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Warm Markets Vs. Cold Markets
In sales and direct marketing terminology warm market and cold market are simply different types of a customer base a direct marketer or a salesman has.
A target audience with whom you have interacted earlier or have some kind of personal/professional relationship would be your warm market. “Warm” because these people would be more approachable for your sales pitches, because they know you. If you have built good relationships with people then selling the right product to them (something that fulfills their need or want) becomes effortless. Seth Godin also explains the same thing in his book Permission Marketing. If you have focused on building one-to-one relationship with your target audience, then they have already given you “permission” to sell your stuff to them.
Cold market, on the other hand, is that customer base which you are yet to speak to. This audience is unfamiliar to you and doesn’t know about your company or products. The ideal strategy is to conver the cold market to warm market first by listenting to their needs, understanding their preferences and building relationships, then selling them product that suit them best. Far too often companiesn waste their time in going too hard after their cold market without first building relationship with them.
Direct marketing, or sales, is more about building strong relationship with your prospective customers and understanding them well than about selling them product. If relationships are taken care of, sales happen automatically.