However, during Follow-Along Friday with Theo Hicks and Danny Randazzo, Danny explained an interesting trick he learned from his mentor about how to qualify a potential mentor. This trick can also be applied to qualifying business partners, employees – heck, even a significant other. But the context of Theo’s and Danny’s conversation was about real estate mentor ships.
Theo interviewed a real estate investing couple who provided a list of things that are red flags when hiring a mentor, including the person lying or exaggerating about their experience, pressuring you to sign up or partner up on the spot, making you feel bad about asking questions, and overall conveying that they are of bad character.
Danny replied with a red flag of his own. Or more specifically, a trick to determine the quality of the mentor.
The trick is to schedule a video conference call with a mentor and gain a deeper understanding of them by analyzing their background.
Before learning about Danny’s three-step process, here is an interesting video that provides a philosophical overview of what our home, office, etc., says about us.
1. Set up a video conference call with the mentor
The first step is to set up a conference call with the mentor – either a current mentor or a prospective mentor. However, rather the scheduling a phone call, schedule a video call instead. Ideally, you use a service like Zoom which allows you to record the video conference, because that recording will come in handy in step 3.
Generally, when you are hiring a mentor, the first interaction is some sort of free consulting call where the mentor learns more about you and you learn more about the mentor. If this is the case, ask if they can do a video call rather than an audio only call.
If you already have a mentor, ask if your next meeting can be over video rather than audio.
Again, this trick works when you are searching for a new mentor or if you already have a mentor.
2. Execute the video conference
Whether this is a new mentor call or a call with an existing mentor, execute the video call just like you would an audio call. Make sure you check out this blog post here to learn what types of questions to ask when speaking with a potential mentor for the first time.
The only difference, besides the fact that the mentor can see you and you can see them, is that you are recording the entire video conversation.
3. Analyze the video
Once the call has concluded, schedule 30 minutes sometime during the next few days to analyze the video recording.
The goal of the analysis is to evaluate your mentor’s background and environment.
The environment in which we work and live says a lot about who we are, how we think, and our overall mindset and values.
Here are a few things to look for:
- Cleanliness – In order to be successful in real estate, you need to be disciplined and organized. If someone is a real estate investor and has some sort of consulting or mentorship program, plus a million other things going on from a business and personal standpoint, they likely need to be even more organized. If you see a disordered, dirty, or cluttered environment, that may indicate that the mentor has a disordered, cluttered business or mind. Or, at the very least, they didn’t take the time to clean up their room prior to a pretty important meeting.
- Video Set Up – Do they have a high definition camera, bright lighting, and good microphone? Successful real estate investors are either hosts of their own thought leadership platforms or are invited on as guests on other thought leadership platforms. So, if your mentor doesn’t have a high quality, professional recording set up, that might indicate a lack of expertise, network, or influence.
- Presentation – You also want to analyze how the mentor presents themselves on camera. What are they wearing and is that consistent with your preferences and your real estate niche? Do you want your mentor be to a “shirt and tie” person or is it okay if they are wearing a polo or a t-shirt? Is their hair combed? Are they clean shaven? Etc. Again, there is no right or wrong way for a mentor to present themselves. It is based on your preferences and your niche. For example, if you are a fix-and-flipper, a good mentor probably isn’t wearing a shirt and tie. But if you are a commercial real estate broker, you probably don’t want a mentor who shows up on camera wearing a tank top.
- Pictures – If the mentor has pictures behind them, try to determine what those pictures are. Are they pictures of their family, significant other, or kids? Is it a picture of them on vacation? Is it a picture of them receiving an award? Is it a picture of them with a well-known entrepreneur? The types of pictures in the background not only indicate the mentor’s experience (i.e., pictures of them receiving awards or with a well-known entrepreneur) but also their values. Ideally, your mentor has values that align with your own values. So, if you are very family-oriented, then you want to see pictures of their family in the background. If you are a travel junkie, vacation pictures are ideal.
- Overall Background – What else do they have in the background? Ideally, your mentor has a consistent spot in their office or home where they do video meetings, whether those are meetings with clients or interviews on their own or other investors’ thought leadership platforms. That said, they may have a blank wall or a window behind them. But more than likely, they have something else behind them, whether it be book shelves, a whiteboard, pictures, etc. If there is something besides a window or a blank wall behind them, what is it? Do they have shelves full of business books? Do they have picture frames with awards or certifications received? Do they have a whiteboard with their goals written on it? Do they have some sort of vision board with things that represent their accomplishments? Are these things clearly ordered or are they all over the place? Everything you see in the background indicates the mentor’s expertise and values.
Overall, the purpose of the video call is to gain a much deeper understanding of the mentor – understanding of their level of organization, their level of expertise, and their values.
There isn’t one thing that, if seen, disqualifies a mentor – unless it looks like a tornado went through their background. The idea is to evaluate their background and determine how it aligns with what you want out of a mentor.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.