IT doesn't seem so long ago that the definition of a good agent was that he or she was an effective communicator.
It's somewhat ironic that in this day and age where there are so many devices available for the transmission of information that the art of communicating seems to have lost its prominence in the agent-client relationship.
Any young blokes in agencies will probably read this and groan, as there's nothing worse than some old has-been or never-was pontificating about how things were done better and certainly more thoroughly in the old days.
You would assume, quite incorrectly, that the advent of the mobile phone would greatly enhance communication between an agent and a client.
There's no waiting until nightfall and the completion of dinner to ring a client at home on the landline, and no need to take a punt and ring at lunchtime in the hope the cocky happens to be in the house - just give them a call on the mobile and she'll be right.
It's a wonderful tool to use for arrangements.
The most annoying part of the communication equation comes after the completion of the sale, as the age-old tradition of the agent ringing his clients who sold stock on the day and relaying prices seems to have all but disappeared.
The dreaded text or email seems to be the method preferred by the modern-day agent.
I can understand why these methods of contact are in vogue; they are cheap, quick and painless.
The tradition of actually ringing a client with prices used to be an integral part of building or cementing a strong and loyal relationship with a client, even though some of the calls made were a bit awkward, especially on a plummeting market.
There aren't too many agents of a certain vintage who haven't, with great trepidation, rung a client and had to impart the news that the sale was down and that their returns were slashed.
It's even worse when, as the agent, you have advised the client that this particular sale should be strong and the estimated values and the prices realised don't quite match.
Luckily, in recent times a great many cockies are aware of the market trends before they even get their prices faxed, emailed or texted through.
The market report on the ABC Country Hour is must-listen radio for many, and those with a more technical bent can get on the internet a couple of hours after the completion of the sale and view the MLA National Livestock Reporting Service report.
For anyone with a smartphone there is even a free app available that will house market reports from all over Australia.
I haven't graduated to the world of smartphones as yet, but I have witnessed how easy it is to install this little technological miracle.
All you do is go to the app store and find Meat & Livestock Market Information, hit install and bingo, there it is.
For us old codgers the phone call is still the way to go, as ringing people is more accurate and reliable, and quicker than trying to hit the buttons to text someone.
As far as market information goes, I like mine on a Thursday morning.
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