little did he know that this decision would ignite his newfound passion. "I enjoyed it so much that I started doing charity auctions and progressed as an auctioneer," Tulp recalls.

What sets Tulp apart from his peers is not only his extensive experience but also his unwavering commitment to self-improvement. "I’ve probably competed in more competitions than most," he says. For Tulp, competitions serve as invaluable opportunities to test his skills against fellow auctioneers and push the boundaries of his abilities. As an independent auctioneer, he has the privilege of regularly working with a diverse range of businesses, fostering adaptability and versatility in his approach.

“Making a competition final or winning a cup is a nice acknowledgement that you are ‘on the right track’. Personally, I have won a number of competitions, but this is the first time that I have won the REINZ Auctioneering Championships - it’s a massive relief, especially after finishing runner-up on four occasions!”

Preparation is key to success in any endeavour, and auctioneering is no exception. Tulp shares insights into his meticulous preparation process leading up to competitions. "I am always adding things to the ‘notes’ tab on my phone, either funny comments or phrases that I see," he reveals, “I tend to have a good array of things to put into my competition calls. I get together with other auctioneers and start running number sequences, but the main thing I do is run number drills in my A4 journal.” 

In the world of auctioneering, where precision meets performance, Robert Tulp is a testament to the power of passion, preparation, and perseverance. With each bid and each call of the gavel, he continues to leave a lasting mark on the industry, setting the standard for auctioneering excellence. Rob is off to the Australasian Auctioneering Championships in Hobart on May 15-16th, representing REINZ and New Zealand. This will be his first time competing in the championship.

Here’s a quick Q&A with Rob!

How do you engage and connect with the audience during your auctions?
“I normally like to break the ice with either a funny comment or a smile - most people in the crowd are more nervous than the auctioneer so they appreciate when you engage with them rather than boss or bully them.”

How does participation in/winning this competition impacted your career or personal journey?
“Making a competition final or winning a cup is a nice acknowledgment that you are ‘on the right track’. Personally, I have won a number of competitions but this is the first time that I have won the REINZ comp - it’s a massive relief to be honest, especially after finishing runner-up on four occasions! It qualifies me to (again) represent NZ against the Aussies for the Australian title in Hobart in a few weeks - that’s a title that I’d love to have under my belt!”

What are your future goals or aspirations within the auctioneering industry? 
“We are having a lot of fun and success growing our Apollo Auctions business so that’s my goal for the foreseeable future. I also love the competitions so I can see myself always be involved in a capacity that I might be able to add value!”

What advice would you give to aspiring auctioneers looking to improve their skills? 
“I would shadow a couple of the more experienced auctioneers for a day or two (our industry is very encouraging of people trying to get better). There are several auctioneer competitions nowadays that people can enter to test their skill levels and improve themselves. I would strongly suggest that you enter as many as you can!”

Want to kickstart your auctioneering career? Start your auctioneering journey with REINZ in September! Mark Sumich, a renowned auctioneer, will present the two-day Novice Auctioneering Course from 30 September to 1 October 2024. If you have called less than 10 real auctions, then this is the course for you!