By Brittney Schwartz, REALTOR® University
The to-do list for a new real estate professional is long. You’ve got to learn how to use your MLS, figure out the mechanics of hosting a stellar open house, and much more. Those basics are important, but right at the top of that list is finding a good mentor.
You have a lot to gain by forming a relationship with a colleague, role model, or a personal career guru who is willing to share his or her wisdom with a protégé (namely: you). Everyone from Bill Clinton to Oprah talks about the importance mentors have played in their careers. They can guide you through tricky situations and provide helpful advice about finding the perfect niche. But a mentor can do so much more.
- A mentor can help you gain perspective. The years of knowledge and practical experience you will gain are absolutely invaluable. A seasoned role model has “been there, done that” and is in a great position to tell you what to do and, better yet, what not to do. Just think of all the insightful information about prospecting and effective lead follow-up techniques they have up their sleeve!
- A mentor can give you a competitive advantage. A real estate veteran can arm you with the essential skills to achieve peak performance in the industry—and we’re not just talking sales. If you select a mentor who works at the same company as you do, they can provide invaluable insider information on how to navigate company politics, get things done, and promote yourself within the organization.
- A mentor can help you think outside the box. Learn what they didn’t teach you in school through a bond with a higher-up. A mentor can help you look at situations in new ways and ask hard questions to help you solve problems. They can also help you develop emotionally. In the first five years of your career, you are still developing an understanding of yourself and your impact on others. A mentor is there to help you grow both professionally and personally.
- A mentor can help you define and reach goals. Your mentor should be someone who has a career you aspire to. He or she can help you lay the groundwork by setting short-term and long-term goals, and by recognizing your accomplishments along the way. Closed your first sale—check! Didn’t give up on finding a difficult client the perfect home after months and months of searching—way to go!
- A mentor can expand your social network. Your mentor is likely to have an extensive network of industry relationships that would take you years to cultivate. They can introduce you to the right people and open doors that might not otherwise be accessible.
- A mentor can inspire you. Mentors have the lives we want for ourselves; they’re the ones whose careers we’re in awe of, whose lifestyles and values mirror our own. These mentor-mentee relationships are empowering—and might just end up being one of the most important relationships you have.
Now that you know the importance of a mentor, how do you seek out the right one? Find someone whose career aligns with your goals, and tell them you admire them and would love to get their feedback on your job performance. Also, emulate them. Eat what they eat for breakfast, so to speak. Use their advice and hit the ground running. Soak up all you can. Before you know you it, you’ll have a young real estate agent asking if you can be their mentor.
Your state and local associations can also help you in this important search. NAR is full of resources for mentors, mentees, and organizations, including a mentorship program available for students of the Master of Real Estate program. You can also view our updated field guide for help more on mentoring in the real estate industry.