Foot in the Door

Foot in the Door

Foot in the Door Jonathan Poland

The foot-in-the-door technique is a persuasion strategy that involves asking for a small favor or agreement first, before making a larger request. The idea is that by starting with a small request, the person being asked will be more likely to agree to the larger request, since they have already committed to the smaller one.

This technique is based on the idea that people are more likely to agree to a request if they have already agreed to something similar in the past. For example, if a salesperson asks a customer if they would be willing to try a sample of a product, the customer is more likely to agree to buy the product later on. This technique can be used as either a long-term strategy or an immediate tactic, depending on the situation.

The foot-in-the-door technique is often used in sales and marketing, but it can also be applied in other situations, such as asking for a raise or a favor from a friend. By starting with a small request, you can build rapport and trust with the other person, making them more likely to agree to your larger request. The following are illustrative examples.


Asking for something small that the other person is likely to grant to create a friendly environment such that the other person feels bad to deny a second larger request. ex. We’re going on vacation next week, could you keep an eye on our house? Sure. Actually, we also don’t have anyone to look after our dogs, could you feed them and walk them three times a day?


A salesperson for an outsourcing firm pitches an excellent price to take over a single business process that is a pain point for the customer. The customer accepts and the salesperson uses this relationship to pitch much larger deals spanning hundreds of processes.


Accepting any kind of work from a firm that you really want to work for as a long term approach to securing the job you really want. The idea is that once your on the inside you can network and impress people with your work. For example, accepting casual work in hopes of going full time.


Consulting firms commonly try hard to get a few consultants placed at a major firm so that they can attempt to grow their footprint. The first consultants sent to such an engagement are typically highly skilled with an ability to build relationships and sell the brand.

Razor & Blades

Razor and blades is a business model that involves selling a product that consumes proprietary supplies. The razor may be sold cheaply as a foot in the door with the hope that customers will purchase blades on a recurring basis.

Product Ecosystems

A series of products and services that work together such that once you buy one it is to your advantage to buy more. A central element of the ecosystem may be sold cheaply as a foot in the door to cross-sell a broad array of compatible offerings. For example, a mobile device that is part of an ecosystem of apps, media, data, accessories and peripheral devices.

Free Trials

Free trials are a foot in the door to get a customer to use your products and services. For example, a software service with a free trial may quickly become difficult to leave as you begin to enter data and integration the software with other things.


Prototypes and feasibility studies are often used as a foot in the door by salespeople or employees who want to influence strategy. For example, a product manager at a beverage company wants to launch a non-alcoholic beer but faces resistance. As a foot in the door, they propose a low cost project to develop an initial formulation and test it. This gets the strategy moving and they can grow it from there.

Contact Details

A marketer or fundraiser that asks for something small and then asks for contact details that can be used to pitch much larger offers. ex. Could you donate $2 towards cleaning up ocean plastic? Sure. Can I get your contact details for our monthly newsletter about environmental issues?


Asking an influencer if they will try a free product or service to give you feedback. If the feedback is positive, ask them for a testimonial.


Foot in the door may be used to sell memberships such as customer loyalty card programs. ex. Would you like a free 1 year warranty with these shoes? Sure, I guess. Would you like to join our members program for points towards free stuff?

Learn More
Organization 101 Jonathan Poland

Organization 101

A business organization is a group of individuals or entities that come together to pursue a common business goal or…

Risks of Artificial Intelligence Jonathan Poland

Risks of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has often been depicted in science fiction as a potential threat to human life or well-being. In…

Systematic Risk Jonathan Poland

Systematic Risk

Systemic risk is the risk that a problem in one part of the financial system will have broader impacts on…

Customer Relationships Jonathan Poland

Customer Relationships

Customer relationships refer to the interactions between a business and its potential, current, and former customers. These interactions can take…

Sales Data Jonathan Poland

Sales Data

Sales data is a type of business intelligence that provides information about the performance of a company’s sales activities. This…

Relationship Building Jonathan Poland

Relationship Building

Relationship building is the act of establishing and maintaining social connections with others. This is a crucial business skill that…

Brand Values Jonathan Poland

Brand Values

Brand values are the principles and beliefs that a brand stands for and that guide its actions. They reflect the…

What is a Market? Jonathan Poland

What is a Market?

A market is a place or platform where buyers and sellers come together to exchange goods and services. Markets can…

Customer Research Jonathan Poland

Customer Research

Customer research involves gathering information and insights about customers in order to build a deeper understanding of their needs, preferences,…

Latest Thinking

Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS) Jonathan Poland

Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS)

Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS) refers to a special classification of stock in the United States that offers significant tax…

Barrick Gold Jonathan Poland

Barrick Gold

Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE: GOLD) is a significant player in the global economy, particularly within the gold mining industry. Its…

Newmont Corporation Jonathan Poland

Newmont Corporation

Newmont Corporation (NYSE: NEM), being the world’s largest gold mining corporation, with extensive operations in mining and production of not…

Gold is Money Jonathan Poland

Gold is Money

Overview The history of gold as money spans thousands of years and has played a pivotal role in the economic…

What is Leadership? Jonathan Poland

What is Leadership?

In the modern business world, where rapid changes, technological advancements, and global challenges are the norm, effective leadership is more…

Product Durability Jonathan Poland

Product Durability

A durable product, often referred to as a durable good, is a product that does not quickly wear out or,…

Durable Competitive Advantage Jonathan Poland

Durable Competitive Advantage

The most important aspect of durability is market fit. Unique super simple products or services that does change much if…

Praxeology Jonathan Poland


Praxeology is the study of human action, particularly as it pertains to decision-making and the pursuit of goals. The term…

Business Models Jonathan Poland

Business Models

Business models define how a company creates, delivers, and captures value. There are numerous business models, each tailored to specific…