When in a bidding war, use a poker face and send false body signals to throw off your competitors

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I was in a league once where I saw a fellow owner sit quietly in the corner as he watched a stream of players get auctioned away. He took a conservative approach and did not want to overspend early.

That was a good strategy on his part.

He was so quiet, I wasn’t sure he was even participating in the league. I don’t think he even threw out any bids on players.

That was a bad strategy on his part.

Because when a player he finally had interest in was up for bidding, he straightened up in his chair, spoke his bids with authority, didn’t waste any time in raising the bid and even increased his bid several dollars at a time.

It was obvious to every owner in the league who this guy really wanted. And needless to say, he didn’t get great bang for his buck because other owners intentionally prolonged the bidding process for him.

Body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice are so important in the bidding process. You don’t want owners to know which players you truly are interested in and which ones you’re just trying to get at good value.

I suggest you always look like you’re interested in every player nominated, and offer a bid on most players, even if you don’t think that bid is high enough to win the player.

Also, let’s say you’ve allocated $20 to a certain player and the bidding is currently at $10. Don’t raise it by $5. Use $1-increments. And don’t raise the bid immediately, either. Let the auctioneer say: “Going once, going twice…” and then raise the bid at the last second.

And finally, practice the art of looking riddled with anxiety about how high the bidding is on a player that you want. Using the aforementioned example, you’ve told yourself that you’re willing to go as high as $20 on Player X, but it’s your job to make other owners think you’re having a really difficult time raising the bid from $10 to $11.

Sigh heavily, scratch your head, flip through your papers. It’s all an art form, and don’t let your body language betray you.