What is the difference between warm and cold outreach?

I’ve talked a ton on this podcast about outreach strategies because whether you like sales or not, if you are building a business, you’ll need to do some form of sales outreach.

Hate to break the news to you.

A lot of people I talk with, and maybe you have this same question too, ask what is the difference between warm and cold outreach.

Simply put the difference is how aware is the person you are reaching out to about you and the solution that you provide.

Start with warm outreach

If you are starting out, warm outreach is a good place to start because you can build up the momentum and cadence of your sales process.

See in warm outreach, there’s less education that you need to do for that person about the problem they have, results they can expect from the solution to that problem, and you being able to provide that solution.

In warm outreach, they know you and have trust in you at some level. So you can pay close attention to the language they use, objections they have and improve your sales conversations and process rather than worrying about hooking the lead in.

All the tiny asks, getting on the phone, having them fill out an application, even sharing information about budget and timelines, are more likely to be answered because they trust you already. Leaving the biggest ask, signing the proposal, as the only hurdle you really have to overcome.

I like to look at warm outreach as 2 types of contacts, one is my friends and colleagues and the other is that lead that has been reading, hearing, and seeing me talk about my services through my content I put out there.

Warm Outreach Strategy

The first group, the colleagues and friends, are the best kind of warm outreach, because they already know what you do. No need for explaining what you do and as long as they encounter a lead that isn’t right for them or have a client who needs that thing you provide, you want to make yourself available to them for a referral.

Create yourself a list of 25 close colleagues and friends. Each quarter, send 3-5 of them an email letting them know you are available for work.

Taking only a small chunk of them allows you not to bombard your friends all the time looking for work, but pings them about once a year.

This way when an opportunity comes their way that isn’t a fit for them, you stick out as a potential referral.

The second group, those that are familiar with you because of their own research is another kind of warm outreach contact. They need to build up more trust in you. So you’ll need a bit more education of yourself and the solution than that of your friends.

But there’s some level of trust already built there, which is what you want. Like the first group though, you can focus on learning their language and improving your sales process rather than worrying about hooking them in.

Cold Outreach Strategy

That’s what cold outreach is more about. I’ve gone into a few cold outreach strategies before, so I don’t want to be overly repetitive here.

In cold outreach it’s more about them and where they are, rather than you and the solution you can give them.

If you talk in “you” focused statements, showing benefits and results rather than talking about features and your business, you’ll transition them from a cold lead into a warm lead.

This is what your content should be about.

For every 4 pieces of content you do, at least 3 of them should be addressing cold leads and reaching them in the awareness stage of their journey.

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