It can be really difficult to set aside the expectation of being completely self-sufficient as a professional. But I have to tell you, that’s just not how things work!
There are two main types of people you need in your life if you want to be successful, outside of the support you get from family and friends: mentors and strategic partners.
“Mentors” is a pretty broad category. It can, and I think should, include coaches, accountability partners, peer advisory groups, and mentors in the form of books written by successful people you respect.
For me, having a sales coach is really valuable. But so is having a peer advisory group where I can be vulnerable and honest and receive advice from people I trust. These aren’t people who are going to just make me feel better about things or give me fluffy advice, but who can push me to grow in practical, real-world ways.
I have an accountability partner that I meet with every week. Every week, we talk about the goals we have and then we meet up to check in with each other and see whether we’ve accomplished them or not.
As for books that I find helpful? The person I draw from most often is Darren Hardy. His books have really helped me grow professionally. And it helps that we have an environment of constantly learning at Turner and Son—we’re always reading books and talking about what we’ve learned from them.
The key to getting good strategic partners is knowing exactly who your ideal strategic partner is, and disqualifying people who don’t fit. The key to keeping them, though, is keeping up with them and sincerely offering to help them out when they need it.
I stay connected with my strategic partners as part of my prospecting activities! It’s very planned. I’ll call them, text them, send them invitations to events I think they’d be interested in—I’m consistently in front of them. They’re a natural part of my business circle now, and I talk with most of them weekly.
Now, that would be really annoying if the conversation always was centered around me asking if they have any referrals for me. That’s so rude!
Instead, what I do is call them to talk about what’s going on in their business. They’re people that I genuinely care about, so when I check in on them, I ask how they’re doing and how business is going. I ask what I can help with. And I might suggest a book that made me think of them, or offer advice if they’re struggling with something I have experience in.
It’s so important be a value-add for your strategic partners. It can help your business, but it’s also the right thing to do. And don’t be fake about it! Everyone will know.
I know it’s tempting to want to be independent and not ask for help from mentors or strategic partners. But if you’re not careful, that independence can be your ego getting in your own way!
When you genuinely want to help people and humbly ask others for help, you’ll be shocked at what can happen.