How To Find A Commercial Real Estate Mentor?

Jan 13, 2015

When we mention the term mentor, we might think of someone who will cost us a significant amount of money for multiple mentoring sessions. But, before getting into commercial real estate investing, you may have to think of mentorship as a personal investment for your long-term property investment.

Finding a good mentor may be as important as the investing itself. Try looking for an experienced mentor who will guide you into and advise you on the necessary steps and flow of investment. Experienced mentors can tell you what works and what doesn’t work in the particular market.

As a potential investor, you might know that you can’t go from mid-level to high-level investor overnight. You have to put in your time, right?

Yet, there is a way to skip the preliminaries and jump to the finishing line.

In fact, by using this technique, you’ll be able to gain the experience of a seasoned commercial investment property investor – without the growing pains that are usually part of the package.

It’s called finding a mentor, and it’s one of the most effective ways of moving to the next level.

There are several steps behind this ‘HOW’.

  • First, you need to have the right mindset and understand what the mentor is offering.
  • Get a clear vision. Setting a goal and choosing a long-term investment.
  • Finally, establish core values; know what you want and how to spot the difference between right or wrong.

Why You Need A Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Mentor?

Interestingly, mentorship is one of those things that most admit is a good idea – but few actually do it.

Excuses abound, of course, and range from, “I’ve looked but I just can’t seem to find anyone I click with,” all the way to, “No one does mentoring anymore. It’s all mastermind groups now.”

Excuses are just that – excuses. In the real world, if you examine the most successful businessmen, many admit readily that they couldn’t have gotten to where they are without a mentor’s help. In fact, most of them have had more than one mentor, during different parts of their life, or for different types of businesses.

Warren Buffett, for example, cites William Graham as his mentor. Donald Bren’s net worth is over $1 billion, yet he also has a mentor – Ray Watson, who ran Irvine Company before Bren.

Warren Buffett cites William Graham as his mentor

How To Find A Commercial Real Estate Mentor?

  • Decide, if you haven’t already, what your niche You can’t be an expert in everything (although you can eventually master more than one niche).

Choosing one niche at a time, mastering it, and then going on to the next one, allows you to clearly define what you need to succeed while maintaining a clear goal.

  • Once you decide on a niche, it’s time to find the most influential people in that area. You might know some already, but try to gather a list of the top ten, not just two or three.

These should include people that it would ‘scare’ you to work with – a sure sign that you would not only learn a lot from them but that you would be forced to give your best in order to learn from them.

  • Then, follow every step that these ten take. Read what commercial real estate income property deals they are doing, read any books they’ve written, and go to any talks or seminars that they give. What you’re doing is familiarizing yourself, not only with their method but also with where you fit into things (as I’ll explain in a bit).

Choosing A Commercial Real Estate Mentor – Persistence And Willingness To Give

Finding a mentor isn’t about tagging along behind a pro

First of all, you need to understand that finding a mentor isn’t about tagging along behind a pro and asking a billion questions about the business.

If they’re in anyway successful, they’ll have dozens, if not hundreds, of people ‘dying’ to have them as a mentor. So how you can make the cut?

It’s simple, actually – though not necessarily easy. In order to catch a mentor’s eye, you need two things: persistence, and a willingness to give. Don’t expect to be able to reach your mentor on your first try. Buffett only managed to snag Graham after an extensive letter-writing campaign.

Today, social media makes it easier to find and stay in touch with your prospective commercial real estate mentor, but you’ll still need step two in order to be successful.

Nobody likes to be treated as a ‘role model’, and to simply be imitated by others. Mentors serve to teach you and give you the necessary information.

Yet, you need to reach them first and the best way to get someone interested in mentoring you is to learn to give first.

Here is a simple example:

Think of mentoring as dating. Would you go up to someone at first sight and ask them to marry you? Or would you first find out what they like, try to help them out here and there, and then cautiously ask them to do something with a minimum of commitment – like go out for a coffee?

Find The Three People Directly Underneath The Commercial Real Estate Mentor

Even with all of this work, it might still be difficult making contact with your mentor.

That’s why you can use this trick: Befriend a few players directly underneath the mentor (in terms of influence). These people will often be surprisingly free of admirers – usually because everyone is so busy running after the big fish.

You, on the other hand, can use that to your advantage. You are not, by the way, going to use one to get the other. However, since these people count your prospect as their mentor, you can still learn a great deal about commercial real estate by watching what they do.

Make yourself useful to this group, and you will eventually get introduced to the mentor you originally had in mind.

Of course, though this method of finding a mentor is a simple one, it isn’t easy. But of course, being successful is not easy, right?

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