It’s auction day, which means the agent has now finished their work and everything is in the hands of the auctioneer – right?
Wrong, say four of the finalists in the Auctioneer of the Year category at the 2015 Real Estate Business Awards.
Leon Axford from Axford Auctions says it’s easy to spot the best real estate agents, because they’re the ones who are constantly active during auction day.
“You’ve got to make it look like there’s a lot happening,” he says.
“There might be one buyer and we’re negotiating, but the guys I work with – you’ll never see them standing there talking to just one person. They’re actively talking to lots of different people.”
Today’s auction is tomorrow’s listing
Belle Property auctioneer and performance coach Andrew Robinson has another method for telling who the good agents are – the ones who know how to use a pen and paper.
“Good agents use auctions as a prospecting method – big time. The worst agents out there don’t,” he says.
“You walk into an auction and they’re not taking names and numbers. They say, ‘It’s auction day – why would I take names and numbers?’. Why the hell wouldn’t you take names and numbers?”
Mr Robinson says auctions often attract curious neighbours, who could all be potential vendors.
Another reason to take people’s contact details is because if the property doesn’t sell, agents can call attendees to explain why, thereby reducing the possibility of damaging speculation, he adds.
Auction Services director Rob Trovato says the best agents recognise the importance of auction theatre.
Entertainment is one of the reasons people attend auctions and agents should do their best to put on a show, according to Mr Trovato.
“It’s about that show you’re putting on: agents talking to people and constantly moving around so there’s constant movement – even the agents calling out a bid when it comes. I like that, because it’s different to what everyone else is doing. As long as it’s not changing the process, it’s great because it’s memorable,” he says.
“Having an agent walk inside during the auction as if they’re talking to a vendor and then coming back out to speak to someone – if you’re a prospective vendor, what do you want to see? You want to see the agent is going to be doing everything in their power to try to maximise your result. So that’s why you’re trying to put on a show.”
Don’t forget to rehearse
Auction theatre works best when everybody knows their lines, according to My Auctioneer director Kate Lumby.
That’s why she encourages agents to have face-to-face discussions with their buyers ahead of the auction.
“I believe the work is done well and truly before the day. So the buyers are prepared, even right down to opening bids,” she says.
“If you know your top one or two buyers, one strategy is to work with the under-bidders, because the under-bidders are going to push your best buyers up, so we encourage our agents to do that.”
Ms Lumby says the key is for agents to ensure all the actors – vendors, buyers and auctioneer – are working in harmony.
“You’re ironing out things well and truly [in advance] so you know the result before going in there, right down to the agent almost being able to pick who the buyer is going to be, or at least the top two,” she says.