Many years ago one of my mentors taught me this saying: “success is only sustainable when it’s good for you, good for the people around you, and good for the world.”

That sounds good and everything…but what does it really mean?

Do we mean people like Enron can’t just cover up their big oil spills? Or that high ranking government officials shouldn’t lie to their constituents in order to get elected?

What if it means that as entrepreneurs, we have a responsibility to create sustainable sales – a sale that is good for you, good for the people around you, and good for the world.

I don’t know about you but I don’t see a lot of sustainable sales models — I see a lot of entrepreneurs desperate to make it big sacrificing what’s important to them to make more money! People hurt themselves, their team, their families, their clients and their industry with their approach to building an empire.

Here are a few examples of the “too costly” approach to more money:

1. The Martyr Sale.
You take on a client or sell to someone you know isn’t right for you. Instead of staying in your genius you sacrifice yourself for the sale (I need the money so I’ll just do it this once.) Because this client isn’t really what you want, there is a lot of issues and problems with serving this client. What ends up happening is you resent the client, under-perform, create bad-will, or poison your potential with work that drains you.

A martyr sale ends up costing you precious energy and time. Honestly is it really worth it? Rarely – you end up having a messy situation that becomes toxic. And because you took the client because you needed money you will resist firing the client.

2. Self-Serving Sale.
The pressure in the room is palpable – you have a goal to close half of the room. You give your best “back of the room” rush pitch and stay for hours trying to close every single person who has two legs and can walk past you. In the self-serving sale all you care about is your numbers. Whether or not what you are offering is a good fit is irrelevant. To me, this is appalling. Not only is this a fundamentally poor ethical practice but it’s also not sustainable. Returns in this model are often as high as 80%. Customer service costs go up, satisfaction goes down. People “talk” and murmur about their dissatisfaction.

The self-serving sale costs everyone – the people who invest rarely get what they need and your reputation for value is destroyed. The only ones winning anything are the ones collecting the money.

3. Life-Less Sale.
This is one’s a bit different – it’s the cycle of pursuing sales that end up taking away your life. I know that sounds rather ominous but it goes something like this: You focus on generating sales that don’t serve you and/or your family. You travel a lot to build your empire while missing precious moments at home. You compromise your personal freedom to just take on “one more client.” Every campaign results in more work and before you know it – you hate your life.

The life-less sales approach positions you to work way too much and feel overwhelmed by your business. Instead to finding a platform that delivers the lifestyle and success you crave, you just keep doing more of what you’ve always done – and feel hopelessly trapped.

Does one of these costly sales approaches seem a bit too familiar to you? Recognizing that there is a more aligned approach is the first start. Often it starts with realigning to your values. Not doing anything will eventually lead to even bigger problems – lawsuits, illness, bankruptcy or more.

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Author's Bio: 

Discover how you can liberate yourself from the daily grind and re-ignite your passion and results. Melanie Benson Strick, The Big Idea Catalyst for entrepreneurs, has made available a free email coaching course,18 Tips to Re-Energize your Business in 7 Days or Less.