Having worked for almost 20 years in Office Services, specifically in Landlord Representation, Ricky always emphasizes to those who are joining the team that to survive in this industry you should not aim for immediate success. We need to understand the process, invest our time in learning and success will follow. He believes that enterprising people should show initiative and willingness to undertake new projects; and always see the future in the present, and always find a way to take advantage of any situation, instead of being burdened by it.
How long have you been in the property industry and how did you get involved in the real estate industry?
I’ve been in the real estate industry since 2001 when I joined Colliers, so this year will be my 20th year working at Colliers. Before working here, I was in the construction industry.
At first, I was just trying to join the property industry, with no knowledge of the industry at all. Once I started and learned a lot about this business, I began to enjoy working and stayed in the industry until now. But, I don’t think that working here for 20 years is enough for me to master all of the key sectors in property, because even now I am still learning a lot of things day by day.
You have been with Colliers for the past 20 years, what has been the most precious memory or achievement you have had while working here?
One of the most memorable achievements was when our team was assigned to handle the marketing of one of the biggest office buildings in Jakarta, right in the Bundaran Hotel Indonesia area back in 2008. At that time, the market for office buildings in Jakarta was already shifting from the Thamrin area to the southern part of Sudirman, such as SCBD, and even the TB Simatupang area. This building was a Premium Office Building located in the Thamrin area. The challenge for my team was to fill this new project with a reputable company, and convince clients to move back to the Thamrin area despite the market situation.
We accepted the challenge of marketing the project and found it to be quite interesting, as it involved the mixed-used development concept. The project has a successful retail area and a famous five-star hotel, and they were also building apartments at the same time. Another challenge was the location of the building right in front of Bundaran Hotel Indonesia, which paints a picture of a very crowded location, full of traffic, and a centre of mass demonstrations.
Our team tried to manage the downside of the project, and starting to market this building by persuading companies of the list of advantages they would get if they had an office in that building. The milestone for the marketing was when we successfully signed a big technology company as a major tenant. Closing the deal with a major tenant really helped us convince other companies to relocate to the office building. In the span of two years we managed to fulfil our target for the project. So I think that was one of the most successful projects that our team has ever worked on.
The other achievement that I can share here was when I meet the criteria to get the Outstanding Achievement award from Colliers regional. Back then, Colliers regional held an annual event where those who met the criteria would get invited to receive the award. Some other team members and I were invited to Japan at that time. It was a memorable achievement for me.
You know the property market is not always at a peak, so how do you stay positive during a low point?
I always advise clients and anyone I meet in the property industry that this business is a very long-term business, not a short-term one. Those who are planning to enter the property industry need to think forward and long term because based on my experience this industry has its own life cycle. For example, the property business was in good shape from 2008 to 2014. From 2014 until now, the business has been gradually slowing down. These past years were actually beyond anyone’s prediction, because the slow market has lasted longer than expected, and with the global situation that we are facing right now, it’s getting even slower.
Actually, I believe in every crisis, including the situation that we are in right now, there’s always opportunity ahead. We don’t only see this year or next year, but we need to also see the prospect in three or five years. That is what I usually do and encourage my team to do, be positive and always try to find and catch the opportunity.
What advice do you usually give to new members of the team when they're new in this industry?
For those who are willing to get into the property industry, especially with Colliers, I always tell them what I said earlier, that this industry is a long-term industry. You need to invest your time to keep learning. In my opinion, the first five years is your first stage in getting to know this industry. Try to learn it all, including financial and technical analysis and negotiation skills, from the hard to the soft skills. The most important thing is to learn how to understand and interact with different types of clients, because in this business we deal with a lot of different levels, but mostly the “C” level, which includes CEOs, CFOs, COOs, BOD, or even owners. We also deal with foreign clients who have different characteristics than local clients in terms of company culture.
I personally think that Colliers is a great place to learn many of the things that I have mentioned. Seniors who are experts in each sector, training sessions, and there is also the opportunity to learn by doing. That’s what I always emphasize to those who are joining my team; we shouldn’t aim for an immediate success when we join any industry, we need to be able to understand the process, and success will follow.
What is your hobby and how do you make time for your hobby?
I like sports and I always try to at least make a short time for sport. Nowadays, I am also learning about investing in mutual funds or stocks as a hobby. My family and I actually like to travel a lot, and even preparing for the travelling itself excites us. But, in the present situation we have stopped everything, and I only do things that are possible, such as simple sports, and spending time with the family.
How do you explain your job to your kids?
I have two sons and they used to ask me what I did when I’m working. I explained that I am a property consultant. I help my clients by providing our services related to property. The company provides services for several property sectors, such as hotels, malls, office buildings and factories that the boys have never seen before, but I focus on the office sector. I represent the owner of the office building by marketing their building, and find companies that are looking for office space. I don’t know whether they fully understood or not, but I think they got the point of what I am doing.
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