Warm Calling Confusion

Warm Calling Confusion

Cold calling means contacting someone you do not know and it generates feelings of unfamiliarity and possibly, mistrust in the person you have called. Warm calling (which means calling someone you know or have a connection to) should generate warm feelings like familiarity and, if not full trust, at least a willingness to give you a chance. Although, isn’t  warm calling just cold calling “undercover”? Have we confused the definitions?

Story time

Let’s start with something different this time. Let me tell you a story:

I have this friend who constantly gets phone calls about different matters.  A couple of examples are an offer of a gym membership or a proposition to buy something (this time “for only $50 per month!”). Each time she politely says, “No, thank you,” and hangs up. Then, her complaining begins: how did they find her again?

She used to claim that she’s never called those people or companies, hasn’t sent any text messages or emails and she’s never filled out any Internet polls with her phone number or other contact or usage data. Never, ever. “All right; maybe once,” she admitted after weeks — finally, confirming that her own action might be a reason they’re bothering her (and that’s only because I caught her red-handed).

Is she a victim of cold calling? Or are these sort of calls “warm”, although deprived of any good feelings at all from her perspective?

The definition problem

Where does the tiny line lie?

Can we really tell the difference between a cold call and a warm call?

This is how a warm call works: an agent usually starts a conversation with sentences similar to: “I saw you’re following us on Facebook, so I thought I’d give you a call…”. Using Facebook at the point of familiarity, the agent then presents an offer and continues small talk, just as in any other sales call.

It’s not hard to discover that the main difference between “cold calling” and “warm calling” is this little excuse of having something in common that justifies the call. But, is it enough to actually call it “warm” call?

Better than cold calling?

Warm calling is basically justified cold calling. Of course — that means justified in the seller’s eyes; from a lead’s point of view — not necessarily. Who could have expected that liking that one Tweet would result in a phone call?

When making warm calls, it takes more effort to prepare yourself for dialing the number. However, if you compare doing research about your lead’s interest in your company with not even looking for that sort of information you will see that not doing it is… Go ahead and answer. If “pointless” is what’s coming to your mind — we’re much alike.

On the other hand, is this “connection” between the lead and your company worth something? Is the people on the other end of the line more likely to listen to your offer just because they liked some pictures on your Facebook wall? Personally, I “like” many things on social media. Sometimes I like random posts that I found funny at the moment. I don’t remember half of them thirty minutes later. I surely wouldn’t be the best warm lead you could imagine.

Overall, warm calling is a more pleasant version of cold calling and should be giving better results faster (if you do it right). Warm calling gives you more opportunities to convince your leads that your solution is exactly what they need.  That’s all because you know that they’re already interested in the topic. Simply speaking, warm calling means, you’re working with warm leads.

Warm calling, warm leads

Types of leads

Warm calling - warm, cold and hot leads

Cold leads are people you call who probably have no (or very little) idea of your existence. Of course, they might be aware of who you are but still be cold leads, because you called them knowing nothing about their connection to you. (That is definitely not the way to make them warmer!) All you have is the hope that maybe — just maybe — they’d like and use what you’re offering. The chances of success in this sort of calling are rather… cold.

The next category is warm leads. You call your leads warm, when you place the call knowing that they’ve already had a chance to meet you in some way. Of course, they may not remember they’ve ever been in contact with you.  However, if you did your “homework” thankfully, you do remember. It’s easier to succeed when you make warm calls to warm leads. Still, it’s not guaranteed and you shouldn’t be expecting that this sort of call will end up with a sale.

Fortunately, there’s a third type of lead. This is the lead you constantly wish for: a hot lead. It’s basically a dream come true for a sales agent. A hot lead is a lead that basically reaches out to you. Sure, you can be the one who’s making an actual call, but a hot lead likely was just about to do it — at least he’s been thinking about doing it. Hot leads know what you’re offering. What’s more, they WANT what you’re offering.

Turn up the heat

Hot leads are the people you wish to reach every day when you call. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. They’re as precious as they are rare. Thankfully, warm leads are more common and you can turn them hot with some skills and knowledge. So, the question is: how to turn up the heat?

You need to know your target group by heart. Katy Zabriskie said “The customer’s perception is your reality.” and that is exactly how you need to work. Understand your customers and it automatically becomes easier to find those close to being “hot” among dozens of warm leads. With a little practice, you’ll know precisely what your “almost hot” leads are looking for and you’ll offer them that very thing.

In conclusion: Maybe it is time to let the old activity of cold calling die? It’s already been pronounced dead by many, even though they may not be aware that the only thing that’s changed is the temperature. Warm calling sounds nicer, but has the same foundations as cold calling and — without any “warming” skills — it’s not enough to bring the results you want. Don’t waste your time on the solutions that don’t work as you want, even if they promise you money and fame! Instead of that, set a new standard and push yourself to achieve it.  Research, learn and practice, and you will finally master how to “heat up” warm calling.

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