If you’re looking to maximise the success of an auction campaign, ignore the buyer at your peril, says Laing+Simmons General Manager, Leanne Pilkington.

Auctions are a popular method of sale and continue to deliver strong results for vendors and agents across many different markets and at various price points. But auctions aren’t always success stories and the many campaigns that fail often do so because agents don’t cover off every base.

Ensuring the property is widely and effectively marketed and that the vendor adopts a realistic reserve price are a given in any successful auction.

However, to maximise the effectiveness of an auction campaign, agents must realise that communication with potential buyers is equally as important as communicating with the vendor.

The potential buyer is a stakeholder often ignored, sometimes forgotten completely, during an auction campaign. But it must be remembered that every sale requires an agreement between two parties to be reached, and as the conduit and mechanism for this to occur, an agent must divide his or her focus equally between these parties.

This involves developing strong relationships with potential buyers prior to the auction, and communication skills are the key. Agents need to ensure a potential buyer is fully aware of what happens on the day of the auction, the order of events, and what to expect.

The more comfortable a potential buyer feels with the process, the more likely they will be to actually show up on the day. The agent should provide the buyer with the level of confidence required to make a bid. The benefits of making the opening bid, even if there is no other competition, should also be made clear, while it is prudent for agents to reinforce to buyers to remember their limit at all times.

To achieve the required level of comfort and confidence for the buyer, an honest and transparent approach is necessary. If a property is unlikely to fall within the buyer’s price range, this should be communicated. While auctions can obviously deliver the unexpected, wasting a buyer’s time will reflect poorly on the agent and may result in the loss of a future business opportunity.

Once a relationship with a potential buyer is established, it must be maintained. If there is a communication breakdown after one or two unsuccessful bidding efforts, the buyer may go cold on the idea of a purchase or even investigate the services of a competing agent.

A balance between keeping an open dialogue with buyers, both during and between auction campaigns, and coming on too strong with a ‘hard sell’, needs to be struck. Striking this balance is the bread and butter of being a successful agent.

Just don’t forget the relationship with the buyer is just as important as the one with the vendor.


About Leanne Pilkington

Leanne Pilkington is General Manager of leading residential real estate group Laing+Simmons and a Board member of the Real Estate Institute of NSW. Joining the Laing+Simmons group in 1995 as a Franchise and Administration Manager, Leanne was promoted to Marketing Manager in 1997 and General Manager in 2000. With nearly 30 years of experience in the industry, Leanne oversees the entire Laing+Simmons group as well as focusing on the growth and development of each franchise. She is instrumental in developing new products, services and training systems to meet the varying needs of each office.