Mentors are the Guideposts on the Road to Success.

Mentors are the Guideposts on the Road to Success.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

Need help? Consider a mentor.

Mentors play a major role in the life of a salesperson trying to succeed.

What is a mentor anyway? Mentors are role models of the type of person you want to become. Someone you admire for the amount of wealth they’ve gained, or rose to be the best in their field. A person you respect who can give you wisdom and guidance without prejudice. Someone who inspires you to greater achievement. Someone who provides a guiding light with words that stick with you over the years.

What do mentors give? Wisdom in nuggets. Gold that you remember and use to smooth the path (or find the path) to success. They provide inspiration and guidance when you need it most.

How can mentors help you? With the value of their experience. With the wisdom gained from their success and failure. With practical advice that often flies in the face of the emotional frenzy of the present moment. With ideas and concepts that go beyond your present vision.

Where do you find mentors? At the top! If you’re seeking help, get it from those who have been through the battle and won.

Why do they do it? Why do mentors take pleasure in helping you? They may be at a point in their career where they’re ready to “give back.” Often your mentor has been helped by their mentor, and they are returning the favor to the world. They want to give help — it’s how you receive it that will determine whether the relationship flourishes.

Who are your mentors? If the answer is, “I don’t know, or I don’t have one,” the next 500 words can change your life. If you have one or more, here is a user’s guide to maximize the benefit, and challenge your use of one of life’s most valuable resources.

How do you get a mentor? Never say, “Will you be my mentor?” Earn the privilege, be of value, deserve it. Work hard, show promise, have a hard work ethic, not a hard luck story.

What do you say to (share with) mentors? What kind of help do you ask for? Share your goals. Ask their advice, their opinion. Share your triumphs, ask to hear about theirs. Share your defeats, but don’t moan about it, tell them what happened, and ask for advice. Tell them what you intend to do – then do it.

How do you keep a mentor for years and years? Bring value to the relationship.

Here’s a list of guidelines that will grow a mentoring relationship:

    • Use them wisely – don’t over use or abuse your privilege.
    • Don’t ask your mentors for money. It will prejudice their response, and you will lose their objectivity.
    • They take pride in your growth. They enjoy helping you – BUT – you must thank and acknowledge them at every opportunity. That’s their inspiration to continue.
    • Approach potential mentors with care and respect. Go slow. Personal Note: Mentor’s wisdom has played a major role in my growth and success. I had 5 mentors including my dad. Three are still alive. Their wisdom has been a guiding light, spiritual lift, wake-up call, and cold slap in the face when I needed it most. Sometimes it hurts to hear the right answer.

Here are a few examples of mentor’s pearls that have helped me:

    • Anything ten grand wouldn’t cure? If it’s something money can cure, you have no problems. (responding to my perceived problems)
    • Hard work makes luck!
    • Success is never found or earned from 9-5.
    • You’re running here to make five grand, running there to make ten grand – wanna make a million? Stand still!
    • You know what I hate about your old man – he’s never wrong. (said to me by my best friend about my dad)
    • Become your own Santa Clause.
    • Keep your antennas up at all times.

Boom. Words of impact. Some of these self-evident truths were spoken to me 20 years ago, and are still fresh in my mind today. That’s the impact a mentor can have on your direction.

I owe more to my mentors than can be expressed in writing. They know it too – I’ve told them. More important, I’ve shown them by adopting their wisdom, philosophies, and putting their advice into action.

Success Challenge: Make a short list of people (possible mentors) you believe can impact your career. Find a way to get to know them. Find a way to get them to know you. Find a way to get the impact of their success, to have an impact on your success. I hope you do.

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