Staring at the phone, I felt nauseous. I took a deep breath, picked up the receiver, and began dialing. Just as I finished punching in the number – in that split-second of silence before the ringing started – I hung up. Again.

Fear sat like a fat stone in the bottom of my stomach. I hate this, I thought. I hate this. 

1 phone DEL

I was twenty-one years old, and freshly graduated from my Psychology degree at Edinburgh university. I’d gotten a 2.1 – a ‘B’ – which I was really proud of, but I knew the whole thing was basically useless for me. I wanted to be a Radio DJ, and nobody cares about Radio DJs’ academic credentials.

My professional experience was going… kind of well. I had a Sunday night indie show on the local station. I was getting mentored by various generous London media bigwigs. Things Were Looking Good, they said. I Had Potential. I was Going To Get a Really Good Job In Radio.

At some point.

But before that happened – right now – I needed money, and one radio show a week was not paying my rent.

I turned to my friends, and one came through:

My friend Ian – an entrepreneur since the age of eight – was working on a new student diary, and he needed sales agents in university towns. This was pre-Ubiquitous Internet, so it would all be done over the phone and in person.

I’m guessing he thought, “Marsha’s charming and personable, she could do this”. Or even, “Marsha’s desperate for money and has a voice and dialing fingers, she could do this.

What he didn’t – god love him – think, was,

Marsha has never sold anything in her life before, is somewhat terrified of strangers and has severe phone phobia. This is probably not going to end well for any of us.

Even with the perfectly prepared pitch Ian had coached me on, it was the hardest and scariest thing I’d ever done. At this point, I was not only doing my own radio show – to at least 2500 people a week! – I had also been on national radio a few times, had spent a year running a national student association, spoken on stage to hundreds of people, and run regular talks to rooms full of students.

But this – this was WAY more terrifying.

I tried again. Pick up. Dial. Wait. This time I pushed through the urge to hang up. As the Mexican take-away joint answered the phone, I felt sick.

“Hi!” I said, my voice shaking. “May I speak to your manager, please?” 

In the end, after three, miserable weeks, and about 40 phone calls, I scored just one meeting. Sweating into my borrowed suit, I talked the manager of the record store through the brochure that Ian had couriered me. “So, you see, your ad would go here – and over ten thousand students would see it!”.

They didn’t buy. Nobody bought from me.

And I swore – SWORE – that I would never do sales again, as long as I lived.

It almost worked. Almost.

Over the next fifteen years, I got my Really Good Job In Radio. As one of the longest serving DJs on indie station Xfm, people were falling over themselves to sell stuff to me.

Their latest record. A new music venue. Fast food joints aimed at hipster kids. I got free t shirts, tickets and trips abroad. In any sales exchanges, I had all the power. And when I started choosing music for hit TV shows, this only grew.

Then I packed it in, packed up and moved to Toronto. I knew I was done with the music industry, but had no idea what was next. Pretty soon, I discovered that I could invent myown job – by starting a business – and do the things I was best at:

Teaching people about networking, and coaching them on their storytelling. Discovering that people would PAY ME MONEY for these services seemed like the biggest con-trick in the universe.


First I had to explain to people why they should pay me money – why what I’M doing could make a difference to THEIR businesses. Which meant only one thing. 

Sales. I was going to have to do Sales.



That might have been the end of that story. Though, as I’m still here (HI!), you’ve probably guessed that it isn’t.

I learned how to sell. And I did it, not from reading the right books or blogs (believe me, ITRIED that route, to no avail), but from finding the right teacher.

What I discovered is that there are two fundamental facts about your customers you need to get CRYSTAL clear on if you actually want to be able to sell your services.

Next week, I’m teaching them to you for free as part of an online summit (kind of like a conference that’s free and in your house) that’s for online, service-based entrepreneurs, and it’s me along with 25 other speakers. All of us are talking about how to sell your services in a way that doesn’t make you want to throw up or cry, and actually feels GOOD.

You’ll hear from people like Holly MacCue, Krista Jennings and Nina Concepcion. You’ll learn things like why automation is like Law of Attraction (except PRACTICAL), how to sell High-Ticket offers without sales calls (fellow phone-phobics, I see you!!!), and how to price your services.

I’ll be sharing those two things you have to get clear on (Pain Points and Benefits) and exactly how to do that, along with how to use storytelling for what I call Ethical Persuasion — selling that leaves everyone feeling better off *irrespective of whether they buy* (but that also really makes them want to buy). Plus I have weird hair because my hairdryer broke 10 mins before the start of the interview, so that’s a fun bonus.

Remember how I said it was free?

Sign up to get all the interviews sent directly to you, HERE


So now, a question: what has been the scariest phonecall you’ve ever made? Did you write yourself a script? Lemme know in the comments below.

And if you’re just here for the stories about me wanting to throw up while using an analogue phone, then bless you for sticking around, and here’s a little thank you treat for you.

Thanks so much for reading! If you know someone who also gets the “UGRGHRS”s from sales  – or who just LOVES pictures of analogue phones – you can share this post with them, using one of the round buttons below.




xx (Yes Yes) Marsha


PS what do you say? Want to start taking your business seriously and actually making the money you know you deserve from it? All while helping as many people as you can?

Sign up to the (COMPLETELY FREE) Secrets of Sales Success Summit by clicking HERE.


Photo credits: dno1967b and andertoons, both via Compfight cc