THIS was the punch line to a joke I heard a few years ago. The question from the wife to her salesman husband was: “Did you get any orders today, darling?”

“Yes, I did — I got three orders: ‘Get out — stay out — and don’t come back!’”

 This pokes fun at the stereotypical image people have of a sales person — someone who is trying to sell a product or service to another person who doesn’t want it, doesn’t need it and can’t afford it.

Excuse me, are you a sales person?

Sales people tend to get negative press for being “pushy” or “manipulative”.

It is rare for someone to describe himself as a salesman. They usually describe themselves as sales executives, sales managers or sales engineers.

Every time I run a sales seminar for business people, I ask the group how they feel about sales and selling. They come back with comments such as:

* “It’s something you’ve got to do”,

* “I hate making cold calls”,

* “I hate receiving cold calls”,

* “Sales people can be really annoying”,

* “You’ve got to be a good talker”,

* “You need to be able to manipulate people”,

* “If you don’t put on the pressure, then you wont get the sale”, and

* “I’m not really a sales person”.

There are many more comments like this and they all tend to be a bit negative.

Because of this negativity, many business people can feel a bit uncomfortable about selling their product or service. They don’t want to be seen as pushy or annoying to a potential customer.

And, of course, human beings have a huge fear of rejection. We just hate to hear the word “no”.

As a result, fear of rejection stops people contacting customers, asking for an order or some other form of commitment.

You are only normal

It is normal and understandable to feel this way, particularly if selling is not what you were trained to do.

I occasionally do some electrical work around the house or even some mechanical work on the car. But it is not what I was trained to do, so I can get a bit uncomfortable particularly when it starts to go wrong (electric shocks and bruised fingers are not unknown to me!).

However, you need to find a way around this if you want to have a successful business.

Finding customers

There are two ways to do this:

* You get them to come to you and buy your product or service, or

* You go to them and sell them your product or service.

Motivate customers to come to you

If you are not comfortable with the second option — the selling bit — here are some actions you can take to get customers to come to you. Or, as I like to say, “motivate them to buy”:

* Provide extraordinary customer service,

* Boost your business image,

* Have a great business name,

* Brand it — put your name on everything,

* Use business cards that do the business,

* Make sure your website is customer-focused,

* Network-network-network,

* Get active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn,

* Generate referrals,

* Make videos — put them up on YouTube,

* Send good sales letters,

* Publish a newsletter,

* Write articles, and

* Present seminars.

So there you have it — 14 ways to attract customers — and you haven’t even started selling yet!