From fast trial closes to staging, James Pratt, CEO of James Pratt Auctions Group, knows how to maximise opportunity at any auction.
An international auctioneer, Pratt is widely experienced in a variety of market conditions, giving him unique insight into bidder mentality and auction strategy.
Pratt says, despite the correcting market, auctioneers are perfectly positioned to drive the direction, pace and outcome of an auction – if they know how.
We chatted with him about how he prepares bidders before an auction and how he prevents an auction from stagnating.
REINSW: Is there anything you like to do before an auction to prep bidders?
James Pratt: “It’s important to remain professional and available. I think it's wise to allow the agent to do the majority of speaking to bidders right before the auction starts and act as an intermediary between you and the bidders. This helps to ensure you can remain neutral. If you spend excessive (of even perceived excessive) time engaging with one or two bidders, other parties may feel it wasn’t a fair auction – especially if one the bidders you engaged with goes on to win.”
REI: How can auctioneers steer the course of an auction?
JP: “Coming onto the property with fresh eyes (obviously having prepped beforehand), auctioneers can often quickly identify vantage viewpoints, for example a pool, or harbour, city or bushland views. This will keep the bidders more engaged than a wall or road. You can also ‘trial close’, allowing for appropriate increments and re-selling, especially on luxury properties that have unique features.”
For luxury property, fast trial closes are very important right now
REI: What do you recommend auctioneers do if an auction is stagnating?
JP: “For luxury property fast trial closes are very important right now. It’s also important to go back to any registered bidders who aren’t active and encouraging them to join the auction by suggesting a price. In an auction environment, things often move very quickly and some bidders might still be hoping for a bargain. It’s wise to remind and educate them that their best chance to own the property is right now.”
REI: What can auctioneers do to gain the confidence of bidders?
JP: “Look to support the bidders when they bid, for example welcoming a new bidder or complimenting bidders when they do bid. It’s also important to build rapport with bidders – for them to feel and see you as the conductor and someone who is there to help them buy the property. For nervous bidders, suggesting increments is a simple way to encourage engagement.”