Want To Accelerate Your Sales Career? Find a Sales Mentor.
The following is adapted from Raise Your Standards.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Nothing could be truer in the world of sales.
If you’ve worked in sales for even a month, you know it’s a grind. You have to show up for work whether you like it or not, often making calls to people who may not want to see you. You put in long hours, maybe on the road, and your income may be up in the air until you make a sale.
One of the best ways to grow as a sales professional is to find a mentor. A sales mentor can help motivate you when you feel low, and you know they understand exactly what you’re experiencing, unlike your spouse or your buddies.
Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, a mentor can give you brutally honest feedback, selling tips, and tactics to try when what you’re currently doing is failing. They can serve as a role model in dealing with adversity, handling difficult people, and making tough decisions. This is what it looks like when iron sharpens iron.
Here’s some advice about where to find a mentor and how to make your relationship a beneficial one.
Finding a Mentor
Potential sales career mentors are all around you if you open your eyes. They rarely land in your lap, so you’re likely going to have to ask someone.
The easiest way to find a mentor is to look around your company for someone a level or two above you or for someone at your level who is killing it in ways you’ve only dreamed about. That’s natural because you’re already on the same page about what you need to do, and you may see each other all the time at meetings and conferences.
If a decent mentor doesn’t seem immediately apparent, ask a manager if your company has a mentoring program. Otherwise, try these resources:
- Your alma mater
- Service organizations like Rotary
- Professional associations
- LinkedIn or Facebook groups
- Your house of worship
The idea is to leave no stone unturned. With today’s technology, there’s no need to live in the same city, as long as you both have an Internet connection. Your mentor might not even know you, if you wind up using YouTube videos, books, and other free or low-cost resources available to you.
Depending on where your mentor comes from, your approach in asking for help will vary. Sometimes, it’s less intimidating to ask for help with one issue, and if that goes well, ask if they will mentor you in a more formal way, easing into the relationship gradually.
Other times, you may feel comfortable asking about mentorship right off the bat, especially if your company has a mentorship program or requires mentorship at the management level.
If you’re asking people whom you don’t know to mentor you, you can try the ease-in strategy above, or look for mentoring-related tags on social media and LinkedIn, indicating they’re open to helping others in the industry.
How to Get the Most from Your Sales Mentor
Your sales mentor isn’t there to pat you on the back and give you a participation trophy. Expect some tough love if you’re going to make the most from your relationship.
Begin by asking them for advice. Start small and build a foundation and a relationship. Next, report back on that advice. Did you use it? What benefits did you get? What pitfalls did you encounter?
Don’t waste the opportunity to throw a little thanks and gratitude their way. Most people love to dispense their knowledge or advice, so ask for it and say thank you for it.
Get ready to make mistakes in front of your mentor. You have to be vulnerable and not be afraid to fail in front of this person. Take them behind the scenes. Don’t just let them in on the successes, show them failures. That’s where you’re going to get the most out of this.
They might give you very honest and very candid feedback. When your mentor bestows upon you this feedback, be quiet and absorb. Don’t make excuses. Feedback is a gift, and treat it as the honor it is. Be grateful that they care that much about you to invest their time in your success.
Remember that what separates you from where you want to be is the experience and knowledge it takes to walk that path. By putting yourself out there, and with the direction and help of a mentor, you will get there.
You’ll know you’ve succeeded because sales is a score-keeping kind of profession; the numbers will tell you. And then you can pay it forward and mentor someone else and keep the chain of excellence in personal development going.
For more advice on finding a sales mentor, you can find Raise Your Standards on Amazon.
Mark Evans might be the most enthusiastic person you’ll ever meet. His love of sales, life, and the game of business is infectious. He believes that at its very core, sales doesn’t have to be manipulative or sleazy. In fact, Mark believes it’s the greatest job in the world. He’s helped companies and individuals reach the seven-figure sales mark and beyond. At markpatrickevans.com, Mark writes about the new way of selling, and sales leadership