Foot In The Door Technique is one recommended by many so-called "experts". Essentially, the idea is to use a small sale to develop a relationship, trust and experience with a new customer so that you can sell them something larger later on. Sounds smart, doesn't it? Yet it is terrible advice, and I will show you why.
The Foot In The Door Technique Disempowers You
One of the first really important things to realize about selling is this:
You have the same number of hours in the day as everyone else.
That billionaire has 24 hours.
That homeless person in the street has 24 hours.
You have 24 hours. No more, no less. And what will you choose to spend your time doing?
A "secret" of sales is that it takes the same effort to sell a low ticket product or service as it does to sell a high value one. So you can put your time in for small paydays, or larger ones. Which would you rather do?
Constantly struggling, trying to make small amounts of money at a time, is disempowering. Frankly, it's not exciting. After awhile, you're going to wonder why you are doing this. The struggle simply doesn't have a big enough payoff--and you'll give up.
The Foot In The Door Technique Positions You Poorly
If you're trying to find customers for a low-ticket item, something they kinda-sorta-maybe could use, something they could almost certainly get elsewhere...who are you attracting?
Risk-adverse, play-it-safe prospects who don't have any money.
Certainly NOT the movers and shakers you really want to be dealing with.
If I have to struggle to get $200 out of someone, they aren't a fit. I've done something wrong. The solution I've brought to the table isn't a true match for their problem. Or they don't have a problem big enough to make it worth my time to solve (I qualified badly).
If they can get what I'm offering for cheap from somewhere else, why should they deal with me? Where's the commitment from their side? Even if they do buy, how easily can I be replaced?
Tell me, does this sound like the game you want to be playing? Banking your financial life on?!
The Foot In The Door Technique Makes Selling More Difficult
Those who push the Foot In The Door technique make it sound as if selling is easier because of it. But what is the truth? You're going around trying to push some dinky solution on poorly qualified prospects, in the hope that their interest will be piqued.
Again, the people you'll end up talking to are broke, scared and indecisive.
Curious. The Foot In The Door technique actually says more about how you're feeling about yourself than anything else, doesn't it. You're attracting people who feel like you do. If you were confident your product or service was a real winner, you'd get out there, find big problems to solve with it, and get paid at the right level for it!
So now we have a nervous salesperson trying to get a weak prospect interested in a loss leader. Does this inspire confidence from anybody?
As soon as you tell the prospect what this foot in the door thing is, they'll either a) brush you off, because they are serious and want a real problem fixed, or b) find out all about it from you, then go and look for it at the lowest price if they decide it's worth the risk to implement. Remember, those who are attracted to Foot In The Door Technique offers are scared and cash-poor.
Not a situation that screams decisiveness.
Instead of this nonsense, get good at fulfilling something that solves a big problem for serious people. That's how to develop trust. Spend your precious time selling that. You'll be a lot more excited, attract better prospects, complete bigger projects, and make far more money.
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Thanks Jason, I was just considering the lost leader or trip wire approach. Good food for thought.
Lyndie, a tripwire offer is a good idea in the ONLINE world…if you don’t have a reputation and your prospect doesn’t know you. Offline, or if you’re well known online, do you need the foot in the door?
Does Donald Trump need a foot in the door? Frank Kern?
How about the granite countertop installer? “Buy this small piece and see how it goes”?
This is more about state of mind and how well you qualify your prospects than anything else.
Thanks for putting that into perspective Jason.
Good article but I can’t disagree with you more. Foot in the door is all about establishing a relationship to build trust while still getting paid. It all comes down to trust and risk. Would you trust a new vendor for $10 or $1000? Would you risk $10 or $1000?
Thanks for taking the time to comment. Read the article and you’ll see why what you said was a bad idea.
Trust comes from showing a prospect you understand their world, and them realizing you can solve a problem they’re having in it. You can play big or play small; it’s up to you.
You have beliefs about how buyers buy. But consider going to a car dealership. Do they tell you, “Try this windshield cleaner first. It’s $10. Then come back with your current vehicle and have us do a $40 oil change…then you’ll trust us enough to talk about buying a car, right?” No.
Your beliefs are YOUR beliefs. Your beliefs about how to buy are not the same as the buying beliefs other people have.