Redbrick Mortgage Advisory is honoured to interview Mr. Ryner Koh, head of GROW Group of ERA. Ryner is an Advisory Group Division Director who is known for his insightful personality and resilient attitude. Ryner shares about his personal journey on his transition from an officer in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to a successful real estate leader today.
With ERA’s strong senior leadership, comprehensive training and technological support, it will enable me to continuously develop my personal sales as well as my teams’ sales.
Q. When you decided to start your real estate journey, was there a specific dream/goal that you had in mind?
Ryner: I was in a full-time job as an artillery officer in the SAF, which was my first job after graduation. After a few years, I started to ponder if I truly desire a fixed pay job for the rest of my career. After reading the book “Think and Grow Rich”, I penned the goal of earning my first million by 42 years of age as the book suggested that the beginning of one’s growth in wealth is when you hit 40 years old.
With my wife’s support, I chose to enter the real estate industry as I had majored in Building and Real Estate for my bachelor’s degree and completed CFA Level I, II and III, which is equivalent to a master’s degree in finance.
Q. How did you achieve your first million?
Ryner: I was very fortunate to have achieved my first pot of gold during my rookie years, but it was not a miracle that happened overnight. Frankly, it was rather stressful, but I saw it as positive motivation that spurred me to work harder.
I created a structured routine and had the self-discipline to follow. In my rookie days, I would wake up early and educate myself on what was going on in the market by reading the papers and attend all the training courses.
After a year of hard work, I managed to close multiple deals and eventually achieved $700,000 in my first year. It was tedious but rewarding as I learnt a lot from every project.
Q. What are some personal values that stayed with you throughout your career?
Ryner: The main value I practice personally and will always remind my agents is – to serve the client by putting ourselves in their shoes. It is important to understand clients’ wants and recommend tailored solutions, while highlighting any hidden risks they may not be aware of.
I believe it is important for my clients to be well-informed and is crucial in building a long-term relationship with them. After all, clients have different needs at different stages of their life. For us in our 20s and 30s, we are focused on accumulating our wealth, while others in their later years may be inclined towards wealth preservation. By considering it as a whole cycle, my advice can encompass more aspects of their needs.
Q. You have achieved numerous awards during your career, may I ask which achievement are you most proud of?
Ryner: While all the awards are important and I am undoubtedly grateful for the company’s recognition, I view them as a by-product of my work. To me, the greatest satisfaction is seeing my new agents’ team grow and develop to their fullest potential in achieving their goals. The other greatest satisfaction is when I am able to deliver well-informed solutions to help my clients achieve their dreams, be it in wealth creation or purchasing their first marital home.
I am also humbled to be awarded the “League of Excellence”, a prestigious award bestowed for leaders who have achieved the title of Top Leader for 3 years consecutively.
Q. Could you share what or how you started building your property portfolio?
Ryner: I had worked very hard in my rookie year and achieved about 38 transactions for the project Archipelago & 29 transactions in V on Shenton. The commission received from these 2 projects inspired me to buy my first investment condominium.
With ERA’s strong senior leadership, comprehensive training and technological support, it will enable me to continuously develop my personal sales as well as my teams’ sales. I always practise what I advise to my clients and teams on optimizing with their knowledge of asset progression planning. Recently, I bought my 4th property, a freehold landed in the East, with an estimated land size of 3507 sf. The original semi-detached will be demolished and will be constructed into a 3.5 storey home.
Q. Who do you look up to for inspiration?
Ryner: I’m thankful to have many mentors, from books to technology to my personal network. I believe that learning is infinite, and technology has made it much easier to pick up new skills. When I am looking for guidance in terms of leadership, I will read books authored by John C Maxwell, while other books like “Unlimited Power” by Anthony Robbins and “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill have helped me improve on thought processes and skills on personal mastery.
I also admire our Chairman, Mr. Jack Chua for his humble nature and making personal connections with us. Our current CEO, Mr. Marcus Chu, leads ERA with conviction and always value add to our organisation. His agent-centric leadership has empowered ERA agents with the tools and professional training. Our deputy CEO, Ms. Doris Ong who created new project structures and initiatives to support ERA agents in closing more project transactions.
Q. In your opinion, what are the most important attributes of successful leaders today?
Ryner: Firstly, leaders should demand a high standard of self-improvement in themselves. As a leader, if I were to demand high standards of self-improvement in myself, such growth in thoughts, strength and capability, it will also benefit my circle of influence and of leadership.
Secondly, leaders must have the heart to lead and groom both new and experience agents under his charge. Connecting with stakeholders and making each individual feel at home is important in making our agents feel valued. Communicating unpleasant feedback to agents with genuine intention to develop their potential, is also key so that the member can excel personally and professionally in his sales career.
Lastly, leaders must lead with selfless sharing. Starting from leaders leading by example, this will have the effect of inspiring all other ERA GROW group top achievers to also want to share selflessly their result-proven formulas with our agents to succeed together.
Within our GROW group, we conduct sharing sessions selflessly and impart knowledge to our new agents, such as the “24-Hours Asset Progression Planning Programme for HDB Upgraders”, “20-Hours Asset Progression Planning for New Launch Project Buyers Programme”, “18 Hours Private Condo Programme” and many more.
We advocate continuous sharing to cultivate an empowering and positive learning culture within the group. This is key in equipping our agents with the right mindset, skillset and toolset to develop to their fullest potential. With my 4-years honours degree in building and real estate from NUS, I am very happy to impart this foundation knowledge to new RES candidates who are taking their examination through our monthly structured “Free Revision Class Mentorship Programme.”
Q. Could you share how the “GROW” Group started and how it got its name?
Ryner: GROW is actually an acronym. G stands for Gratitude – we should be thankful for good clients, and through the law of attraction, this can help us to draw more clients.
R is for Resilience which reminds us to stand up after every fall, and to learn from our failures.
O is for Open Mindedness which constantly reminds my top-performing agents to remain grounded and humble even when they do well.
Last but not least, W represents Whole heartedness. Being focused on every task in hand and committing yourself to every activity can help improve productivity.
Personally, I feel these are the 4 key values that can enable an agent to succeed and is what I base my GROW group’s values on.
Q. How would you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
Ryner: I believe in constantly improving both my leadership and digital skills, as digitalization has occurred in every aspect of our lives. Through continuous learning, I’ll be able to spread this strength and improve the core capability of the team and connect better with the team. I will also continue to chart out the long-term comprehensive structure training programme plan for all our agents and execute with discipline and determination to achieve the plan. This can only happen with unity spirit coming from every single leader and member who contribute their selfless strength sharing to the group. We are blessed to have many selfless leaders and members in GROW group to empower all new and aspiring agents who wants to gain a breakthrough.
Q. What is the one thing that makes you most proud?
Ryner: I am proud of the financial literacy foundation that helped me improve quickly during my rookie years. This skill has allowed me to identify what is important and gave clients the confidence in their property wealth creation. By using unbiased data and observations, I am able to recommend the potential of the property and I believe that I am quite blessed to have learnt this through completion of an intensive and rigorous post graduate degree in finance equivalent; known as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level I, II and III.