Job title: Business Development Manager.
Time with Console: 18 months.
Potato Scallop or potato cake: Scallop. Is that a real question?
Last book you read: Richard Branson’s biography, Losing my Virginity. That’s the real name of the book.
Sacred sports team: Sydney FC!
About Matt Wilson
Matt Wilson grew up in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, and like a growing number of Console staff, Matt’s background is in real estate. Despite the ultra-sharp suits he wears to work, (yes, even on Fridays) Matt is softly spoken and easy-going. He describes himself as a massive soccer fan and a bit of a foodie.
Let’s start by getting one question out of the way: just how many suits do you own?
I don’t know. Is that bad? Maybe fifty? It’s a lot.
Fifty is more than a lot.
Haha, probably. Let’s say I own enough suits that I had to install extra clothes railings at home to be able to house them.
Where did the suit thing start, anyway?
In childhood. When I was a kid I wanted to be either a professional footballer, a marine biologist, or I wanted to have a job where I wore a suit to work. I guess number three was the one that stuck.
And was that the dress code for your first job? Where did you work?
God, no. I was ten years old when I got my first job. As silly as this sounds today, I got my first job because I desperately wanted to buy a doughnut. But my mother wasn’t having any of this doughnut business. So she said to me, ‘If you want it, you’re going to have to get a job and save for one.’
As an adult, I can see now that she probably wasn’t being serious. But I was. Because I went around the suburb where I lived, going from shop to shop, asking everyone to hire me. I eventually arrived at a lolly shop, whose owner agreed to hire me for the princely wage of $2 per hour. And that was my first job. I worked the till after school each day from 4-7.
I’m pretty sure that’s not legal.
Yeah, but it was the nineties. It was a wild time to be a kid.
So now you’re all grown up. You’ve been a business development manager for Console for 18 months now. What do you do each day, in practical terms? What happens when you sit down at your desk?
My role for Console is to build relationships with our existing clients, and bring new ones into the fold. Some parts of that are explaining how our property management software works, as you might expect. But a lot of it is helping businesses figure out how to leverage our products so they can grow and become more efficient. It’s about business excellence, and building a strategy that works for them.
You spend a lot of time visiting with clients. What do they teach you?
I’ve learnt how much clients want to be not merely listened to, but heard. They have taught me that I can’t guess at what they need.
Visiting a lot of property managers and real estate agencies has also taught me that no two people or clients are the same, and that you shouldn’t treat them the same. People don’t come out of a cookie cutter, and that’s not how they want to be treated either.
What preconception about your work would you like to challenge?
People think being on the phone all day is easy. But it’s not really. It takes a lot of energy and confidence to be able to be your absolute best to every person you talk to each day.
I also think people look at me in the office, and they see a walking suit. Believe it or not, I just like to wear them—it’s not some act or show. I like to think I’m actually a pretty nice person. I am a nice person, right?
Yeah, you’re pretty nice. So what’s your philosophy of customer service?
One of the things I bring to Console from my property management days is my belief that communications should be face-to-face or by phone call if possible, with emails as a last resort. Good customer service rarely happens by hiding behind a computer screen.
“Good customer service rarely happens by hiding behind a computer screen.”
If you could give one piece of advice to the property management industry, what would it be?
We all know that every day is different. We all know that there’ll be good days and bad days. And we all know that at some point, we’ll bear the brunt of someone else’s bad days. So when those darker days happen, don’t give up.
As contradictory as it sounds, the best advice I could give to a property manager is to keep your soft skills sharp. Stay focused on delivering the best customer service you can.
Because at the end of the day, what differentiates PMs from anybody else in the world is that specialist knowledge. If you combine that knowledge with the ability to deliver high quality customer service, you get a huge advantage.
What would you change about the property management industry if you could?
People are getting over the lack of training that is being invested into that part of the real estate industry. It’s causing high turnover, and that means bad results for landlords. If you’re dealing with someone’s most important asset, you need to be properly equipped and trained to do so.
If I could change anything, I would love to see real estate agencies valuing their property managers more, and investing in them more. It’s time we lifted them up a bit, you know?