B2B Sales Blog
Back to Blog Index

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 concerning cold calling, warm calls, social calls, and even referrals.

What is cold calling? For the record, “cold calling” isn’t blindly picking up the phone, 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? Calling that referral is still a “cold call” because the prospect wasn’t raising their hand, asking to be contacted, or expecting your call. 

So 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 on how much the prospect knows and is interested in the product or service a salesperson is selling.

Warm Call Definition:

For example, a warm call is when a lead form is 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 or your company as an industry expert and to capture a prospect’s contact data to utilize drip marketing campaign techniques to continue to brand and position oneself as the solution provider for a prospect’s problem.

You must fill your sales pipeline from all channels to succeed in sales.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone founded SalesBuzz.com – a turnkey online cold call training program for inside sales.

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