Auctioneering has come a long way since the days of stock and station where auctions were quick, bids were difficult to follow and no one could understand what the auctioneer was saying.
The distinct chant, pace and rhythm that was unique to stock and station is now a thing of the past. The modern property auctioneer is required to have a distinct set of skills and salesmanship to achieve good outcomes come auction day.
The modern day property auctioneer needs to be many things, especially with the internet and other online sharing portals allowing vendors to conduct their own research to decide which auctioneer is right for them. In many cases vendors can judge for themselves in a single click on YouTube whether an auctioneer knows their stuff or if they are stilted in their sales manner.
I’m often asked what makes a good auctioneer. After some consideration I've decided the greatest auctioneers share the following three attributes:
1. Excellent communication skills
Auctioneers form a firm link in the sales process so good ones have evolved to accommodate both buyers’ and sellers’ needs. First and foremost, auctioneers must be fantastic communicators. They need to be able to provide a relevant third party to the process, build rapport with the crowd and read buyers’ body language. This is particularly important as auctioneers need to be able to easily determine when it’s a good time to push for higher bids or to let the crowd take a breather during the auction. The best auctioneers are also prepared to get involved in negotiations on the auction floor and interact face to face with buyers.
Auctioneering has become a specialist profession within the real estate sector. The best auctioneers are calling more than 400 auctions a year, which makes them a great source of information in all sorts of markets. This knowledge also helps when communicating market conditions to any vendor and is valuable in setting the property up for success on auction day.
Gone are the days of taking bids and simply repeating numbers. The modern-day auctioneer is an entertainer, expected to put on a show for buyers and set the tone for the auction. A talented auctioneer uses their charisma and personality to create excitement, drive bidding and effortlessly command the attention of the crowd. Good auctioneers often also employ humour to engage with and put bidders at ease, and commonly have signature lines in their back pocket to get the bids flowing.
If an auctioneer appears nervous, talks too quickly or mumbles, buyers will not be inspired with confidence and will hold back their bids. For this reason, the very best auctioneers create the impression that they’re confident, in control and that they’re essentially there to help buyers. Remember, the greatest auctioneers ooze confidence – not arrogance.
It can be extremely challenging to strike the perfect balance between being assertive and not aggressive as an auctioneer. You definitely want to steer clear of being an overly forceful auctioneer. Buyers are often nervous and wary enough when attending an auction, where the added strain and stress of an intimidating and aggressive auctioneer can turn them off completely from raising their hand. So the most skilful auctioneers are confident and assertive just enough to encourage buyers to make their best offer to maximise the sale price for the vendor without resorting to intimidation or coercion.
The modern-day auctioneer is confident, entertaining, assertive and, above all else, a great communicator. The best ones also make it look easy and have fun with it.