Leaderboard – Jeff Riseley

We had the privilege of chatting with Jeff Riseley, the founder of Sales Health Alliance...

July 8, 2021

The Mental Health Superhero of Sales

We had the privilege of chatting with Jeff Riseley, the founder of Sales Health Alliance.

The Weekly Pitch: You founded the Sales Health Alliance in 2019 to empower salespeople to reach peak performance through better mental health. What motivated you to start it, and what keeps you energized each day?

Jeff: It was born out of my own experience working in sales. I struggled with anxiety, insomnia and panic attacks early on in my career, but never felt safe having conversations about Mental Health in sales. The more I shared with others, the more I realized that anxiety in sales is not optional. It's part of everyday life. So I decided to do something about it.

I'm motivated by the millions of reps and leaders who are suffering unnecessarily. Organizations are putting salespeople into high stress environments, without providing them with the Resilience and Mental Health training they need to regulate stress levels and perform their best each day. We need to change this.

The Weekly Pitch: Tell us more about the HALT framework.

Jeff: We all experience daily stress to varying degrees. I find myself thinking about HALT 10-15 times a day. It stands for: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Our stress tends to fit into one of these four buckets. Simply pausing to describe my stressors in one of four ways positively impacts my Mental Health.

The Weekly Pitch: What's the one tool every sales rep needs?

Jeff: The WHOOP. It's like a Fitbit on steroids. You can measure and monitor sleep, the physical strain on your body, but most importantly, your recovery score. When I wake up with a low recovery score, I ask, "what can I move around on my calendar to dial it back today?" Recovery metrics are essential. Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up.

The Weekly Pitch: We like your analogy that sales pros are like corporate athletes. Could you expand on that concept?

Jeff: Much like professional sports athletes, salespeople need to perform in front of customers and compete to win every day. The difference is the sports world has acknowledged the importance of the Mental game when it comes to peak performance. Athletes understand how to protect their minds and use stress to fuel healthy growth. Sales organizations neglect the Mental game, which leads to burnout and teams severely underperforming.

The Weekly Pitch: What should sales reps look out for when it comes to burnout?

Jeff: Pay attention to intensity, duration, and frequency. Are your feelings become more intense, lasting longer, and occurring more often? Is your behavior changing? For example, are you spending too much time on social media or drinking more often? If so, seek an ally you trust to listen and offer support.

The Weekly Pitch: You're a big believer in the Wim Hof Method. How does that help sales reps?

Jeff: It builds resiliency. Popularized by the "Ice Man," one routine is taking 30 power breaths in the morning and doing it for three rounds. The method tricks your body into releasing adrenaline to get moving and start your day. Taking a cold shower or ice bath also works :)

The Weekly Pitch: We both ascribe to the servant leadership framework. How could that help sales pros no matter what "title" they have at work?

Jeff: It's human nature to be self-serving, but if you change the perspective to the buyer, customer, or someone more significant than you, it makes each task – no matter how small – more meaningful. When you shift focus to who you're serving, you work with more purpose.

The Weekly Pitch: What's your advice for promoting mental health awareness and support in the workplace?

Jeff: Start from an objective place. Studies show every dollar spent on Mental Health treatment leads to a four-dollar return. Share an article and ask teammates, "what do you think about this?" Build a buddy system and reach for safety in numbers (as the group grows).

The Weekly Pitch: You think reps should ask managers one question. What is it?

Jeff: How likely are you to be vulnerable when someone is judging your performance every day? Even if they only think it, the typical answer from managers is "well, not at all vulnerable."

The Weekly Pitch: What's your advice for sales leaders and managers?

Jeff: Position yourself as an ally and an ardent supporter of Mental Health. The "vulnerability paradox" – this idea that that being vulnerable is a weakness – is crippling sales teams. Leaders should lean into and share their vulnerabilities, as much as we expect our teams to do the same, and view it as courageous and a position of strength.

The Weekly Pitch: How else can sales leaders take action?

Jeff: Check out Sales Health Alliance for the training services we provide or reach out to me directly at jeff@saleshealthalliance.com. Reference The Weekly Pitch and I'll send a free ebook that helps sales leaders have more constructive conversations with their team about Mental Health in sales.

Alternatively, sign up for the only program designed to help salespeople improve sales performance, resilience and EQ through better Mental Health. Use the discount code WeeklyPitch for 50% off the program.

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