Finding a Mentor
By Nicole Harrington
GROWING YOUR BUSINESS
Real estate can be a lonely business. Assuming your are not part of formal team, you probably do everything from business and marketing planning, to consultations and showings alone. In most cases your Broker is there for technical support - but will that provide you with the help you need? When you consider most professional service providers like lawyers and CPA's spend years leaning their craft from mentors it makes sense real estate agents should do the same. So what should you do to find a mentor?
WHERE DO I GET SUPPORT?
Support can come in many forms - from your broker showing you the correct process for offers, to your colleagues showing you how to choose the best comparables for CMAs. But where do you go when you need guidance beyond the basic day to day? One of the best ways to better yourself and grow your business is to find a mentor. Anyone can benefit from mentorship - whether you are new to the business or have been working it for the past decade: look at any wildly successful individual and it's likely they have had a mentor.
LEARN FROM THE MISTAKES OF SOMEONE ELSE
A mentor is someone who has been there, done that, and came out on top. People say that there is no such thing as a failure and that there is a lesson in every challenge. While this true, there is also great value in learning from the mistakes of someone else. While you may be ready to provide innovation in an age old industry, the tried and tested methods are sure fire ways to kick start your success. As Eleanor Roosevelt said “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself."
FINDING A MENTOR
Now that we've established a mentor would be an invaluable addition to your toolbox you may be asking yourself, “How do I get one?" This might take a little work but once you find your perfect fit, you'll wonder how you ever did it alone before. Mentors can come in the form of people you know within your sphere of influence or people in your community that you admire. Pick someone you think embodies what you want to do with your business, always keeping your goals and values in mind.
WITHIN YOUR OFFICE
Many new agents find mentorship within their own office but this strategy usually does not happen overnight. Top producers are busy and their time is valuable - you are going to need to prove yourself as a hard worker if you want to get their attention. Do you leave the office at 3PM every day, or worse yet do you even bother coming in? Prove yourself by coming in early or staying late. Generate leads even if you're not closing sales. Your effort will be noticed and once this happens, it will pave the way for you to approach your possible mentor. You need to show that you're willing to put in the work yourself before you ask for help.
When you feel ready and confident to ask for a top producers time, try doing so with an email. Here is a sample of an email you could send:
Good afternoon [Name of Possible Mentor],
I am a new agent to the real estate industry and wanted to reach out to say I am very impressed with the business you have built for yourself. To be a leader in this industry takes a lot of dedication and grit. I would love to sit down with you for a coffee to see if you had any words of wisdom for someone such as myself. I would love to learn more about what it takes to become a powerhouse in real estate and how you were able to build a successful team.
I know you must be extremely busy, I am very flexible on timing. Please let me know if you have a few minutes in the coming weeks to meet.
Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!
Warmest Regards, [Your Name]
SOMEONE YOU ADMIRE
Your mentor doesn't have to be someone who specifically works within the industry. Choosing a mentor because you admire them, say for being personally successful, is a great option. When trying to partner with someone you admire, start by setting up an information interview.
An informational interview is just as it sounds - you interview the other person to get more information about them and their personal/career based achievements.
In terms of questions you could ask during the interview, you want to keep them focused on the interviewee and their experiences. Here are some examples:
- How did you get your start in the business?
- What does your typical day look like?
- What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of the business?
- Do you see a lot of growth in this field?
- How do you feel about [current trend in interviewees market]?
- What tools have helped you grow your business?
- What additional training you would recommend?
- What skills, experience, or personal characteristics do you feel an agent should possess?
- Do you have any specific advice for a new business owner such as myself [an experienced agent trying to expand their business]?
Keep the interview short and sweet, a half hour to sixty minutes should be sufficient. Show up early and be prepared. Do research on your prospect, their company, and industry so that you can add meaningful information into the conversation.
There is an argument to be made for having multiple less structured mentorship relationships. By having different people available to guide you on various aspects of the business, you can get a rounded idea of tactics to help you achieve your goals. You may have one individual who is really good with business expenses in relation to taxes, another who is a pro lead generator, and another who is a marketing genius. You can lean on each of these individuals as you see fit, and in conjunction they can guide you towards your ultimate goals.
THEY ARE HUMAN TOO
You may be intimidated to ask a Top Producing agent to mentor you. Remember they were once a Rookie too and they are probably not as fierce to talk to you as you might think. Take the plunge and offer to buy them a coffee, who know's it may be the best money you've ever spent?
Nicole Harrington is the Founder of SheSellsToronto.com and a real estate agent with a keen eye for trends and analytics. She's a former corporate operative with a B.Comm in business and a background in category management. She has also worked for some of Canada's largest brands in their marketing departments. When she's not helping clients she can be found writing for her blog or hanging out with her two dogs. www.shesellstoronto.com