Generally, your effort reflects reward. For Office Services’ Sayaka Matsumoto, this couldn’t be more fitting as when she goes about her business, whether at Colliers or in her personal life, the mantra is built around one simple principle - hard work. It might sound cliché but listening to her speak, you quickly understand how she’s built lasting relationships and why clients trust her to be the expert. Taking time out from her busy schedule, we grab 5 minutes to scratch under the surface to find out more.
Sayaka, can you share a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Japan moving to Hong Kong when I was young, around one year old. Since then, I’ve lived here and call this my home, but I did have a spell overseas studying at the University of Switzerland. Outside of the office, I have a passion for trail running. I enjoy taking on a mix of runs ranging from 10-15km midweek, to 15-35km over the weekends depending on how much time I have. Occasionally, I’ll even get involved in a race such as Moon Trekker, North Face 100 and Lantau 70.
How long have you worked in real estate and how did you get involved?
10 years, but I’ve not always been involved in real estate. I started in the hotel sector. I’d reached a threshold and was looking for something new which is when an opportunity with a brokerage firm came my way; I’ve not looked back since.
This fast-paced industry that rewards those that work-hard is a pretty good fit for me. I’ve found it challenging at times, but in a way that it has stretched my capacity and improved me professionally. There is always something new to learn which keeps me engaged and motivated.
When I first started, I do remember feeling a little overwhelmed. I’d look at my colleagues that had been in the industry since they graduated and realised quickly that to succeed I would need to work twice as hard to close the gap on their knowledge and expertise. But that’s OK, I love a challenge and always want to work harder than the next person.
How are you remaining focused on your clients?
My aim is to always provide clients with the right solution, the market conditions don’t change that. We might be experiencing a shift in expectations (or even what’s possible with COVID ) but the objective remains the same. I stay flexed in my approach and make sure clients have all the relevant data ensuring a current perspective so they can make the best possible decisions.
Also, knowledge and experience count for nothing if you don’t know your client. The fundamental building block to all my work is to understand the situation, business need, financial constraints and their vision (and if they don’t have a vision around real estate, help them to realise one). Once you have this, and only when you have this, can you act like an expert to deliver the right solution.
What opportunities are you seeing in the market?
For occupiers, now is a good time to consider real estate footprints; whether it’s reviewing how employees engage with the workplace, creating flexible working strategies or the ability to negotiate a short-term extension that’s more favourable. Leveraged against the right opportunity, cost-savings, increasing footprint, relocating or flight-to-quality strategies are all possibilities.
If I was to give advice when speaking to my clients and colleagues, at a time like this it’s important to invest in relationships. As the real estate sector goes through a state of flux with question marks over what the office of tomorrow will look like, the more you can connect with people to understand their pain points and areas of success, the better informed you will be to operate in the market. It sounds very simple, but to do this right can provide real value and help position yourself in that space as an expert with your peers; professionally and socially.