Did you know there are 7.53 billion people on this planet? Based on that, it’s safe to say there is no magic formula for auction success.
We are dealing with a lot of different people who all have different maps or views of the world. However, if you tune into your consumers and pay attention to when they get worked up or frustrated, you’ll soon realise that the root cause of most issues stems from unnecessary anxiety, brought on by a fear of the unknown.
This is true for vendors as well as buyers. So how do we reduce the risk of creating unnecessary anxiety and defensive barriers that result in missed opportunities? Let’s start by having a look at each side of the deal.
The biggest frustration for vendors, aside from not selling, is the feeling that they are not moving forward towards a result. From the outset, we need to lay out a plan they can follow, which will allow the vendor to focus on what is important.
The obvious answer is communication. However, in today’s climate, we need to be more strategic in terms of flow and timing, as well as understanding how our vendors consume communication. When I set up the plan with my vendors, I give them a basic structure that sets their expectations against easing their concerns and whether they would hear from me.
This structure would operate in one to two-week cycles, at the end of which would be a crossroads in the campaign where we – the vendor and I – had to decide how to move forward. When at a crossroads we must be able to offer at least three options to our vendors. I used to offer four options, one of which was to stay as we were, while the others included campaign change, price change and marketing change.
After listing the pros and cons, I’d recommend which one I felt would work well and look for collaboration by asking the vendor their preference. The crucial element of this structure was how the delivery method matched the type of message.
Think about how we feel when we receive correspondence. We get annoyed when our mother rings unexpectedly (sorry, Mum). Likewise, how many times have we sent a text only for our spouse to completely misinterpret it? We need to clearly define what kind of message vendors can expect and how to expect it, so it leaves no room for misinterpretation and unnecessary anxiety.
In a tight time frame like an auction this is vital, because if there is any misinterpretation it will most likely take the auction away from a level the market deems suitable.
We need to flip the script on this, and it all starts with the key phrase; ‘lose a battle to win a war’
At the moment it is challenging to create urgency amongst buyers who feel they are in the position of power. Several statistics would suggest the same. In many cases, despite the immense volume of data, agents still insist on sticking to the real estate manual, including standard lines such as ‘be quick or miss out’ or ‘I’ve got a few interested parties’, in an attempt to create fear of loss.
We need to flip the script on this, and it all starts with the key phrase; ‘lose a battle to win a war.’ We need to ensure buyers don’t feel as though they’re wasting their time and we need to show them they have a chance to secure a good buy.
A buyer is waiting for an excuse to disengage, so acknowledging that they are in a good position with the property will naturally lower barriers and give you a chance to connect and collaborate. On top of this, in an auction campaign, we are trying to put time pressure on buyers to create urgency. Therefore, we need to make sure we are brilliant at two things:
•Free-flowing information (removing barriers to entry).
•Speed of communication.
We know what buyers are likely to ask, so preparing evidence for any answers you’ll need is the first thing to do. Then you need to have it ready to send from your phone. By doing this, you can help buyers to move further along the line of interest while the momentum is there. From there, a solid SMS strategy is advisable as you need to keep buyers on the hook.
SMS has almost a 100 per cent open rate without being too intrusive. If you have any information that could potentially increase a key buyer’s enthusiasm for a property, send it through via SMS with a day and time frame that you’ll follow up on it with a call.
Any call without a conclusion should always include an agreed next contact time. This will increase the chances of improving your connection rate with buyers. Other good ideas include engaging with building inspectors to get a report ready and accessible for buyers.
A number of them will do the inspection then charge each buyer a nominal fee, which again removes a barrier to entry. Being transparent with vendors and buyers is everything.
However, instead of being transparent on your terms, allow yourself to be positioned alongside the customer and look for collaboration instead of the win. You’re much more likely to create the engagement that has been missing at your auctions.