From Wallabies to sheds: Dunning’s industrial turn
The name Matt Dunning might ring a bell for industrial real estate tenants, even if his appearance doesn’t at first.
Dunning, the former Super Rugby and Wallabies star, is barely recognisable from the bullocking prop who played at the elite level for more than a decade, having dropped 44kg from his famously … ahem … robust frame since hanging up his boots five years ago.
Instead, the 37-year-old is now breaking lines in the commercial property world, finding the right shed for the right tenant as an associate director on CBRE’s new Advisory and Transactions Industrial Occupier Services team.
Lower goes higher: Ex-AFL player makes splash in commercial world
Having worked in business development after neck and shoulder injuries brought an end to his sporting career in 2011, Dunning took up a role with CBRE’s South Sydney industrial arm in 2014, before taking up the new position last month.
It’s a role that sees him working with industrial tenants to provide advice, help them secure new facilities and negotiate lease renewals.
It definitely helps on occasion, but I’ve lost 44kg, I don’t look very similar
As an affable agent accustomed to building chemistry with teammates in the quest for on-field success, Dunning says it’s a perfect fit.
“I felt that a lot of my really good relationships were with the tenant,” Dunning told realcommercial.com.au.
“I just figured that it might be a better fit for me, with my past clients, with my relationships. You’re on the same team with the client, with the tenant. I’m working for them and getting the best result for them.”
The ex-Wallaby, who played at both the 2003 and 2007 World Cups, says he’s now developed an unlikely appreciation for the humble Aussie shed.
“I love being on-site, not that I was a shed enthusiast before I starting doing industrial, but what I like about sheds is that it’s all about the deal and how usable the site is and how it works for your business,” he says.
“No one’s not going to take a shed because the bathroom’s painted the wrong colour. Things can be moved and changed and it’s about location, it’s about which site is best for your business and getting the best deal.”
Stories of famous sporting names receiving a red carpet ride through their professional life once they retire from their game are well-worn, but Dunning says his exploits of yesteryear hold no weight when it comes to wrapping up commercial property deals.
You’re on the same team with the client, with the tenant. I’m working for them and getting the best result for them
“It definitely helps on occasion, but I’ve lost 44kg, I don’t look very similar,” he jokes.
“It helps on occasion to get you in the door or to get people to return your emails or phone calls, but once you start opening your mouth it’s not going to help you.”
“You’ve got to show you can add value and show you’re knowledgeable and can help them. If you can’t add value to someone they’re not going to do business with you, it doesn’t matter who you are. No one’s going to say, ‘Oh, Matt, come and advise me on my renewal or my relocation, come and help us do this or this’, if you can’t do it.”
“They’ll give you a chance, but if they listen to you and you don’t know what you’re talking about or you don’t add value or can’t tell them anything they don’t already know, they’re not going to use you.”