How to Make Google Work for You: 3 Tips for Inside Sales Reps


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Last week during a family dinner, I tried to explain to my parents what Linkedin was and how, as an inside sales rep, I utilize it for prospecting. Despite the fact that every time my father wants to text a member of our family he replies to a mass text I sent him months ago, resulting in the entire family receiving it, and the fact that my mother asks questions like, “Did you hear about what that celebrity wrote on their Tweeter-bird page?”, they seemed understand what I was saying.

My mother told me that she had a similar job when she worked at a law firm in Boston after college. One of her jobs was to find contact information for someone. However, she went about gathering that information in a much different way than I do. She would go to the Boston Public Library and pour through stacks and stacks of records and reports. On a good day, she would be lucky to get through three contacts. I told her that if she gave me an hour, I could find information on all three contacts and still have time to browse the first few pages of Reddit. It’s no secret that technology has made these kinds of tasks far simpler than they ever were, but there are some tricks that help make such tasks even easier than they already are.

If you wanted to find the contact information for a prospect, what would be your first move? Of course your first move would be to simply Google it. Google has become a collective brain; I don’t need to remember anything because I know I can just Google it. Most of us have become seriously dependent on this awesome tool, which is probably why I feel such a deep and personal sense of betrayal when Google cannot produce the answer I am looking for. It’s easy to slam the laptop shut and mutter and groan, but that won’t help you find the answer you are looking for. I’m fairly certain that everything is on the internet, so finding the information you are looking for can often be as simple as changing your search terms.

A couple weeks ago I was telling a friend of mine, who also works in technology sales, about an issue I kept coming across while searching for the direct line for someone I was prospecting. She showed me a simple Googling trick that totally blew my mind, and before we knew it an hour had passed and I had about three full pages of notes on Google search term tricks. It doesn’t seem fair that I keep this information to myself, so I thought I would share a few of these tips with all of you:

1. Find a prospect’s direct line:

As I mentioned before, this was my original predicament. I was trying to reach a prospect who was just impossible to reach. His name wasn’t in the dial-by-name directory, I couldn’t reach an admin to transfer me to him, and finding this prospect’s direct line was beginning to feel like my only hope. If this is happening to you, have no fear: there is a simple Google trick that will help you find the number you are looking for.

Here is how it works: type in the prospect’s name, the first six digits of the company’s phone number, and a minus sign followed by the last four digits of the company’s main line. For example, let’s say I am trying to reach Joe Smith at ABC company, and I know that the main line is 617-555-0000. My Google search term would look like [Joe Smith ABC Company 617-555 -0000] Notice that there is a space in between the last 5 and the first zero. This will bring to a page with every phone number associated with Joe Smith at ABC Company that starts with 617-555 except for the numbers ending in 0000. This trick almost always finds me the prospect’s direct line or the number of an assistant. Worst case scenario, you find a direct line to one of Joe Smith’s coworkers, who may be kind enough to help you out.

2. Search a term on a prospective company’s website:

I spend a lot of time browsing company websites looking for the company’s leadership, contact numbers, relevant press releases, and general information I can use in a pitch. All of this browsing has really opened my eyes to how many companies have really, really bad websites. Some of them just look bad right off the bat (low quality graphics, bad layout, etc.), while others are just disappointing because they provide little to no information about the company. But the ones that tend to drive me mental are the websites that are impossible to navigate. These are the most infuriating, because I know the information is there, but the website’s design is making it impossible for me to ever find it. Again, Google can help.

If you want to search for text within a specific website, you can just type site: followed by the web address (make sure there is NO space between site: and the web address). For example, if I wanted to find everything about me on my company’s site I would search [ Colleen MacNeil]. Google will only pull information from Click the link to see this tip in action!

3. Search for missing information abuot a prospect:

Working in the technology field, you often come across prospects who frequently move from one job to another. I always feel a bit embarrassed when I ask an admin to direct me to a prospect, who then informs me that she hasn’t worked there in six months. Sometimes though, I am fortunate enough to reach a super nice admin who is willing to transfer me to the appropriate contact. But wait! She didn’t tell me her name before she transferred me! If you’re really lucky, you’ll get the prospect live and can ask for her name or the answering machine will give you the name at the beginning of the the out-of-office message. However, through my own personal research I have found that the most common outcome is that an out-of-office recording will include a clearly enunciated first name followed by a mumbled last name that probably starts with an M, no no, I think it was an N…?

Google to the rescue! You can still Google this mystery prospect. Simply replace any missing information with an asterisk. For example, if we are looking for Joe at ABC company, but don’t know his last name, the search term would be [ Joe * ABC Company ]. I have also used this trick to figure out a prospect’s job title, the company he or she moved to, or to simply check that I have the correct spelling of the prospect’s name.

These are just a few simple tricks you can use to help optimize your Googling. I know there must be hundreds of more awesome tricks like these. What little Google tricks do you use to improve your search terms? Don’t be selfish! Share some of your favorite tricks in the comments section.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colleen MacNeil
I am a Business Development Representative for AGSalesworks, assisting both SMB and Enterprise level accounts in multiple industries.


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