How to build a dream mentor relationship through cold email. Here’s what I did

You want one, I want one, and even my neighbor wants one.


Who wouldn’t want a mentor that could guide them along the bumpy trail of life? Earlier in my career I began to prioritize finding inspirational mentors which meant trying all different obscure ways to start mentoring relationships. After a whole lot of blunders such as misspellings, blocked emails or non responses, I eventually figured out a method that exploded my career trajectory. Interestingly enough, a lot of people who I developed mentor-mentee relationships with where authors or professional athletes.


Whether you want to build a relationship with an influencer or just someone who is ahead of you in life, here are steps that you can use:


Step 1: Knowing where you stand

In every area of life, there is a hierarchy of expertise. If you try and reach too high above you on this ladder, your chances of building a true mentor relationship diminish rapidly. Hence, make sure to reach out to someone just above you on the ladder, in corporate it would be three steps up max, or in business someone with 300% higher revenue.


Step 2: Finding what you have to offer

Usually there is something you have to offer a mentor and by leading with that it increasing your overall perceptual worth. For me, it was that I did a TEDx talk and I would offer to help them get on TED as an exchange for their advice. It shows that you are go getter and you will be fun to work with.


Step 3: Ask for specific help, not mentorship

Never, I mean never, ask for a mentorship relationship. It’s like going on a blind date then asking the person to be a significant other. Instead of asking them for a relationship, ask them for a very specific thing that you need help with in life. In sales this is called the ‘foot-in-the-door’ technique.


Step 4: Making the cold contact

For all of my mentoring relationships, it was always started with the cold email. I know there are many other routes than email, but it’s by far the most financially convenient than say, finding them at a conference or finding where they buy coffee. You can find someone’s email using tools like or RocketReach. Important note here, make sure to not email someone’s personal email address if they have a public one online. It’s creepy and uncomfortable for the other person.


Step 5: Opening up the feedback cycle

Once you have set up a call and you have received the answer you were looking for- ACT ON IT. Then later on down the road, email them the results and what you did. In mentorships, this is why people mentor- seeing people develop. The worst thing that you can do when asking for help is not taking action and continually asking for advice. What you will notice is that they will become excited and give you advice without you having to ask for it- boom your mentorship relationship is born.

Jeff Butler

Jeff Butler Internationally respected speaker and consultant, Jeff Butler helps bridge generational gaps between Millennials and companies looking for their talent and patronage. Butler has quickly built his reputation as a memorable presenter with tangible solutions for attracting, retaining, and engaging Millennials as employees and customers. Within just the past three years, he has spoken at two TEDx events and multiple Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn.


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