You know that little thing in your hand that you use to take photos and videos, send text messages and tweets, update your Facebook status, and check your email? Did you know you could use it to make phone calls?

We all love our smartphones and the cool things they can do, but we can’t forget the word “phone” in the name. Salespeople have become accustomed to emailing and texting customers and expecting their prospects to check them out on Facebook or visit their website. As a result, they may overlook the importance of calling home buyers to make the truly personal connection. It might be time to pick up the phone.

Sales professionals frequently tell me they’re not as comfortable “selling” over the phone and that they do a better

job face-to-face. My advice? (And I say this with love in my heart)…Get over it. It’s your job.

Okay, I can appreciate the fear of dialing, so here are five easy ways to build your confidence with your phone skills.

1.     Listen to yourself.

Record yourself having a phone conversation—practice a dialogue with a colleague, if you want—and listen to it. What do you hear? Is your voice too perky, too deep, or difficult to understand? Do you talk too fast? Do you say certain words—like “um”, “you know”, “yeah”, or “awesome”—too often? Listen carefully and then make a list of the changes you want to make. Keep the list handy when you’re on the phone with someone, and practice, practice, practice!

2.     Be prepared.

Before you pick up the phone, create an agenda of what you want to cover during the phone conversation. The list will keep you focused and allow you to frame your thoughts in advance, even practicing your dialogue. When you’re prepared for a call, you’ll execute it with ease, confidence, and control. Keep in mind, around half of the time you will get a voicemail, so have that ready to go!

3.     Focus.

Listening is an essential skill for any sales professional. When you’re talking on the phone, you have to rely on verbal cues because you can’t see facial expressions and gestures. So, you need to listen harder. Don’t multi-task or allow yourself to be distracted in any way. Pause before you respond and be sure you are thinking about what was just said. Were you so busy framing up your next comment that you missed an important clue? Could you have failed to catch something because you were watching some other activity? Give your phone listener the same level of attention as if he or she were sitting right in front of you.

4.     Slow down.

It’s easy to talk over another person on the phone but can be very annoying to be constantly interrupted. Contain your energy a bit and take a breath before responding to your home buyer. In that way, you can make sure the other person has finished their sentence—and breathing is an excellent relaxation tool that can put both you and your customer at ease.

5.     Smile.

If you smile when you’re speaking, it automatically improves your tone. People can “hear” smiles. The tone of your voice communicates a lot to your customer, so put yourself in control and smile when talking on the phone. You don’t have to overdo it—just be pleasant. You might find that smile permeates your whole day!

So with that last tip…it is time to smile and dial!