I've harped on this before, and I'm largely writing this to remind myself: you have to make your daily calls.
Whether it's to potential customers, existing customers, investors, reporters, potential partners, employees, distributors--make the calls.
Two hours a day--the first hour in the morning, and then some other hour that makes sense to you, depending on your target that day or week, or year, depending on your stage.
Smile and dial. End one call, make the next one. Don't take a break--it's just an hour at a time.
If you do connect with anyone, make sure you walk away with a next step, unless it's just informational. If it's very important--the big sale, raising a round, hiring a great team member--try to get a meeting instead of another call or email. And know how to nail the in-person meeting.
Always be gracious.
Why do I emphasize the call?
Email is impersonal; it's very difficult to properly and professionally emote the way you can--even subtly--on the phone. In-person meetings take a lot of time, and while critical for some things, are sometimes too much unless you actually have the time.
Let's do the numbers: 10 calls in the morning, 2 successful connects. 10 calls in the afternoon, 2 successful connects. 4 connects per day, 20 per week, 80-90 per month.
That's you as a founder, not as a smile-and-dial salesperson, who should be posting something like 3 to 4 times those numbers.
Out of those 80 calls, you might close 10% if they are prospects. Less if they are investors. More if they are simply important relationships (defining 'close' differently for each).
If you don't make the calls, you won't close the deals. It's that simple. I've made zero calls to investors this week. Guess how many checks they've written to me? Pitches scheduled?
So if you won't make the calls, who will?