Cold calling vs. Warm calling: A Detailed Guide

In 1873, John H. Patterson, founder of NCR Corporation published the world’s first sales training manual. Patterson laid the foundation for sales by documenting his work on the process of ‘cold calling’. From then on, cold calling became a powerful tool for Marketers across the globe, helping businesses reach customers in a cheap yet effective manner. Soon after, Marketers realised the importance of following up on cold calling efforts. The term ‘warm calling’ was coined thereafter.

Today, the internet and social media dominate the industry in which we operate. As a result, many professionals believe that the age of cold calling and warm calling is coming to an end. 

We beg to differ.

But before we begin to convince you why cold calling is still relevant, it’s important to clearly understand what exactly cold calling and warm calling is. Often at times, aspiring Marketers use the two terms interchangeably, not benefiting from either. In this article, we’ve provided a detailed guide to cold calling and warm calling. By understanding the key differences between the two, you will be able to effectively use both to your advantage. The result? MORE sales, leads and customers.

Excited yet?

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What is Cold calling?

Simply put, cold calling is a Marketing technique that involves a salesperson who calls individuals with regard to a product or service. Typically, these individuals have not previously expressed interest in the company before. So cold calling requires research to be done, to make sure the salesperson only calls people who are new  and unfamiliar with the company. From then on, the salesperson informs the customer about the product or service, to try and get a sale. 

Is it useful?

Cold calling can help your business in a variety of ways:

  1. Cost-effective: Cold calling is cheap and easy to perform. While other marketing techniques such as Digital may be powerful, they can very well cost a fortune to implement. To secure leads in an easy and inexpensive way, cold calling is the way to go.
  2. Personal interaction: Cold calling allows salespeople to personally engage with prospective customers. This allows for better influencing power, since the customers’ pain points can be identified. Other techniques like email marketing and digital do not have this advantage.
  3. Easy to adapt: Cold calling efforts can be specifically tailored to suit the company’s objectives. Whether that’s to inform customers about a product or service, invite them to try the company’s offering, or even offer them a discount code incentive. Depending on the script at hand, it can be flexible.

Statistics in support:

  • Data from 2019 found that over 80% of buyers claim to have accepted meetings from salespeople who started with cold calling

  • A sales professionals report found that salespeople have about 6.6 conversions per day

  • 27% of sales representatives believe that cold calling is still extremely effective. 

What is Warm calling?

Following the success of cold calling, Marketers soon realised the importance of following up on customers after the initial interaction. This term was later coined as ‘warm calling’ ; establishing a process that several industries adopted. 

Warm calling is when you follow up on a prospective customer with whom you’ve had a previous interaction with. For example, you meet someone at a networking event and they offer you their card, requesting a call. Or if you called a new customer and informed them about your product/service, leading to them requesting a follow up or reminder. A call to any of these prospects would be considered a ‘warm call’, because the purpose is to ‘warm up’ to the customer.


Warm calling can be beneficial to your business in a variety of ways, some that traditional sales calls may not have:

  1. Market Qualified Leads (MQL): The prospects you call would likely already be part of your sales funnel. These may even be MQLs, an advantage you wouldn’t get from a sales call.
  2. Relationship and Trust: Since you already had a prior interaction with the prospect, you would’ve built some trust entering the call. This would make it easier to convert the lead into a customer.
  3. Customisable: In cold calling, the prospect is new and you have no information whatsoever. With a warm call, you can provide details that directly fulfill the prospect’s needs and even reward them with a welcome discount or incentive that appeals to them.

Cold calling vs. Warm calling: Final Verdict

When it comes to choosing between cold calling and warm calling, there is no ‘better option’ between the two. Both are interrelated and must be used together for maximum benefit. Once you’ve got a customer list ready, start off by cold calling and make a note of those who appeared interested. After that, give those prospects a warm call to take it a step further and secure the conversion! 

Don’t know where to start? In 2019, we ran 1000s of split tests and made over 1.3 million phone calls to come up with the best cold calling scripts for EVERY situation you can think of. These scripts are tried and tested to help you get ahead of your competitors with your cold calling campaign. Sounds exciting? 

Head over to our page and grab your copy of the best scripts here.

Is cold calling still relevant in 2020?

Contrary to popular belief, cold calling remains to be one of the easiest and most cost-effective methods of marketing. It requires lesser training compared to other ways of markting, is easy to adapt based on objectives, and allows for personal interaction with customers. The only thing you need is a high performance script and you’re good to go. For more information on why it is still important today, check out our article here.

How do I prepare the right cold calling script?

Preparing a powerful script that effectively delivers results is challenging. It can require hours of trying and testing to find out what combinations of statements and phrases work. Lucky for you, we ran 1000s of tests and made over 1.3 million phone calls to prepare a high performance script that works for ANY situation and for EVERY industry out there. Grab your copy of our cold calling scripts ebook here.

Can I choose between cold calling and warm calling?

Technically yes, but in order to obtain maximum benefit it is highly recommended that you use both cold calling and warm calling in your marketing campaign. Once you’ve got a high performance script and customer list ready, begin cold calling and making a note of the customers who appear to be interested in your product/service. Once you finish, follow up a few days after with a warm calling session to remind customers or provide more information to the leads. Effectively following up through warm calling will help secure a conversion for your business.

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