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Richie Lau discusses 'what makes a good broker'

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Hong Kong born, focused on real estate, and attracted to Colliers by its international status. With two significant recent wins under his belt, we speak to Richie Lau, Colliers Director, who is one of the many dedicated, unsung critical team members from Office Services.

Balancing a productive work-life with priorities at home - notably his expectant wife - he fills his time with family and a passion for all thing’s basketball. Scratching below the surface, we take time to get to know the man behind the success, and what he’s done differently to keep traction with clients.

Why real estate?

Hong Kong is one of the most iconic cities in the world with a very distinct skyline. Its integration into every-day-life and being a key indicator of the city’s performance has always fascinated me. In addition, its position as a major economic force has always been appealing, especially its role in investment and how the fundamental challenge of a lack supply keeps prices and demand high. If you want to work in real estate, and you’re from Hong Kong, it’s a no-brainer.

How have you found the last 6 months?

I’ve experienced my fair share of challenges. There are the obvious global and local trends impacting the market, but saying that, change has created opportunity of tenants and we’ve seen a recent increase in enquires and activity. You just need to be proactive in looking for them.

At a time like this you must remain focused. Your personal resilience will get tested but it’s important you put the client at the centre of everything you do. Get to know their needs so you can be there for them and advise in the best possible way. At Colliers, we have a depth of market intelligence at our disposal, so it’s about understanding it and contextualising it for clients to provide insight and clear recommendations. At points, clients just want someone to talk to you just need to be prepared to listen.

Can you tell us a little bit about your recent wins?

The reasons for my successes come down to two major factors; relationships and understanding the client. I worked hard to build a long-term relationship with both clients, and to understand their needs. A bonus was knowing who I was competing against so I could be a step ahead at each important stage of the process. This enabled me to bridge the gap between where they are now, and what they want to achieve.

What skills do you think have helped you recently, and what advise can you give?

There are many things you can do, but I feel getting the basics right, by being honest and open creates a solid platform. I’d also outline 5 simple things, that don’t cost anything:

  1. Always work hard: It’s towards the end of the month or quarter. In sales, you’ve either hit your target or not. The pressure could be on and what you do next will determine who you are. You could have hit your targets and ease off in effort; you could stay in the office to try and hit your target; or, you could have hit your target but you keep working hard and stay focused on what’s next. You’re only as good as your last sale, so work hard, stay motivated and keep going.
  2. Follow up: It’s a skill to effectively follow up. It can be applied to everything you do, and best of all, it’s free. Make sure you do it after submitting a proposal, post meeting with a client, or even if you’ve not spoken to someone in a long time – keep the dialogue going.
  3. Shadow your peers: Partner with people in your team who you think are stronger than you. Learn from them, challenge yourself as learning from your peers is a great way to get better at your job while building strong relationships with your co-workers.
  4. Practice your people skills: Excellent small talk is a learned skill. It’s one skill that's crucial to a broker's success. Whether you're at a social or a networking event, practice making other people feel at ease. Notice what makes them talk, zone out, and laugh; take what you learn back to the office.
  5. Roll with rejection: You won't win every deal, and some buyers just won't like you. That's part of being a broker. And while it's important to be thoughtful about how you can improve, it's crucial to move on easily from rejection. Examine why you weren't successful with your prospect, ask for outside opinions when appropriate, and move forward quickly.

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Richie Lau

Director

Office Services

Hong Kong

Richie has over 9 years' experience in the real estate industry, providing office brokerage services to multi-national corporations and publicly listed companies.

Prior to joining Colliers, Richie was with Cushman & Wakefield (formely DTZ) and served clients in both Hong Kong and Kowloon for over 5 years. Richie also has sales experience in business events sponsorship, media & advertising and enterprise software across the Asia-Pacific region.

Richie was raised, educated and worked in Sydney before relocating back to Hong Kong in 2010.

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