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If you believe a call is only a call, read this article. Here are some fundamental differences between cold calling and warm calling. Being aware of the difference in approach will improve your sales skills and give you an edge over the competition.
What Is Cold Calling?
Cold calling, also called outbound marketing, is when sales representatives contact prospective customers without having had any prior interaction. This has always been a standard way to expand a customer base: starting with door-to-door, marketing calls, and most recently, emails.
What Is Warm Calling?
Warm calling is also called inbound marketing and is when a salesperson contacts a customer when they have already had some form of period interaction. These are either follow-up calls or responses to a sales enquiry on a telephonic or digital platform.
What Is the Difference Between Cold Calling and Warm Calling?
The difference between cold calling and warm calling, aside from the obvious “previous contact” element, lies in the method and manner of contact.
Cold calling requires the salesperson to identify and create an interest in the customer by saying or writing a message. This message must engage the customer, or the salesperson will lose the sale.
Warm calling assumes that the customer is already interested in the product or service and simply requires more information, a quote, or to negotiate the details of a contract. Therefore the message, while still either spoken or written, will engage the client in a different way.
How Much More Effective Is Warm Calling than Cold Calling?
This is not a fair comparison, as these two types of calls operate differently. As mentioned above, cold calling happens when the salesperson and the customer do not know each other, whereas warm calling happens when they do, or there is some prior knowledge of the product or service. Warm calls are also linked with a better quality of leads for this reason.
Therefore warm calling may be a progression of a cold call, or it may be the result of an online or telephonic enquiry. These calls are almost always more effective, as the client does not require convincing; they usually require more information or assistance in choosing the right product or service.
Helpful Cold Calling Tips
Here are some tips on how to make great cold calls for the new or experienced salesperson.
Get in a positive mindset.
This is crucial for attracting customers. Whether it is in person, over the telephone, or composing emails, your mindset and your mood reflect in everything you do. Smile when you speak to someone over the phone because it will be evident in your voice.
Cold calling is difficult enough to do without having to work against yourself, so ensuring that you have the right attitude for the task will give you an advantage. You can do this in any number of ways, and if you have enough mental discipline, you will not even need cues or prompts.
Start early in the morning.
Earlier is better. People are fresh in the morning. Especially during the week, your potential customers have not yet had the chance to become frustrated or be let down, or find out something has failed. So they are happier and more receptive to messaging. As the day progresses, you will find that the people you speak to become tired, agitated, anxious or easily annoyed. This may be a result of a number of different factors, but the fact remains: the early bird gets the worm.
Prepare ahead of time.
You must know to whom you are speaking; know their company, position, or job title. You must also know about your product or service. If you have the opportunity to attend technical product training sessions, you should take the opportunity. The more you know about what you are selling, the better your calls will be. You should also know precisely what you want to get out of the call. If you go into a cold call with no clear intent, you will receive no clear outcome, especially if your potential customer is resistant, which, in the case of cold calls, may well be the case.
Don’t go straight for the pitch.
If you try to punt your wares straight out of the gate, you stand the chance of losing your customer. This is because people don’t like to be used or treated as a means to an end, and immediate sales pitches do just that. You need to develop a rapport with your client. You also need to develop a desire or need for what you are selling to your customer. Your cold calls should present a likely scenario which involves your client needing or wanting your product or service. Then, you can explain your product or service, and only then, at the very earliest, should you start pitching.
Have a script, but be ready to adapt.
This goes hand in hand with knowing your product or service intimately. If you have a thorough understanding of what is on offer and how the terms can be adapted, then when your customer asks a question that is not accounted for in the script, you won’t be caught short.
Anyone can read from a script. The secret to being an excellent salesperson is being able to listen to your client and respond off-script in a way that makes your client feel heard and understood, which is when a customer becomes more receptive to your message.
Practice and perfect your pitch.
Do not wing it. It may seem simple, especially if you have a script, but when you are speaking to a real person, time moves quite a bit faster, especially if you are not particularly confident in your product knowledge. Before you know it, the customer has ended the call without becoming your customer.
It may seem cheesy, and you may feel awkward in the beginning, but the time-honored tricks still pay off. Find a mirror, have your script ready, and practice your pitch as many times as it takes for you to feel comfortable with seeing yourself present it. When you no longer feel awkward, you can focus on the nuances of your message and envision different scenarios or questions which may arise from your clients.
Even if you are making telephonic cold calls, this exercise is invaluable to any salesperson. Ensure that you smile because the client will hear it in your voice.
Best Warm Calling Tips:
Here are some further tips for improving your warm call skills.
Send your prospect an email ahead of time.
This is important for the sake of courtesy and professionalism. You should always remind your client that you have an appointment. This ensures that everything is written down and on record. If your client has forgotten or double-booked, an email prior to your appointment will allow him or her to make alternative arrangements or simply to be prepared.
Your email should include, very briefly, what you will be discussing, the time and date and means of communication (if it is in person, the venue should be mentioned), as well as any other relevant reminders for information from the client’s side, if this will be necessary.
Prepare a custom solution to their problems.
Again, don’t wing it. Your customer must feel like you have taken the time and made an effort to anticipate their needs. If you have a solution ready—but not set in stone—for your client, they will be more receptive to your message than if they have to do all of the work themselves. Remember that the customer is giving you their time free of charge, so don’t waste it by being unprepared. Have all of your information ready to go, and remain flexible and receptive to what your client has to say.
Engage with your prospect on social media before the call.
Social media is an excellent low-pressure platform on which to engage your customer before the actual sales calls. They may have made their initial contact with you via this platform, so take the opportunity to begin developing your rapport with them in this way. If not, make contact via LinkedIn or Facebook and offer some comments, encouragement or positive feedback on relevant posts. This will show your client that you have taken an interest in what they are doing and do not simply view them as “another sale.”
Follow up with value-adding emails.
It is very important to follow up with your client after your call. Your emails should not try to pressure your client into signing a contract or making a purchase. Rather, you should be cognizant of the content of your conversation during your call and send some information on any relevant topic that will add value to your call.
For example, if you were looking at software options, and your client had a question or made a comment about something that was clearly not in the scope of the call (outside of your scope of knowledge), make an effort to look it up, even if it simply a piece of trivia, and add this into the email.
Your email should also confirm what you discussed, when it took place, as well as the means of communication, what was decided on, or what was required of you or your client in order to move forward, and any other information which may be required from your side to move the sales process forward.
Finally, sales is a game involving clever communication, reading people, and knowing how best to get your message across to each individual. If you want to intensify your sales skills and knowledge, invest in a short course or two about body language and non-verbal communication. You will find that this awareness improves your sales and also your skill in dealing with difficult customers.
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