Sales has always been associated with the dreaded cold call, but if your sales team is still relying on this method to generate business, you should stop and consider warm calling instead. Take a look at each of these approaches:

What is Cold Calling?

A salesperson or wholesale distributor makes a cold call when he solicits business from potential customers who had no idea the call was coming. At this point, the salesperson has never made any prior contact with the customer, or vice versa, so the success rate is fairly low.

Salespeople usually do not just pick up a phonebook up to make a cold call, but rather, they rely on research and intelligence that shows them who may be interested in a product or service. But, even though the salesperson has research that shows the client could be interested, it doesn’t always work out that way. Cold calling can be difficult for salespeople who are not used to being rejected or spoken down to, since many people become annoyed with unsolicited phone calls.

What is Warm Calling?

Warm calling, on the other hand, is when a salesperson or wholesale distributor solicits a potential customer who has already had some form of interaction with someone at the company. For example, if you met someone at a networking event, took his business card, and followed up to discuss potential opportunities, then this is a warm call. Although the client may not have had your call penciled into his schedule, he opened the door for you to call by giving you his business card at the event. Warm calling can also occur when an existing client refers to you a potential new customer.

The Gray Area

But, let’s say you send out an email to a potential new client, and then follow up with a phone call a few days later. Although you have never spoken directly to the client, this is also considered to be a warm call, since it is not the first time you have made contact with him or her. In these situations, you are walking a fine line between a warm and a cold call, so it’s important to “warm up” prior to the call by doing your research.

Learn as much as you can about the prospect and the prospect’s company prior to making the call so you sound informed and knowledgeable about the industry. Has the company made any big business announcements lately? Is leadership changing? If so, this could impact the direction of the business, so you need to know about their shifting needs. Check the prospect’s social media profiles to learn about his position, and research connections so you can start to figure out whether other decision makers should be involved in the process. The more information you have about the prospect’s current situation, the “warmer” your call will be.

How has your sales team fared with cold calling and warm calling? Leave your success stories in the comments below!