In sports, athletes feed off the rush of nervous adrenaline produced by scoring a goal or making a tackle. Years after finishing his football career at Oklahoma State University, Mark Schiro, CEO of Stream Energy, has found a way to revisit that rush: auctioneering.
Back in 1999, when he stepped in to auctioneer an event at his sons’ school, Schiro not only learned that auctioneering is more exhausting than a football game—he slept until noon the next day—but also that there’s more to it than yelling out numbers. “You don’t have to be a professional auctioneer; you just have to bring energy,” he says.
Schiro believes this is imperative because, without excitement, there’s no bidding. He has developed a few tactics to keep the audience engaged and spending money, and says one of the keys is changing his tone. A monotone auctioneer puts an audience to sleep. But by altering his pitch or volume, Schiro says he can create an atmosphere that harnesses and builds energy. Like any athlete, he relies on his teammates, or spotters, who point out bidders to help keep up the auction’s pace.
Schiro has auctioned off everything from a day with the Houston Texans to five Labrador retrievers for $8,500 apiece. He only provides his services to help charities, schools, or local parishes, and he says it’s driven by the same thing that fueled him back on the gridiron: the thrill.
“It’s rewarding when you see a deal die in the middle and all of a sudden you somehow bring it back to life,” Schiro says. “It’s the greatest rush in the world.”