What Is Warm Calling?

Warm calling is the solicitation of a potential customer with whom a sales representative in particular, or his firm in general, has had prior contact. It refers to a sales call, visit or email that is preceded by some sort of contact with the prospect, such as a direct mail campaign, an introduction at a business event or a referral.

Warm calling is the opposite of cold calling—the solicitation of prospects who were not anticipating such an interaction, with whom the sales representative or business has not had prior contact.

You don't have sell to the prospect during a warm call; in fact, it may be better to use it to set up an appointment or virtual meeting instead.

How Warm Calling Works

Warm calling tends to have a personalized element since the prior contact can be referenced or mentioned (such as "Hi, Mrs. Jones, I saw you followed our company on Twitter" or "Hi, Mr. Jones, we met last week at the ABC Conference"). The previous contact acts as an icebreaker for the follow-up warm call. Warm calling works best on prospects that check all the customer suitability boxes even though they have not expressed any interest in a product or service yet.

Warm calling and the use of effective sales channels such as email, text message marketing, and social media portals are considered to be more efficient and effective than cold calling in generating new leads. Modern social media portals such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook also allow opportunities for potential clients to reach out indirectly or directly to businesses by posting comments on a blog, sharing an article with a peer or tweeting something that is of interest.

Key Takeaways

  • Warm calling is getting in touch with calling a prospect with whom you or your company has had some prior contact.
  • Warm calling is the opposite of cold calling and is generally more efficient and effective.
  • Warm calls can be somewhat informal and personable, acknowledging the connection between you and the prospect, as opposed to all-business.

Warm Calling Tips

Although an easy introduction exists to break the ice with the prospect, successful warm calling still takes a significant amount of effort. Here are a few tips:

  • Target prospects that are similar to your company's most common customer. Working from a familiar profile will give a better idea of what these prospects are looking for and how to appeal to them. Resist the temptation to only go after bigger prospects—they are fewer and far between.
  • Prepare by researching your target company and its decision-makers. By knowing their needs and values you can better serve them or tailor your pitch.
  • You must get the target's attention and do it quickly. Be sure to tweak your pitch to ensure that it is brief and gets to the point fast, while clearly demonstrating your value proposition. Try to hit all your key points in a minimum of time and words. Be sure to respect their time.
  • Do not be afraid to employ humor or attempt to be informal and personable when making the call. The product may be good enough to sell itself, but you will never get to that point if you lose the target's attention or miss the opportunity to connect.
  • Be sure to utilize various methods to ensure several points of contact, such as voicemails that include an offer to provide more information, and emails that offer tips and assistance via video.