hot-coldStop kidding yourself. You’re cold calling.

Let’s set the record straight. There’s no such thing as a warm email, a warm phone call, or even a warm knock on the door.

A call is either HOT or cold … period

Wake Up From the Warm Call Fantasy

Thanks to the Internet and social media, there’s a new version of what I call the “warm call fantasy.” It goes like this: You’ve researched prospects on social media, identified trigger events, and gathered information from social intelligence. You even have mutual connections on LinkedIn. So you send emails making the business case for why these prospects should talk to you. You really believe you’re not cold calling, because you know all about them and even have a few “friends” in common. You’re sending “warm” emails, right?

Wrong! Unless you have secured a referral introduction from a mutual connection, your lead is freezing cold.

Forget “Warm,” Get HOT

You know very well that cold prospects don’t want to hear from you. Just consider how many cold emails you get every day. I bet you do the same thing I do—hit delete.

Attempting to connect with prospects you don’t know on social media is just as pointless. However, social sites offer a great way to identify mutual contacts who could provide referrals. But before you start name dropping, reach out to your referral source and make sure that person actually has a relationship with your prospect. Explain why you want to meet the prospect and ask for an introduction. (Hint: Don’t use LinkedIn’s automated introduction request. Those are easy to ignore, and you lose out on the chance to check in with your referral sources and nurture those valuable relationships.)

When you have a referral introduction from someone your prospect knows and trusts, your lead goes from ice cold to HOT, HOT, HOT. So start thinking about how you spend your time and the type of payoff you want.

For more on how technology does (and does not) support referral selling, get your copy of Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal—now available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. Or get the digital version for your Kindle or Nook.

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How do you use social media for sales? How has it improved your close rates?