Today’s Tip #9 is from Thom Singer and it’s about how important it is to find a mentor and tips on how to do it.
Who have been the most important mentors in your life, and how did you find them or initially establish that mentoring relationship?
Join the discussion below and learn more about Thom Singer’s newest Keynote on “The Paradox of Potential”.
Scott Ingram: Welcome back to the Daily Sales Tips Podcast. I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from my good friend Thom Singer. Thom and I use to sell to mid-size companies together here in Austin over a decade ago. Today’s he’s a Keynote Speaker and Professional Master of Ceremonies, and I’m sure he would tell you his highest accomplishment to date was serving as the MC for the first ever Sales Success Summit. He also hosts a great podcast called Cool Things Entrepreneur’s Do. Here’s Thom:
Thom Singer: January is the national mentoring month. Now when I speak at conferences, especially to companies that have a lot of young professionals, people will line up three, four, five people deep and come up and ask me questions about how do you find a mentor? Because in my presentations about “how do people maximize their potential”, one of the ways is having mentors and peer groups of people who are invested in you and you’re invested in them.
These are give and take relationships where it opens up a lot of doors, a lot of opportunities. It clears away the cobwebs and it keeps you from hitting those minefields that so many of us stumble into along our career. So finding a mentor is key, but not everyone is able to find a mentor. Some people don’t even know where to begin. In fact, this can be a daunting task. So I always tell people, you begin your hunt for your mentor through networking. You have to start off by getting involved in your company, in your industry, and in your community because you’re seeking somebody where you find that connection where the person is there, you build a little bit of a connection and a friendship and then later you approach them and say, “would you formally be my mentor”? You can’t walk up to a stranger and say “hi, you know, would you be my mentor”? That sounds really daunting. And, and why would a stranger want to invest in someone they’ve never heard of before? So you need to make sure that there is some sort of a connection. There’s some sort of that friendship that starting. And then you can approach that person and say, “I would really like to go down the path to be more like you to achieve the things that you’ve achieved. Could you help guide me?” Now, if someone’s never served in a role as a mentor before, they may not know what this means. So you may have to check out and see if they have that interest in it. And then you’re going to have to set up the guidelines of what this relationship is going to be like. Is it going to be on phone? Are you going to meet a person? Are you going to have coffee or you’re going to have breakfast, but you have to develop some sort of idea and then take the attitude of, well, we’ll see how this goes, but here’s the trick? The mentee must drive the relationship in the early stages of this relationship. You cannot just expect that person to be all invested in you, but if they give you the commitment that you can call them once a week or whatever it is, make sure that you’re doing that. Make sure that you’re reaching out and having that connection to them. Now, one of the things you have to do is you have to know what your goals are. You have to know what you want to achieve in your career. If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s really hard for someone else to help give you guidance. So make sure that when you find a mentor, you let them know, this is what I’m seeking to accomplish.
It makes it much easier for the mentor to keep their eyes and ears open. It makes it easier for them to help explain the differences between some choices and fork she may come to along the way in the road, but remember when a mentor gives you advice, you have to make the decision. You can’t turn to your mentor and say, “make the decision for me”. It doesn’t work that way. A mentor is not your dad or your mom. They are not really there to do these things for you. They’re there to help you navigate the way through life. Now, I’ve been very fortunate in my life. I’ve had people who have come out of the woodwork and really shown me the way in several different careers that I had. Certainly, when I was in sales, I had some people who really taught me how to be a good salesperson.
When I became a professional trainer and speaker, I had some people in that industry who not only taught me the stage skills to be a better presenter, but also how to sell yourself in the role where you are the product, which was a huge difference from selling a product and a service to marketing myself so people have come along and done that. I reached a spot in my career where I realized I needed to give back and I had two people approach me over the last few years who wanted me to mentor them and that relationship has really become, they’re almost like extra children to me now. They’re both in their twenties and they’re almost like, you know, I call them my fake sons because we have become so close. Not every mentor you find is you going to have a lifetime relationship with where you become that tight. But you should get into a relationship with someone who you respect and who respect you and allow a friendship to grow because over time the mentee-mentor can become so much more than someone who’s up and coming and a guide. Remember, part of your goal is to help your mentor and sometimes you don’t even know how you can do that, but this has to be a give and take relationship. So finding a mentor, I think it’s one of the most important things you can do for your career, but I will tell you it’s hard and you have to be focused. So good luck.
Scott Ingram: I’m hopeful that today’s question will help others find their own great mentors, and that question is: Who have been the most important mentors in your life, and how did you find them or initially establish that mentoring relationship? You can answer that question and learn more about Thom Singer and his newest Keynote on “The Paradox of Potential” that I know he’s presented to a number of sales teams that are stuck in that gap between potential and results at DailySales.Tips/9
Then come back tomorrow because we’re going to learn how to stay LIT with Phil Terrill and learn about his Four Fs!