Getting Mental Health in Sales Right – Episode 4

Every salesperson probably has at least one nightmare Mental Health story from working in sales.

However this series is about sharing stories from contributors about when we as a community got Mental Health in sales right.

Times when our Mental Health was suffering and our workplace, leaders and/or peers did the right things to support us so we could recover.

It’s within these stories where we can find answers to what workplaces and leaders can start doing tomorrow that actually WORKED.

Behaviours that will improve the Mental Health of their sales teams and salespeople.

Story of the Week – Submitted by Anonymous

“I just got off the phone with my manager and I called him to tell him I was having a terrible week.

I couldn’t sleep Sunday night. So early on Monday morning (around 3:00am) I took my anti-anxiety medication hoping it would help me calm down and sleep. This knocked me out for at least 8 hours. I woke up in a daze at 11:00 wondering where I was and what was going on. I couldn’t leave my house I was so drowsy.

Fast forward to the end of Tuesday, I had a rough day and just wanted to get home to see my new pet hamster. I walk in and quickly realize she has “run away to the farm” if you catch what I’m saying. I rush her to the vet and they tell me that there’s nothing they can do.

Wednesday morning I tweaked my back, so I’ve been moving at half-speed since then.

I’ve been worried about my call volume, my routing, the deals I haven’t closed and the calls I haven’t made because I keep getting distracted by minutia in my personal life.

My managers response? “Don’t worry about it. You’re not going anywhere and we’ll get past it. We all have bad weeks. Is there anything I can do to help?”

Me: “No. Thanks for being understanding”

Him: “Shit happens. See ya on Monday?”

Sales Mental Health – Key Learning:

No matter who you are, there will be times when things in your personal life spill into your work life and impact sales performance.

As a sales rep it’s important to be transparent with your sales leader when this is happening. Our first instinct is to hide our emotions and put on a brave face.

In most cases this only makes things worse. For me it would lead to panic attacks early on in my career.

I like to compare it to trying to wear a rubber Halloween mask to work all day. Much like a mask, your anxiety makes you feel overheated, blinds your perception, makes you irritated and difficult to breathe.

These are not good feelings to have when you’re trying to close a big deal.

Take the mask off by sharing your struggles with your sales leader – even if they seem really silly.

In most cases your manager will appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. More importantly the relief of telling someone will usually make you feel immediately better.

As a sales leader it’s important to remember that sh*t happens.

Things like a bad break-up, a tweaked back or lost hamster might be meaningless to you – but that’s not the point. If it’s important and meaningful to your rep – it’s important and meaningful to you.

The best thing you can do is offer to help where appropriate, but ultimately create a safe space wear your team feels comfortable sharing their stressors.

A place where they can take their masks off and breathe a little.

Part of your role is also to help remind sales reps what they can and cannot control. Far too often sales reps get worked up about outcomes caused by things outside their control.

Help them remember that sh*t happens.

When sales reps are extremely overwhelmed it can be helpful to suggest they take a Mental Health day. By giving them an extra day to get their “house / personal life” in order can be an extremely effective way to build trust and allow reps to bounce back quickly.

One day of no performance versus two weeks of distracted performance wins every time.

Submit Your Mental Health Story

About The Author

With a decade of sales experience, Jeff understands the importance of Mental Health in achieving peak sales performance.

Battling anxiety, insomnia and panic attacks throughout his sales career – Jeff has used his knowledge of Mental Health to inspire sales teams to reach their full potential through better Mental Health and well-being.

This became especially important, when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in the summer of 2018.

The same strategies involving – mindsets, perspective, self-awareness, empathy, self-control, mindfulness, optimism, grit and habits – that made him successful in sales also aided in his swift recovery.

As a successful individual contributor, sales leader and of late – sales mentor/consultant – Jeff has experience working with sales teams of any size at any stage of growth.

Jeff is the primary voice of the Sales Health Alliance. He is available for Speaking Engagements, Custom Tailored Workshops and One on One consulting projects.

Feel free to reach him at [email protected].


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