“Someone who pickpockets people with their tongue”, in a roundabout kind of way that’s a short quote on what makes a good Auctioneer.
Plenty of spirit and a mixture of courtesy, grace, humility, humour, push, pull and manners, along with a synergy with the agent and the market place, all blend together to help the Vendor achieve the price at which they are happy to sell their property.
With that being said, a good auction is one where the bidding starts straight away and goes at a good tempo up to the reserve price and beyond. The agent is also key to a good auction. If they can get buyers to the auction based on honesty around price and integrity of the property, whilst keeping the Vendors well versed on market feedback, then all the planets will align.
The Auctioneers job is to make everyone feel comfortable. For me, it’s trying to get people into the palm of my hands. I like to treat people the way I’d like to be treated, but if they are rude or obstructive I still let them air their point of view but have a whole range of dialog to use depending on where the discussion or objections go. As an Auctioneer, you need to be able to adapt and not be one dimensional. The opening bid is important, but it needs to be at a reasonable level to start and then incremental increases help set the tone. I don’t like to call the property on the market, I never have, unless instructed to do so. My job is to deliver the best price I can from the auction floor to the Agent, who then takes it to the Vendor for their final consent, and even after that I’ll try for more. That is the difference between a good Auctioneer and a great one, it’s the ability to get every last dollar from the market place.
An agent once said of me, “Charlie is terrific to sell through but a bugger to buy from because he gets every last dollar whilst treating everybody with the courtesy and respect they deserve”.
Charlie Powell is a Senior Auctioneer with Under the Hammer. You can watch him in action here: