Latest News

A good auctioneer gets the basics right, says Clarence White

9 July 2018

Value as an auctioneer is about more than just calling the auction. 

Your conversations with buyers set up the bidding and your understanding of the vendor’s needs frames price expectations. When you participate in auction-floor negotiations, read the floor and deploy the right strategy, you are working to ensure the maximum selling price is achieved.

These are the basics of good auctioneering and Clarence White, award-winning auctioneer, shares with us how you can put them into practice.

Securing an opening bid

The best start to an auction is if a paddle goes straight up when you call for an opening bid. It is a strong message to all bidders that they must compete to secure the property. It is also a powerful statement that you and the selling agent have done your groundwork and prepared the buyers.

Achieving this is quite simple. The secret lies in pre-auction conversations with buyers. For example:

AUCTIONEER: “Mr Buyer, I thought I might kick things off around (pick a figure approximately 10–15 per cent below the likely result) today. Would you feel comfortable getting me started at that level?”

BUYER: “Yes.”

AUCTIONEER: “Can I call on you for an opening bid?”


BUYER: “I don’t want to start today/I might just see what happens.”

AUCTIONEER: “Mr Buyer, you realise that if everyone does that we all just stand there and stare at each other? Wouldn’t you rather take control from the start? Statistics show the opening bidder ends up being the buyer in approximately 80 per cent of cases?”

When to call a property on the market

There is no good time to call a property on the market.

Stop it. Just stop doing it. 

The more agents and auctioneers do this, the more it conditions the marketplace to wait for this cue before they know there is a real imperative to bid. It just makes all our future business harder. 

Instead, educate your buyers beforehand that you won’t be calling the property on the market. You will call it up three times and sell it. If a buyer wants to own the property, they need to be in front when that happens. 

That said, I will always make a clear final statement once it appears all bidding has been exhausted, once I have trial closed and all other strategies have been exhausted. 

When an agent lets me know the owners are happy to sell, I the choose the right moment to make it clear to the crowd, always avoiding the phrase “on the market”.

For example: “To be clear buyers, I am going to sell if there is no better bid, so fair warning.” 

Simple to do and better results

For high performing auctioneers these strategies are the basics. They can mean the difference between sold or passed in and thousands of dollars won or lost.

About Clarence

Clarence White is a two-time winner of the REINSW Award for Excellence in Auctioneering (2014, 2017) and was a runner-up at the Australasian Auctioneering Championships in 2017. He started his career in real estate as a sales agent before climbing the ranks to general manager. He began auctioneering in 2013 with McGrath Real Estate and moved to Bresic Whitney in 2017. Today, Clarence also calls for independent agents, including The Agency, Belle, Ray White and LJHooker. 

Want more?