Sales mentors make a differenceArticle added by Thomas Emmerson on August 19, 2011
Ranked: #249 (302 pts)
Mentoring can be a very rewarding process for both the mentor as well as the apprentice. It can be a lifelong relationship that benefits both parties. In sales, mentorship can revitalize action when sales have been slow. If you are an independent agent, choosing the right mentor is that much more important.
Typically the words that come to mind when you say the word mentor are trusted friend, counselor or teacher. A mentor is usually more experienced than you. Some sales professions have mentoring programs which pair newcomers with more experienced people in order to obtain good examples and advice as they advance.
Mentors can help a new agent acclimate to the new work environment, and learn company policies and procedures, as well as the company culture. Mentors can also help not so new agents raise their productivity levels and overall company performance.
If your company does not have a mentoring program, seek out several potential mentors in your industry and let them know what mentorship means to you and your career. Great mentors must have the following characteristics:
Mentoring can be a very rewarding process for both the mentor as well as the apprentice. It can be a lifelong relationship that benefits both parties. In sales, mentorship can revitalize action when sales have been slow.
- Mentors must have consistent performance
- Mentors must have an extensive knowledge of the organization
- Mentors set high standards for themselves and those around them
- Mentors must have a willingness to help others
- Mentors must exercise good judgment
- Mentors must listen and communicate the vision
- Mentors must be able to lead by example
A mentor can offer a different perspective when you can’t see past a current situation. They can also celebrate with you when you have had a really great sales month and want to share it with someone. If you are an independent agent, choosing the right mentor is that much more important.
The person you choose to be your mentor needs to know this is a long-term commitment. You need to talk through each piece of the M.E.N.T.O.R. program so proper expectations are set. The individual pieces of mentoring are motivator, energizer, navigator, teacher, opportunist, and reassuring guide. Each of the M.E.N.T.O.R. pieces combine to create a mentorship program typically for a sales person within a structured organization and a sales management staff or owner.
Motivator: The mentor must motivate the apprentice through positive reinforcement. They must lead by example and be doing themselves everything they ask the apprentice to do. They should lead and direct using the actions they suggest or the actions directed by the management team. A mentor can motivate the apprentice by recounting sales stories from their own past and how the mentor battled through them.
Energizer: Through encouragement and direction, the apprentice must feel and have the “buy-in” of what the mentor has asked them to do. The mentor will be the positive force behind the action plan. The mentor has been through the slow and rough times and can offer insight to the apprentice as to how they handled similar situations.
Navigator: The mentor will guide the apprentice in the direction of goals set by the sales management team. In insurance sales, there are months that are going to be easier than others. The apprentice should take the driving lead to the mentor’s navigation instructions. The mentor will help the apprentice know where to “step” next. As the apprentice improves, the apprentice should be able to predict where the mentor will navigate next.
Teacher: If the apprentice is not going in the direction of the goals set by the management team, then it is the mentor’s responsibility to teach the apprentice the proper direction. The mentor can teach the apprentice processes so when the apprentice is faced with a similar situation, they will know how to react.
Opportunist: The mentor develops and leverages the apprentice’s strengths and develops an action plan for the apprentice in the areas that need improvement. Areas of improvement should be determined both by the sales management staff as well as meetings of the mentor/apprentice. These meetings should take place at least once a week for follow up and measurement of progress.
Reassuring guide: The mentor is the reassurance and reinforcement that the direction and goals set forth are being met and are being built upon. The mentor is, in essence, a cheerleader for successes and driving motivation. Celebrating small accomplishments along the way can be as rewarding as celebrating the win.
This can be especially helpful if the end result is not a win. For instance, a sales agent may handle a customer’s concerns efficiently, quote the product correctly, and handle objections, but the customer does not purchase the policy. In this case, it is still a win for the sales agent because they did everything under their control to win the sale.
The M.E.N.T.O.R. program develops a well-rounded, highly-trained individual who can not only perform their respective jobs but can also train others.
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