Five Questions to Start a Conversation on Heroes Linked— and How to Get Over Your Fear of Cold Calling!
November 14, 2018 by Jillian
One of the most rewarding aspects of Heroes Linked is its ability to match veterans
with potential advisors, based on profiles that identify one’s expertise, areas of
interest, experience, goals, and desired mentorship outcomes.
But as most salespeople will tell you, cold calls can be terrifying. Even though
you’re not selling a product or service to a stranger, many advisees find it difficult to
make that first call to a potential mentor. Starting a conversation that might bring
benefits for years to come can be daunting.
First of all, remember that your potential mentor wants to speak to you. He or
she has volunteered to be a mentor, and the Heroes Linked platform has already
helped you arrange a mutually suitable time for a conversation. So you’ll never hear
the dreaded, “Sorry, I’m not interested.” They are interested—in YOU.
The biggest tip is to come armed with questions. Here are five types of
questions—five topic areas—that are sure to get the ball rolling and forge a strong
connection right off the bat:
1. Ask your mentor about his or her own career. How did you get to
where you are today? How did you land your current role?
2. Ask about setbacks. Was there a time you messed up and felt as if
you’d failed? How did you bounce back?
3. Ask about challenges. How did you learn to embrace risk-taking? Was
there ever a role you applied for and landed, but feared you weren't
100% qualified to do? How did you proceed?
4. Ask about leadership. Which leadership skills did you find the most
difficult to develop? What’s the most invaluable leadership lesson
you’ve learned? Can you tell me about a time when you had a difficult
boss? How did you handle the situation?
5. Ask for help with your biggest concerns. How can I translate the
expertise I gained in the military into the skills needed in the business
world? How do I take the strategic planning, risk mitigation, decision-
making, communication, and problem-solving skills I’ve gained and
reframe them for a corporate environment?
Having a page of notes—things you want to ask your mentor—will keep you
from being nervous. But it will also get you some quick answers that you’ll need in
your transition to civilian life.