I’ve been working hard to get sales and negotiating deals since I was a kid working in my parents’ shop. They owned an estate clearing business and the largest second-hand shop (at the time) in Auckland. I was running the shop on my own from the age of 15 and it taught me lessons about reading body language and understanding people from a range of backgrounds and cultures that I still draw on today. It could be as simple as knowing that when people tell you their ‘best price’, this may actually be far from their limit. It may be the actual figure they give you, or a few thousand more than this, or even a hundred thousand more, depending on their cultural background and whether they expect and are used to negotiating.
Working for my parents at such a young age also taught me the value of hard work. Just being available is often the difference between getting a deal and losing that opportunity. That’s why my phone is always on and if I’m in a meeting, or have to turn it off, it automatically diverts to Mel. These days everyone is busy and it’s vital that we can work as a team and fit around our clients’ schedules. I’m a naturally competitive person, being the first New Zealand male to qualify in taekwondo for the Olympics. I competed in Beijing 2008 games where I placed 14th overall. To compete at the Olympic Games was a real dream come true for me and I qualified for the 2012 London Olympic Games as well. It was hard work juggling training and running a business, but it was worth it. I now teach taekwondo part time for fun but channel most of my competitive urges into getting the best deal for my clients.