Carving out an enviable career in the real estate industry since 2005, Bobby Sng has garnered numerous accolades over the past 18 years, including Top Sales Producer and IEA Platinum awards. Today, he oversees a team of more than 2,200 agents, at the helm of the Bobby Sng Advisory — a group which earned more than S$160 million in commission in 2022.
Outstanding results such as these testify to the fact that Bobby is not only a skilled, seasoned agent but also an inspiring leader. With a passion for mentorship, Bobby has become a guiding light for aspiring agents, offering extensive coaching and guidance to up-and-coming real estate agents.
“I love to learn and I love to teach,” Bobby says. “When I learn something interesting, my first priority is to share that knowledge with others.”
Catching up with Bobby recently, we asked this widely recognised industry leader to share his perspectives on mentorship, motivation, and the pursuit of passion. When asked about the crucial roles a business leader must fulfil, Bobby singled out the importance of taking ownership. He believes that true leaders cannot simply “ride the wave” of market conditions to achieve success; they must accept ownership and set priorities. Responsibility and initiative form the cornerstone of effective leadership, in Bobby’s eyes.
In terms of inspiring and motivating his team, Bobby believes that leadership encompasses different personalities and approaches. He categorises leaders into four quadrants. First, there are team leaders who excel at fostering teamwork and creating a harmonious community environment within an organisation. Meanwhile, sales leaders focus on driving sales and ensuring targets are met. The third group comprises coaches who guide businesses, identify blind spots, and stay informed about market trends. Lastly, Bobby identifies ‘on the way’ leaders who achieve personal success and then build teams around them.
Bobby sees himself primarily as a coach. “When I wake up every single morning,” he says, “the first thing that comes to mind is, what should I create today? How can I communicate and continue to disseminate my experience?” He takes pride in sharing his knowledge and experiences, constantly seeking to impart valuable insights to his mentees and team members.
“There is immense satisfaction in witnessing the mentees bloom and prosper,” Bobby says. “As a mentor, the best experiences are where I see someone really, truly grow,” he says. “Just now I received a message. It was somebody I mentored last week, saying: ‘Thanks Bobby, you gave me some great advice that has really changed my perspective.’ Hearing feedback like that to me is very fulfilling.”
That said, not everyone is cut out to lead, or really wants to. Some are better off focusing on individual endeavours, and remaining a ‘lone wolf.’ “I would say, unless you’re passionate about being a leader, just focus on sales,” Bobby states.
When asked about the best advice he has received throughout his life, Bobby highlights the importance of finding one’s passion. “You must pursue a job that you are passionate about, to maintain your drive,” he says. Bobby believes that many individuals fall into routines and careers they are not inspired by, merely to sustain their income. Bobby encourages everyone to pursue a job aligned with their passion, in order to maintain the enthusiasm necessary for success — even if this means changing career paths at a later stage in life. Additionally, he emphasises the significance of integrity in one’s business and personal dealings.
Regarding work-life balance, Bobby shares a realistic perspective. “You might be hearing from the media or social media, about work-life balance. I will tell you, it is only the minority that really achieves work/life balance. In the real world, it is very difficult,” Bobby asserts. Especially in the early years of one’s career, sacrificing certain aspects of personal life becomes inevitable, he says.
Bobby advises aspiring real estate agents to prioritise and focus on establishing fundamental skills and know-how. He emphasises the importance of setting goals, identifying desired areas of expertise (deciding, for example, whether to specialise in private, landed, HDB, commercial, en bloc, or overseas properties), and dedicating time and resources to acquiring the necessary knowledge.
“Often when young people come aboard in this business, they say, ‘I’m a white piece of paper, fill me up, teach me everything.’ But when you start to show them the fundamentals, they’ll say, ‘Oh, door knocking? Actually, that’s not my cup of tea,’” Bobby laughs. “Sorry, but you just have to take the advice of someone who has done it before” and earn your stripes, Bobby says. (And that’s coming from someone who’s served with the Singapore First Commando Battalion unit!)
“Here’s my advice: Be very firm in the first years. Know your goals. Identify where you want to go. Find the resources you need to learn. Decide which area you want to focus on,” Bobby counsels. “If you can do that from your early years, you will be successful.”
One silver lining to the pandemic years, Bobby says, was in driving digital transformation. He praises the leadership at PropNex for embracing digital sales and marketing techniques. “I would say to the company, Mr Ismail Gafoor (PropNex CEO) and the management – excellent job,” he says. “We were one of the first groups to explore streaming and virtual property viewing,” Bobby points out. “Even today, whenever I am beginning work with a new client, I’ll start with a Zoom session. If they are willing to spend 45 minutes with you on Zoom, they are certainly a genuine client.”
Clearly, although Bobby has enjoyed significant success himself, it is in nurturing the next generation of talent and moving the industry forward that he finds the greatest rewards. In tandem with Bobby’s emphasis on ownership, passion, and continuous learning, this approach can’t help but serve as an inspiration to aspiring leaders and real estate professionals alike.
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