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Cold Calling, Warm Calls, and Social Selling: What’s the difference?

cold calling - what is cold calling


As a member of several sales-related LinkedIn Groups, I’ve noticed a common misconception within the sales community with respect to cold calling, warm calls, social calls, and even referrals.

What is cold calling? For the record, the definition of “cold calling” isn’t blindly picking up the phone and dialing random numbers, and pitching your product or service to whoever answers. That is a “method” of cold calling, (and the lowest ROI producing method known to sales at that)

Cold Calling Definition:

Cold calling is contacting any suspect/prospect who currently isn’t “raising their hand” at the moment.

So even if you call your best client and ask for referrals… guess what… When you call that referral, it’s still a “cold call” because the prospect wasn’t raising their hand nor asked to be contacted nor was expecting your call. It’s still an interruption. And you know what? That’s OK!

A salesperson shouldn’t base the prospect’s “temperature” on how much they know about the prospect but rather, how much the prospect knows and has an interest in the product or service a salesperson is selling.

Warm Call Definition:

A warm call is when for example a lead form gets filled out on a website. The prospect has some level of interest.

A hot lead is when an inbound call comes in and the prospect says “I spoke with so and so and they bought your system and I want one too!”

Or, your current clients come to you and say they need more or something else.

Social Selling Definition:

Social calls / Social selling is using social media tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc to brand you and or your company as an industry expert as well as to lead capture a prospect’s contact data in order to utilize drip marketing campaign techniques in order to continue to brand and position oneself as the solution provider for a prospect’s problem.

To be successful in sales, you will need to fill your sales pipeline from all channels.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone is the founder of SalesBuzz.com – a turnkey on-demand cold call training program for inside sales.

Learn How to Cold Call with Confidence Online Sales Training Course.