A memorable lunch meeting with my mentor Chelvi…
It was such an honour to have lunch with my long-time mentor, Chelvi on Wednesday, 5 May 2021 at Esquire Kitchen at Subang Parade. It has been 26 years since we last met when I was working at my uncle’s estate agency, SK Brothers Realty in Paramount Garden, Petaling Jaya. Chelvi looks pretty much the same as she was back then in 1993. It seems as though time has not passed by a bit for her.
I first met Chelvi when I started my real estate career in 1993. Now at 75, she has since retired. I have been brought up to honour those who have helped me along the way through my life journey and Chelvi is one of them. She was a telephone operator (telephonist) with the Ministry of Defence prior to joining the real estate industry as a Sales Coordinator at the PJ branch of SK Brothers Realty in 1991.
Interestingly, she was persuaded to join the property industry by the very same sales person who sold her semi-detached house in Kampung Tunku back then. One of the reasons the sales person was so drawn to Chelvi was because of her genuine honesty and warm personality as there were numerous occasions where buyers would approach Chelvi directly after the house was shown by the agent. Chelvi would gently but firmly tell them to contact the agent and advise potential buyers not to have deals done by-passing the agent.
Chelvi has also bagged numerous awards throughout the years as the Top Sales Personnel within the company, culminating in her being qualified and becoming eligible to attend the acclaimed and prestige International Real Estate Convention organised by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) headquartered in the United States.
Lessons I learnt from Chelvi over the years…
- It’s never too late to begin your real estate journey. Chelvi herself embarked in real estate in her mid -forties after she opted for early optional retirement from the federal government service.
- ‘Honesty is the best policy’. When people know you can be trusted, you have already secured their business and earned their trust. And remember too that “walls have ears”, so don’t even think about closing deals outside of the company you work for.
- To have good leaders who truly recognise your potential and appreciate you fully. It was her manager back then, Felix Michael Gomez who persistently encouraged her to go into sales. Initially, Chelvi gave up on the idea of selling as she thought it was way too hard for her as she had to go door-to-door to hand out flyers. She cried as it was really tough and difficult for her to bear, but her manager continued to encourage her, and she eventually stayed on. Her passion, persistence and perseverance are also legendary.
- Always focus on the area where you currently reside or are living in. She shared with me that she was rather successful working in the Subang Jaya area as she was also living within the same area or demography. She also managed her time more efficiently and could easily meet customers at a moment’s notice.
- The virtues of hard work. From a 9-to-5 job to dabbling in sales, she had to work even harder to attain the sales target in the real estate industry. Indeed, there are no short-cut$ to success, period!
- Taking things in your stride. Whenever you become successful, people around you would inevitably become jealous of your success. This is an indisputable fact of life, so learn to live with it!
- Join the right organisation. SK Brothers Realty had a comprehensive training programme known as the Salesmasters Training Programme which has helped many people including Chelvi to be successful in what they do. Every morning, we had to recite the Personal Confidence Creed (PCC) by heart, and to do the daily reading (and also to share our thoughts) from the book entitled ‘366 Self-Motivating Essays for Students and Adults’ by Sidney Newton Bremer. This has helped us to be more confident in the way we speak and articulate, and to sharpen our memory.
- Live within your means and save money for your retirement. By following this golden principle, Chelvi is now able to enjoy her old age during her retirement years.
Contributed by Christopher Chan. A registered estate agent by profession, and he will be starting in his new position as Senior Associate Director with property consultancy firm, Laurelcap Sdn Bhd in Capital Markets division in June 2021.