The year was 1999 and it was in December that I started my first dream job in CAAS, Airport Management with the world’s best airport as my working environment.
As a young 23-year-old, I experienced the real world, learned, and loved everything about the airport. Life was great! In 2001, I sat down with one of my good friends, Roy, who ran a successful insurance agency in AIA, and I got ambitious, wanting to see the world, and the rest was history!
Roy: My Beginning in Sales
I strived and qualified for the Million Dollar Club in AIA and I learned relationship management and rapport building from Roy — my 1st mentor.
Roy has always been proud of me even till today. After all, it was AIA that provided me with all the right values in value-selling. During my time in AIA, I was certified in SPIN selling — one of the most valuable skills that have become an innate quality in me. Thank you Roy for being a great mentor, and an awesome inspiration to great values: Selling without Selling.
David: Property Mentor
My 2nd mentor was someone with strong business acumen - David. He taught me leveraging and the thin line between leveraging and "making use" of others. He taught me the concept of forward-thinking and to be always 2-steps ahead of others, through critical thinking and scenario mapping.
Back then, I was his right-hand man and we built a very strong empire in real estate under PropNex (this was during the formation of PropNex when the 3 companies came together).
These forward-thinking and leveraging skills have since stayed with me. Understanding the difference between staging and making use of people has also equipped me with protecting my clients when entering a negotiation stage.
Looking back, I am proud to have been a part of the very integral contribution to PropNex's success, and I respect Ismail for the sacrifices he has made through these few decades towards his team's success.
Patrick: Staying Humble
Patrick was my 3rd mentor. A multimillionaire who dressed simply, with a huge bunch of keys dangling from his pants — often mistaken by others as a delivery man. Patrick is an amazing Teo Chew businessman who started his business selling umbrellas since young.
Patrick is a legend to me because he has built a company from humble beginnings into one that owns more than 70 properties and over 13 shops selling daily products in Singapore. He is one of the biggest parallel importers of daily products.
From Patrick, I learned that in business, your promise to deliver and your integrity are quintessential to your success. Never cheat or lie to others, and recognize that everyone starts out from somewhere.
The Late Mr. Wu: Entrepreneurship
My 4th mentor was the late Mr. Wu, a multi-billionaire, and the head of an Indonesian conglomerate. I got to know Mr. Wu through his son and later learned that he happened to be the brother of a highly influential family in Indonesia.
Their group owns a great many shopping malls in both Indonesia and China. I was his executive assistant and got to move around a lot with and know lots of business owners and entrepreneurs. From Mr. Wu, I learned patience.
He also spoke warmly and sincerely to all and exhibited great patience in business discussions. It was his patience that brought negotiation to a higher level.
In loving memory of the late Mr. Wu, your values and patience will be a constant lighthouse for me.
Today: Giving Back
22 years of working and learning from the best have equipped me with great values, and it is time for me to share and impart my learnings, skills, and values to my team.
If you are looking into a new real estate career, let us catch up over a cup of coffee — I'll buy the coffee, and you'll share your story!