What is 'Warm Calling'

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

Breaking Down 'Warm Calling'

Warm calling tends to be more personalized 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 more 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.

Warm Calling in Practice

Successful warm calling takes a significant amount or legwork. 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 prospect 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. Be sure 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. 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 and offer to provide more information, and emails that offer tips and assistance via video.
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