Stopping Self Sabotage: Five Steps to Better Relationships & Sales

By Jim Ponder

Why let another day go by feeling out of control just hoping to get through to the end of the day so you can do the same thing tomorrow? Why scramble for names to cold call, new prospects to solicit and other markets to tackle when you are not even staying in touch with your existing clients?man & fire

I know why, it is because this is the way you have always done things. Sure, you have heard of other ways to handle business and life. You may have even attended a seminar where you got excited and came away determined to change. Then BAM! Life hit you in the face. E-mails piled up, voice mails just kept coming, the car broke down and that deadline just got moved up. So, the notebook and other materials that you were so fired up about found their way to the bookshelf right next to the others sitting there gathering dust.

Sound familiar? Don’t be surprised, millions of us wake up and handle every day just like I described above. And you know what? Life does have a way of hitting us in the face. But, trust me; it does not have to be this way. I have lived this; I was the king of crisis mode mistaking activity with progress. My customers were not getting the attention they deserved. For that matter neither were my family or friends. After all, can’t they see that I am busy! Unfortunately they can see, but what they see is that I am too busy for them and certainly too busy to handle that recommendation they wanted to give me.

Self sabotage, it is time to stop. For me, I discovered that the relationship must come first and from that business and revenue will follow. Moving from crisis mode and self sabotage to a relational business and way of life takes effort. The good news though, is that all of us can do it and the rewards are plentiful.

Here are five tips to get you started:

1. Listen

We all learn to talk at a very young age. What we do not learn to do is listen. Start today listening more and saying less. Be there; focus 100% on what you are hearing. Put down the BlackBerry, ignore the e-mail, put the phone on silent – not vibrate, and take some notes. You will be amazed at what you learn. Your clients will tell you what they want and need – if you will listen to them.

2. Be a Trusted Ally™

Are you a needy salesperson or a trusted ally? The needy salesperson tries to sell whatever they have regardless of whether the client really needs it or if it is the best fit for them. The Trusted Ally™ will take time to understand what the clients needs are and will tailor the sales and product to them. Even, if it means passing up the sale. What! Pass up a sale – you bet, it is called trust and character.

3. Remember the 80/20 rule

Sure, you have heard this before. 80% of business comes from 20% of your customers. Guess what else? 80% of your pain comes from the bottom 20% of your customers. This bottom 20% is sucking the life out of you. They are a needy bunch and you would be far better off methodically eliminating them while adding more clients that resemble your top 20%.

4. Do your homework

I never cease to be amazed at how little most salespersons and the companies they work for know about their clients and prospects. Make a list today of your top five clients and prospects. Now do your homework and answer these questions:

♦ How do they make money?cklist men
♦ What are their top three business challenges?
♦ What charities do they support?
♦ What does your main contact at the company like to do when they are not working?

This information is the start to building your knowledge base and a relationship that goes beyond the transaction. Now, put the power of the internet to work by setting these clients and prospects up on Google Alerts – This way you will always have the latest news about them. Use your new knowledge to send thank you and congratulations cards and for discussion on your personal visits and phone calls.

5. Get help

Lastly, don’t try this alone because odds are you will fail. Make an investment of your time, effort and money in a quality training program that has a coaching component. bizwoman watering plantCoaching is what separates the wannabe’s from the successful. Just like the best athletes in the world have coaches, so do the best and most successful business people.

You can change. You can have balance back with less stress and more productivity. It is up to you.

Final Thoughts

According to Dana Borowka, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, hiring the right people is key to future growth. If you would like additional information on hiring, please click here to read an article on this subject.

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Jim has over 25 years of experience in top management positions. He has been President of four companies in all phases from start up to being acquired. Jim is a seasoned entrepreneur and businessman. He is an experienced trainer, speaker, consultant and executive coach. His diverse background brings experience in strategic planning, business and brand development and strong organizational skills. Jim has worked with many companies and organizations from large to small including AFLAC, Qualcomm and ViaSat.

Jim clearly understands the issues facing businesses today. Competition has shown the need, more than ever, for companies to differentiate themselves. His background and success of building companies through relationships allows him to share his insights providing real change to companies and organizations desiring to excel. He routinely works with key executives developing short, mid and long range strategic plans for relationship, productivity and business development. To contact Jim, please give him a call at 760-888-6228 or email him at

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, & our website:

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

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