It’s easy to become your own worst enemy in a field as competitive as sales. Learn to identify and overcome self-sabotaging syndrome for a more satisfying sales career.

By nature, salespeople tend to be relatively thick-skinned. You’d have to be, considering the amount of rejection that comes with a sales job. But even for the toughest sales reps out there, it’s easy to slip into self-sabotaging syndrome, a condition that most people experience at some point in their lives, and which often keeps people from achieving their goals.

That may sound easy enough to overcome, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s difficult to identify when you’re engaging in self-sabotaging behaviors. And when you do make that identification, it’s harder still to break those behaviors and get back on the path to success.

self sabotaging behavior

Self sabotaging defined

Psychology Today describes self-sabotaging syndrome as behavior that “creates problems and interferes with long-term goals.” These behaviors may be as simple as procrastinating to more serious things like a lack of confidence, self-medicating, or even harming yourself.

The way self-sabotaging syndrome typically manifests itself in sales is either procrastination or a sense of defeat, that you can’t accomplish the thing you’ve set out to do, no matter how hard you try. For example, if you have a quota to meet and you’re not quite hitting your numbers, you may start to get down on yourself, which further contributes to falling short of your objective.


lead-managerlead-managerStrengthen your resolve with CRM software that makes a difference. Schedule a free demo for an in-depth look at the difference we can make for you.

Self-sabotage can also be the result of something as simple as disorganization. If you’ve got client information all over the place, don’t have a system for following up, or just generally aren’t good with the administrative end of things, the result can be overwhelming, which can negatively affect your confidence.

self sabotaging behavior

Identification, information, inspiration

So what can you do to avoid self-sabotaging syndrome? The first thing you need to do is to identify self-sabotaging behaviors. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know what it is first.

The second thing you can do is to fully understand your objective as well as all the means available for achieving that objective. Research solutions on your own, or if that’s only making your confidence worse, take a class or training session. (In fact, staying up to date on training is a great way to stave off self sabotage in the first place.)

Third, find something that inspires you. Are you having a problem reaching a quota? Read motivational quotes from successful salespeople, talk to a sales mentor, or in really challenging cases, step away from your work altogether for a little while and do something that builds your confidence, whether it be working out, spending time with loved ones, or taking up a hobby that makes you feel productive and useful.

Once you start feeling confident again, you practically have self-sabotaging syndrome beat.

self sabotaging behavior

Invest in a CRM

Whether or not your self sabotaging is the result of disorganization, investing in sales CRM software can do wonders for alleviating some negative behaviors. Similar to the way organizing your closet or cleaning your bedroom can make you feel more in control of your life, organizing your clients and prospects lifts a huge burden from any salesperson’s shoulder.

A CRM will not only store all of your clients’ information, it can also help you remember to follow up, keep track of your successes, figure out what’s working for you and what isn’t, and a host of other things that are much more difficult to do by just thinking about them. (And probably even harder writing them all down on paper.)

self sabotaging behavior

Stay motivated

Sometimes, business is slow. That’s a time when self sabotage can easily creep in. Don’t let it. When business is slow, occupy yourself in creative ways, be it drumming up new business, getting in touch with old contacts, or spending time with a more senior salesperson learning through their experience and wisdom. In short, don’t let yourself get bored.

Related to that is the action of maintaining your resolve. What will help you avoid self-sabotaging syndrome more than anything is believing in yourself, believing in the work you’re doing, and most of all, believing in your success. Self sabotage can make you your own worst enemy, but on the flip side, maintaining self confidence can make you your own best friend. When the numbers aren’t adding up or the business isn’t there or you seem to be able to find time to do everything except sell, remember what got you into sales in the first place, and in true sales fashion, don’t take no for an answer.

lead-managerlead-managerStrengthen your resolve with CRM software that makes a difference. Schedule a free demo for an in-depth look at the difference we can make for you.