Step One: Get Your Foot in the Door

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shoesFoot-in-the-door technique (FITD) is a method of persuasion that involves getting a person to agree to a large request by first having them agree to a smaller request. The philosophy behind this technique is that once you get buy-in on a small level, you have begun to create a bond with the other person and are more likely to get buy-in for a larger issue.

This can be an effective technique for selling your services to clients who are hesitant to make a large-scale investment, unsure of the value you can offer them or struggling with giving up control and delegating.

Aside from doing work for free to demonstrate all of the ways the client will benefit from working with you (which is a path I strongly recommend staying away from), there are a number of ways you can get your foot in the door so you’re in a position to make it all the way through at some point in the future.

Break Down Your Services

Many clients like the idea that one provider can handle all of their needs, from start to finish. When marketing to these clients, it makes sense to bundle, package and merge separate services into cohesive units to make it evident how much value you’re providing and cut down on some of the decision-making the client will need to do.

This can backfire when you have a potential client who isn’t quite as ready to move forward, at least not for every part of a project in one fell swoop. In this situation, breaking down your services into smaller, more digestible chunks can help you sell one element at a time to the client, and it gives you an opportunity to earn the client’s trust for future work.

Focus on the Relationship

Online networking and social media present an opportunity for you to reach a large and diverse target audience. You become more visible and can communicate with multiple prospects at once through your blog, Twitter conversations, or your Facebook status.

This is great for expanding your network, but doesn’t always help when it comes to closing the deal. Clients want to know they’re important and valuable to you, and your respect for them and their business can be difficult to convey when you have multiple public conversations going on at once.

One way to get your foot in the door is by returning to the basics. Listen, ask questions, offer resources, and be willing to share some of your knowledge on an individual level to get to know the client and his unique needs, then go for the sale, once the relationship has been established.

Create a Giveaway

Creating a guide, report or other product giveaway that covers a topic of interest to your potential clients is a great way to present your expertise, get your name in front of them and open the door to potential opportunities.

Whether it’s a guide to choosing a hosting company, 15 questions to ask before hiring a designer or a CMS comparison matrix, if your giveaway is useful and makes them think of you when they’re ready to get their project going, you have succeeded at getting your foot in the door.

Like all marketing methods, the results of FITD aren’t guaranteed, but it is a technique that you should keep in your arsenal and test on your market.

Do you have a foot-in-the-door story that led to bigger business?

Image credit: konr4d

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory
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Alyssa Gregory is a digital and content marketer, small business consultant, and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire — a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

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