What the outstanding auction agents do that the others don’t

Great auction agents work very closely with their buyers to the extent they almost know where the bidding will open and where it will get to.

Topic – Smarter Auctions

Mentor – James Bell

  • Understand buyer behavior
  • Move quickly during the auction if required to engage the seller
  • Not rushing the seller or buyer on the day – relaxed
  • Build a very dynamic relationship with the Auctioneer


Kevin: Ever sat back and wondered, I have, about how great agents make things look so easy, whether it’s an auction, whether it’s a sale, whether it’s a listing presentation? What is it that outstanding agents do that sometimes they’re very hard to determine? That’s the question I put to James Bell. James is from The Auction Group, and I know that James, in your time, you’ve seen many outstanding auction agents. What do you think they do that other people don’t, that other agents don’t do?

James Bell: I think the main thing is they build close relationships with both stakeholders, the sellers, and the buyers. With buyers, they work that closely with them. It’s almost that they know where the bidding is going to open and where it’s going to get to, and I think with the sellers, what they do is they empower the sellers with knowledge throughout that full four weeks, so the sellers are well prepared. They understand what’s happening, and you can tell walking into an auction and speaking to a seller that they’re all calm. They understand what the process is. They understand what’s going to happen, and it’s such a joy to walk into an auction like that because it invariably unfolds very, very nicely as well.

Kevin: Yeah. Well, last week in Marketing Monday, you shared that story with us about that agent who just understood the process so well, understood his buyers extremely well so much so that he almost determined to you exactly the way the auction was going to run, James.

James Bell: Well, correct, and look. There’s no doubt he would have worked with those buyers to a level where he knows the right to ask the questions as well, and then the right to have their trust in terms of discussing strategy with them, so he was able to obviously sit down prior to the auction not just with the seller, but with the buyers as well and discuss what they were planning and hoping to achieve on the day.

Kevin: That type of intelligence, to be able to feed them back to the seller as well, it’s going to be very, very helpful in terms of getting them with the right mindset on the day as well.

James Bell: Invariably, Kevin. With all the auctions I do, the outstanding auction agents, they reserve through way. They’re a lot different to agents who maybe not build that rapport and trust across those, both stakeholders, so to me, I know if I’m working, I’ve got 10 to 15 probably really, really auction agents that you go there knowing and bristling with confidence that the job is being done on both sides, and I think that’s probably one of the best things is an outstanding auction agent really relies or doesn’t have to rely on the involvement of the auctioneer on the day.

James Bell: What they also do is they allow it to play out in front of them. It was one thing I picked up in Sydney very early on and in working in New South Wales was invariably, they … especially the good auctioneers. They didn’t want the agents talking to the buyers during the actual auction. They wanted the agents off to the side as I was in terms of like watching the buy behavior. I never re ally gave thought to that, but when I think about it and reflect now, if a bidder starts to sense that the auctioneer is not going to do anything until the agent comes up and have a chat to them, well, that delays the process as well, so just … That simply alone was a big eye-opener for me as well.

Kevin: You have a lot of technique, a lot of skill, and I think we covered this on Wednesday when we talked about the auctioneer is not the person who’s going to turn up with a wand on the day of auction and just make it all happen. It’s very much a team effort, and there’s a lot of work that has to go in before the day of auction to make sure that the auctioneer can be the Orchestrator, can stand up there, and call the bids, and run the auction the way it should be run, James.

James Bell: Correct, and I think to me and what I train and work on with the teams that I train and consult with as well is that … I don’t necessarily want to have to pause the auction as the auctioneer. I want to empower my agents to be able to make a decision, and I invariably know with those that I work closely with, if I see them take off and go into the house, I know that they’ve also viewed that the oxygen in the auction is petering out, and they’re doing  their role with the owner, or invariably, that could be … The decision might be to move to the buyer rather than the owner, but I think there’s also … It’s a really nice dynamic between auctioneer and agent.

James Bell: The time where you do have to pause an auction, it’s not great. You lose your momentum, buyers start to think, “Oh, there’s no one else interested,” so I think in terms of getting the property on the market, if that can be done without delay and it’s all discussed prior in strategy with your owner and everyone is on the same page, it’s a much smoother process. From an agent’s point of view, in terms of using an auction as a method of prospecting, I can assure you that you’d certainly look a lot better out there in the eyes of potential sellers too.

Kevin: Yeah, great words, and it’s been great advice all week, and I’m so pleased you’ve been able to share it with us, James. Thank you very much, James. He’s from The Auction Group and is a very skilled auctioneer, has run a tremendous business with his wife, Sarah. James, thank you very much for being with us all week. It’s been a pleasure talking to you again. Thanks for your time.

James Bell: My pleasure, Kevin. Thank you very much.

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