What better way to impress your prospects than by knowing a little something about them before you even talk?

Your prospects don’t expect you to know them inside and out before you speak. But they do want you to have a basic understanding that shows you “get” them.

While the web does a lot to reduce privacy, that’s a good thing in the case of sales.

Let me explain some ways you can find specific information about your prospects, without feeling like a stalker:

1. Your Prospect’s Blog

This seriously only takes a few minutes. Google “their name + blog,” and also check out their company blog.

What you want is posts discussing specific information about your prospect personally…or their company. It’s pretty easy to tell by their blog post’s titles what information they’re going to reveal.

So just skim the titles, and see what you can find.

2. Glassdoor Reviews

This site has employee reviews of companies. It’s not the best for small businesses of just a few employees – but it may still have some useful info. But it works great for bigger companies.

Read those reviews. Employees discuss the good and bad. The negative may indicate serious problems your prospect’s company has.

3. Google News

What’s a better icebreaker than letting your prospect know the good things you read about them in the news? All you need is Google News.

Google your prospect’s name there. Press releases, and other notable mentions, will come up. You can also use these to stay in touch after initial conversations.

4. Other Major Social Media – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest

Okay, I’ll be honest. You might feel like a bit of a stalker here.

But this doesn’t cross the line into stalking. I promise!

Some simple ways you can find information specific to your prospect on these:

• At Pinterest, click the username and icon at the top left of their profile. From there, you can browse their boards, pins, and likes. You can even find what your prospects like to eat for dinner.

• On Twitter, you can look at your prospect’s shares. But they can also post photos and videos that offer insights into their lives. You can also click the “News” section to see other mentions of your prospect in the Twitterverse.

• When you check them out on Facebook, you can see their “photos,” “likes,” “recent activity,” and some comments they’ve made to other people. Study this information, and see if you can use any of it to break the ice.

• On LinkedIn, you have an abundance of information to check out. The best stuff’s at the bottom of each user’s profile. Look at the groups your prospect participates in. Maybe even join 1 or 2. You’ll also see the news topics they follow. If that’s not enough info for you, check out the “opportunities John is looking for” and “causes John cares about.”

Even though you might feel like a stalker after all that, you’re not. It’s prospect research – as long as you stay out of the personal stuff clearly not related to work.

The web allows you to research your prospects in-depth before you even speak to them. Now, you have plenty of information to make each conversation a good one.