Whether you’re looking to start strong or take your existing business to the next level, a mentor can be key. Learn how to find the expertise and experience you need in a real estate mentor.

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How did you learn to ride a bike? Cook a meal? Drive a car? In each case, you probably had the guidance of someone who knew more than you about that skill and worked with you to pass on their expertise. 

Ready to build or grow your real estate business? It’s important to find that expert help — a mentor who can provide game-changing advice and insight.

What is a mentor?

Mentorship comes in many shapes and sizes. In some cases, mentorship may involve an informal relationship with a more experienced real estate professional with whom you vibe. You may learn through conversations that occur organically and through observation based on your day-to-day interactions.

In other cases, mentorship may come from a more formal program within a team, brokerage or associational group. Maybe your broker pairs you with a veteran agent to grow your skills. Maybe you’re in a Young Professionals Network (YPN) group at your local association and your group’s leader is a mentor for many young agents like you.

Maybe your mentor isn’t in real estate at all. Perhaps your parents were entrepreneurs, and you’ve learned the nuts and bolts of lead gen, marketing and management from their example. Maybe your spouse is a business owner and has experience, along with a network of professional contacts you can tap into as you launch your real estate career.

Mentorship is less about the specifics of the industry or niche and more about having someone to call on who has more experience than you. Most of all, it’s about finding someone who is engaged and involved and who has the time and energy to devote to guiding you through the twists and turns of growing your real estate business.

The steps to find a mentor

If you’re seeking a mentor through a formal program at your brokerage, a real estate coaching service or a professional organization, finding someone is probably as simple as signing up and getting started. 

If you’re looking to develop a more personal mentoring relationship, you’ll need to depend on your own networking ability. You may have heard the old proverb: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Mentoring involves a similar dynamic.

It’s not about identifying someone and asking them to be your mentor; it’s about being actively involved in the industry and your local market and identifying the right mentor when they appear in your professional life.

Here are some steps to take to find, identify and connect with your mentor:

  • Determine your goals for mentoring, and go into it with a clear sense of what you want to get out of the process.
  • Find ways to get involved, either through brokerage training opportunities, local investor meetups, associational events, committee memberships or volunteer activities.
  • Spend time having conversations, connecting on social media, and networking with leaders in your market or in the niche you are interested in. Developing a variety of professional relationships organically will give you a foundation for developing mentoring relationships.
  • Ensure that your mentorship is not a one-way street. Look for ways to give back to your mentor through introductions, referrals, assistance, support and finding ways to express your appreciation.
  • Don’t think of mentorship as a one-and-done proposition. As you progress in your career, you will have many opportunities to connect with new mentors at varying levels.

Costs associated with having a mentor

In some brokerages, formal mentorship programs involve sharing a portion of your commission with your mentor as compensation for their time and assistance on a transaction. This may also come into play in a less formal setup where you co-list with your mentor to benefit from their experience and connections.

If you seek out a business coach or consultant as your mentor, there will be fees associated with the mentoring process. In this case, it’s a good idea to seek out recommendations from other agents to ensure that the return on your investment is likely to be sufficient to offset the costs.

If you are simply working with a more experienced agent in an informal mentoring relationship, there are usually no specific costs involved. However, it’s polite to reciprocate in some way for the mentor’s time and energy. You’ll probably want to pay for coffee or meals when the two of you get together or provide a small gift from time to time.

A mentor can provide a big boost to your real estate business, allowing you to bypass years of trial and error. Stay engaged and open to the possibilities offered by leaders you encounter, and go into every conversation or professional opportunity with a willingness to learn. You never know when a colleague or casual acquaintance might turn into a game-changing source of leadership and education, forever altering your perspective and your professional life.

Christy Murdock is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Writing Real Estate on TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

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