Mentoring on the sales floor: How important is it?
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” John C. Crosby
For those new to the sales floor, a good mentor could change the path of their career. And I’m not talking about trainers – the ones who teach you company policies, procedures, pitches, scripts, etc. What I’m referring to are the individuals who guide new hires through their first days at a new company as their equal colleague … just with a little more experience.
Some mentees seek out mentors on their own, but companies everywhere are beginning to implement mentorship programs after learning the benefits.
What are the benefits of mentorship programs?
Successful mentorship programs aren’t just about sharing industry or company knowledge; they should engage the mentee and make them feel welcome and valuable. After all, the goal of a mentorship program is to train and retain employees, right? Well, a mentor that solely offers job-related facts and information is no better than a training manual.
“When you are new, you need that one person near you that you know is there to help you, so you aren’t nervous or have to go looking for help elsewhere,” said Senior Marketing Consultant April Dintino. Getting sales tips and advice from a mentor is great, but having that person there when you need them for anything makes a new hire feel comfortable in an unfamiliar setting.”
Participating in mentorship programs offers both the mentee and the mentor more opportunities for advancement within the workplace. Employees who received mentoring were promoted five times more often than people who didn’t have mentors, according to Women In The Channel. And mentors themselves are six times more likely to be promoted than those who never mentored. Want a promotion? Become a mentor or a mentee.
“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” – Phil Collins
In a truly successful mentorship program, the mentor and mentee will reverse roles occasionally with the mentor learning things from the mentee. Mentorship programs should inspire collaboration and mutual learning – everyone learns from everyone, and everyone supports everyone.
In addition to guiding and encouraging mentees, mentorship programs should also be motivating – not just to the mentee, but to all those involved. Take for example MultiView mentor Jason Cox. As a mentor to new hire Zack Holma, he guided the mentee to an impressive first month in sales. “I also did very well that month. He fed off me, and I fed off him. It was great!”
The mentorship program didn’t just help the mentee become successful, it created an environment where the mentor was energized bringing more personal success.
Financial benefits like this example are common for mentors; however, one of the most common reasons for being a mentor involves nothing more than the personal satisfaction helping another person succeed can bring.
Companies that offer mentorship programs also benefit from the successes of their mentors and mentees. From increased efficiency to reduced turnover, the list of benefits goes on and on. Did you know that studies show companies with a mentorship program demonstrate up to 250 percent higher productivity? And that’s just one benefit.
What are the characteristics of a good mentor?
“The mediocre mentor tells. The good mentor explains. The superior mentor demonstrates. The greatest mentors inspire!” – Lucia Ballas Traymor
While Forbes lists five core qualities all mentors should have as self-reflection, discretion, honestly, curiosity and generosity of spirit, to be considered a good mentor, you have to be a good mentor in the minds of mentees.
“Not every mentee is going to be the same, so teaching styles have to be personalized to each mentee accordingly,” according to Jason Cox. What works for one mentee might not work for another; personalities must align in addition to the core characteristics to create a successful mentorship partnership.
When you have people at work that are there to support you both professionally and personally, there is a sense of reassurance and security. A successful mentorship program should be designed to expose the mentees to the company culture and get them involved while building a lasting relationship that leads to continued growth and success.
According to Jason Cox, “A good mentor is someone who is able to effectively teach their mentee how to be successful through knowledge, best practices and work ethic. Also, a mentor is willing to go the extra mile. This could be as simple as taking your mentee out to lunch, or hanging out after work, asking them questions and really getting to know them.”