During a global pandemic, there are sales leader mental health responsibilities that every manager needs to be aware of when supporting their sales team.
However at the moment it seems like many sales leaders are falling short.
According to a global study of 2,700 employees, nearly 40% of people say their company has not even asked them how they’re doing since the pandemic began.
When I see a statistic like that, I read it as 2 in 5 “leaders” should be relieved from their leadership position.
75% of people say they feel more socially isolated.
67% of people report higher stress.
57% are feeling greater anxiety.
53% say they feel emotionally exhausted.
Prior to COVID-19, more than 2 in 5 salespeople struggled with their Mental Health. Based on the numbers above – this percentage is likely much bigger now.
Here is how sales leaders can take a step in the right direction regarding Mental Health.
Sales Leader Mental Health Exercise:
In your weekly 1 on 1’s start adding a Mental Health check-in to the agenda. But… there is a key to making it work effectively.
Leaders you share first.
Be transparent and open about when you’ve struggled with your Mental Health the week before. The more vulnerable you are, the more it will be reciprocated by your direct report.
Consistently doing this will build trust.
If you’ve had a pretty good week Mental Health wise – share your best practices and what you’ve been doing to take care of yourself.
Then simply ask:
“How are you doing?”
You are not overstepping the manager/employee relationship.
90% of people said they wanted at least weekly communication from their company about Mental Health.
If you think the sales rep is struggling, but not opening up – that’s OK. Building trust takes time, especially if this is a new conversation you’re both having together.
You can also help them open up by sharing small changes you have noticed in their behaviour – like falling behind on metrics or perhaps being less engaged during team meetings. Keep the conversation about these behaviour changes objective and supportive, rather than attaching blame, fear or shame to them.
Here is an example:
“I noticed you have been behind on your metrics this week. You need to work harder, because you’re going to miss your sales target. I’ll have to put you on a PIP if that happens.”
“I noticed you have been behind on your metrics this week – is everything OK? In the past, when this has happened to me it’s usually because I’ve had trouble sleeping or starting to feel burnout out.
What do you need from me to help get your performance back up?”
Approaching this conversation the right way means approaching it with curiosity and compassion, while letting the rep know it’s OK to be feeling the way they’re feeling. Sharing personal experiences helps create a safe space and lets the rep know you’re there to support them with what they need.
Mental Health During New Sales Hire On-boarding
Another strategy sales leaders can use to support their team during COVID-19 is to start building the Mental Health conversation into new sales hire on-boarding.
I’ve developed an online course to help you do this.
Simply enroll each new hire into the course so they can learn about why Mental Health in sales is important and How/ What they can do to protect themselves. This is the resilience and EQ training that is likely missing from your current process.
Sales is a Mental Game and keeping it sharp will lead to better sales performance.
The online course also ensures you and the rep can have informed conversations about Mental Health going forward. When burnout or declining Mental Health arises in the future – you’ll both have the knowledge and resources to effectively troubleshoot it together.
About The Author
Jeff Riseley is currently the Founder of the Sales Health Alliance and Mental Health Advocate. With over a decade of sales experience – Jeff understands the importance of Mental Health in achieving peak sales performance.
Jeff combines his sales (Sales Knowledge Institute) and Mental Health expertise to improve sales performance through a mix of sales mentorship and mental health best practices. His strategies have helped sales teams improve their sales process, while helping them become more motivated, resilient and better equipped to tackle stressful events within sales.
He is currently delivering these strategies through on-site workshops, coaching and speaking engagements. To explore working with Jeff contact him at [email protected]