Cold Call vs. Warm Call — What’s The Difference?

This is the blog transcript of our video “Cold Call vs. Warm Call — What’s The Difference?”. If you’d like to see more of our videos, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Cold calling sucks. Let’s be real and call it what it is. Rarely is this an activity that’s at the top of anyone’s desirable list. But as difficult, painful, and seemingly fruitless as it can be, it remains an important part of any sales process. And that’s because, when done properly, it works. So we’re dedicating an entire miniseries to the very process of cold calling. 

The hope is that, by the end of it, you’ll be a bona fide expert, ready to take the cold calling world by storm and help grow your business. But before we can run, let’s start with a bit of a walk.

Take a step back with me and let’s get basic.

As basic as a simple definition of cold calling and how it compares to what is known as warm calling. If you think this is too basic, hang tight for a second.This is something that a lot of people tend to get wrong, and you’d be amazed at how knowing this can shift your entire perspective on the old practice of smiling and dialing. 

Hey everyone, I’m Ian Campbell, CEO of Mission Suite. Before we jump into today’s video, do me a favor and hit the subscribe button and ring the bell so that you’re notified whenever we post new videos.

For 10 years, I’ve helped clients manage their contacts and grow their sales using MIssion Suite. It’s easy to collect a pile of business cards without ever doing anything with them, and it’s been rewarding to help our customers increase their revenue by helping to organize and keep in touch with their countless contacts.

Hopefully it’s clear now that, as much as we may be tempted to keep those business cards  in a shoebox under the desk, they don’t actually do you any good unless you make the necessary effort to reach back out. It’s only then that you can start to leverage your contacts and really increase your sales

And that means making calls — both cold and warm.

And, believe it or not, the first hurdle to making these calls is understanding what they actually mean — it’s more important than you’d think. 

Hopefully by the end of this video, the term “cold calling” won’t fill you with an existential dread.

So let’s dig into it.

What is a cold call and what is a warm call?

Let’s start with the term you likely have some basic understanding of — even if it isn’t completely accurate: cold call. 

Contrary to popular belief, cold calling isn’t just picking up your phone and reaching out to anyone under the sun. Now, don’t get me wrong, that technically is cold calling, but it isn’t the only method out there. And, for what it’s worth, that method is actually one of the least effective. It kinda gives the entire process a bad rap.

So, what else is cold calling? 

Quite frankly, if you’re calling anyone who isn’t expecting your phone call — whether you know them or not —  you are engaging in a cold call. In fact, the website SalesBuzz.com said it best when they stated that “Cold Calling is contacting any suspect or prospect who currently isn’t ‘raising their hand’ at the moment.”

Now, you may be asking yourself, “What does ‘raising their hand’ really mean?” It’s actually very simple. No matter how good you may know someone, if they have not volunteered to receive your call, or if they aren’t expecting your call, you are engaging in a cold call.

That call you made last week to your pal who you’ve known since college about some random sales lead? Yeah, that was technically a cold call. Or maybe that call from someone within your networking group you’ve been a member of for the past 16 months? That was also a cold call.

That also goes for that person you hit it off with at a recent conference. Sure, you exchanged business cards, but unless they’ve explicitly stated they were interested in your services, and wanted to talk to you, you were technically making a cold call.

If they weren’t expecting your call or didn’t explicitly ask you to call about the subject you’re calling about — or “raising their hand” — then congratulations, you’re making a cold call.

That definition may actually be quite the eye-opener for some of you. You may have been making cold calls for months without even realizing it!

Based on this new definition, how many of you are already a lot more experienced in cold calling than you thought simply because you were reaching out to pre-existing contacts? If this is the case, let me know if in the comments down below, and don’t forget to give us a like so we know you’ve learned something!

So now let’s take a look at the companion of cold calling — warm calling.

Now that we’ve defined cold calling, warm calling’s own definition gets a little clearer. If cold calling is reaching out to someone whose hand isn’t raised, then warm calling is mostly the opposite. 

Now, we just have to define what it means for someone to  “raise their hand.”

Let’s go back to that conference example from earlier. If you’ve recently met someone at a conference, and hit it off with them, and they expressed some interest in what you had to offer, then they are setting themselves up for a warm call. They are, as we mentioned earlier, they’re raising their hand.

Remember, a warm call means that you’re reaching out to someone who has expressed interest in your product or service. 

And this goes beyond people who you’ve met in the past. This could apply to anyone on your mailing list. If you’ve been running an email campaign where your subscribers have filled out a form to join, they have expressed some level of interest in what you have to offer, and effectively “raised their hand,” so to speak. If you were to reach out to them using their mailing list info, you would be making a warm call. It may not seem like a warm call, given how little you may know about this prospective client on a personal level, but it is a warm call nonetheless. 

So, why does any of this even matter to you?

Why does the definition of cold calling vs warm calling hold any real importance to you? It’s all in perception.

I’m sure plenty of you get that little pang in your stomach every time you hear the term “cold calling.” Just saying it now, I’m sure some of you are feeling it in your gut. Images of workers in gray offices seated at tiny cubicles churning out call after call may come to mind, and it’s not a pretty picture. Add to this the idea that we’re reaching out to complete strangers to sell at them, and you have a recipe for anxiety.

I’ve had to do this in my own sales career more times than I care to remember…and it really is as brutal as you’re imagining.

But hopefully that little bit of clarification goes a long way to demystifying the process and helps chip away at some of the stigma surrounding cold calling. Cold calling is not just about reaching out to some number you found on the internet, and in fact, can be much more personal than many of us give it credit for.

In understanding cold calling, hopefully, you’ve learned that it doesn’t need to be as scary as you may think. It’s a small shift in perspective, but anyone who’s engaged in the grind-heavy work of acquiring new clients knows that a small perspective shift can make all the difference between failure and success. All of a sudden, the prospect of making a cold call feels less like climbing a mountain and more like cresting the top of a hill.

In fact, it even goes a long way in explaining why cold calling remains a relevant practice to this day.

But maybe you aren’t convinced. Maybe this shift in mindset isn’t enough for you to overcome that cold call anxiety that’s keeping your business from reaching the next level. If that’s you, then don’t worry. Next week, we’ll be covering that very topic of how to overcome cold call anxiety.

But until then, we didn’t want to leave you all empty-handed. I’m sure there are plenty of you who would love nothing more than a custom template for your next series of cold calls. Well, we here at Mission Suite have your back. 

Take a look at the description below, and you’ll see a link to your own custom cold calling template! If you can’t wait for the end of our series to start upping your cold calling game, then I highly recommend you check it out.

And don’t forget to check back in next week when we dig a bit deeper into the concept of cold calling.

I hope you got something out of this video. And if you did, go ahead and give it a thumbs up and maybe a share so that others can see it too. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our channel and ring the bell so that you’re notified whenever we post new videos and while you’re at it, check out these videos too!

We’ll see you next time around!

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