Is there an alternative to cold calling in sales prospecting? There is and it's good old Google! Ah, Google! Possibly the greatest invention of the 20th Century. What did we ever do without it? I know what I did without it because I was selling before it existed. I can remember spending a whole 4/5 days ringing the head offices of my target clients so that I could get their annual reports. These annual reports were like gold dust because they listed every regional office, they outlined the company's vision for the future and they gave the basic financial information about the company. In short they gave me all the information I needed to know to generate my sales strategy for the coming year. Way back in the day, that 4 days was the best investment in my sales year. What I did then was easy to do but it was also easy not to do. That's why many of my competitors never did this level of research. Today I could do that in a few hours. This also means that your rather less professional and lazier competition might be able to do the basics now too. Don't worry because you are just about to be introduced to some tools that I guarantee 95% of your competition has never heard of. Never mind are using. How much would you pay an administrative assistant to spend their entire day searching the internet for the latest news on: Your prospective Target clients companies Your prospective target individuals Your Competitors and/or their products and services Your Existing Clients Your Industry Your products or services Industry commentary Industry Trends Legislation relating to your Industry and your clients Industries People Blogging about your Industry People asking for help in forums about the products and services you provide? Anytime someone moves company? What competitive edge could you have by accessing that level of specialized knowledge on a daily basis? Would you be prepared to pay me 1,000 per month for that? The good news is Google gives you this for FREE! The better news in hardly anyone in sales has any idea of the power it can bring your business. Let me show you. 1. Google Alerts: Google alerts is perhaps the most powerful sales prospecting tool available today and yet very few people know about it. In the words of Google themselves: Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. Some handy uses of Google Alerts include:

monitoring a developing news story
keeping current on a competitor or industry
getting the latest on a celebrity or event

It all sounds so simple because it is, yet it offers you a huge range of powerful sales advantages. To set up alerts: 1. Search for Google accounts in Google and sign up for a Google account (if you don't have one already). It shouldn't take you more than 5 minutes. 2. Sign into your account and left click on Google Alerts or search for Google alerts on Google search. 3. You will then see something like this: Don't be fooled by its simplicity. This is one of the greatest tools you can ever use to increase your sales in today's information age. Whatever search term you enter will create an alert from Google. This means that every time Google picks up a reference to that term they will email you and tell you. It is truly amazing. The possibilities are endless: Your prospective Target clients companies- Every time they send out a press release, every time they announce a new contract, every time they win an award, every time they are mentioned in the press, every time they publish a whitepaper, or report, every time they announce staff changes, every time they announce financial information, anytime someone blogs about them ---- you will be informed. Immediately and for FREE! If you cannot find a way to use this information via an introductory email, telephone call or hand written letter then you might not have a long career in sales! Your prospective target individuals- Every time a specific person is mentioned you will be notified. Every time they are speaking at an event, every time they give a testimonial to another company, every time they write an article, every time they make a forum post, every time they move companies, every time they are interviewed, you will be notified. Your Competitors and/or their products and services: You can immediately be notified if anyone, anywhere on the web mentions one of your competitors - the good and the bad. You will know all complaints against them, all new contracts they win, all new customers they sign up And the same can also be said for all of the ones below. Your Existing Clients Your Industry Your products or services Industry commentary Industry Trends Legislation relating to your Industry and your clients Industries People Blogging about your Industry People asking for help in forums about the products and services you provide? Let's say you supplied an online based behavioral profiling system that was used for recruiting new members of staff. Your research into your existing clients and the marketplace has shown you that the first 6 months of a new HR Director (VP) is a crucial time in the sales cycle. New HR Directors like to go into a company and stamp their authority and way of doing things into an organization. You can go into Google alerts and create an alert for 'new hr director'. Every time that Google picks out that phrase added anywhere on the internet it will send you an alert. You can now find out the new Directors name, their company and with a bit of research, their email, postal address and telephone number. Let your sales cycle begin! This information is priceless. Use it. You can build a hugely successful appointment making campaign just off the timely information delivered to your in box for free from Google. Your Action Plan: The Three simple steps to implement this in your business are:

Decide if you want one person or each member of your sales team to be in charge of receiving the Google alerts. You could use a sales support staff member or a marketing person.
As a company, brainstorm a number of separate lists of key phrases that can be used to set up alerts. Here are a few to get you started:
Clients company names.
Key client's employee names.
Known prospective clients.
Joint Venture Partner names.
Trigger events that lead to your becoming more actively involved or needed such as 'office relocating', 'inward investment', 'management buyout', 'new government contract, 'investment in xxxxxxx',.
Decide if you want them to be general terms such as CRM implementation or specific phrase matched term such as "CRM Implementation"
Develop policies for what will happen to the information when it starts to roll in so that everyone knows what is expected of them. A few policies that have worked fantastically well for my clients are:
If the alert is about a client company winning a new contract or receiving an award then a pre-designed hand written letter is dispatched off to the key people in the company congratulating them on their success.
If the alert is about a prospective client winning a new contract, then a hand written letter as well as some relevant supporting case studies, whitepapers, reports, and information about how you helped clients like them in the same situation.
If your alert notifies you of a change in legislation or a trigger event that might impact a client or a prospective customer then relevant whitepapers, DVD's or invitations to seminars can be sent out that provide valuable information relating directly to that event.
If client or prospective client is mentioned in a blog post you could add a relevant comment and then email the company concerned with a quick email entitled "Just to let you know people are saying good things about you on the web"

Like this? So what else can you do?

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