EPMEPM: Productivity

Which mentor?

In an industry saturated with trainers and a multitude of ‘experts’, how do you sort out the ones worth following from the fly‐by‐nights? Who do you give your hard‐earned money to? Samara Bedwell shares her insights with Elite Agent.

As a business owner, as soon as I was up and running, my inbox was bombarded with emails from every training organisation in the industry – offering subscriptions to their online systems, in‐house training, attending their seminars, buying their books, listening to their podcasts, following them on Facebook, tweeting them on Twitter etc.

We now seem to be an industry saturated with trainers and mentors, which leaves me pondering a few questions:

Who do I follow?

Who do I subscribe to?

Will I ever find time to do actual real estate work after spending my time looking and listening to all my email bombarders?

Who offers the best value for money?

Being in the industry for the best part of two decades, I see some constant and credible names filter through some of these emails but I also see many new names and faces, and I wonder whether these guys have earnt their stripes.

For me, a credible mentor/trainer is someone who has walked the walk and talked the talk, someone who has ridden the rollercoaster of real estate in both strong and weak markets. In fact, I base more credibility on those who have survived and thrived in weak markets as it’s these guys who truly know how to sustain a business in economic hard times.

Personally, I don’t want a trainer to have been in the game a year or two, had massive success and decided to enter the training realm as a full‐time career. Now don’t get me wrong – I am sure that I can learn a thing or two from these people about their successful period and how they captured the market during this time, but I remember what it was like to be a rookie. I was passionate, driven, had no other commitments or distractions and I powered to be number one in my game, but after several years your get‐up‐and‐go burns out, you get older and family commitments kick in, priorities change – you still want to be that successful award winning agent but you can no longer work seven days a week.

So, while I have a ‘criteria’ for what I look for in a trainer/mentor, what about the newcomers to the industry… how do they know who is credible? Who can assist them in becoming successful agents and staying in the game no matter the market conditions?

As a trainer of compliance and best practice with the REIQ, I often get approached by students to mentor them into the industry and while I am a huge believer in giving back to our industry, I have rejected every request. You see, I believe a good mentor should be able to to commit to their subject, give regular meetings or communications, introduce them to key people and important aspects of the industry, and for me the last two years with having the birth of my first child, setting up a new business and consulting to the REIQ, I am unable to give myself even 80% to someone looking for a mentor/trainer.

I think about if I was engaging a personal trainer to whip me into shape for a 12‐week program and they only turned up to train me every second week. I think about how their lack of commitment would affect my results – I wouldn’t be achieving my full potential.

So, what I have done for these guys is made some suggestions of quality trainers and mentors – career mentors. These guys have the time to dedicate to them, this is what they do, and it’s their career. They are credible and successful and they charge for their service.

Overwhelmingly less than 2% of people who ask me to mentor them for free take my suggestion and actually invest in themselves with a trainer/mentor.

The other 98% stumble around looking for the free and expecting the red carpet to be rolled out.

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘You are no good to anyone if you don’t look after yourself’? Well that saying doesn’t just represent health. If you don’t invest in yourself are you being the very best person you can be? Are you able to contribute to society as much as you can?

As a principal, if I see staff and recruits investing in themselves to be the best they can be, then I feel obligated to invest in them also. I’ll invest my time in this person, I’ll invest financially in this person to propel their career, and most of all I’ll invest my knowledge and experience in this person.

I’ve always found that you get the best out of your people if you lead and not dictate, if you appreciate them – my first principal when I entered the industry was a leader, she gave her time to the industry by training and she taught me to invest in myself. She showed me that by investing in myself others would invest in me, too.

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