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Why Consultants Need Mentors Too

By Michael Zipursky

When I first started consulting I thought I knew it all. Okay, maybe not everything, but enough that I didn’t believe I needed someone else’s expertise to help my consulting business grow.

I was reading books on marketing, strategy, consulting, sales etc more often than a steroid stocked jock goes to the gym. I felt that was enough…

Reading is extremely empowering…the only problem is sometimes reading results in just reading…it doesn’t result in implementing and taking action.

My First Taste of Mentorship
A few years later I started working with one of the top consultants in my city. Actually he hired me to help him with his marketing. That was a great experience.

Not only because I was getting to work with one of the smartest business growth experts I know…and not only because I was getting paid well to do it…but because I was getting an over the shoulder look at how this guy was running his international business.

I had first-hand access to his systems, processes, and tools. And he shared a lot of information about how he works with clients and manages his time, money and business.

I took the information I learned and applied it to my business with great results.

That was my first real taste of what a mentor could offer.

Getting Serious Results
A couple of years later I worked with and was mentored by another consultant that ran several consulting offices.

Through our work together he shared many techniques and strategies that were working for him … and that he recommend I use as well.

One day was extremely memorable. My mentor shared with me one of his secrets of pricing and fee structures.

A couple of weeks later as I met with a potential new client I used that exact pricing structure secret. The result? It netted me an on-going project worth over $90,000.

(I share this technique in our Momentum program in the Strategies for Consulting Fees and Pricing).

Maybe without the information from my mentor I still would have landed that client (I’d like to think so)…but I’m pretty confident that I never would have got the client to accept the pricing I proposed.

What to Look for in a Mentor
Your mentor should:

  • Have a proven-track record: You want to know that they’ve delivered results.
  • Have existing clients: Stay away from academic consultants with no recent real world experience.
  • Offer you some sort of guarantee: It’s not realistic for anyone to guarantee you results if you don’t follow through, but they should have the ‘balls’ to ensure you’re satisfied.
  • Be accessible: You don’t want a mentor or coach that won’t return your calls or is hard to get in touch with.

What You Need to Know
Here’s the real deal. Some mentors and coaches charge a lot. Some you’ll be able to work with for free…or even have them pay you if their your client (like in first example I gave). Regardless, if you can find a mentor that actually knows what they are talking about you’d be a fool not to try and work with them.

Sure, you can probably get to where you want to go without them. It’ll just take you a lot longer, and cost you a lot more time and money in the long run.

Yes, consultants need mentors too. You’d be wise to try and find one to help you take your consulting business to the next level.

How About You?
If you’ve worked with a mentor or coach before please share your experiences below in the comments. And if you haven’t and have questions about getting a mentor ask below and we’ll do what we can to answer them.

8 thoughts on “Why Consultants Need Mentors Too

  1. Wow, I was just thinking about this topic! I hired a "marketing guy" to help me get more clients – but it's turned more into a mentor/coach-type relationship. It's been 70 days so far, and I just keep wishing I had hired him sooner!!! If I had him when I was just starting out – I'd be so much further along, and would've avoided some costly pitfalls. So I definitely recommend getting a coach/mentor – someone that inspires you, and makes you want to be better. My coach charges a lot – but that's also good because each meeting with him, I get nervous, rush around trying to get prepared, and want to get my money's worth.
    Thanks for the post!

    • Nice one Jessica! That's great to hear that it's working out so well for you and thanks for sharing your story.

  2. Thomas says:

    I have worked with a coach for a over a year and it has been very helpful. Nice post!

  3. Well said! Although I have never been in a mentoring relation, I believe having a mentor to show you the ropes definitely beat going thru all the learning curve.
    Been working in the Sales and Marketing field for the past 17 years, I’m now planning a career switch to become consultant after graduation from my master degree in Human Performance Improvement. Do you have any advice where can someone new to consultation look for a good mentor.


  4. Yasmeen says:

    I wish to work with consultants who inspire me , making me execute better as I always wanted to can any one guide me to be trained with some foundation consulting courses on media , business & marketing ?

  5. Concerned Person says:

    I find it interesting that people would still buy your system if you don’t even respond to questions noted in this comment area. You state in the final paragraph of your post that you will, “…do what we can to answer…”, yet there are questions 3 years old without answers. That is a clear sign to me to stay away from your product.

    • That’s a quick judgement to make. Many people email us every day with questions. I do my best to respond to almost everyone and it’s not always possible as I have to reserve time for my clients and consultants in my programs.

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