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Normalizing Conversations About Mental Health in Sales: The Path to Sustainable Success with Jeff Riseley #026
Episode 267th April 2023 • The Sales Consultant Podcast • Derrick Williams
00:00:00 00:53:27

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Jeff Riseley is the Founder of Sales Health Alliance which is a consultancy that focuses on the mental health and well-being of sales professionals. They provide resources, education, and support to people in sales who may be experiencing stress, burnout, or other mental health challenges.

In this episode, we discuss the importance of mental health initiatives in organizations and the impact they have on sales performance. 

With alarming statistics showing that over 60% of sellers struggle with mental health and stress, Jeff provides data-driven insights on how addressing mental health can actually improve sales performance more than focusing solely on pointed problems like prospecting. 

Jeff shares personal experiences and advice on how to frame mental health from a sales leadership perspective, and unpacks why people change jobs, often due to underlying mental health issues. 

He also talks about the downsides of burning and churning talent, and the importance of investing in mental health initiatives to improve employee productivity and well-being. With practical tips and mindset tricks, Jeff provides valuable insights from his consultant work at Sales Health Alliance and his book on normalizing conversations around mental health within sales organizations. 

This episode is a must-listen for anyone in sales leadership looking to improve their team's performance and well-being.

#salesconsultantpodcast #mentalhealth #employeeengagement #salesproductivity #saleseffectiveness #b2bsales #burnout #stress #anxietty #salesmanagement #salesconsulting

Time Stamps:

[2:33] I ask Jeff if Mental Health initiatives within organizations really work. He says absolutely and backs it up with data. 63% of sellers are struggling with mental health, 79% of sellers are feeling stressed or highly stressed. He cites examples of correlations between improved stress and improved sales performance.

[3:40] Jeff talks about how trying to address pointed problems like prospecting isn’t as impactful as addressing mental health.

[8:25] Jeff explains how to frame mental health from a sales leadership perspective. I wish I would have had the advice he shares here earlier in my career.

[9:53] We unpack why people change jobs and how trying to prevent hiring people with poor mental health doesn’t work because people rarely share why they’re really changing. We might think and want to think that it's because of the opportunity to work with us or something like that but the real reason may be much more deeply rooted.

[15:39] He talks about his experience in sales and dealing with the associated stress. He went from University to a sales role and talks about a blindspot in the sales industry where the extent of stress that the common fresh grads that enter sales forces is maybe heartbreak or failed a class. That’s their stress baseline which is much different than what you experience in sales.

20:23] Jeff explains why, “Anxiety in sales is not optional.” 

23:25] We get into the notion of ‘burning and churning’ talent. Jeff breaks down his viewpoint on how sales leadership has adopted this approach because they can always find more talent but the reality is this is costing organizations millions of dollars. The name of the game now is “do more with less” and constant turnover does not align with that. “You need to get more out of your people, not less, and to get the most out of them you have to get them to stick around.”

27:13] We discuss the downsides of not investing into mental health initiatives and deploying some of these best practices. Jeff explains the concept of “Presenteeism” where employees are ‘clocked but checked out’. The study he cites found that businesses lose, on average, per employee, 57 working days per year due to Presenteeism. Someone who would have taken 10 minutes to write an email is now taking 30+ minutes. Brain fog. Lower activity and rep productivity.

[29:49] Jeff talks about his consultant; Sales Health Alliance; and how he serves clients. He shares how he uses a data driven model using science based diagnostic tools.

[35:48] Jeff shares a mindset trick called “maybe they” and how it can be used in a stressful state to course correct your emotions. Another one is changing “I have to” to “I get to.” I’ve been using this everyday since our interview and while so small it has had a pretty big impact on the story in my head.

[40:08] I ask him to talk about the book and how he intended for people to use it. He makes a point by comparing the stigma that used to exist when someone would catch covid early days of the pandemic and how through consistent dialogue it now has become a very empathetic thing where we’re no longer ashamed to talk about it. He says the same playbook can be followed in normalizing how we treat and talk about mental health. The book was written in a way that it can be used to help normalize these conversations within sales orgs. 

[44:53] Jeff talks to us about his concept of “PIP 2.0” from the book.

[48:03] Jeff shares a better viewpoint on Quota Relief during vacations and how important it is to the recovery process for our sellers over the long term.


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