Mentoring a new agent is not an easy job, and it is not for everyone. It requires a considerable amount of time and energy of a senior agent. It is a commitment that, if not managed well, can take valuable time away from the mentor’s business and cause their production to level off or slow down. If you are considering becoming a mentor, you need to realize what you are getting yourself into before committing to working with a new agent.
Commitment. Commitment is probably the number one characteristic I look for in someone who wants to be a mentor. The first question I ask when a potential mentor asks me about mentoring is “Are you willing to commit your time, experience and emotional energy in helping someone become as competent and successful as you?” Successful mentoring programs are built on those who are willing to spend the time and effort advising and guiding someone through the “peaks and valleys” of the real estate industry. A mentoring relationship will surely fail if a mentor is not willing to invest themselves in the person they are mentoring. The protégé must feel they have a dependable and reliable person who is helping them reach the next step in their career.
Experience. A mentor must be successful in the real estate industry in order to provide the expertise needed to ensure success in a protégé. What is success? Success is tied into transaction production, professional development, technological expertise and industry knowledge and advocacy. Someone who is a top producer probably can bring more to the table for an emerging REALTOR than someone who closed only a handful of homes. I always say “the more one sells…the more one knows.” Also, a mentor who is willing to spend the time and money to educate themselves through professional development and involvement in the real estate industry will provide the confidence and proficiency needed to properly advise a protégé.
What we do as professional REALTORS is a noble task. We have been asked to steward the largest asset a person has through the selling or purchasing process. In order to do this, a REALTOR must possess the competence and skill to properly manage the transaction and the expectations of the client. Their ability to handle multiple and sometimes difficult tasks related to property marketing, buyer representation, and transaction management is critical to ensuring the expectations of the client are met. In addition, adherence to the National Association of REALTORS Code of Ethics and Standards of Practices enables the REALTOR to conduct themselves and their businesses in a manner that ensures they are always following the guiding principles of “The Golden Rule” and keeping the interests of their clients before their own.
. A mentor must be an encourager. Our work as REALTORS day in and day out requires a tremendous amount of time, money and emotional energy. At times, it can be discouraging especially when one feels their efforts are not paying off. The mentor must always provide ongoing encouragement to the protégé as they, themselves, once knew how it felt when they started in the business. There is “the good, the bad and the ugly” of the business that all agents will experience at one time or another. The mentor must be someone one who can encourage others to enjoy their successes but also persevere and stay focused so they can navigate through the difficult times.
Patience. The old saying “patience is a virtue” really is true when it comes to mentoring someone in this business. It can be easy to get frustrated and upset at the protégé when their performance does not meet your expectations. Mentoring takes quite a bit of time and effort and the new licensee may not “get it” the first time around. You must be willing to repeat skills and techniques more than once so they can reach a level of competency in a particular task/skill set.
Selflessness. The real estate business can be a very narcissistic one. Self-promotion and individual marketing are a standard part of the business in order to gain an edge on the competition. We spend a great deal of time and money marketing our services and value propositions to the market so we can differentiate ourselves from others in the business. As a mentor, it is not about you and what you can get out of the mentoring relationship, but about the one you are helping and how you can make them successful in the same profession. A mentor must be willing to help and to put any self-serving motives aside so the protégé can benefit from what the mentor can offer them. Mentoring is more about giving than receiving.
(Excerpted from John Giffen's upcoming book "Do You Have a Minute? An Award-Winning Real Estate Managing Broker Reveals Keys for Industry Success" due out on November 1st on Amazon. ©2018 DKG Publishing Group.