What decisions and paths should the real estate industry be prioritizing? And how can you, whether managing a team or an entire company, bring those best lessons to bear where you work? In February, in advance of building an industry blueprint at Inman Disconnect, we’ll plumb the topic of leadership with Q&As with top industry leaders, contributions from esteemed Inman columnists and more.
In these times, double down — on your skills, on your knowledge, on you. Join us Aug. 8-10 at Inman Connect Las Vegas to lean into the shift and learn from the best. Get your ticket now for the best price.
If you’ve been in the real estate industry for a while, you may have developed a robust knowledge of what you do day-to-day and the value you bring to your clients, colleagues and your organization. Maybe you’ve had some hard knocks along the way, or maybe you’ve built a business to be proud of. Mazel!
A natural impulse, then, might be to take on a sort of leadership role, especially if there’s a younger or less experienced agent in your sphere of influence who looks up to you and is interested in learning from the best (that’s you).
- Maybe that potential mentee is someone you’ve gotten to know well through a committee assignment or by hobnobbing at events.
- Maybe it’s a friend who’s transitioning into the industry, inspired by your success.
- Maybe it’s one of your children or a niece or nephew starting from scratch and looking to follow in your footsteps.
Being a real estate mentor is good for you and for your mentee, offering them a chance to gain real-world experience and allowing you to share your love of the industry, your niche and your local market. However, this is not a commitment to be entered into lightly; it’s a professional relationship that takes time, energy, and respect for each other and for the process.
If you’re ready to be a mentor, or are considering taking on that role and responsibility, here are some things to keep in mind.
Identify your strengths
Anyone can teach a new agent the nuts and bolts of filling out a contract or conducting a listing presentation. What they probably need is less about logistics and more about what makes you uniquely effective in your role. That starts with a consideration of your strengths and what you bring to the table that others don’t.
Maybe you’ve singlehandedly developed a niche that’s been the foundation of your business. Maybe you understand how to leverage your CRM for maximum value. Maybe you are a marketing wiz who can get a house sold when others can’t get a nibble. Maybe your uncanny ability to price it right is unmatched in your area.
Start by finding out what makes you so good at your job, and help your mentee develop that same skill. If the skill is something that just comes naturally to you, part of your work will be breaking it down and figuring out how to teach it to someone else.
Understand your mentee’s goals
Don’t just focus on what’s special about you. You’ll need to understand your mentee and what they’re looking to get out of this relationship. If your mentee just wants an excuse to hang out with you, don’t take them on. Mentorship is more than that, and your mentee will need to do their part to develop objectives for the two of you to work on together.
Talk to your mentee about their goals, and really listen. Don’t tell them why they’re unrealistic or their goals won’t work. Help them noodle through the challenges they face, and be honest with them about your perspective, but don’t shut them down.
Mentorship is not a chance for you to swan around and act self-important. It’s not meant to be an ego boost or a chance for you to brag about your accomplishments. Mentorship is, in fact, less about you and more about the mentee. Make sure that you’re providing value and that you’re keeping your focus on helping your mentee make positive, lasting changes in their business.
Make valuable introductions, share industry insights, and offer guidance for your mentee as they build their business. When you see an opportunity to assist them, take it, and let them know what you’re doing and why. While you may need to offer corrections from time to time, look for ways to make your interactions positive. Encourage more than you scold.
Be available and responsive
While many potential mentors like the idea of working with a mentee, the very success that makes them great keeps them from being effective. If you’re already working 24/7 and feeling overwhelmed by all that you have going on in your business, you may not be in a position to take on a mentorship role.
Being available for questions, phone calls, text messages or meetings is essential to meeting your mentee’s needs. Those interactions will help you build trust and strengthen your relationship. Being responsible and giving your mentee the chance to call on you when needed is a big part of the value you’re providing. Make sure you have the bandwidth to provide that.
Evaluate your mentee’s progress
As your mentee makes progress, you’ll need to regularly talk with them about what’s working and what’s not. Revisit their goals, and set new ones as the early benchmarks are met and exceeded.
If they’re not making progress, talk honestly about what could be happening and what needs to be improved. Evaluate whether you’re the right person to mentor this colleague; evaluate whether they’re falling behind in the follow-up. If you feel they need more help and support than you can provide — or if you feel that they need a different approach — be honest about that, too.
Becoming a mentor offers you the opportunity for meta-cognition — the process of thinking about how you think — and allows you to examine your real estate business in a whole new way. It can create powerful momentum and push you forward toward roles in coaching, training and leadership.
Most of all, it gives you the satisfaction of being an essential part of generating success for someone else. It provides you with a legacy that will last long after you’ve retired from the business. The lessons you teach today can become the foundation for other accomplishments far into the future.
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 Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.