Luis Prasad-Bernier, is currently leading Sales and Customer Success at Founded Technologies, where he is responsible for developing relationships with B2B companies for channel partnerships.
Founded Technologies helps entrepreneurs manage and automate their legal needs through one platform. Luis spoke with the Sales Health Institute to share his story and best practices for managing Mental Health in Sales.
Why do you think more awareness is needed around Mental Health as it relates to working in Sales?
I think Mental Health recognition is imperative to sales because of the culture that exists around it. We are constantly inundated with the idea that (especially tech-sales) grinding day and night is the only way to succeed. This couldn’t be further from the truth. To accelerate success and growth in this field means being able to work smarter not harder; the first step is to ensure we don’t destroy ourselves in the process.
What has been your experience with mental health throughout your sales career?
For a long time I struggled with my mental health inside work because it was a constant looming feeling over me to succeed and what that success meant. Having it ingrained in you that putting 12+ hrs everyday will get you to where you need to be was my own fault. What it did was make me emotionally unstable, but only I could see, hear, or feel the instability. I found myself beginning to distance myself from friends, family, and more importantly, myself.
What quickly became apparent was that while I was trying to win at my career, I was in last place when it came to making sure the foundation of my success was solid. My foundation was a couple of floating logs on water, at best.
Sure, my career was taking off, but it was costing me more than what my salary and bonuses could account for. I started to see that there was a dollar value attributed to my emotions and my way of thinking. Having a bad quarter or month was not an option and everything that allowed me to decrease the gap from zero to quota was valid.
The thing that made the pot simmer the most, was the fact that it was so difficult to speak with someone about the way you feel. Especially upper management.
Who do you ask the hard questions to? How do you go about asking them, and not put your career on the line? These are the things that need to be fixed, not tomorrow, not soon – now.
Overcoming my mental health issues is a fallacy. As life progresses and we continue to strive for greatness, we will run into more issues. The secret to dealing with them?
Open yourself to speaking up, and always understand that failure is “Ok.” If you didn’t hit that number, if you didn’t close that deal, it’s “Ok” – you’ll get another shot. You must learn from your mistake and use that to progress.
Finally, taking care of my personal life (outside of work) was a big step. Re-connecting with friends, and letting important people in my life know whats going on has been huge for me.
Who have been your biggest workplace influences around positive Mental Health?
My team at Founded and my closest friends have been the most supportive and influential for me around positive Mental Health. If you can find a team that support personal growth and is actively making you put work into yourself, stick with them. They’re worth more than any dollar you’ll make.
During a typical day, week, month and/or quarter working in sales – What events impact your mental health the most?
Making a sale and losing a sale. Losing and adding new employees. Client complaints or technical issues that take time to fix. Going through an entire sales process for the partnership to break just before signing the dotted line. Then the moment that dotted line is signed. These are positive and negative in nature and they can happen in a matter of moments.
What are some of your best practices for maintaining your Mental Health while working in sales?
Mindset – Open, constructive, willing to learn from criticism, and don’t take things personally. Holy shit, that’s a big one.
Routines – Exercise at least 3-4 times a week, even if it’s a brisk jog outside. I also set aside a couple minutes between event changes (presentation->emails->calls->admin->etc) to take a few deep breaths and prep myself for what i’m about to do (Inhale= Set Intention, Exhale= Release Tension).
Dieting – I engage in intermittent fasting. Usually don’t eat past 9:00pm and give myself about 15 hours before my next meal. This can be modified to everyone own needs.
WRITE THINGS DOWN – when I have an idea, thought, important thing I just remembered. It’s so important for staying on track with work, life, and self.
How do you talk about mental health at your company and/or within your team?
Openly but in the privacy of one other individual. If it is something that needs to be addressed to the whole, in order to abstain from making one person feel ostracized then that will be the way.
What’s the number one thing you would change about working in sales/ “sales culture” that you think would improve sales rep mental health the most?
I would say that helping sales reps with their mental health starts with making sure they know that its ok to feel the way the feel. That there are people and resources around to help.
I would establish (from first day) that when there is a personal matter to attend to that the rep feels confidence, security, and support in being open about it to their leaders.