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One of the most effective ways to launch or expand your career in luxury real estate is through mentorship. Just ask Debra Quinn Petkanas, Global Real Estate Advisor at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, and Emily Quinn Edelman, Real Estate Salesperson with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty.
Both women learned from industry veterans at an early age. The Quinn and Petkanas families owned a real estate brokerage company and were involved in various building and development ventures.
So when Edelman joined the team at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, Petkanas collaborated with her as one of her mentors — and both their practices have benefited as a result. Here’s their take on why mentorship drives such success for luxury agents, whether they’re new to the business or seasoned experts.
1. It spurs professional development
It’s easy to fixate on external factors, such as sales volume and revenue, when evaluating business success. But investing in internal initiatives is just as important, and mentorship is a powerful strategy.
“When the real estate market crashed in 2008, Patricia Petersen, the owner, and then-CEO of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, decided to implement a Business Development, Coaching & Mentoring Program within the company,” recalls Pektanas. “Pat asked me and another agent to develop and run this program for experienced agents and those new to the business.”
The program helped established agents get back to the basics of growing their business through their sphere of influence from past transactions. At the same time, new agents were taught step-by-step tactics to become successful — even in inclement market conditions.
“This experience was very gratifying since we were all going through the same difficult times,” says Petkanas. “I forged friendships within the company that continue to this day, and got great satisfaction helping others.”
2. Learning is key throughout your career
Edelman recommends that all new agents find mentors early in their careers. “Having someone who has been in the field for many years allows you to follow them and get familiar with all the different steps it takes to bring a real estate transaction to the finish line,” she says.
“During my first and second year, it wasn’t necessarily all about bringing in money, but was more about learning and obtaining as much knowledge as I could to allow me to grow within my own business.”
Lifelong learning and continuous improvement is part of what makes being a luxury agent so exciting, and even experienced agents should take advantage of mentorship to cultivate new skills and perspectives.
3. Everyone has unique experiences and capabilities to share
Mentorship brings mutual benefits, as Petkanas notes. “Experienced agents have systems, tools, and techniques that they have followed to achieve success in their careers, while newer agents may be more skilled with technology and social media,” she says.
It’s not just professional collaboration: it’s also personal support. “You help each other out, you call on them to vent about challenges and they help you regain your composure, and most of all, when there are two of you, twice the amount of work can get done,” Edelman says. “Your mentor is your person — the one you come to with anything and everything.”
4. Mentorship helps hone accountability
The partnership that arises through mentorship can help cultivate productive habits. “It makes you accountable to someone else besides yourself, and motivates you to implement systems that support your success,” says Petkanas.
Ensuring confidentiality and earning trust are also skills that mentees gain through this process, which are highly applicable when working with clients. “Sometimes you’re granted access to your mentor’s book of business — which is kept very close to them since they’ve worked for years to build it — they need to know that their information will be kept private,” says Edelman.
5. Long-lasting relationships can boost business
Edelman credits mentorship with her success to date. “I’ve had two amazing mentors who have shown me the true ropes of real estate,” she says. “Debbie [Debra] and I teamed up in early January of 2022 to form The Quinn Petkanas Team, which has transformed my career completely.”
Not all mentors and mentees will go into business together. But their shared bond effectively links their referral networks, empowering them to achieve better results for themselves and their clients for years to come.
“Being a mentor or mentee gives you the ability to support each other in good times, as well as challenging ones,” says Petkanas. “We can lift each other up on a tough day, and celebrate the successes together when they happen. I like using the acronym ‘TEAM’ — together, everyone achieves more.”