In 2014, Simon Sinek tweeted "Emails get reactions. Phone calls start conversations."
These two short sentences are powerful.
Pick up the phone! Call someone. Begin a conversation. Ask good questions. Take good notes. Build trust, rapport and credibility.
A lot of people use email - it's quick, it's documented, it's functional, it's easy to include others on copy, it's handy. I don't want to go on and on about email. We use it, and we use it frequently.
We often use email when better tools are at our disposal. Like the telephone. Invented in 1876. Let's get back to basics.
Picking up the phone more often
Consider scheduling time on someone's calendar to just catch up 1:1, with or without an agenda
Make phone calls to hard to reach people at times they most likely aren't already committed to calls and meetings (before 8AM, during the lunch hour, after 5PM; but always be courteous and do not call too early or too late, especially with someone you don't know well)
When a current customer emails you, even if people are on copy, pick up the phone to respond, even if you simply say, "I saw your email, and don't worry, I'll "reply to all" before the end of the day, but I called so you and I could talk first." Then start a dialogue.
Text someone you already know and ask when a good time would be to talk this week or next
Send an email to someone you'd like to get to know better and just check in, letting them know when you are free to receive a phone call if they have a few minutes to say hello
Protect time on your calendar to make calls. You might be surprised how many people answer, are delighted to hear from you, and thank you for reaching out!