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Sales Leaders: Find Mentors and Peers, and Form Groups to Learn From

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks
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This morning, I was jogging around Sydney Harbour, listening to an Audible book, Built from Scratch, the book of the creation and growth of Home Depot. Arthur Blank (now owner of the Atlanta Falcons NFL team), was then a co-owner of Home Depot. In the book, he recounts that the single most important thing he did to accelerate his career was to surround himself with people who knew answers he didn’t. He would force his way into groups and situations to meet business leaders and formulate mentorships to help his development.

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Ironically, two weeks ago, I emailed a group of CEOs in similar businesses to my own and will now be forming a “Mastermind” of sorts to allow us to better learn from each other. We all have one thing in common—we help better serve the sales community as coaches, trainers, and consultants (service businesses). There are activities that these CEOs have been doing in their businesses that I’m simply in awe of, and I suspect (based on their interest in this group) that I/Sales for Life can drive action in ways they need to improve.

The point here is that I went out of my way again (I’m part of Founder City in a group of eight other CEOs that meet monthly to learn from each other) to develop myself—no matter the naked exposure I was opening myself up to. I realize that my own “coopetition” will learn about my weaknesses (and I have many), but that’s far less important than me learning a new skill. There are so many ways you can develop a similar type of group.

1. Attend Conferences

Find the budget, no matter how painful, to attend some of the industry’s most important sales conferences (In April, there is AA-ISP in Chicago and Outbound in Atlanta).

2. Create a Meet Up in Your Local City

Start small. Start with a coffee shop. I’ve attended dozens of these types of groups, and I’m still doing business with people I met eight years ago when I became a business owner.

3. Make a Video Outlining Your Interests

Make a video and send it to your peers in your industry. You won’t believe that other sales leaders (such as your competitors—companies selling to your same buyer persona) all feel like they’re on an island like you. They just want to better themselves. You can have a virtual mastermind each month.

However you decide to get your message across, remember that if no one in your company or social circles is teaching you new sales innovations, you need a new network. I’ve recognized many times in my career that my network had become stale, so I’ve taken the opportunity to change the view.

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