Technology and real estate have very much become intertwined, with all sorts of platforms, CRMs, artificial intelligence and various other integrations providing us with the ability to connect at a much greater scale.
One of the final frontiers for technology within the industry was the auction process, which had been a bastion of tradition within the space; however, consumer behaviour was beginning to test its place.
What do consumers prioritise?
The pace and ease at which consumers can obtain pretty much anything nowadays are insane, and it’s drifted right through every aspect of life. People expect immediate gratification, and if they don’t get it, they move on!
Sure, decisions like buying a property do take more time, but it’s safe to say that if a buyer can’t find the right information, or if there are barriers to making an offer, then buyers will find reasons to switch off.
So waiting for an auction, let alone bidding at one, is a serious barrier! That’s not the only challenge that the traditional auction process has either.
Thankfully, one of the few positives to come from the lockdown challenges has been the greater acceptance of technology, and auctions were no exception. What it did was force the industry to address the issues above (as well as the particular challenges that the lockdown brought), and here’s how technology now helps to keep the auction process current for today’s consumers.
Before auction day
The ability to collaborate with vendors to a much greater extent has certainly been made easier. It was pretty challenging to be able to accommodate regular face-to-face meetings with our sellers, but video conferencing has now made it inexcusable!
This potentially brings a much higher level of trust and belief because looking sellers in the eye shows that you’re not just hiding away behind a phone or email. Even just making simple phone calls as video calls creates a much stronger bond.
On auction day
Being locked down pushed the online auction process into the spotlight, and even though we’re now “free” every week, there are bidders that almost assume that they can bid remotely. Having the blend of onsite and online bidding means that sellers actually have access to every feasible buyer now, and if I were a leader, I’d be advertising that as a mandatory part of the auction across all auctions.
I really enjoy that mix of online and onsite bidding during a call, too, as it adds another dimension in which we need to look down the barrel of the camera and treat online bidders as if they were present. It’s another layer of emotional complexity that can be powerful if used wisely.
Add in a secure bidding platform that takes care of contracts electronically, as well as the security of the bidders, and the contract process just got a lot less painful, too (for you and the environment!).
Not only that, but online auctions also created a greater efficiency for the agent, providing flexibility in the diary because buyers no longer needed to be there to be involved. This also opens the door to allowing agents to bring auctions forward with more confidence in case a flood of action happens early on in the campaign.
After auction day
To complete the holistic auction process, we then need to have a genuine third stage, if it passes in, that can create competition again when the inevitable situation arises in which unconditional come into contact with the conditional buyers.
Installing an online offer management platform slots in perfectly, giving the agent the chance to rebuild the competition that comes with an auction process, whilst opening the floor to conditional buyers that may have been waiting anxiously for the auction to pass in.
Andy Reid is an auctioneer, coach, and the head of training for Century 21 and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Australasia.