If information is power and the World Wide Web hosts it all, then the No. 1 skill set to access what you need when you need it is search. And how you search for information is just as important as the particular information you seek.
Here are the common searches you might perform in the course of doing business:
- Competitive search: keeping up to date about what other companies in your industry are up to.
- Customer search: accessing the best data about your clients and target customers.
- Technical search: finding the best tutorial in order to solve a specific problem.
The trick is to use a search engine like Google among other tools to have the right information so that you never say to a customer, “What have you been up to?” or “I wasn’t able to find out.”
And the best book I’ve read on searching for the right byte is Sam Richter’s Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling: Web Search Secrets for the Inside Info on Companies, Industries, and People. Richter’s tips will save you a ton of time in your use of the search bar. Plug in a combination of symbols and characters on the right site and you will be surprised at what you are able to find. Here are a few of the tips that I found most useful in the book:
- On Google you can begin typing in the search box to see other suggested searches have been made without continuing the entire search. This gives you an idea of what people look for online, which gives you a better view of what potential customers want to know about real estate.
- Knowing how to search by file type will allow you to find documents on websites that are not password protected. Some companies disclose news via PDF only (as opposed to a searchable website or blog entry), so this skill could help a relocation specialist know ahead of time if a big company is thinking about moving to the area.
- You can also sort Google search results by “news” to find the latest mentions of customers, competition, or constituents.
Using the corporate relocation example again, search can help you understand the dynamics of a larger company. These specific search tools will help: Manta can help build lists of leads according to customer fields, revenue, or company size. InsideView provides a brief overview of a company’s description, financials, and news feeds. And Smash Fuse will help you navigate the social buzz around a specific company or industry.
If you are searching for specific people, you can use reverse 411 to locate other contact information when all you have is a phone number. Zaba Search helps you find personal contact information from a name + region search. Claritas is a subscriber service from Nielsen Ratings that provides psychographic data on local consumers attitudes, lifestyles, and behaviors segmented by geography.
There are hundreds more of websites, tips, and tactics loaded in Richter’s book. Reading his reference guide will save you time doing the homework that used to take hours to retrieve. If you don’t want to take my word for it, then search for know + more + web + secrets and you will get your answer.