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In less than a decade, mobile devices have morphed from handy tools that allow people to make phone calls on the go into users' primary connection to friends, family, businesses, and entertainment.

The rapidly changing role that mobile devices play in our lives is evident from a mobile device user's utter panic if his phone is misplaced or stolen. The loss creates the same physiological and psychological symptoms once reserved for a traumatic event like a home burglary—a sense of disorientation and alienation from what one holds dear as well as profound separation anxiety.

Those feelings arise because the mobile phone today is much more than a mere handset; it's a portal to the digital world we increasingly inhabit.

That increased dependence means marketers and sales professionals must alter the way they approach customers when reaching out to them on mobile devices.

As marketers and sales professionals come to understand how personal mobile devices have become, they should think about what worked for the door-to-door salesmen of our grandparents' generation.

Back then, successful door-to-door salesmen knew that to make a sale they had to engender trust so that they could gain access to a prospective customer's home. Those sales professionals used their common sense and knew to...

• Present a neat appearance. Successful salesmen were groomed and dressed appropriately for the neighborhoods in which they worked.

• Use a confident approach. Salesmen were deliberate and confident when they knocked at the door—finding a balance between being too aggressive or too meek.

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image of James Ramsey

James Ramsey is the CEO of FiddleFly, a software firm and a digital creative agency, based in Columbia, Maryland.

LinkedIn: James Ramsey