The Wikipedia definition of a cold call is defined as the solicitation of business from potential customers who have had no prior contact with the salesperson conducting the call, therefore making the call cold.Cold calling is used to attempt to convince potential customers to purchase either the salesperson’s product or service. Cold calling is generally referred to as an over-the-phone process, making it a source of telemarketing, but can also be done in-person by door-to-door salespeople. Though cold calling can be used as a legitimate business tool, scammers can use cold calling as well.
This was relatively easy to understand 20 years ago. But with the technological advancements such as lead generation databases, email campaigns, inbound, mobile marketing and Robo calling, are the below scenarios changing the definition of a cold call:
- Lead Generation Databases - When customers exchange their contact information or buy access to customer information. Is it appropriate calling these leads for the first time and is this considered a cold call?
- Email and email campaigns - When first sending an email or an email campaign that can provide informative and useful information (i.e. products, services events), with or without a email response. Is this appropriate for a follow-up phone call and would you consider this a cold call?
- Inbound Marketing - If you are providing great content (blogs, eforms, white papers) on your website and businesses are clicking on your site or a call to action (CTA). Is this appropriate for a follow-up phone call and would you consider this a cold call?
- Instant Text Messaging/Mobile Marketing - This is someone who is reading a mobile advertisement or responding to a text message. Is this appropriate for a follow-up phone call and would you consider this a cold call?
- Social Media - A business contact who is interested in your Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram or social media site. Is this appropriate for a follow-up phone call and would you consider this a cold call?
A "warm phone call" is another definition that could fall in some of these categories depending how the person responds (clicks on your website, fills out a form, answers a text, joins your linkedin?).
How do we justify a cold call in this new age of communication without invading each others privacy?