How important is the auctioneer on the day?

The auctioneer is simply there to facilitate the open negotiation that is the auction platform  and read the buyer behaviour to execute the auction call.

Topic – Smarter Auctions

Mentor – James Bell

  • There is no magic wand or rabbit in a hat
  • The secret to a higher clearance rate
  • Agents should handle the bidders and owners prior to the auctioneer arriving
  • Auctioneers role isn’t to market the property


Kevin: We’re not worrying about what’s happening during an auction campaign, thinking that the auctioneer’s going to turn up on the day of auction, wave a magic wand and it’s all going to happen. Well, it just doesn’t happen that way. Unfortunately, many agents think it does. So what is the auctioneer’s role on auction day? To find out, we’re talking to James Bell from The Auction Group.

Kevin: G’day, James. How are you doing?

James Bell: Good thanks, Kevin.

Kevin: When I put this topic forward for you, I think your first note was, “This is an interesting topic.” Why is that?

James Bell: Look, I think the attitude of a lot of agents out there, and unfortunately maybe some auctioneers, if I can speak tongue in cheek, is that auctioneers are the superstars of that campaign, and my opinion is that, that’s not the case. As an auctioneer, I think my role is to have all stakeholders on that day, which are our agents and bidders and sellers, all walk away being the stars of the auction.

Kevin: Is that because the agents don’t necessarily do their job beforehand, that they think the auctioneer’s gotta come up? I mean, yesterday we had the conversation about how hard conversations and the fact that we don’t have them.

James Bell: Look, I’ve often arrived at the auction 15 to 30 minutes prior to it commencing, and the agents has sort of said to me, “Look, I’m going to ask you to be quite hard on our owners today.” And my favorite question, Kevin, and it allows a lot of reflection, is just to simply say why? And a lot of the times it’s their expectations are too high, and I say, “Well, why is that?”

Kevin: You know the answer to that.

James Bell: You do.

Kevin: I haven’t done my job, basically.

James Bell: Correct. And I think a lot of people want to hide behind having some accountability in the process.

James Bell: One thing I like to do with all agents that I conduct auctions for, whether they’re successful and an absolute raging success, or we’ve had one buyer and it hasn’t quite got there, or no buyers, is always reflect on what’s happened. What made that be an outstanding auction? Too often you get someone who does their first auction, and they get four or five bidders, and it sells over reserve, and they’d run another one four weeks later, and they get no one there, and all of a sudden the auction method is the worst in the world. But I think reflection is a big part of becoming a good auction agent as well.

Kevin: Yeah, I think yesterday you mentioned the individual roles, that it’s not our role to bid, it’s not our role to prepare the property. So, what is the auctioneer’s role? I mean, obviously the agent’s role is fairly clear, and that is to get everyone ready, both buyer and seller, for the day of auction. What’s the auctioneer’s role?

James Bell: Look, I think it’s simply just to facilitate the open negotiations that is the auction platform, and obviously something that I take very seriously in my auctioneering and my training around it is to really read the buyer behavior to make sure I execute the contract or the auction call as well as possible. And I think probably, for me, having had that many years in sales as well, obviously directly in real estate, certainly it gives me an advantage to be able to read that buyer behavior.

Kevin: I think that’s probably a good place for us to leave it for today, because tomorrow, James, I want to ask you where you’ve seen agents fail in the lead up to auction, and then I want to round the week out by asking you what great agents do that other agents don’t. So that might be a nice way for us to enter into the conversation tomorrow. We’ll catch you again tomorrow morning, James. James Bell. My guest.

Kevin: Thank you, James.

James Bell: Thanks, Kevin.

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