8 Questions with Cobalt

Paleenia Wong, Residential Sales Professional shares her insight and advice in a short Q&A with Jasvin Jaura from Cobalt.

1) Why did you choose a career in real estate?
It was by chance. My friend needed a sales person urgently for an event back in 1995. I wasn't sure at the point whether I would make it as I was not someone who loved to talk. I was then challenged by someone who believed I would not make it and told to forget about the position. Hence, I took up the challenge and gave myself 3 months. With my persistence, within 1 month I closed my first deal and have not looked back since. With my very first commission pay cheque, I rewarded myself with a Rolex watch.


2) Describe your typical working day
I am at my desk by 8:30 where I plan my tasks for the day. Between 9-11, I usually contact my clients and prospects follow by meeting with my team. The second part of the day usually involves meetings and appointments.

3) What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?
I believe goal setting, self discipline, good negotiation and interpersonal skills are important. In addition, the ability to lead the team to achieve their goals.

4) What has been the most challenging obstacle you have had to overcome in your career?
In the sales industry, there is always an obstacle. It depends how you view them. I think my most challenging obstacle was to sell Indonesia condotel development, which consisted of 2 major factors. Firstly, there was no financing support which resulted in a very niche market, which allows only cash buyers and the "super rich". Having said that, in today's market, not all investors will want to throw everything in one basket unless there is too much spare cash sitting in the bank. Even when they have cash, investors will often choose alternative investment tools unless. The final element to this obstacle was that the property couldn’t be owned by a foreigner. I could only allow to buy under a certain class of joint title. The best way out was to marry an Indonesia spouse! With all the above factors, I managed to come up with a sales pitch, which convinced investors.

5) What has been your career high point to date?
It was when I was in SQFT, a previous company, which was a newly setup where I recruited, trained and built a successful sales team, which I considered an ultimate challenge. I had built the company from nothing to something eventually setting up five offices in different countries in Asia. I gained some excellent experience as a result.

6) This industry has changed dramatically over the years; what other changes can you expect over the next few years?
According to PWC report, looking to 2020 and beyond, the real estate investment industry will find itself at the centre of rapid economic and social change, which is transforming the built environment. While most of these trends are already evident, there’s a natural tendency to underestimate their implications. By 2020, real estate managers will have a broader range of opportunities, with greater risks and new value drivers. As real estate is a business with long development cycles – from planning to construction takes several years – now is the time to plan for these changes.

7) What is the advancement potential in this field? What is a typical path?
The goal in this professional is to become a country director and progress to regional director overseeing multiple offices.

8) What advice would you give to someone taking on a management role?

  • Believe in yourself – you have enormous potential. Do your best to unleash that potential and allow it to bear positive fruit.
  • Have a positive attitude — it is one of your greatest assets. The good news is that it can be developed and trained to the point that you can be successful in anything you undertake.
  • Strive to become a leader with a heart of a servant — that will guarantee success. Seek out positive mentors who can and will assist you in getting what you want. Then help as many others to get what they want in life — then you will get what you want in life.
  • Finally: never, never, never, never give up!


*Paleenia Wong was placed by Cobalt Recruitment in 2013

You may also be interested in: Securing your next career move: A-Z guide

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