Agency game still about the people

Agent says industry is still about people skills


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Inverell agent Robbie Bloch looks back on a decade of work since winning the NSW young auctioneers competition.

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THE livestock industry has changed dramatically since Robbie Bloch took out the NSW Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association Young Auctioneers Competition in 2008, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is dealing with clients.

Mr Bloch was working for Alex Johnston and Company when he won the state competition, before placing second in the national competition the following year.

He always wanted to be agent, having friends who were sons of local agents, and started working straight out of high school.

Mr Bloch is now the main auctioneer for C.L. Squires, handling all stud stock sales, as well as the prime and store cattle sales at Inverell.

He said the competition gave him a great start to his career.

“You learn how to conduct yourself and you get a lot of confidence from it, but the biggest thing I found was the network of people that I met.”

Mr Bloch has come a long way since he won in 2008, and the biggest change to the job has been technology and the increased use of online selling platforms.

“Ten years ago AuctionsPlus was a novelty, but now online marketing is huge – if it’s not the biggest selling centre in the country, it’s pretty close to it,” he said.

“I can remember sitting on the phone until 11pm at night and going to every sale in the region to buy cattle, but now I rarely attend other sales apart from during weaner season.

“A lot of work can be done over the phone, so I’m more effective in the paddock, doing something for my client, rather than going to a sale and not buying anything.”

The market has also varied, and the strong results from recent years has led to more confidence in the livestock industry.

“In the past few years, with the strength of the industry and the market, we’ve been kicking a few goals for our clients,” Mr Bloch said.

“When I cut my teeth in the agency industry, if the cow job got to 300 cents a kilogram  and feeder steers got to 200c/kg we were doing well, so the current market is a big improvement.

“But the main thing that has stayed the same is the people, and getting to deal with different people every day.”

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