I know a few business owners and sales people out there who seem to be addicted to the “expert” marketing or sales guru. They have made almost a religion out of following several different coaches or consultants through personal interaction and/or seminar attendance and/or reading of their books. While I applaud their enthusiasm, I have to wonder if they are getting any positive benefit out of this approach. It seems to me that this is another case of too many cooks spoil the broth syndrome.
I believe that having a mentor or someone whose opinion you respect and follow is a wonderful thing to have in your life, whether for business or personal enhancement. By the same token, I don’t believe that any one person should be following the advice of multiple people in the same arena, as it only leads to confusion and lack of clarity.
A mentor, whether it’s a personal relationship or an “I read your books, follow your blog and attend your seminars” type of relationship should be someone whose example you wish to emulate in some way. That being said, the way they got there should also be in sync with your thoughts, beliefs and ability to take action. If you wouldn’t be willing or able to follow their advice and, more importantly, their actual example (walk the talk, but also walk the walk), they should not be your chosen mentor.
For those who believe that anyone successful is a good mentor, remember that most of these people have different approaches. Assuming that they do, doesn’t that create conflict for you? Who do you follow? Under which circumstance do you apply one over the other? If you try to apply all the advice, aren’t you just going in circles or, worse, sending out very conflicting or unclear messages about who you are? And if you happen to find mentors who are all in sync, then why do you need them all? Lower your expenses and concentrate on one – it usually does cost money to meet with these people, buy their books and attend their seminars.
OK, at this point I have to admit that I do have more than one person whose opinions I respect and whose advice I take. I’m even willing to name names: Cliff Quicksell is the person I refer to when my creative inspiration for promotional marketing needs a jumpstart. David Blaise is my guidepost for developing successful prospecting strategies for my company. Finally for sales advice (and humor), I purchase Jeffrey Gitomer’s books like they’re going out of print. Although all three cross over somewhat in their offerings, I choose which facets of each are most in line with my personal style and business model and use those to grow my business. There is no confusion and my clients know exactly what Lev Promotions is all about.
Can you say the same for your business?