In chess you have to know where you are in the game to make the right series of moves and ultimately win.
Most games of chess consist of three basic parts: the opening moves, the middle game (where things start to get more complicated), and finally the end game, where everything all comes together. It's very common for beginners to use and lose pieces in the opening game that are crucial for successfully playing the end game.
Computer consultants face the same challenge of knowing where they are in the IT marketing process and choosing which marketing strategy to employ.
There are three basic tactics to consider - expert marketing; nurturing sales leads and aggressively closing.
The question is which one should you use and when?
Just Play Coy
One of the more popular marketing strategies in the technology industry today is to try and establish yourself as an expert in the eyes of your prospects. The idea here is to play hard to get. Don't so much chase after your target market as work diligently to be a very visible presence and they decide to chase after you - it's a very exhilarating feeling to have a business decide to track you down so they can sign up for your IT services.
However, there can be a real danger if a business opts to go 'all in' with expert marketing to the exclusion of all others. After all, if you're eternally playing hard to get then you may actually lose potential sales.
Let Prospects Age Like Wine
This sales method is also known as, "waiting in the wings". As you first make contact with a specific prospect, instead of going for a direct close, you try to woo them over time, staying at the forefront of their mind until something happens as a tipping point and you are their first call.
This nurturing process consists of popping in from time-to-time to meet with your IT sales lead and building long-term rapport. You should also make sure to add them to any promotional mailings, such as newsletters that you send out, as well as watching for relevant information that might pertain to their business and forwarding it on to them.
In addition, you can look for opportunities to recommend their services or promote them in any way. This long term strategy, or 'forever marketing', is perfect - as long as you don't miss the opportunities to make an aggressive close.
Always Go For Check, Mate!
In chess you are always supposed to go straight for the jugular when you see an opportunity to checkmate your opponent, no matter what stage of the game you're at or which combination of pieces you use. I think this might be a news flash to some computer business owners, but if you have a prospect displaying buying signs then the last thing you want to do is either nurture them to death or play coy with them.
In this case you simply close, close, close!
No matter which strategy you choose, positioning yourself as an expert, nurturing or just going for the sale, always keep the end game in mind and make sure that you have enough pieces to get you there.
John Black is the Marketing Director at MSP Telemarketing. His experience ranges from writing articles, blogging, telemarketing, sales coaching and speaking at events.