Foxes and Brier Patches
IT services marketing stands to learn a lot from Brer Rabbit. Many of us remember Brer Rabbit from the popular Disney cartoon, but did you know this character from Southern folklore has a history beyond the popular production studio? The name “Brer” is a colloquial spelling of “brier,” in which the rabbit lived. Uncle Remus would sit the kids around him to tell a tale of how this cunning bunny managed to trick all the hunters and predators. In perhaps his most famous story, Brer Rabbit is caught by a cunning fox.
If you know your folklore, then you know foxes are equally known for their slyness— but in this story, the rabbit gets away! How? Well, the fox falls victim to pride and starts telling the poor bunny all the ways he’ll be killed and eaten. The rabbit feigns nonchalance, saying: “Yup, fine and dandy, you do all them things. That’s just fine. Just don’t throw me in that there brier patch. Whatever you do. Chop me up, make a stew out of me, tie my ears in knots and play jump rope with me, but don’t throw me in that there brier patch; please, please, please don’t throw me in that brier patch!” This is a paraphrase of the popular tale, though you can probably guess what happens: the fox throws Brer Rabbit into the brier patch and Brer Rabbit escapes, because this is his home.
The IT Application
When it comes to IT services marketing, you’re Brer Rabbit and your potential client is the fox. Remember, the fox is sly, but you must be more cunning! You must use the same kind of psychological judo! You must reverse the situation and find a way to goad your clients into picking up your services— at least, in some cases.
How’s this for clever: consider the process of making an appointment and how difficult it can be for you to talk certain clients into it. The decision makers want you to meet them on their terms, if at all. But pull in a little Brer Rabbit wisdom and you can practically call the shots! Agree with the client about everything they say. They may want you to send information rather than making an appointment, because they know they’ll have the upper hand in making a sales’ decision, whereas an actual appointment gives you the ability to send a representative over and scout the premises, simultaneously selling requisite services to your professional understanding of IT, and inducing a more likely closing situation through actual one-on-one negotiation.
So, when they say they want information, agree though you don’t want to send it and tell them, “Well, you know, information doesn’t have a price. But you wouldn’t want a price unless you really wanted to do business, would you?” That’s when you double down and bring Brer Rabbit into your marketing game. Say something to the tune of: “You know, as a matter of fact, doing business with us might not even be quite what you want. How about we save us both some time; we can send out a representative— that’ll really help you get an idea of the type of company we have; much more than an email or a phone call, anyway! You’ll be able to truly decide if we’re the business you want. We can bring information about our company with us, too, and it’ll be more accurate, because your systems will be available to help inform that information.”
Success from Reverse Psychology
That’s your goal, isn’t it? To get thrown into the “brier patch” of your potential client? Well, the key here is to make the client feel as though the decision to send a representative to their site was their idea, even though it was your intention all along; just like Brer Rabbit made the fox think that torturing him in the brier patch would be the best way of having his way with the poor little bunny.
IT services marketing can be a tough game, but if you’re properly strategic as you go about acquiring clients, you’ll be able to talk them into service and make it think it was their idea!