How To Build Fantastic Relationships With Mentors (And How It Has Nothing To Do With Networking)
If you’re reading this right now, please indulge me while I make a few uninformed guesses about your current situation.
When you look at the next 5-10 years of your business life, there are a few things that are fairly obvious to you.
You understand that there’s an opportunity to make a LOT more money in your market.
You believe that you have the groundwork and foundational skills that will ensure that you succeed. If only…
If only you could make connections with the right people…
If only you could have a mentor who’s vastly more successful than you are at what you’re currently doing…
If only there was some way, some path to forming long-lasting relationships with people you admire and are inspired by…
And, once this has become clear to you, you’ve probably thought about “networking” for these purposes. Maybe you’ve been looking at different events and seminars you can attend. Maybe you’ve started sending connection requests to these people on LinkedIn.
Maybe you’re just reading their blog.
Either way, I’m going to propose to you that you’re thinking about this the wrong way. Let me explain.
The Currency of Influence
Finding a successful mentor has a number of different benefits.
- You get to see first-hand what it looks like to achieve success in your industry.
- You can gain a tremendous amount of insight into the inner workings of your market.
- Mentors can help guide you through challenging situations and avoid mistakes that would otherwise trip you up.
- They have a lot of connections, which might be of use to you in the future.
In the age of social media, we have more access to these people than we’ve ever had before in human history. You’re a newbie investor and want to get some advice from the top dogs? You can message Chris Sacca on Twitter. You’re a young entrepreneur who desperately needs to have a business query answered? You can message Gary Vaynerchuk directly on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube.
But there’s a problem, a troubling mentality that comes with this access.
We now live in a world where people are reaching out to influencers, to successful people and asking them to collaborate with them.
But why would they help you?
Maybe you know, deep down, that if you could get a successful Vlogger or the CEO of a top firm in your industry (or even someone you’ve never met but has a million Instagram followers) to just talk about you and your service a couple of times to their audience, you would make a lot of money.
But, and here’s the main gist of the problem – What are you offering these people in return?
Why would a successful person in your industry agree to share their wisdom and tactics with you?
You might say “Oh, they’ll make a lot of money because I’ll give them a percentage of my profits.”
This is a statement based on an uncertain future, and one that no successful person is very likely to pay attention to.
You know why? Because there are a million people who are asking them to do the same thing!
Successful people are constantly bombarded with pitches and offers and people who want them to invest in their company or collaborate in some way.
Repeat after me. Asking people to believe in you up front does not work.
Let’s look at what you should do instead.
The Currency of Value
It’s very simple. The most powerful way to get a mentor or a successful person to form a relationship with you is TO OFFER THEM A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF VALUE UPFRONT.
That’s it. You never approach any of these people without first thinking about how they will benefit from associating with you.
You are a good writer? Great. Approach an influencer in your market with a well-researched, well-written blog post idea that works well for their audience, and ask them if they can allow you to guest post it on their blog.
You’re good at making music? Fantastic. Approach the top DJ/Magazine/Correspondent in your market and provide them some free music to use in their YouTube videos.
You get the idea. The key to building successful relationships with great people who will inspire and drive you to reach all your goals in life is to offer value first.
Give them a reason to trust you. Simple.
A lot of the relationships we’ve formed while we were building Dubsado were forged the same way. We offered value and mutually beneficial partnerships.
In closing, I would like you to imagine yourself many years from now. You’re a wildly successful entrepreneur. One day, you get a message from someone who’s asking you to collaborate.
How would you decide if you wanted to work with them?