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Building a good working relationship

26 August 2016

Auctioneers’ relationships with sales agents are essential in ensuring the client gets the best result possible.

But what can you do to get the most from the relationship? 

REINSW spoke to award winning auctioneer Clarence White of McGrath Estate Agents, to find out how to develop a good relationship and what the main benefits are. 
How important is it to have a good relationship with the sales agent? 
Knowing how each agent likes to work enables the auctioneer to work in harmony to execute a seamless auction and creates our best opportunity to achieve an outstanding result for our vendor.

As auctioneers we need to be adaptable so we can work with the skill sets of different agents. Some agents need a lot of help with auction floor negotiation, others don’t need any at all. 

Less experienced agents may need the auctioneer to take charge in some circumstances, whereas seasoned veterans may be more comfortable calling the shots. 

Knowing your agent’s strengths, weaknesses, habits and preferences allows you to be nimble and work best in tandem. 

Knowing your agent well may also help with a variety of strategic decisions on the auction floor such as when to fill time to allow an agent to speak with a buyer, or when to push more directly for a bid, when to use a vendor bid, and when to ask for instructions etc. 

It becomes a bit of a dance, the better you know your dance partner the more smoothly you will execute the routine. 

How do you develop a good relationship?

It takes time and develops with the volume of auctions you do together. Viewing the agent as my client is very important to me and that underpins the relationship. I try to be observant of the agent and responsive to their preferences. 

I ask my agents what they want from me on auction day. It also doesn’t hurt to ask for feedback after your auctions. Ask whether the agent would like to see anything done differently next time. A quick debrief after each auction can be very useful.

It is important to understand and adapt to your agents’ preferences and know when to go with it and when to coach or advise.

What impact can a bad relationship and communication cause? 

It can lead to hiccups on auction day. If the agent and auctioneer are not on the same page, then any number of things can occur. Ultimately, any or all of these may affect the end result on the day. More pointedly, the impact can be that the agent won’t book you again! 

What are the most important issues to discuss? 
  • Auction day strategy
  • How many likely bidders there will be and their feedback on price 
  • What the buyers are likely to do and which buyers are likely to be the strongest
  • Reserve versus buyer feedback
  • Use of a vendor bid
  • Any special situations with either buyers or sellers that the auctioneer may need to be aware of.
What information do you require from agents in advance of the auction?
  • How many registrations are expected?
  • How many are expected to be active in the bidding?
  • Have there been any pre-auction offers? If so, at what level?
  • What has been the quote range?
  • What has been the price feedback from buyers?
  • Is there a standout buyer who may be in a position to pay significantly more than other buyers?
  • What is the reserve? If there is a gap between vendor expectation and buyer feedback then I will generally want to unpack that and understand why
  • Would you like the property called “on the market” if appropriate?
  • What strategy should I use around the vendor bid?
  • How is the vendor feeling about the auction?
  • Is there any message you would like conveyed to the vendor by me?