This article will explore the foot-in-the-door technique and apply it using a simple and easy-to-use platform, LinkedIn.
Before moving on, let’s learn about the meaning and history of the foot-in-the-door technique.
How Was the Foot-In-The-Door Technique Created?
The foot in the door marketing technique was initially popularized by Johnathan Freedman and Scott Fraser in a 1966 study. The foundation of the study was based on the question, “how can an individual be persuaded to do something they would rather not do?”
Their experiment asked the resident for a small request via telephone and later asked for a more significant recommendation during the face-to-face meeting.
The small request, made via telephone, asked the study subjects to report the cleaning products they used to clean their home. After answering the question, the researcher asked the subjects to grant access to their homes to examine the product brands used to clean the house.
What Is The Foot-In-The-Door Technique?
The physiology of the foot in the door technique is simple, and once an individual agrees to a small request, they are more likely to agree to a more significant request. It implies that you cannot make a big request for a salesperson if the small request has been declined.
Think of the traditional marketing technique where a salesperson would make a house call to sell a vacuum cleaner. Once the salesperson got their foot between the doorframe and your door, you couldn't slam the door on their face and were inclined to listen to them.
While this marketing technique was successful to some extent, it was also highly intrusive and persuasive, and in most cases, the salesman paid little attention to the customer's needs.
With changing customer needs and highly informed customers in today's digital world, the traditional foot-in-the-door marketing technique might not be effective. However, the principles of this technique are still helpful, particularly in LinkedIn marketing strategy.
Using the persuasive techniques of the foot-in-the-door salesman and combining with your content strategy, you can design a marketing strategy that gets you in the door of your prospects and the inner circle of their companies and finally to their bank account to get you paid. Here is a simple guideline to follow.
1) Start By Identifying The Right Prospect
As a traveling salesman, you must begin by identifying your target audience. The motivation for joining LinkedIn might be as diverse as the 740 million users, but it all comes down to getting a job or a client.
If your primary goal on LinkedIn is getting a job, then start by identifying all your potential employers. If your primary objective for joining LinkedIn is to get clients, then your first step is designing the qualities of a good-fit-customer or a prospect.
Who Is A Good-Fit Lead Or Prospect?
A prospect is defined as an individual or potential customer who has expressed interest in a company's products and has been qualified to meet certain pre-determined conditions of a good-fit customer. Prospects and leads can be confused sometimes, but these two terms define people in the different purchase cycles.
While a lead might have expressed interest in a company's products, there is limited information to determine if the lead is a qualified prospect. For instance, the lead might lack the authority to buy and the purchasing power to buy, thus disqualifying them as a potential prospect. Therefore, a lead can be defined as a prospect who meets the following qualities of a prospect;
- Have awareness that a challenge or problem exists; as a marketer, your objective is to fulfill a problem or a need of a prospect, not to create a problem and sell your products.
- A prospect is a problem that your company or products can solve; if you are in real estate and a lead faces a health challenge, is that a good prospect?
Your ideal prospects, and low-hanging fruits, are people facing a challenge that your company's unique solutions can solve.
- A prospect has the authority to make a purchase; if you are selling home cleaning products, who has the power to make such decisions? In most households, the woman is the decision-maker in-home care products, so the men might not be ideal prospects in-home care products.
- Can buy; if you sell an expensive product, target individuals with high disposable income who can buy your products. The best marketing strategy might not be selling home insurance products to students and interns.
- Prospects are motivated to buy quickly; while marketing and prospecting can be a long-term process, targeting someone who intends to buy in 10 years might not be the best strategy—target prospects who can buy within a year.
2) Get Connected
On LinkedIn, like in life, your network is your network. Getting connected with your target prospects is a step closer to getting your foot in the door. According to Neil Patel, getting your foot in the door on LinkedIn is more about who you know than what you know.
How Do You Start Connecting With The Right Prospects?
If you are a student looking to build your career in a specific industry, begin by connecting with your lecturers, students in your course, alumni from your school, and other learners in your industry.
Remember, on LinkedIn, your connection reflects your brand and career projection. For instance, your lecturers are most likely connected to leaders in your industry.
If you connect with your lecturers, their network, which might be composed of CEO in your target industry, becomes your second-degree connection. You can request an introduction from your lecturers or send a request to connect to the CEO. To increase your odds of connecting, customize your request to connect message by following these tips.
If you are an entrepreneur aiming to use LinkedIn to get clients, strive to connect with your target clients using the abovementioned qualities. Using the search bar, type the words that describe your ideal target clients like an owner, director, CEO, entrepreneur, partner, or founder.
After getting the results, send a request to connect message. Remember, ensuring that your request to join is accompanied by personalized, customized, and honest messaging increases the odds of your request to connect getting accepted.
3. Be Proactive In Engaging Your Network
Getting connected to your prospects is the first step to getting your foot on the door; the next crucial step is establishing yourself as a go-to person to solve their problems.
Understand that prospects are in different buying stages, and you aim to establish yourself as the ideal solution when they are ready to buy. Thus, create a posting schedule to create and post content meant to improve your online visibility while portraying you as an expert in your field. These are some of the strategies you can use to nature your relationship.
Sending Direct Messages To Your New Connections
Remember, the aim here is not to sell but to establish and nature a relationship with the connections.
Simple thanks for connecting messages are a great point to begin a conversation with a prospect. However, like LinkedIn cold messages, sending such a message might not elicit a prospect response, thus drafting a message that will compel the connection to respond. For instance, you can share resourceful information or tools like an eBook, template, free cv review session, or a checklist. Draft a message like, "Hey Dre, thank you for connecting. Found this eBook on CMR automation strategies and thought you might like it. I hope you enjoy it; thanks."
Send Direct Outreach Messages To People Who View Your Profile
One of the significant advantages of the LinkedIn sales navigator is that it shows you viewed your profile in the last 90 days. You can use the information to initiate a conversation with the prospect. The basic LinkedIn plan has this feature, though it shows many users who viewed your profile.
If someone has your profile, you can send a message like, "Hi Andy; I saw that you viewed my profile. How do you feel about my profile badge?" You can warm up the new connection with this message while receiving genuine feedback about your profile.
Endorse New Connection
Everyone loves a compliment, so make your connections. While LinkedIn endorsements aim to endorse someone you have worked with, you can use the prospect's profile to find information on their skills and abilities and give an endorsement.
Remember, since this is a new connection, don't flatter them or use excessive verbs as this might become aggressive. Be original, authentic, and honest. The shorter the endorsement, the better.
Interact With Connections When Making Major Life Changes
One of the great things about LinkedIn is how the activities of your network get tracked. Major life milestones like starting a new job, promotion, being fired, starting a company, getting married, or getting rewarded allow you to share the joy, pain, or excitement with your network.
Interacting with your network on linked at such a crossroads is the best way to develop a relationship. Remember the old saying, a friend in need is a friend indeed; LinkedIn allows you to friend your friendship or companionship at such critical life moments to initiate and strengthen a relationship.
Comment, Share, And Like Their Status
Connecting and engaging with your prospects is more about what they do and less about what you do. Watch out for a status update, posted article, or any company updates and like, share or comment.
Remember, your comment should be proportionate to your relationship. You are striving to establish a relationship with the prospect at this stage, so don't reference personal information.
4) Make Your Big Request
After engaging and communicating with the prospect for a month or two, it is time to make your big request. While some prospects will come to you since they view you as an expert in your field, most prospects will require you to reach out and market your services to get a response.
While making your big request, be progressive by starting with a small request and moving gradually to a big one. If you have been sharing resourceful information with the prospects via Inmail, the significant request might be to request their email. Remember, the request should be action-based and conversion-based.
It must require some action or commitment, like asking for a sale, downloading a book, coffee, or signing up. The big request should have the following qualities to be effective:
- It should be clear and specific
- They require the prospect to do one thing, not asking a prospect to do a million things. For instance, request a prospect coffee but don't request coffee and ask them to download an eBook in one big request.
- It should be action-oriented, e.g., download the eBook, sign up on the website, or show up for a product demonstration.
- It must minimize or limit choices. Show the prospect that your big request is their best and only option for solving a problem.
- It should speak in the first person to demonstrate authority In decisions making.
- And create a sense of urgency like buying while stocks last, taking advantage of our limited offer, or buying before October 15th and getting a one-month free subscription.
Getting your foot in your prospect's door shouldn't be a challenge. You can create an effective, efficient, and consistent plan to get you closer to your prospect's door by following these tips.