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"Hello, It’s Me!"

When was the last time you called a dormant account or a networking contact that fell off your radar screen? Made a call to someone that disappeared from the grid because of a bad experience on either or both sides? Hello, can you hear me?

That's correct - I said called. Not sent an email or a message through Facebook or LinkedIn but actually picked up the phone and called. Think about it. How many emails do you receive in one day? Upwards of 100 I bet. Now what about phone calls? 2? 5? 10? 20? Probably not much more because almost no one calls anymore. Email and text messages are the communication tools of choice.

One of my resolutions for the New Year was to follow my own best practices and make a specific number of outreach calls every week. Initially I was going to establish a daily goal but you know how that goes. A day can get totally eaten up with deliverables and client emergencies but with a week you have a good chance of reaching your goal mostly because you can push forward and make up any shortfall on the next day.

So far this year I've done pretty well and my calls have started to yield results:

* A dormant account has expressed interest in a new program and we're at the proposal stage

* Several referral sources have been "reactivated" and mutual introductions have started

* I've cleared the air with someone with whom there was some "issues"

On most calls I've had to leave a voice mail message and that's just fine. The most important thing is that my contacts are hearing my voice and I'm "touching them" in this personal way.

Emails are certainly efficient but if you want to really stand out and get things started (or in some cases "restarted") I suggest you pick up the phone and "reach out and touch somebody."

PS Be strategic and do some pre-call planning! Make these calls count and remember to select your call list at the very beginning of the week or better yet right before the weekend. That way you'll be ready to get started on Monday!

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