How did you feel after The Block auction? [Konishi sold Josh and Charlotte’s apartment, passing the reserve price by $810,000]
I didn’t imagine myself getting so caught up in it all. At the end of it, I was a little bit emotional.
How did you get your start in the real estate industry?
As a part-time job I worked in the fast food industry at KFC. I did that through school, so hospitality had been my background in business but I sort of got to a point where I was 24 and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after school. I thought I’d become a hotel manager or something like that. I studied at William Angliss and then went back to KFC as an area manager, but realized pretty quickly I didn’t want to have to look after everyone so I spoke to a range of people with life experience, including someone’s grandmother, who said to me, “Well Mark, what are you good at? Let’s break it down, you’re good at conversation, you’re very pleasant and adaptable and you’ve moved a fair few times—my Mum moved around a bit and by that time I’d moved 23 times—so she said, ‘What about real estate?’” I didn’t know anything about it, but I rented a place and had been out of home since the age of 18. I did the course and had to do that while I was working full-time, and then I took a massive pay cut as a cadet in real estate. LJ Hooker knocked me back, which was nice to hear in an email, and I interviewed with hockingstuart Melbourne and hockingstuart South Yarra and I chose South Yarra. That’s been 10 years now and I’m an auctioneer and a director of this business.
When did you conduct your first auction?
It was almost three years ago now, and I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier. I love it and it takes you out of your comfort zone. I realized the auctioneer got all the glory even if you were the guy listing the place, so I thought, I want to be a part of that and see it all the way through. Now I’m a one-stop shop in many ways and I do everything.
And what’s next?
Now I’m looking to get back into more of that managerial role that I had when I was 24. It’s been a good journey.
What’s your advice for other young auctioneers?
There is a lot of theatre and I think there’s some veterans out there who I think are fairly structured and robotic in their ways, they become complacent. I think for a good auction, you’ve got to do a bit of behind-the-scenes rehearsal, have a bit of a script you’ve put together. You’re always looking for something that’s a standout that the property has to offer, or pick out particular features that will resonate with the crowd, and then you’ve got to have a lot of energy to do it, otherwise you lose the crowd. No one likes a boing auctioneer. Last weekend no-one was coming forward and it was a bit slow so I said, “What do I have to do? Sell puppies for you,” and we got a laugh. You have a bit of fun with it, really, and obviously know your limitations about where you take that fun.
What skills do you need to be successful in real estate?
I think you have to make the decision that you are going to work very hard. It's long hours involved. You have to be a good people person. You have to build relationships and that’s for the lifetime of your career in real estate. It’s hospitality, to a certain degree; you don’t get caught up in it or become too arrogant because people aren’t going to respond too well to you if you become that person. You have to be a people person.
Posing on Facebook with a sold sign in front of your Porsche isn’t the right way to go about it?
No, that’s definitely not the right way to go about it! You can’t be too glossy, people will see through that.