By Lisa Fettner
I recently spent three weeks on the conference circuit reconnecting with old colleagues, making new friends and meeting potential business partners. All this networking got me thinking about “my squad” — the people in my life on whom I rely both personally and professionally for support and advice.
To borrow from Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Squad members can change over time, especially if you move on to new industries or roles, but it’s important to have the following people around if you want to maximize your growth and impact on your chosen career in real estate — or any other industry.
Mentors: A mentor is usually someone who has been in the business longer than you and who you can turn to for objective professional advice. Whether it’s calling/emailing them to ask a quick question or a more detailed involved discussion about strategy, you absolutely must have at least one. Seeking out and finding a mentor can sometimes be challenging, and often the best ones turn out to be ex-bosses or teachers. The key is to find people in your industry who can give you unbiased coaching and support. You can also have multiple mentors to help with different areas of your life. For example, in addition to my role at ReferralExchange, I also lead a nonprofit that gives away free prom dresses and accessories to northern California teens. I have mentors who help me in both of these areas.
Professional Peers: Unlike mentors, these are people/colleagues who are at a similar place in their careers as you are. Use these folks to trade advice, brainstorm, socialize and network with. You can find peers at your current and former companies, or groups/organizations. Your peers are probably the most fluid of your squad members as you shift to a new job or industry — but they are the folks with whom you will interact most frequently.
Trusted Advisors: Trusted advisors are different from mentors or peers because they have a specific skill or talent that you rely on and are often paid members of your inner circle. They can be your tech guru, PR team, strategist, etc. — subject matter experts who help you and your company be successful.
Future Members: You should always be on the lookout for new members of your squad. As people cycle in and out of careers and companies, you need a squad that adapts and grows as you do. Your current members can be your best resource for new additions, but be open to meeting new people with different points of views.
Unequivocal Cheerleaders: Sometimes you just need a pep talk, sound advice or a shoulder to lean on. Your cheerleaders are the core of your squad — those people you can turn to when times are tough or when you want to celebrate major accomplishments. No matter what, they have your back.
Former Squad Members: The reality is that people change and sometimes grow apart. Just as you may need to let someone go from your business, you may need to do the same for your squad. They are your support group, but if you’re not getting support, it’s important to bring in someone new.
While you might already have many of your squad members in your life, don’t wait for new ones to come to you. It’s important to network and put yourself out there. Offer to speak, help out at industry-related events or host a “meet and greet” lunch where every invitee brings someone the other attendees don’t know. If you’re attending a conference, find out who else is speaking/ attending and send them a meeting request in advance to connect. Try to identify different events or activities to attend where you’ll meet new people beyond your usual crowd. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a step outside your industry.
And finally, when you are at an event, force yourself to sit next to someone you don’t know and introduce yourself to at least one new person per event. Almost everyone attending that event knows they need to do so as well, and they might even be relieved if you make the first move!
Once you find your squad, don’t forget to nurture it. Keeping in touch and saying “thank you” periodically can go a long way. Consider paying it forward as well by mentoring the next generation of up-and-comers at your work or in your industry, or become a squad member for another friend or colleague. Doing so will not only supercharge your career — it will make your life richer and more impactful as well.
Your real estate business is bigger than you think. ReferralExchange matches your clients with 3 great agents and pays you a 25% referral fee at closing.