EPISODE 540: Stress Reduction Strategies for Sales Success with Leslie Brown

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This podcast, sponsored by the Institute for Excellence in Sales featured an interview with Leslie Brown, stress reduction expert, cold-calling expert and author of Secrets of the BIGG List.

Find Leslie on LinkedIn.

LESLIE’S TIPS: There may be more behind your (stress and low energy) symptoms than what you think. Symptoms are your body’s way of telling you that your minerals are out of balance and that something’s going on in the body. That’s a new conversation to have with your body when you realize that. Then I’m back to the food again. If you can eat half a plate, during your meals, eat half cooked vegetables, half protein. Try that Crystal Geyser and Ozarka water. People say they’re refreshed in a new way once they do that.


Fred Diamond: Leslie, it’s great to see you. As a lot of our listeners know, every month or so, I do a show on the convergence of Lyme and tick-borne illness and sales. I’m the only person on the planet who does that. The mission basically of that particular show is to talk to someone who has either overcome Lyme disease, who has gotten into a great place after having this disease, and is either excelling at sales or providing some value to the sales community. You and I discovered each other, you have overcome Lyme disease, and now you’re providing a great solution, which we’re going to get to, to help sales professionals and business executives remove stress, get more energy, get their brain function higher. That’s one of the purposes of the Optimal Sales Mindset Show. It’s great to see you. Thanks for being here.

Tell us a little bit about your journey through Lyme and how you handled it. Then we’ll start talking about what you’re offering to business and sales leaders right now.

Leslie Brown: Thank you so much, I’m excited to be here. My journey with Lyme started probably when I was about 16 or 17 years old, and I had a 40-year challenge with it. In 2014 I was actually on my deathbed and I really thought I’d be gone by Christmas, but things turned around quite quickly when I got introduced to someone who had introduced me to a 50-year old science that helped pull my body out of that mess. Then through that, I learned about how many internal stressors actually can happen in a person’s brain, which is what led me to what I’m doing now.

But one of my very last speaking engagements in the sales community was on cold calling executives. Should have been called Reach the Top Dog, but people came up to me and I was so surprised because I thought they’re going to ask me questions about, “How do you get into the executive levels to do sales calls?” But they were all asking me about health matters, and how do they get off of the caffeine, and how come they have to exercise so much, and what do they do about anxiety and heart palpitations, and all those things, which led me to a whole new direction, all based on getting my life back from Lyme.

Fred Diamond: That’s interesting because again, we started doing a show just on mindset when the pandemic kicked in. Prior to the pandemic, the Institute for Excellence in Sales, we did live events. Then, of course, when the pandemic kicked in, we started doing virtual events and we started doing the Mindset Show every week, every single Thursday. I would bring on either a leadership coach or somebody who works with high-performing athletes, and the stressors that we’ve had to deal with, even the high-performing salespeople, over the last two years, sales is stressful as it is. Your company depends on you being successful. Then you throw in all the life challenges, Leslie Brown, that we’ve had to deal with over the last two years. Some cases it’s insurmountable, and that has led to things like The Great Resignation and things like that.

Leslie Brown: No doubt about it. What people haven’t known about stress, that partly I learned through my journey, was all these stressors that we go through actually leach minerals out of our bodies. Those minerals are the raw materials we need for the body and the brain to be able to function correctly and quickly. That’s a fresh kind of perspective that comes here.

One of the many things that we’ve learned through these last challenging years is that we can control our mindset. I say mindset, I break it down to three areas, the mental, the emotional, and then the physical. But in the mental, we have some 10,000 thoughts a day. The need to control those thoughts is very important. A lot of times we’ll get in a sales conversation, or any kind of conversation, we may have three voices happening between two people. One is you speaking, one is me, and the other ones might be the voice of doubt, or self-deprecation, or, “What’s for dinner?” The brain can take you off into a whole nother direction. Controlling 10,000 thoughts is not an easy thing to do.

Fred Diamond: We have a question here that comes in from Diane. Diane says, “Leslie figured this out in 2014, but she said she had Lyme for 40 years. How did she survive?” You were in a high-performing sales position. You did a lot of speaking. Lyme, for people who are listening for the first time, it gives you anxiety, it gives you depression, fatigue, pain. It gives you so many different things that people will have a hard time working, let alone being in a high-performing job like sales. How did you manage for the first 35 years before you finally found a solution?

Leslie Brown: Well, you push through. I think that’s part of, a lot of us in sales are type A personalities. We’re just going to get it through no matter what. For me, I actually started to think this is what everybody felt, high anxiety, heart palpitations, tightness, maybe a hard time breathing. All those symptoms were just normal. I didn’t have the habit of talking about them because nobody wants to hear about your aches and pains. Well, suffering in silence sounds a bit dramatic, but since it almost took my life, I guess it’s not an overstatement. But that’s just part of it, you just push your way through and do the very best that you can.

Fred Diamond: You mentioned emotional, physical, and mental. Let’s talk a little more about emotional. We’ve talked a lot over the last two years, and even before this, about emotional intelligence. We’ve had the great Colleen Stanley on the show a couple of times and on her live stage. Do you know Colleen?

Leslie Brown: Love Colleen. Yeah.

Fred Diamond: She’s a great friend of ours. She, of course, wrote Emotional Intelligence for Sales and Emotional Intelligence for Sales Leaders. Talk a little bit about the emotional side and how that can become a big stressor.

Leslie Brown: Well, we’re talking about internal stressors. There are different chemical reactions that can happen in the body that a lot of people aren’t aware of, but you become keenly aware of with Lyme disease. Different things, mineral imbalances, metal toxicities, infections of different kinds can throw off chemicals in the brain that’ll trigger emotions. Ideally, with emotional intelligence, you’re thinking, “Okay. I’m coming from an even base. I can think this through. No problem.” You start to think, “I’ve got anxiety. I’m just going to breathe.”

One of the things before you go on stage, or even a podcast, a lot of adrenaline will come up. You move into that fight or flight stage, but you can either think of it as forget everything and run, or you can reposition it in your mind as a way that the adrenaline gives you enough energy to be able to reach out and touch the people on the other side of the dais, or even on the computer screen. Mental positioning really helps a lot there to control a lot of those emotions. One of the things I learned that I think is very important to be aware of is there can be very real physiological reasons that those things are coming in that aren’t necessarily in your control, but that you can actually do something about.

Fred Diamond: We have a question here that comes in from Monty. Monty says, “I don’t understand what she means by heavy metals and toxicity.” Let’s talk about that for a little bit. For a lot of people who’ve listened to the Sales Game Changers Podcast, I decided about a year ago to understand more about Lyme disease so I could be of better help to someone in my life who was struggling with chronic Lyme. One thing that I learned was heavy metals in the body cause problems. One of the problems that it causes, it doesn’t allow the Lyme bacteria to detox, is one of the general things.

Talk a little more about that and how that might affect us on a day by day basis. I love eating sushi. I know fish has mercury. I’m not going to stop eating sushi. I’m sure a lot of the people listening to the show today, I know salespeople love sushi as well. Tell us a little more about heavy metals and how they could be such an inhibitor to the energy and such a prohibitor of the stress that we’re talking about.

Leslie Brown: Well, it’s huge. The first line of defense, actually, let me back up even before that, are nutrient minerals. Minerals are the raw materials that the body needs to heal itself and to stay on balance, to have us to have clear thinking, and to reduce anxiety and all those issues. But once that defense line falls and those minerals we usually get through food and water, then the toxic metals can come in. From the air we breathe, from the food we eat, from the water we drink, it’s an onslaught of chemicals all over. Now, a lot of people know that when you take vitamins, for example, if you take too much, you can urinate them out. It’ll just come out when you pee. But that’s not the case with toxic metals.

If you don’t have enough minerals to push that out so the body can naturally detoxify, they’ll go sink into the body’s tissue and stay there so that they don’t do damage to other organs. It goes to soft tissue, which can be the heart, get those heart palpitations. It can be the kidneys, people have problems with urination. But it also goes to the brain. One of your people had said something about having a fuzzy brain, that fuzzy brain, brain fog, foggy brain, those are all manifestations, symptoms that are associated with heavy metal toxicity. I’m telling you, Fred, that I think of it now that I’m out of it, that those mineral deficiencies and metal toxicities are like an invisible cage that keep people from optimum performance, and they haven’t got a clue that they’re in there silently working against the body.

Fred Diamond: I know at the end you were going to talk about this, but just give us a minute or so on what you learned in 2014, I think you said, and what you do now. Tell us exactly what you bring to the market, because I want people to understand it and why there’s value there.

Leslie Brown: Again, I learned about mineral deficiencies and metal toxicities. In my work, what we do is a hair tissue analysis, because that holds three months of mineral and toxicity data, which is a lot different than testing body fluids. We test that and we look at it, it’ll tell us how efficiently the thyroid is outputting energy, how efficiently the adrenals are pushing out energy. A lot of people I saw in your comments were talking about burnout, and that’s because the adrenals are so low that they can’t give you the energy that you need. That’s what we call burnout. It has to do with adrenals. A lot of times we remove the metal toxicities and allow the nutrient minerals to come in and that whole function is able to turn around.

Fred Diamond: Tell us what you bring to the marketplace. Tell us about your specific offering that you bring to sales professionals, leaders, and business leaders.

Leslie Brown: Well, thank you. I do two things. I have a low end test the waters deal where we do the test for you and tell you what it means. I’ve built an online tech platform so people have 24/7 access to their data and interpretation. Then I do three calls once a month, Zoom calls on third Thursdays, so people can submit their questions ahead of time and then I’ll answer them. Because when I first started, it was with a doctor who only gave me 10 minutes about every six months. I said, “Man, that’s not enough time to repattern my behaviors and try and learn new things.” That’s what we do. Then I have a high end coaching program mostly for professional men at this point in time. That’s a 24-episode online learning program with accountability, and we get to it. We do the supplementation and monitor their successes and encourage them along the way, removing any obstacles.

Fred Diamond: What are some of the things that you do when you’re coaching? Again, a lot of people listening to the Sales Game Changers Podcasts are high-performing sales professionals. One of the challenges, Leslie, has been that the world has changed. One thing that we’re discovering now, again, we’re doing today’s show in the summer of 2022, is things aren’t going to get back to the way they were pre-pandemic.

I had a conversation with a sales VP at one of the five biggest companies in history of the world about three weeks ago. I said, “What are the biggest challenges you’re facing now?” He said, “Figuring out how we’re going to lead our sales team post-pandemic.” Which we thought was going to be maybe two years ago. Well, we’re still in the stage of limbo getting to post-pandemic, if we’re ever going to get to that stage.

Every company is having to deal with facing new challenges. My question for you is, knowing that we’re all in that state where things are out of our control in a lot of ways – and in sales, you want to have things in your control – what are some of the things that you coach when you talk to some of these sales leaders to keep them focused and at that highest level?

Leslie Brown: Well, first we’ll start about health. That’s what we’re talking about, is trying to keep them mentally alert. But my opinion on that, my thinking really is that, because I come from cold calling. I really work with people to cold call executives that could schedule appointments and get in, because scheduling and selling are two entirely separate skillsets. Two entirely different sets of skills.

Now what I would say for people who had asked me on that is to do a lot of what we’re doing right now in this, essentially call this a cold call, where you get a chance to meet with someone and talk with them and they can see your face, they can read your facial expressions. You get a chance to ask them where have they been in this particular business venue, or in their health venue. Then say how your services are different from anything else they can get out there.

I think a big mindset issue is to realize that for anybody who’s selling, is to realize that you belong there. People get a lot of anxiety about meeting other people, especially executives, people they consider top dogs. You have to remember you’re the top dog in your business arena as well. One of my favorite lines ever was I heard from a teacher who was repurposing and reimagining herself as an internet entrepreneur. But she had the Lyme and she said, “You know what? To a third grader, a fourth grader looks like a genius.” I love that because we could be fourth graders in our market. We don’t have to know every single thing, but the other people don’t know about it. They’re the third graders, so you look like the genius. I try encourage people with that by changing perspective makes a big difference. This is normal now. There’s no going back on it. I do work through the United States, but can work internationally. Just as a voice of experience, you can do this anywhere. It can actually broaden your reach.

Fred Diamond: We have a question here that comes in from Neil. Neil says, “Can Leslie speak about diet?” Let’s talk about that for a little bit. Again, we talked about heavy metals in foods and all those kinds of things, but what is your recommendation? Of course, when you have Lyme disease, gluten-free is a big thing, because the wheat can be an inhibitor to the detox of the bacteria. But what are some of your general recommendations for sales professionals? Should everybody go all organic? What is your suggestion right now, Leslie Brown?

Leslie Brown: That’s a great question. Food and water are two things we dive deep into because it’s a huge topic, but let me speak to the topic of gluten. We’re finding that one of the big issues in the wheat products are the glyphosates. It’s the toxic pesticides that end up, the wheat takes it up through the roots, because the ground’s often saturated with those products that have the glyphosates. Again, it’s a toxin that needs to come out. I know gluten’s been a big term and a big marketing term, but we look at it just a little bit differently, and with the science of mineral balancing.

But in regards to food, the more organic you can go, the better. But I have to also add that a lot of organic vegetables are sprayed with copper, because it’s considered a natural fungicide, but that can have the same toxic issues in the body as mercury can. You get your vegetables, you can possibly wash them. We’d love you to do that. But if you can have half your plate be cooked vegetables and half your plate be cooked protein, especially while your body’s healing, then those are mineral-rich items that can help equip your body better to function better. But cooked vegetables, ideally green, don’t go for the potatoes all the time, but if you can go for green vegetables – sweet potatoes are good, but green vegetables cooked, because it’s broken down, the body can absorb it better, and protein. They’ll help your body a lot.

Fred Diamond: If we’re talking food, we obviously have to talk drink. You mentioned water. Let’s talk about alcohol first. Then obviously in sales, people are starting to go to more events. It’s slowly coming back at some level. There’s more customer meetings and meals that are beginning to happen at some level. You throw in a couple of drinks, yes, no. Then I want to get deep into water as well, because I want to understand the specifics of what you understand about that, and what should we be doing about water? Alcohol first.

Leslie Brown: Alcohol is one of those things that drains minerals out of your body. But the other thing is it’s high in sugar content. Let’s say you’ve hit burnout. Your adrenals aren’t working very well anyway. When you drink alcohol or eat a lot of sweets or sugars, your body treats it the same way. It’s trying to work up, the adrenaline’s trying to kick out energy so that your pancreas can process sugar. I hate to geek out on you, but those are really important topics, how your body processes sugar. What I like to do is just encourage people not to drink too much, but the healthier the body gets, the less attractive alcohol becomes. I don’t want to rip it away from people, but it just doesn’t sound as good.

I used to be a member of a wine club because I just enjoyed wine so much, but it just loses its appeal because the body no longer needs the alcohol to relax or to stimulate energy. You’re just in a much calmer place and it’s like, “Well, I could. Yeah, whatever,” and you take a sip or two. It’s a whole different experience. I wouldn’t run away from it, but just the more aware you are of that, the better that it is.

Fred Diamond: That’s a great point, where you just said as your body gets healthier, there’s less of a requirement per se. There’s ABC Stores a block from my house and during the pandemic, everybody was drinking margaritas, and tequilas, and jello shots, and all those kinds of things. But it’s like, “What are you committed to?” One thing that we talk about a lot on the Sales Game Changers Podcast is we ask sales leaders for advice and, VP at IBM, how have you been so successful? In most cases, Leslie Brown, it comes down to a commitment. What are you truly committed to?

One question we still ask is how do you become an elite sales professional? You have to be committed to doing the things. You have to be committed to understanding your customer, to preparing for calls, to truly understand your product and how it fits into the ecosystem of the solution. Then you have to become great at sales. I want to get back to water, though. Give us your advice on, again, reducing the stress and increasing our energy.

Leslie Brown: Huge topic, but I also want to add something there. When we’re talking to high performers, people work really hard to get to where they are, to get their achievements and their successes. I say, “Okay, you worked hard to get there. Let’s keep you there.” One of the ways we do that is by supporting your body’s ability to heal itself. It’s not about deprivation, it’s about giving it the tools that it needs to be able to heal. Then it makes those other items, the junk food and the other items, less attractive. I was surprised in the comments, I didn’t hear anybody who was a chocaholic like I’d been. I’d eaten up to 10 of those ROLO candies a day, the whole sleeve, because of the sugar hit.

But the same thing applies to water. You can pick really good waters or not so much. Reverse osmosis has been a big water that people seem to like, but what I found with a lot of clients is they’ll wake up in the middle of the night with strong leg cramps. Then what I need to back out and say is reverse osmosis is a water that’s created by slamming water up against a sheath, often a kind of a plastic sheet, or even a metal plate. The idea is there to pull out all the toxins, which it does very effectively. However, it also pulls out the minerals, and minerals are needed to transport water to the cells so it can hydrate the body.

We’ll find a lot of people suffer from dehydration, even though they’re drinking reverse osmosis water. I like to recommend spring water, and it would be like Ozarka, or you can get some of that from Hinckley & Schmidt, or the dollar store, but Ozarka, Crystal Geyser, some of those that come from real springs. That’s important, because as the rain comes, the water filters down through the land, it pulls out minerals into the water, and you’re drinking natural mineral water. It rehydrates you with the minerals.

There’s a lot, like you mentioned, smart water. What I encourage people to do is read how it’s processed. Read the label. It’s going to tell you if it’s done by reverse osmosis. Another popular water says PWS, which stands for public water source, which means they’re filling up those bottles from tap water. You’re just paying for tap water in a pretty bottle. There’s just a lot about that to take into consideration. I have a lot of clients who’ve left the city, who’ve gone out to the farms, they have well water. But we find a lot of well water, even if they’ve had it tested, that they also run it through a filter to make sure the iron content isn’t too high, because you can get iron toxic from some well waters. There are many issues to consider, but the Crystal Geyser and the Ozarka are what I really recommend for the less expensive, but really healing waters.

Fred Diamond: I met you because I’ve been writing blog articles and doing one episode of the Sales Game Changers Podcast per month bringing the whole Lyme disease awareness story. We read a stat recently that 15% of the population of the planet has had Lyme disease at some level. As climate change continues to be a problem, the ticks continue to grow all through the year. Again, Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness. It may also be from other insects as well, primarily from ticks. It’s fascinating how you had a career in sales helping people cold call more effectively. You also had this disease and you figured out at some point how to get past it to the next stage of health, and how you’re sharing all this great information with everybody.

Before I ask you for your final action step, I just want to talk about two other quick things. Sleep. Sleep is a big thing and it’s gotten real popular. There’s been books written about sleep. But I find that salespeople may not necessarily get as much sleep as they need to. What’s your recommendation for optimal high performance and sleep?

Leslie Brown: Well, yeah, we’re a rocking group of professionals, aren’t we? Oh my gosh. You want to party, good story? Hang out with the sales professionals. Who wants to sleep? It’s a waste of life, is pretty much how we look at it. But sleep is very important because that’s when your body heals itself. As we slow down and get off the adrenaline rush of selling, or the adrenaline rush of being on all the time, and let our bodies calm down, then we may find that our sleep is even disrupted. I’m back to your sushi, Fred, I’m sorry to tell you this, but mercury toxicity and copper toxicity can start to work on the nervous system at night, and it makes people itchy and not able to sleep, it can interrupt the sleep. So can a lot of other conditions, but those two really come to mind for starters.

But if you can sleep at night, that’s great. If not, well, just try to, because that’s when the body heals itself, it detoxifies, repairs, and does a lot of work. But the other thing is you can take naps during the day. If there’s a way to slip away, and even for 10 minutes, take a nap. I remember, one of the scientists, it might have been Albert Einstein, but I really don’t remember, he’d fall asleep with a bucket next to the bed and a spoon in his hand. As soon as he relaxed enough for the spoon to drop, clatter in the bucket and wake him up, then he was restored and refreshed. That was a long enough nap. It doesn’t have to take a long time.

But what the nap does is it allows your adrenals to calm down again. That’s where burnout comes from, is we overwork those adrenals and they get tired and they can’t recuperate. A little nap will help, and sometimes a little gentle walk as well. You can get out and walk in the fresh air and with some sunshine, that’ll be a big time help too. In fact, I saw one of your people had said she likes to go out and she likes to ride motorcycles. I have a lot of friends who ride their Harley hogs and that’s where they get their inspiration and that’s how they commune with nature. Just taking a break. But remember, be mindful that what’s happening is you’re giving your adrenals a rest, and doing that mindfully is helpful.

Fred Diamond: That’s so incredible. What Leslie’s referring to is, I do a LinkedIn post every day, and today in preparation for the show, the question was, how much does your work stress really affect you? About 15% of the people said they’re totally cool. Nothing bothers them. About 60% said for the most part they’re cool. About 15% said it’s definitely something of concern. Only one or two people said that they meditate five, seven hours a day.

Leslie Brown: [Laughs] That was good.

Fred Diamond: People enjoy that one. If you’re meditating five, seven hours a day, you’re a monk. You’re not selling anything and you’re not listening to this podcast, and God bless all the monks if there was a God. Once again, I want to thank Leslie Brown for all the great insights today. This is another area that you don’t really think about. Again, I don’t mean the Lyme disease, but I mean the minerals in your body and how influential and how important they are in ensuring not just stress but performance, and also how much of an inhibitor they can be if there’s an imbalance.

I just want to acknowledge you, first of all, for coming on the show and talking about your battle with Lyme disease. Thank you so much for the courage to do that. I’m proud of everyone who has accepted my invitation to speak about it. It’s a personal journey for you and I applaud you for that. I also just wanted to acknowledge for what you’re doing now and helping sales professionals and business leaders restore their health, restore their energy, get focus to allow them to be more successful. As we like to say, the more successful you are at work, the happier you are at home and the happier life that you have. Leslie, give us one final action step for the sales professionals listening today to take their sales career to the next level.

Leslie Brown: I just build awareness for starters, that there may be more behind your symptoms at what you think. I like to remind people that symptoms are your body’s way of telling you that your minerals are out of balance and that something’s going on in the body. That’s a new conversation to have with your body when you realize that. Then I’m back to the food again. If you can eat half a plate, during your meals, eat half cooked vegetables, half protein, that’s a great way to start. Try that Crystal Geyser and Ozarka water. People say they’re refreshed in a new way once they do that. Give it a go.

Fred Diamond: All right, I’ll be conscious. I actually love Crystal Geyser water. I’ll definitely make it a point to drink that.

Transcribed by Mariana Badillo

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