If you’re actively looking for a mentor but don’t know how to find and approach one, you should first congratulate yourself. You’re ahead of the curve when you take stock of your life and are willing to ask for help. While that’s a great start, how should you approach potential mentors?
The answer to that question is what I recently spoke about with bestselling author of The Go-Giver series and professional speaker Bob Burg.
According to Bob the first quality that you need to look for is to find someone that’s done what you want to do. It doesn’t have to be something EXACTLY like you do, just along the lines of what you want to do works great. They don’t have to be in the same field that you’re in either. It could be someone that’s had success in the business world solving similar problems to the ones that you are facing.
Two Different Ways to Reach Out to Potential Mentors
I believe there are two schools of thought when it comes to approaching potential mentors. 1) When you find one you directly ask them to be your mentor and 2) Have conversations with people and let the relationship organically develop over time.
Bob believes there is one way to do it that is more effective than the other one. If you’ve just met someone or you are reaching out with a cold call asking someone to be your mentor is like asking “Would you share 30 years of your life experiences with me even though you don’t know me from a hole in the wall?”. When you do that you run the risk of coming off entitled or that you don’t really respect the mentoring process. A mentor/protégé relationship is just that – it’s a RELATIONSHIP that needs to be nurtured and developed. Asking someone to be your mentor too soon is like asking someone to marry you before the first date.
On the other hand, here’s what you can do when you reach out to someone even when you don’t know them well: Say “I know that you are very, very busy and if this is something that isn’t appropriate I understand. I’d like to ask you one or two very specific questions…” When you approach it that way you let them know that it’s not entitlement, it’s not something that they owe you. You’re giving them an out and letting them know that you respect their time. Most people will say yes to answering a couple of questions. From there you set up a brief call. You ask if you can follow up with them and sometimes a relationship will organically grow over time on those phone calls.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg! Bob shares his experiences and advice about successfully growing mentoring relationships after that first phone call with easy, actionable items that will have a great impact on the relationship opportunity at hand. We also discuss more about what NOT to do, what MENTORS should do in this case and how to create value for your mentors among other valuable nuggets of advice.
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About The Guest
Bob Burg is a sought-after speaker at company leadership and sales conferences sharing the platform with everyone from today’s business leaders and broadcast personalities to even a former U.S. President.
Bob is the author of a number of books on sales, marketing and influence, with total book sales of well over a million copies. His book, The Go-Giver, coauthored with John David Mann, itself has sold over 925,000 copies and it has been translated into 28 languages.
His and John’s newest parable in the Go-Giver Series is The Go-Giver Influencer.
Bob is an advocate, supporter and defender of the Free Enterprise system, believing that the amount of money one makes is directly proportional to how many people they serve. He is also an unapologetic animal fanatic and is a past member of the Board of Directors of Furry Friends Adoption, Clinic & Ranch in his town of Jupiter, Florida.