business advice

Guidance for Writers: Turning Sales Calls into SAILS


There’s no getting around it.  Eventually, you have to pick up the phone, and make a personal connection.  You have to discuss your services.  You have to confidently state your price.  You have to close the deal.  Again and again and again for the rest of your entrepreneurial eternity.

Shoot me now is what I’d say if I were you. It’s what I did say when I got into business for myself.  To a writer, sales calls constitute as “public speaking,” and we all know how gaga writers are to stand up on that stage….

(Keep shooting).

But, as a timid, introverted writer myself, I have to tell you, it’s not so scary out there.

Financial Stress Reduction guru Chellie Campbell* says to find your dolphins—people who are like you, stand for the same values, and encourage you to keep swimming.  She says to avoid sharks—the nasty, bloodthirsty assholes who want nothing more than your money, energy, and time.  Avoid tuna, too—measly, helpless creatures who plead poverty and cry out sob stories about why they just can’t afford you.

A nugget of Chellie wisdom: as much as you’re attracting your dolphins, you’re simultaneously REPELLING (maybe even gently offending!) the sharks and tuna.

Chellie is ALL ABOUT THE PHONE.  In her fantastic book,Zero to Zillionaire: 8 Foolproof Steps to Financial Peace of Mind, she swears by it.  Instead of “cold calling,” she calls it “gold calling.”  Sales calls are a part of another necessary metaphor, “sending out ships.”

Which is why, adding to Chellie’s eccentric nature, I like to think of sales calls as SAILS calls.  Every person you ring is another ship you’re sending out.  It’s another sail that’s drifting toward your harbor.

Here are some tips I’ve acquired in my experience as a one-woman writing coach and editor.

  1. Meditate before calling.  Say a soft prayer of guidance with an affirmation. “Give me all the right words to say in this call.  Let me listen effectively and with heart, to see if I am what this person needs today.  I choose to be guided and calm and secure.  I choose to be open to the possibility of this person saying yes.  Thank you.”  Breathe deeply, then dial.
  2. Schedule your calls at a time of day you feel most awake.  You know your rhythms.  You know if you punk out at 3 pm and need a mental siesta.  Your energy is always influencing others, so make sure it’s a pure, clear, and awake energy that you’re sending out during your SAILS. This will help you maintain your mojo for after the call—especially if they say yes.
  3. If someone says “No,” do not cry.  Their “No” is not a reflection of you; it’s a reflection of their own willingness.  Maybe it’s not the right time.  Maybe they need more life experience, or struggle, before they realize the benefit of hiring you.
  4. Be just as detached to “No” as you are to “Yes.”  Some Buddhism for ya.  “No” will infuriate your ego.  And once wounded, your ego will do everything in its power to protect that feeling from occurring again.  “Yes” will inflame your ego, and make you think that your worth is tied to your immediate external success.  Practice this mantra:  I am already successful; I am inherently worthy of success.  By making this mantra your starting point, success becomes a cause and not an effect.
  5. Examine your doubts, and clear them before calling.  This might take some deeper meditation, or even emotional therapy or guidance.  I recommend what my teacher and coach, Jaime Kalman*, taught me:  Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).  If there is a thought or reaction that isn’t serving you, like “I just don’t know if I can do this,” it will show up in your day-to-day efforts.  You will continuously attract scenarios that feed that insecurity.  With EFT, you can get to the root of the thought, let it go, and replace it with something more loving that reflects your true nature.  Pay attention to the “doubt” mantras you subconsciously practice. Write them down, even, and in a calm moment, say, “It doesn’t have to be this way; I know there’s another option.”  By saying that, you are freeing yourself up for new opportunities.
  6. Have your rates and services written out in front of you.  A little Practical 101 tip.  Because nervousness is such an erratic emotion, it can cloud our thoughts and memory.  Having your rates and services in front of you is like holding onto a sturdy rail when you’re drunk-walking up the stairs.  It’s your reference guide for when the time comes to discuss your rates and services, so that your potential client can be completely informed when they make the decision to hire you.
  7. Celebrate before and after each call, no matter what happens.  Do a little dance and congratulate yourself for your outstanding effort! I know how tough it is to pick up the phone.  Truly.  I struggle with it still and create many “excuses” for why e-mail is easier.  E-mail is easier.  But it’s not as effective.  On the phone, if the person you’re speaking with has a direct question to something you’ve said, they can ask it right then, right there, without making up assumptions about your services.
  8. Be yourself.  Part of the reason they’re hiring you, and not some other Joe-Schmo offering the same services, is that they feel a connection.  They’re trying to find their dolphins just as much as you are.  By being yourself, you invite authenticity into your sales life.  Authenticity creates trust.  Trust is what you’re building when you reach out, show up, and follow-up with your clients.
  9. Be in charge of the call.  YOU set the time.  YOU dial their number.  This lets you feel in control of the situation and gives you time to practice all the meditation, breathing, and not-freaking-out that you need in advance.
  10. If someone says they aren’t ready to hire you right now, still keep them informed about new products and services you are offering.  Offer to sign them up with your newsletter.  Maybe they just need to get to know you a little better before spending their hard-earned money on you.  Wait a good amount of time between phone calls to phone them again with a friendly update.  They’ll appreciate you thinking of them personally, and will also appreciate that it’s not something they have to take advantage of in the moment.

Hope this helps!

Cheers to your easy, bright and lovely sails!

*I highly recommend purchasing Chellie’s book(s) and Jaime’s healing services if you’re in need of transformation in the areas of money and self-worth.  They are bonafide dolphins who have helped me to break through areas that have championed my success!

If you’re in need of coaching services specifically for breakthroughs in your writing and literary career, please contact me at  We can set up a free 20-minute phone meeting that works for you.  🙂


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