To be professional in any career, you need mentors. I first met Jill Konrath after reading her new book, Selling to Big Companies in early 2006. I met Trish Bertuzzi in 2010. Perhaps how I stumbled into finding great mentors in the B2B sales world might inspire you to find mentors and inspiration yourself.
I didn't set out intentionally in actually "choosing" mentors. What happened was that I found myself in situations where there was great lessons to be learned, and all I did was try to close my mouth once in a while and open my ears. They may both smile when they see this, because we do not have "formal" mentor-mentee relationships.
Jill Konrath is THE top name in B2B sales thought leadership today due to a 2nd best-seller, SNAP Selling - and her talented writing and videos regularly produced to a worldwide audience. Trish Bertuzzi has set a standard in research and factual study of B2B Inside Sales, and is top thought leader for it. Both can be outspoken, and are standout leaders - they are smart women who make a huge impact. Women in B2B, especially technology, as I am, need strong women role models.
There are other mentors around me - people who don't even know they are my mentors, such as Guy Kawasaki (whom I hope to meet this week) Tony Robbins, and former sales managers and CEOs I reported to over the years. Here's what I know about finding a sales mentor:
1. Everyone who hopes to grow and improve needs mentors.
2. Your mentor does not need to know they are your mentor
3. Look within your industry and outside of it. Find the person who really inspires you and is different.
4. Pay attention to them, and learn from them.
5. If you do have a formal mentor-mentee relationship, know that it can feel like a one-sided relationship. For many mentors, however, they get some satisfaction knowing that others are learning from them and gaining skills from them. Most mentors say they get more out of a relationship like this than they feel they put into it.
6. Find ways to be of value. Whenever I can re-tweet something or recommend someone I see as a mentor, I am quick to do it.
7. Mentorship is different from coaching - we'll be talking more about that in an upcoming post.
Do you have a mentor to help you learn beyond your horizons?
Lori Richardson speaks, writes, and trains on sales strategies for B2B mid-market technology front-line sales teams. Why not sign up for our twice-monthly newsletter, “Sales Ideas In A Minute” or the award-winning blog rss feed?