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Every business or profession has rules that top people live by and follow to succeed. Selling is no exception. Here are some rules you can count on:

Selling is not the place to get your emotional needs met. For example, you may want to be liked by other people. But in selling, you’ll find that not all prospects like you. Keep on selling just the same. Or you may be a Type A personality who wants everything to be perfect. Well, selling often involves situations where not everything is in perfect order. Keep on selling anyway. Your job is to make sales, not to meet your emotional needs.

Prospects buy for their reasons, not yours. This is the other side of the mantra that says people like to buy, but they don’t want to be sold. And the only way you can learn a prospect’s buying reasons is to ask questions, ask questions, and ask more questions. When you’re asking questions, you’re leading and guiding the selling process. If you’re doing most of the talking, your prospect can get you to accept his or her worldview, not yours.

Don’t spill your candy in the lobby. Whatever you do, avoid telling a prospect how you’ll solve the problem(s) at hand. Your knowledge is your candy. When you give it to someone, get paid for it. If you literally give it away, you devalue the intelligence you can bring to solve a prospect’s challenges. Another way of saying this is: No free consulting. Never. Never. Ever.

No mutual mystification. Watch out for a prospect’s weasel wording that hides meaning and clouds true intentions. For example: “Maybe.” “Let me think about it.” “We may be able to afford your services.” “Let me check with my other execs, and I’ll get back to you.” “Call me in two weeks.” When you hear expressions like these, be sure to ask your prospect exactly what he or she means.

Here’s one last thought: Selling is like a Broadway play directed by a psychiatrist. And in this case, you’re the psychiatrist.

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