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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   October 2013

Share the Wealth of Knowledge

Formalized mentoring produces new ranks of top mortgage professionals

Regardless of your job description, a career in the real estate industry requires constant education and — at the beginning stages — a strong push toward the right path. Although the classroom is a key component of any educational program, mentorship also has proven to be an essential element in launching real estate and mortgage professionals toward more successful careers.

The one-to-one relationships that lie at the heart of any successful mentorship program represent a special, interpersonal investment in people that goes beyond educational value. Mentorship affords a persistent and consistent opportunity to impart a corporation’s culture as they are applied in real-world situations. The link between the development of skills and the practical application of the corporate ethos is much more likely than classroom-only programs to develop well-rounded employees who consistently value customer satisfaction over the achievement of personal goals.

Many real estate agencies have developed sophisticated mentorship programs not only to help their agents better serve customers, but also to assure that complicated statutory disclosure requirements are addressed in a thorough and professional fashion. In other words, effective risk management has become a key operating advantage of mentoring programs in general.

For their part, mortgage brokers and bankers should note the parallels. Newly licensed real estate agents face similar challenges to newly licensed mortgage brokers: Ethical lead-generation practices, adherence to strict disclosure requirements, and the benefits of open and honest customer communication are equally relevant to both groups.

Mortgage brokers should consider the benefits of mentorship programs as they work to implement disclosure guidelines from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and continue to implement procedures that comply with other requirements of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. With the acknowledged benefit of providing immediate visibility of the application of key concepts in real-world situations, formalized mentorship should be part of the culture at any office.

Advantages

As demonstrated by some of the more progressive training-based real estate companies, the most successful mentoring relationships are learning partnerships where a mentor and mentee work collaboratively toward mutually defined goals. The most successful of these programs couple mentorship with formalized classroom sessions to provide the best of both worlds.

A key revelation for some companies may come in having group classes for mentors immediately followed by one-on-one sessions between students and mentors. Managers may find that the students who never raise their hands to ask questions in front of their peers will quiz their mentors about issues from the class that were not clear to them. Mentoring can enhance classroom sessions and provide a safe haven in the learning process.

The essence of mentoring is this opportunity to move beyond classroom lessons by acquiring real-world experience and knowledge in observing and questioning seasoned professionals. Equally critical to real estate agents and mortgage professionals, mentoring provides opportunities for students to begin applying those lessons in situations that can be monitored by mentors.

For mortgage brokerages and banks, quality mentoring programs can result in any or all of the following:

  • Real-world experience in sensitive areas, such as disclosureand compliance
  • Observing and learning lead-generation scripts and dialogs
  • Easy access to advice from a professional with a stake in the student’s success
  • Reduced anxiety about making a “mistake”
  • An extra pair of eyes ensuring that novices are completingtasks properly
  • Prospective leaders are identified and groomed

A win-win

Properly initiated mentoring programs can be win-win situations. While obviously helping a company’s latest hire become more proficient, mentors often report higher job satisfaction, as they value the opportunity to “give back” by sharing experience and wisdom.

For mortgage companies, veteran bankers and brokers can enjoy the benefit of being active and engaged professionals who share their wealth of experience in helping to develop the next generation of well-rounded, knowledgeable professionals. This also can create a halo effect that encompasses the way in which experienced and new professionals deliver service to customers; so, in essence, mentoring programs can be a win-win-win situation.

A complement to training

Traditional training is primarily functional. It’s the “how to” part of the professional process and aims to help individuals become good employees and managers, but it’s difficult to formalize the wisdom of people who have succeeded in specific industries within the confines of a standardized class. Mentoring enhances the classroom lessons and adds the invaluable seasoning of the veteran professional to the mix.

Mentoring is about coaching and counseling. It’s about navigating the organizational culture, solving real-world problems, advancing careers, and most important, honing the tools required to deliver customer success.

A talent magnet

Mortgage companies also should know that mentoring can be a great way to make sure that the talent pipeline is filled with people ready to manage and lead. It’s also an effective way to retain and recruit. Before initiating a successful mentoring program, some banks and brokerages may not have a single newly hired professional in the top 20 percent of their sales production. After several years of implementing a formalized mentoring program, however, an organization may find that a large percentage of their top producers are graduates of their mentoring program.

•  •  •

In the real estate and mortgage industries alike, companies are only as good as the people they have servicing clients. If your organization already counts a number of successful industry veterans among its ranks, establishing a thorough mentoring program can ensure that more quality originators are on deck.  


 


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