Healthy Boundaries in Sales: Building resilient, productive sales departments

A report on the follow article: Sales Managers Need to Take Mental Health Seriously. Many sales reps struggle with stress, anxiety, and depression. But talking about it is often considered a sign of weakness.
Author(s): Brian Nordli, Published on Feb. 22, 2022

People who work in sales are faced with many professional dilemmas that affect their mental health. There’s the professional boundary issues that come along with the culture of socializing with clients, for one – and in a moment we’ll touch on how problematic this aspect of the culture can be. But then there’s also the always be closing mentality, in which your job depends on your ability to sell, and therefore keeping your job requires you to sell as much as possible, as often as possible. That’s the job. You eat what you kill, as they say.

A 2022 article about mental health in the sales industry reported survey results claiming that two out of five sales professionals struggles with mental health issues, which doubles the Center for Disease Control’s general rate in the workforce. And to keep levels of stress at bay, sales professionals have been found to use unhealthy habits to escape feelings of stress, which typically involves abusing alcohol – sometimes with clients as “part of the job”. 

The culture of socializing with clients, which for many salespeople frequently does involve alcohol, only enables this unhealthy stress-escaping habit. Any good salesperson will tell you that the key to winning over a client is to mirror and match their style of communication and conduct. So what if a client’s conduct is unprofessional? What if it takes you down a road into toxic conduct, or unhealthy behaviors? Building rapport with clients, while simultaneously attempting to take a disciplined approach to managing stress in healthy ways, is much easier said than done. 

The aforementioned 2022 article makes reference to the fact that talking about mental health in the field of sales has for a long time been considered showing weakness, which is the opposite of what a salesperson is supposed to display. Being a confident, strong performer is seen as necessary for keeping one’s job in sales, so naturally, a culture of not speaking about mental health, and therefore suffering/coping in silence, has unfortunately formed around this role.

Healthy habits for managing stress are necessary for individuals who want to truly succeed in sales. There are countless stories out there about salespeople who hit rock bottom before they realized they needed to address their stress in more healthy ways. At Breakview, we now have a response to this need. 

So if a client wants to go to happy hour to talk business, and you’re in the position of needing to sell to this client. And moreover, if you’re feeling an onslaught of stress regularly – what’s to stop you from mirroring this client’s behavior and throwing back several drinks with them? This sales culture requires a reboot.

We’ve adapted our Professional Boundaries course to meet the needs of individuals in the sales industry. In this new course, we unpack what we call the faulty sales persona to get our participants to see the strengths and weaknesses they bring to their role in sales. We assist our clients in the practical implementation of new, healthy habits to replace the unhealthy habits of the past. 

If you want a Salesforce that can withstand the pressures of the job and maintain high levels of productivity, take a sample of our new course,

Professional Boundaries in Sales.