Bidders, balloons and baristas – tips for agents and auctioneers

Journal, Sales,  Salespeople

It’s three days out from auction day and I phone the marketing agent, Julie, to find out exactly how the campaign has gone and what her expectations are for the auction day. 

Julie is, naturally, ecstatic.  She has spent the past three-and-a-half weeks conducting open homes. She’d had brochures hand-delivered to the neighbourhood and the online ad looked formidable, with the sunset in the background of the low set, brick, three-bed, one-bath, and one-car garage home.

Julie is pumped for the day!  Saturday will yield a day no less exciting than a school fete. Yes, indeedy, there would be a sausage sizzle, a coffee van and a random contractor running around in an animal suit offering balloons and dubious sweets to tempt in the punters.

All the fun of the fair!

But Julie has forgotten one thing. Actually, several things have been omitted from the best-practice auction process.

It’s 2019 and the world is an amazingly transparent place with little place to hide.

I happen to agree with coffee vans at auctions or open homes. In fact, I am partial to a cheeky piccolo on almond milk.

That said, do I think they are necessary to engage buyers, align vendors’ expectations and actually achieve a powerful unconditional contract on or before auction day?


Simply, in this challenged market, we need oxygen, transparency and clear strategy.  What we did in the boom market, the good times, if you will, won’t set you up for success today.

In this market, we need to act with incredible urgency.  We need to consider that our vendor’s time and investment are precious and that the quality of information is the catalyst for success on auction day.

The way forward here is simply to get uncomfortable.  As professional agents, we need to get better at having the uncomfortable conversations with our sellers and also the buyers.  Our sellers need to be advised from day one, exactly what the buyers are thinking around value and similarly, buyers need to understand the level of motivation from the sellers.

My three tips for successful campaigns:

1)    Act today as if the sale was to occur tomorrow.

2)    Treat every buyer with dignity, courtesy and with the very real knowledge that they are likely the actual buyer – it’s professional and necessary.  Ensure that your strategy around garnering feedback from buyers includes a simple, comprehensive plan to aid in gathering offers prior to auction.

3)    Never change the end goal of achieving the best possible price for the vendor but give all presentation and price feedback direct to the owners – good, bad and ugly – you’re the messenger. Sweating bullets is good.