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When you start a career in commercial real estate (CRE), there’s nothing like getting that first commission. One thing that can speed up the process dramatically is having mentors around to guide a newcomer through the inevitable twists and turns.

The mentoring program here at SVN Commercial Advisory Group in Sarasota is a case in point. Helping out newer colleagues is an integral part of this office’s business philosophy and it’s been a big help to me.

“Book learning” and “street smarts”

I came to SVN Commercial Advisory Group fresh out of college with a degree in real estate. Because of that, I had a grasp of the overall concepts and understood much of the industry terminology. “Book learning” can give a newcomer a distinct edge.

But of course, there’s a lot more to the industry than having an intellectual grasp of concepts. An advisor also has to acquire the “street smarts” of the business and develop the right instincts. That’s where the mentoring emphasis here helps so much.

Why mentoring works here

There are several factors that make mentoring effective here at SVN Commercial Advisory Group. One is the depth of the advisors’ experience. Many of them have spent decades working in this industry and have a wealth of knowledge to share. It’s hard to calculate the advantage of benefiting from someone else’s longtime experience instead of having to start completely from scratch.

Another is the array of sophisticated tools we use here. It’s great to have colleagues around who can walk a new person through the various steps of using these programs and demonstrate their usefulness in the CRE process.

And then there’s the importance of relationships. Mentors often provide introductions to investors, business owners and other people who are helpful connections in the field.

There’s a team spirit in this office

The advisors at SVN Commercial Advisory Group go out of their way to help new advisors. There are a lot of open doors here and everyone in this office is a resource. The people are warm, relatable, always displaying a team spirit. There’s no toxic competitiveness. The advisors believe that when one person in our office benefits, the whole team benefits. Because of that, they’re more than willing to teach a newcomer like me about client relationships, the financial part of CRE and other aspects of the industry.

One of the most important concepts we learn here is the centrality of client focus. You have to set aside any preoccupation with the money – the commission you’ll earn from a sale – and make this all about helping the client. It’s also crucial to be patient with the process, which doesn’t always move as quickly as you’d like.

It’s been a positive beginning. I’ve now earned my first commission and am very much looking forward to my future here at SVN Commercial Advisory Group.

Jake LaFemina, Associate Advisor
SVN | Commercial Advisory Group