Filed Under:Your Practice, Practice Management

10 tips for making the most of Google

Everyone’s favorite search engine might just be your most underutilized prospecting tool.
Everyone’s favorite search engine might just be your most underutilized prospecting tool.

A vast treasure trove of free data about client prospects is available for the taking. Yet many advisors lack an understanding of these essential prospecting tools — and are failing to win new business as a result.

At the closing main platform session of the Million Dollar Round Table’s 2014 annual meeting, held in Toronto on June 11, sales consultant Sam Richter sought to close this knowledge gap for the 8,000 assembled attendees. During a fast-paced, thirty-minute talk, Richter reviewed the many web search techniques and tools available through Google, the “invisible Internet,” social networking sites and other online resources.

“The key to effective relationship-building is knowing more about the prospect and making that individual feel important,” said Richter, president of SBR Worldwide LLC and author of “Take the Cold out of Cold Calling: Web Search Secrets.” “It's about having the information you need to be relevant to what prospects care about,” he added. “It's also about asking them great questions so you can engage in a meaningful dialogue and really show them that you care.”

To grow their practices, he continued, life insurance and financial service professionals need to learn how to translate publicly available Internet tools into actionable intelligence about client prospects.

The 10 tips on the following pages recap some of the many Web search techniques Richter explored during his talk. In closing remarks, he urged attendees to use them — and to adhere his “3 x 5 rule” — whenever preparing to connect with a prospective client.

“Don’t ever met with someone without spending three minutes finding at least five pieces of information about the prospect or spending five minutes finding three pieces of information,” he said. “If you do this every time before ever prospect meeting, you’ll find something about the other person that he or she cares about. You then can connect on personal, authentic level and show the other person that you care.”

What to do

Use + or AND (most search engines use +) between words. Most search engines assume you mean + when entering words.

Example

Plastics + manufacturing delivers results where both words appear somewhere on the page, but in no order.

What to do

Use OR to expand your search results

Example

Plastics OR manufacturing delivers results in which one or both of the words appear.

What to do

Use – (minus sign) or NOT (most engines use -) to remove search results. The – must be “touching” the word you want to remove.

Example

Plastics–manufacturing delivers results with the word plastics, but removes all results with the word manufacturing 

What to do

Use “quotation marks” around a single word or group of words if you want your results to show those words, exactly as you typed them, in that order. This is important if searching for a proper noun. 

Example

“Plastics manufacturing” delivers results with only the exact phrase “plastics manufacturing,” in that order. “Bank” delivers that exact word and turns off search suggestions (e.g., “banking.”)

What to do

Combine +, OR, - (AND, OR, NOT) and/or quotation marks for better results.

Example

“Plastics manufacturing” + India OR Japan-China delivers the exact phrase “plastics manufacturing” with the word India or the word Japan in the results, with none containing China.

What to do

Find web pages that no longer appear (“Sorry, site cannot be found.”) When a result page does not appear, click the “Back” button and return to your original search result, then click the “Cached” link.

In Google, find Cached by clicking on the inverted triangle to the right of the result. A new window will open up showing what the website looked like when the search engine last indexed the page.

Example

In the Cached view in some browsers, search terms are highlighted, making finding words and phrases easy. If you click on a search result and the website does appear, but text on the page runs long, click the “Back” button, then the “Cached” link. The words you’re now searching for will be highlighted. You can also use your browser’s “Find” function to locate the words.

What to do

When you’re looking for a list of companies, names or industry sources, enter “database” or “list of links” or “membership list,” along with the rest of your search information.

Example

“Database” OR “list of links” OR “membership list” + “plastic manufacturing” will return results, some of which feature a database of names or lists related to the plastics manufacturing industry.

What to do

Click on a search engine’s Advanced or Power Search link or button to refine your search, producing better results.

Example

Spend 60 seconds identifying what’s important, and what’s not, using the Advanced or Power Search feature, and you’ll get the results you want.

What to do

As you type letters into the Google search form, notice that Google provides suggested results that you can click.

Example

As you type a search like “automotive industry,” by the time you get to the letter “o,” Google will have made highly relevant suggestions.”

What to do

Enter the terms you’re searching for, then enter a date range separated by two periods (e.g., 1999..2002). Google will deliver results featuring your term, but only with pages that also include the specified data range. This technique works for number ranges, too (e.g., $100..$300)

Example

“General Mills” 1997..2002 delivers only results featuring the phrase “General Mills,” and only from Web pages that also feature dates between 1997 and 2002.

 

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