Why You Should Stand Close to the Auctioneer
I cannot understand why people stand at the other end of the street at an auction. I often suggest to people that they stand next to the auctioneer.
If you are next to the auctioneer you can see what they see. You can understand when they are pulling a bid before they have even asked for it. You get to see whether they pull the bid first, and then suddenly the person raises their finger.
But it’s also part of that fullback/full forward mentality. The auctioneer knows you are there, they are a bit worried about what you are going to see, whether you are going to interrupt their timing, and so on. Auctioneers don’t like people too close to them.
My business partner and I attended an auction in inner Sydney which was to be conducted on site, a rare event in that city. Our clients really wanted the property and had given us an unlimited budget. The plan was for one of us to work the crowd and the other to stand next to the auctioneer, ready to take control.
As the auction progressed I interacted with the auctioneer, and challenged him as to whether or not the property was on the market. The auctioneer advised it wasn’t, as at that stage the bidding was well below the reserve. The auctioneer was calling for bids on $100,000, to which I replied quite loudly, ‘$10,000.’ The auctioneer correctly refused my offer of $10,000, but by this stage my partner and I had total control of the auction.
I replied to the auctioneer that I couldn’t see anybody offering him $100,000. I then asked the crowd: ‘Does anybody want to give the auctioneer a bid of $100,000?’ The silence was deafening. I promptly turned to the auctioneer with a cheeky grin and said, ‘My $10,000 looks pretty good now, doesn’t it?’ The auctioneer was forced to take the lower increment, the property was passed in and we bought it for $300,000 less than the reserve.
– David Morrell