How to ask for help from a mentor - and get it everytime

Over the years I've encountered a lot of people emailing, calling etc to ask for my input/assistance on various issues. I've also been in the position where I've needed help, and sought it. 

However, most people don't know how to ask for help in a way that will ensure that they receive it. So here are some ways that you can receive help every single time, or at least, most times!

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH

Research about the person/organization that you are asking for help from. Why? This puts you in a sweet spot because in your research process you may find that the question you are asking has been asked before, and that person has answered it before. Look through blogs, interviews, social media platforms etc, and see get a good sense of whom you are dealing with.

2. OFFER YOUR HELP

This may seem like a strange way of going about it, but I've found that if you can add value to their lives, people will take notice. Let me give a personal example. I once had this blogger that I really looked up to. I knew their website from front to back, listened to their podcast, and in short worshiped them (just kidding). Through my stalking, I discovered that they had some copy errors on their website and pointed those to them. I didn't ask for anything, but I knew that this put me on their radar, so that if I ever had a question they would remember me. So, don't underestimate the value of offering your expertise and help.

3. BE SPECIFIC

I can't tell you of the number of vague requests that I've received, and have probably sent. Here's the thing, most people are busy, or they are doing their best to use their time well. So when you do send an email, make sure that you are straight to the point, and you are asking a specific question. Don't ask too many questions - this greatly reduces your chances of getting a response.

Above all, remember that even though most business takes place online, it’s all still about connection.

4. INVEST IN YOUR MENTORING

Most solid business people, or people that we look up to, have some sort of program where they either mentor 1-1 or in groups. So if you are really serious about learning, and growing with this person that you admire, then see what programs they have to offer, and invest in those.

5. PICK A ONE OR 2 MENTORS, AND STICK WITH THEM

Ever heard of the expression that too many cooks ruin the broth? I once received an email from this girl. She was a quality girl, and knew enough about my business. Only problem - she was sending the same request to a few other people. While there is nothing inherently wrong with doing this, it turned me off from really helping her because this behaviour signalled to me that she wasn't very clear on whom she wanted to be. So, don't let FOMO rule, pick a mentor or 2, and stick with them before moving on.

6. SAY THANK YOU

Once you've received help, go back and say thank you. I know this seems obvious enough, but you'll be surprised by the number of people that will receive help, then never go back to say thanks, or even to acknowledge an email. Don't be one of those, it's not a hit and run, pursue relationships!

Above all, remember that even though most business takes place online, it's all still about connection. So be as human as possible, and aim to set yourself apart.