If your company is like most, you’ve spent large amounts of time and money perfecting your message. You’ve hired marketing writers, website content creators, sales script evaluators, public relations professionals and other experts all with the sole goal of helping you craft a compelling, convincing, easy-to-understand message regarding the benefits and features of your products and solutions.

Yet, at the same time, you’ve spent virtually nothing figuring out what your buyer actually wants to hear. What does he care about, for his business and for himself? What are her company business objectives? How does your solution help your buyer achieve his or her bonus?

It’s only the intersection of what you have to say with what your buyer wants to hear that results in a sale. That intersection is called “relevancy,” and it is probably the most important word in sales today.

In today’s sales world, buyers expect that you know the answers to questions before you walk through the door. Not just the basics, but also things like industry changes, market positioning, the competitive landscape and even the prospect’s basic internal business issues.

How can you get this kind of information? The answer is Sales Intelligence.

According to a study by CSO Insights, Sales Intelligence is one of the most effective tools for improving a salesperson’s, and a company’s, sales effectiveness. When a salesperson understands the prospect – the company, the industry focus, the issues being faced and details about the individual with whom the salesperson is meeting – then the salesperson is able to customize the presentation and conduct a meaningful sales call.

A recent Aberdeen Group Study found that salespeople who practice Sales Intelligence meet or exceed quota 52 percent of the time, versus 26 percent for those salespeople who “wing it.” Said another way, if you know how to find and use information, you have a good chance of winning twice as much business and – you the salesperson – has a much greater chance of receiving that large commission and/or bonus check.

Yet according to a CSO Insights study, fewer than 10 percent of companies provide their teams with the training and resources to locate relevant information. Why? Because, it’s assumed that most people know how to go online and find anything in a matter of seconds. Everyone knows how to use Google … right?

Nothing is further from the truth.

Although search engines are exceptionally powerful, who in your company has had formal Google search training? Following are three Google tips to help you practice sales intelligence. Download more Google Sales Intelligence Secrets at www.samrichter.com/googleguide.

1. Remove Results. Oftentimes, when looking at a list of search results, you’ll notice words that don’t belong. When that occurs, go back into the search form and place a minus sign directly in front of the word you want to remove. For example, let’s say you heard about a lighting company called “Harvard,” but when you enter Harvard into Google, almost all of the results are for the university. The revised search ‘Harvard -university’ removes results related to the famed school, and in fact the lighting company, “Harvard Engineering,” shows up in the top ten.

2. Company Job Titles. Enter a job title at a company but place an asterisk in the functional job area, and Google will fill in the blanks. For example, the search “vice president of * at walmart” will deliver results featuring Walmart’s vice presidents, often with the associated names and even contact information. Make sure to put the entire search within quotation marks so Google treats your search like a single phrase.

3. News. In Google, enter the name of a company or a person within quotation marks (“Acme Corporation” or “Joe Smith”). On Google’s search results page, look for the navigation bar just under the search form. Click the “More” button and then, in the pull-down menu, choose “News.” Google will refresh the results and deliver recent news articles related to your search.

Too many news results? On the news results page, click “Search Tools” in the navigation bar. Click the “Sorted By Relevancy” button and change it to “Sorted By Date.” Your news results will now show the most recent news first. Click the “Any Time” button and you can select a date range for your news, including searching archives.

Not getting any Google news results? It happens, especially if your prospect or client is a smaller firm. In this case, try www.yougotthenews.com.

Use the custom engine to search a compilation of 5,000 local, national and international news sources. Make sure to click the various tabs to sort your results by news type, and toggle from “Relevancy” to “Date” by clicking the corresponding button on the right side.

What kind of impression do you think you’ll make when, upon meeting a new prospect, you reference an article in which the company or person was featured?

Using Google is just the start to practicing sales intelligence and ensuring that every phone call and every meeting you make with prospects and clients is relevant and meaningful.

Download your FREE Sales Intel Google Guide at www.samrichter.com/googleguide.

Sam Richter (www.samrichter.com) was named in both 2011 and 2012 as one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in Sales. His book, “Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling,” www.takethecold.com, was named 2012 Sales Book of the Year.