Your First 12 Months: How to Find a Real Estate Mentor
Let me tell you something obvious: making it past your first year in real estate is hard. Studies have shown that something between 70%-97% of new agents fail. This failure rate can boil down to the lack of commitment and planning it takes to become successful. A great and arguably, essential, way to avoid becoming this statistic is to find a mentor.
Going at it alone with no help is almost a guarantee for failure. Likewise, banding with other rookies does not give you any experienced edge. It is scientifically proven that we start to imitate the people we spend the most time with. Logically, for the sake of your business, these people should be industry professionals that you look up to.
I would assume that this is not a revelation to you. You know you need someone to show you the ropes, give you advice and help you grow. But finding that person is difficult. A Google search will leave you with oodles of paid mentorships or coaching programs that are beneficial, but likely not in the budget for your first 1 or 2 years. So what, then? How can you actually find a real estate mentor? Preferably for free?
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
-Perspective: Before you set out on your mentor search, you should take the time to do some soul searching and prepare to have the right mindset. A mentorship is not all about you. A potential mentor does not want to waste their time with something that poses no benefit to them. Understand now, that having a mentor does not mean you can just have all your questions answered and never speak again. A mentorship is a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. Think about what you can offer and how you can serve your mentors.
-Find Someone you Click With: Just because someone is an industry expert and has earned lots of money does not mean that they are the right mentor for you. You need to find someone you naturally, “click,” with. You will be spending a great deal of time and communicating with them, so you want to make sure this person is a good match. Forced mentorships are rarely helpful and often waste people’s time and energy.
WHERE YOU CAN FIND A MENTOR
-LinkedIn: Many people take to LinkedIn to build and grow their network of influence in their industry. It can also be a powerful tool to connect with and find a great mentor in your area. Go ahead and send some messages to professionals you admire and set some meetings to chat with them.
-Association Meetings: Your local real estate association is a great resource for many things, especially in your first year, but it is also the perfect place to chat and connect with experienced agents. Attend meetings and events. While there, make sure to network with the people around you can start the beginnings of professional relationships.
-Team/Broker: If you are practicing real estate in the United States, there is a 99.9% chance you are sponsored by a broker and/or a part of a team. Use this resource. The fact that cuts of your commission is being split with them gives you the right to ask for advice, support and help. Simply ask your fellow team members or broker if they know anyone who might be willing to meet you and take you under their wing.
-Be a Good Worker: Professionals want to mentor those who have potential and show they are passionate. Take this opportunity seriously from the beginning and your chances in finding a quality (and free) mentor should increase. If a powerful person notices your good work ethic, they will be more inclined to help you out and enter a mentor relationship.
WHAT TO DO AFTER
-Follow Up: If you have found an industry professional that you mesh with, make sure to follow up. A quick email reminding them who you are, where you met, what you talked about and an invitation to further the dialogue will do the trick. Following up will prove that you are serious and respect their advice, opinions and presence.
-Establish Mentorship: After forming the basis of your relationship, formally ask if they would be willing to be your mentor. Sometimes, mentorships naturally happen without a clear establishment of status, and that is certainly OK, however, it might be a good idea to get their official go-ahead. This does not have to be some formal, weird email. You are not asking them to marry you. Simply mention how their presence and advice helps you professionally and you really enjoy and take benefit from their company. Ask if you could possibly extend this relationship as a mentorship and set up weekly/bi-weekly/monthly meetings to catch up on work, life, and everything in between.
-Initiate: Do not be afraid to initiate from then on. Your mentor is an experienced professional and therefore, likely busy. Reach out first! Set phone meetings or coffee dates, ask specific questions, be ready to learn and also give your fresh perspective and ideas. It is the job of your mentor to do the professional guiding, but most of the work and communication starts with you!
Be patient. Mentorship is all about the relationship you build and it will take time to form naturally. Be open to breaching all subjects from family life and hobbies to professionalism and shadowing an open house. Likewise, learn to be OK with and welcome criticism and feedback. A mentor is not there to be your cheerleader, but instead, a coach. Lastly, remember, like most things in real estate, a mentor is an investment. Invest in them, and let them invest in you. This is a potentially lifelong relationship that will give you much more than knowledge about how to effectively survive your first 5 years in real estate.