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Building a winning auction culture breeds success

10 May 2016

By Gavin Croft, Director and Head Auctioneer at BresicWhitney

Every real estate agency wants to have a winning culture, but to do that you have to build and continue to focus on it.

One of the keys to establishing a high performing sales culture is to be clear around how you understand, represent and then execute the auction process.

It is crucial for the transaction to be transparent to both your agency team and the outside world. This transparency will positively influence agent behaviour, and the number of listing opportunities being generated.

Two years ago BresicWhitney conducted 412 auctions: this year we will complete over 700 auctions, a 70% increase. Our average clearance rates are a healthy 84%.

The reasons for this growth and success can be summarised in these five key elements:

1. A learning and development environment

No auction sale is perfect and you can always make better decisions. Mistakes will happen, but if an agent takes the time to reflect, understand why and learn from the mistake, the future will be better.

An agent should evaluate everything from the price guide, to the handling of the buyers and vendor management.

If you consistently look to complete all activities in the best way possible, rather than focus on the result, then you will move to a higher performing level. Some of the best auction agents I know ran pretty average campaigns in their first 20 or 30 auction listings.

One of the more important aspects that inexperienced agents must learn is the ability to get ‘cut through’ with buyers and find out their level of buying intent, their ability to buy now, and to make sure that they show up on auction day.

Buyer qualification is a skillset which only experience can teach, and the great auction agents do this better than most. These agents can unlock opportunities that others don't see. 

2. Work as a team

There is nothing worse than thinking of your colleagues in terms of ‘me’ and ‘them’.

There are a number of critical roles and responsibilities on auction day. These include capturing the data of auction attendees, registering the buyers to bid, answering buyer enquiries and discussing your auction strategy with your team and vendor.

It is essential to make sure you are well resourced to execute these roles and it requires planning and understanding of the job at hand.

By rallying around the idea of being a team and creating a ‘we're all in this together’ mentality, you help to build a sense of unity and cohesion. The general public see this and it helps to show them that you can be relied upon.

3. Evolve your auction culture

Building a winning culture is not something you put in place once and expect to take care of itself. It takes work! You also need to allow it to evolve over time.

Over the last three years Sydney has seen one of the strongest auction markets for several decades, but it's foolish to think this will last forever. So as days on market increase, and buyer demand waivers, the power of the auction process and the day itself actually increases.

This means you need to evolve your practice to meet the changing market, otherwise your performance can be affected.

4. Live it from the top!

Running a great auction business is not so much what you say, but more about what you do. Senior agents and Principals need to lead from the front, and consistently demonstrate the right auction behaviours, to inspire a high performing team.

These core auction behaviours consist of holding professional open homes and call backs, qualifying and servicing buyers, having superior product knowledge to your competitors and managing and representing vendors appropriately to ensure they make well informed decisions.

This will then filter down to your team and ensures that everyone holds themselves to the same high standards.

5. Understand the metrics

Understanding how your auction metrics sit relative to the market and your competitors plays a vital role in allowing you to measure your performance.

The old cliché of ‘success leaves clues’ very much applies here. If your numbers are not where you would like them to be, then you need to work out where they are not meeting your targets, and then you can identify where the journey begins in building that winning auction culture.

We use metrics to measure the quality of our auction campaigns, but also to provide confidence to sellers by demonstrating our strong track record of consistent auction success.