A few weeks ago, our Founder and CEO Ronan Perceval wrote an article relating some of the lessons he’s learnt along his career building Phorest Salon Software. The most important takeaway was perhaps what this excerpt explains: “[…] whether it be to help you overcome different setbacks or just to plan for the future, as your circumstances change, you might feel the need to talk to people with different experiences.” For many though, the question is, how do you go about building and nurturing a relationship with a mentor to begin with? Reaching out to someone to get help is already hard in itself, let alone reaching out to someone you don’t know much. Finding a salon mentor doesn’t happen overnight (and if it did for you, please leave a comment on this post so we can get you talking about it on the Phorest FM podcast!).
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Turning A New Or Existing Contact Into A Salon Mentor
First, you’ll need to identify why you feel like you need a mentor and what roadblocks you’re trying to get past. Then, try to identify people who might have been through what you’ve been through, or that are in more mature job roles. If you’re not too sure where to start, LinkedIn is a great place to connect with people outside your immediate network. Or, head over to the Salon Mentorship Hub to connect with some coaches and consultants we’ve teamed up with.
Once you’ve identified a few “ideal” mentors (it could be another salon owner, someone in the visual merchandising field, retailing industry, etc.), then the fun – or so to speak – begins. Not everyone you reach out to will answer, but that’s okay.
Plus, you don’t want to take up too much of someone’s time.
1. Do Your Homework
Blame it on years of doing phone, written, live and podcast interviews within the realm of various industries, learning about who you’re talking to is very helpful.
Look up who the person is, what they’ve done and what they’re working on. Put the same effort into that as you would when looking into a salon or spa in which you want to apply for a job. It captures the attention and warms up the person you’re about to introduce yourself to.
2. Find Out Which Social Media Channel They Use The Most, And Interact With Them
Are they the most active on Twitter? Instagram? Facebook? LinkedIn? Don’t waste time trying to message them where they’re not. Do, on the flip side, spend time interacting with their posts, and general social media activity.
In one of his videos, Gary Vaynerchuk explained to a young entrepreneur that “No”s were a positive thing. That you weren’t always going to get answers. I’ll let you read the transcript:
“You gotta know that missing 11 times and hitting the one time of the 12 times that you spent 12 hours on is ROI positive. […] Great, you DM’d and emailed and tweeted 17 shop owners that are trendy, and none of them replied. That’s good. That’s good! Everybody thinks it’s a wasted day. That’s a good day ’cause you got your answer. It was no. No’s are just as good as yes’ ’cause you know. […] It’s not gonna come to you and it’s not gonna be a miracle.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
Like he said, you might not always get an answer. Sometimes it might be the way you asked, or what you said. Other times, it might just be because the person you’ve approached is just too busy, or gets too many of these messages so some slip through the cracks. Keep at it, perseverance is key.
3. Show That You’re Passionate
Talk about your work. But talk about it passionately, and in everything you do. Established people, especially if their job role isn’t exactly one of a consultant or a coach, don’t have the time to motivate you in your work. A mentor or a coach, according to Michael Bungay Stanier, should be asking you 7 questions. And these questions should be aimed at helping you figure out a solution to your roadblock.
- What’s on your mind?
- And what else?
- What’s the real challenge here for you?
- What do you want?
- How can I help?
- If you’re saying Yes to this, what are you saying No to?
- What was most useful for you?
If you’re scheduled for an initial short chat with someone, prepare thought-provoking questions or common topics you can talk about. And remember: often, mentors aren’t looking for flattery so don’t be the over-the-top-let-me-stroke-your-ego kind of person. They’re looking for people who are serious about what they do and have a good work ethic.
4. Be Prepared To Give First
Something that tends to work well when building this type of relationship is to offer your help on the person’s projects. Do make sure it’s in your area of expertise and interest though, otherwise there’s no point. It’s always easier to give than to ask and it makes for a good initial step towards building a trustworthy and fruitful relationship with a salon mentor.
5. When The Time Is Right, Open The Conversation
If you’ve been interacting with your “ideal mentor” for a while and, or, have had chats with them, it’s very possible that you won’t even have to bring up the mentorship conversation. It will happen naturally. But if it doesn’t and you want to get things moving, there are ways to ask. We’ve even created a cheat sheet listing what you should include in your email. Download it here and good luck! Hope you get awesome responses.
Thanks for reading! #LetsGrow