Graham McGregor: Using a marketing mentor

Sometimes the best way to improve results is to get help from someone else who is already successful in your field. Photo / Thinkstock
Sometimes the best way to improve results is to get help from someone else who is already successful in your field. Photo / Thinkstock

You can always improve your business results and sometimes the best way to do this is to get help from someone else who is already successful in your field.

Just asking this person for advice can save you a huge amount of time and often make you a large amount of money.


Many years ago I decided I wanted to be a business speaker and be paid to talk to business groups on sales and marketing. I joined Toastmasters, read a lot of books on public speaking and gave a number of live talks. However after a year of doing this I was not doing that well. So I rang up a very successful business speaker called Des who had been speaking professionally for twenty years.

I asked Des if I could sit down with him and get some ideas on how to better. Des invited me around to his home and spent two hours showing me what I could do to improve my speaking results. In particular he gave me some very simple marketing ideas on how I should package and charge for my speaking services.

Des did this all for free and seemed very glad to help me. I put into practice everything he has showed me and in the next six weeks I made over $14,000 in new speaking fees. This was a huge improvement in what I had done before and all it took was a couple of good ideas on marketing from someone who was already very successful in the speaking field.

One of the best reasons for asking successful people for advice is that it can save you a huge amount of time. In one ten minute conversation with someone who is good you can often get ideas that might have taken them years or even decades to learn.

Here are the types of questions you want to ask successful people:

- What are the most useful books you've ever read that have contributed to you doing so well and what did you get out of these books?

- If you were starting out in your field again today what would you do differently?

- What are the most useful learning lessons you've had about doing well in this field?

- What advice would you give someone who wants to do really well in this business?

- How do you get new customers for your business?

- How do you get repeat and referral business?

- What little things do you do that you find make a big difference to your sales results?

- Who else would you recommend I talk to?

And so on.

Action Exercise:

Contact at least two people in the next week who are getting better results than you and ask if you can take them out for coffee or lunch and get some ideas on how you could improve your own business results.

You will be pleasantly surprised how approachable a lot of these people are. When you sit down with these people ask them some intelligent questions and listen carefully to what they tell you. You may even want to ask if you can take notes or record what they say. Put into action some of the ideas they share with you.

"If you don't realize there is always someone who knows how to do something better than you, then you don't give proper respect for others' talents."
Hortense Canady

Special Bonus to all Herald Readers:

Today marks the publication of my 50th marketing column at And to celebrate I have a fun gift called "How to be inspired for the rest of your life.' This is a short 12 page booklet that you can download in convenient PDF format at this link.

This booklet is all about how to create and use a bucket list of all the things you want to do and be and have before you die.
And it's received rave reviews from many of the people that have already read it.

(This is my gift to say 'thank you' for all the helpful feedback and comments from so many Herald readers over the last 12 months.)

Graham McGregor is a marketing consultant and the creator of the 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage Report.' (This is free and has now been read by business owners from 27 countries.) You can email Graham on

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