Our first guest in our new series ‘Getting Channel’d with the Pros’ is Izaac Mathieson, General Manager of Sales and Marketing at Hallmark Homes. Tiffany Richardson from Team Channel caught up with him for a beer to ask all things sales, residential development, coffee and karaoke… He’s a property guru and we were stoked to be able to pick his brain.
Tiff – You grew up in Townsville and started your journey into sales with Stockland up there before moving to SEQ 6 years ago……Why sales?
Izaac – It’s funny, previous to Stockland I did everything I could to avoid sales as I didn’t value the “professionalism” that the role could bring. Like most, I had a perception that a real estate salesperson was one of two things – good at talking, or a dishonest person who would sell their soul. Stockland helped me realise that the role of a salesperson has evolved! They helped show me a passion for sales professionalism that I had never been exposed to before. The scope they offered was built on the fundamentals of creativeness, professionalism, and empathy, this resonated well with my own beliefs.
Tiff – What were the key challenges for you as a sales manager entering the SEQ residential market from Far North Qld?
Izaac – Growing up in North QLD I understood the people and the geographical landscape, this helped to provide a solid platform for me to focus on my technical development as a leader. Moving to SEQ there are similar culture and geographical challenge as up north but it’s amplified due to the volume of population. In the morning I’m launching a project in inner Brisbane and by the afternoon I was assisting in the selling of stock in Northern NSW.
Different councils, different builders, and vastly different customer expectations. At the time it was challenging to grasp the scope but I feel this provide me a platform for success in SEQ
Tiff – Would you approach anything differently if you had this time again?
Izaac – No, no regrets, I loved every minute of it!
Tiff – Sales as a career presents such diverse opportunities. You yourself have gone from selling residential land with Stockland to homes with Hallmark? From your perspective, what are the similarities with both transactions?
Izaac – There are many similarities as both land and new home sales need to work in sync with each other. The most obvious similarities are that both require a high focus on customer-centricity. Most of our clients will only make a transaction of this scale once or twice in their entire life, so ensuring they are comfortable and well informed throughout their purchase is critical.
Tiff – In this sector of the market, should more sales professionals seek to move between land and housing?
Izaac -As someone who has worked on both sides, I 100% encourage people who are considering something different but still in a similar industry to go for it! Both land and new home sales are fundamentally built around the emotion of where you want to live. Whether it be close to a park or on in a 5 bedroom home, the emotion of the sale remains the same. Both roles have different technical requirements but if the company you choose to represent has a solid training and mentoring program you will be fine.
Tiff – Your customers are key to any business. Tell me a bit about a typical land purchaser V’s a home purchaser?
Izaac – I’m a bit of a military nerd so I’d describe a land purchaser as a machine gunner and a new home purchaser as a sniper. The land purchase is generally looking for a geographical area that meets their requirements for a living – i.e school, shops, work, transport, etc. hence they may be looking at multiple estates and suburbs… a new home purchaser is very defined on what they want in a house, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, brass tapware! They know exactly what they want and usually have a block of land that will determine exactly what floorplan will fit on it! The initial role of a sales professional in both cases is to help guide them around their expectation and their financial reality.
Tiff – What is exciting your customers right now?
Izaac – Innovating trends becoming more value for money! A lot of people base their building expectations on reality renovation shows and up until recently, the building industry hasn’t caught up with these themed trends that our clients see on TV. 5 years ago it was near impossible to find a Hamptons style home, now every builder offers it. Suppliers are focused on being innovative as well and this is starting to really show in the displays being built. The traditional home still dominates sales but slowly, new trends such as Hamptons, urban, coastal and making their way to the display floor. This is very exciting for the customer and also us as a builder!
Tiff – Managing people and teams is a big part of your current role, What are the key attributes in a sales professional that to seek when recruiting for your team?
Izaac – I am a massive believer in focusing on the person first before considering the technical requirements of the role. In my career, I’ve knocked backed seasoned, and exceptional volumed-based sales people because they don’t meet the culture and vision of what I believe a team should look like. Sure, salespeople have individual targets but the sales team is only 20% of most builders’ workforce, it’s important that as a whole we hit our monthly, quarterly, and yearly targets as that keeps everyone employed. Therefore I’d say elements of their personality and how that fits with our culture would be the main attribute I focus on when recruiting. It is amazing what can be accomplished when people don’t care about who gets the credit but start caring about the business and each other as a whole!
Tiff – Where do your best people come from?
Izaac – That’s a tough one, I’ve hired in industry, out of industry and had unexpected results. One of my best sale hires started working with me after a few years working in an accounts department as an account receivable. I am also a big fan of people who have worked in hospitality at some point in their career, they know how to hustle for the reward of a satisfied customer not a large paycheque! Such a tough industry that builds incredible characters!
Tiff – Any advice for somebody just starting out in sales?
Isaac – Be humble, be empathetic and seek out mentors that will guide your career! Sales is a skill that a lot of people can do, but very few can master and like all skills it requires time, flexibility, and repetition to master.
Tiff – What motivates your people to deliver results for Hallmark?
Izaac – I’m big on communication and collaboration, and I feel our leadership team focus on this daily. The line between manager and employee is rarely defined at Hallmark Homes and I encourage ideas and direction from all staff no matter what their experience levels are. This gives everyone a sense of ownership towards the ultimate company vision
Tiff – A bit more about you?
Izaac – I’m a father of 3 beautiful girls, I have an amazing wife who is my partner in our journey to raise incredibly strong, creative, and resilient kids. Most weekend you’ll find me entertaining our friends and family with some smoked brisket from my offset smoker, or tearing up the GC waterways on my jetski
Tiff – You have done plenty of highway miles in your time, in car karaoke what’s you go to tune?
Izaac – People who know me well enough will know I don’t just have 1 favourite song, I’ve got 250!! If I was to break it down to an era I would say I’m right into my alternative 90s songs at the moment. At the time I’m not sure any of us thought that 90s music would live on but I assure you it lives on in my car whilst driving on the M1
Tiff – Coffee or tea?
Izaac – I’m a massive coffee snob! I’ll happily drive 30 or 40 mins out of my way to get the best coffee. Our last overseas holiday was in the USA and the mission for every morning was to find the best coffee! Anyone who has travelled to the USA will know how hard of a mission that is!
Tiff – Beer or wine?
Izaac – Beer, but our CEO is a dedicated red drinker and he has inspired me to “grow up” and start to drink red
Tiff – AFL or Rugby League?
Izaac – As a lad, I was a massive NRL fan, but these days it is EPL and my beloved Liverpool! On game days I will get up at 1am or 2am just to watch them play…I’m obsessed with them