Founder, Dennis Wee Group
Q1: Why did you choose to enter the real estate industry and what do you love most about the work you do?
I didn’t choose the industry. I was retrenched in 1986. I applied to be a taxi driver but I didn’t speak Mandarin so I was denied a licence. My friend suggested that I consider the real estate industry but I gave him a blank stare. I went for an interview to be an offshore surveyor and thought I could give it a shot.
I called my ex-boss and he said “learn again, don’t quit”. However, I wanted to resign because I felt a sales job was not for me. It is a plus that real estate is a ‘product’ that is always there, in good and bad times.
I was searching for my destiny. And always learning. Which is why President Nathan gave me the Lifelong Learning award.
You just have to keep doing more and more. Don’t be like the ducks…
There are 3 groups of people.
It is dangerous to be a dreamer, who only dreams, dreams and dreams again but there is no action.
However, a dreamer can become a do-er.
Dreamers can also become ducks. Those who can only ‘quack’, gather together and ‘quack’ some more, without taking any action. They don’t want to work hard but they want to be rich.
The do-ers are those who do, and do, and do. They work and work and work. Therefore, they are rewarded. Do-ers need not be dreamers. They realize that if they work harder, they can buy a lot more things. And they can start dreaming of owning this and that. So they save the money to buy and buy and buy. To encapsulate their motto: do it, then dream.
When you do, you learn. At some point, you may get bored. This is where PASSION comes in. You innovate, you change, you strive to find the right formula, you have FUN, and you do things DIFFERENTLY.
Q2: You were once an agent and one of the top producers in the industry. How did you achieve success as an agent and how do you handle rejection from clients?
To handle rejection, you need the right beliefs and mindsets. In sales, you must not take rejection personally. Out of 25 potential clients, 1 will say ‘yes’ and the rest will say ‘no’. If you take rejection personally, you cannot be a salesman.
Rejection is part and parcel of my job. Not everyone wants to buy/sell. So I just have to smile, be friendly and tell them “thank you”.
To be successful, you have to maintain being at the top. There is no point being a top producer for a year or two. You have to work hard, do things differently and make people trust and like you. You must build a name for yourself and have rapport with people. Most importantly, people must KNOW you!
It’s great if you are humorous and creative, and dare to do what other people don’t. Let me give you a personal example:
I have been a Rotary Club member for 3 years. We engage in social work and charity events to raise funds for the needy.
There was once when we had to raise funds for Northbrooks School. 45 Rotarians put up a show, sang songs and told stories. The audience comprised mainly secondary school students who got so bored and didn’t understand us.
I told the Committee Chairman: “Why don’t we make some changes?” He asked, “Change what?”
I said “Why don’t I do a Lady Gaga performance instead?”
The Chairman said “You do it yourself. We don’t do all this nonsense.”
I dressed up for my role and sang the song ‘Bad Romance’. The students even danced with me! Till this day, the students and teachers know me as the ‘Gaga Man’!
Q3: What are some of Life’s lessons that you learnt from working, that your peers probably did not as they continued pursuing their education in school?
Schools teach you how to make a living and get a job. They do not teach entrepreneurship nor how to have the courage to do anything to make profits, and how to be streetsmart. That takes experience to know.
I’ve held many jobs, from office boy to selling flowers, to being a waiter. Each job lasted about 3 to 4 months. Should that have gone on forever? We see rich people driving big cars, living in big houses… and there is only one conclusion: must make money!
You must have courage! Stupid things can be good things!
I once had a surveyor job and it paid a $7K salary, which meant I could afford to buy many things. I wanted back my $7000. So I did sales, which can potentially earn me a lot of money.
Working in the flower shop, I found all prices fixed. All I had to do was stand there and hand the flowers over to anyone who paid for them. There was no knocking on doors.
There are 3 kinds of salespeople:
1) Those who just take orders and have a fixed pay
2) Those earning salary plus commissions
3) Those who earn only commissions, without a salary
Q4: You received the Lifelong Learning Award in 2002. What are you currently learning/pursuing, and what skills or knowledge do you aim to acquire?
I am learning everyday from people, strangers, the public. Why do they not come to work early? Why are they lazy?
Whenever there are seminars, just go and attend them. This is about ‘everyday learning’. Most courses are about the same things, ie. your physical or mental state. Why do people attend these courses and yet they fail? It’s because of their peer groups.
You love the people in your peer group so you tell yourself that you don’t need to do this nor that which is necessary!
[What to do then?]
If you become a do-er and you are working hard, your peer group will leave you. They will tell you things like ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. If you don’t go out with them, they’ll leave you.
So find a new peer group!
Grace says: Speaking with Dr Wee is truly an experience. Few people I know can convey that amount of energy over the phone. On a scale of 1 to 10, his energy level hovers close to a perfect 10. One thought that crossed my mind was that if you and I can have a phone conversation with someone like him every morning, our days will be infused with lots of energy! Imagine how much more we can accomplish! 🙂
Look out for: The interview with ‘The Sample Store’ founder, Elfaine Tan, on 1st April, 2011!~