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Getting Your Foot in the Door


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One aspect of the law of dissonance is the urge to remain consistent with our commitments. Even if someone begins with a small request then follows it up with a larger request, we still tend to remain consistent in our behavior and answers. This technique of capitalizing on such a principle has been called by several names, including “foot-in-the-door,” FITD, self-perception theory, or the “sequential request.”

Basically, it is a means of using a person’s self-perception to motivate her to partake of the desired action. When an individual complies a first time, she perceives herself to be helpful. If she is asked to comply a second time in an even greater way, she is likely to consent. In an effort to maintain consistency with the first impression and with her own self-perception, she agrees to give even more of themselves.

The following outline highlights three key principles in learning how to use this technique:

1. Small commitments often later lead to large commitments. For example, salespeople often focus first on securing an initial order, even if it’s a small one. Once this is accomplished, the customer will be more likely to commit to buying from them again.

2. Written commitments are usually more powerful than verbal commitments. We know the power of the written word. When contracts are signed and promises put into writing, the commitment level correspondingly increases tenfold.

3. Public commitments are stronger than private commitments. Taking a public stand that is witnessed by others compels us to continually endorse that commitment. Otherwise, we risk being seen as inconsistent, weak, or dishonest. For example, as mentioned earlier, many weight-loss centers have their clients write down and share their goals with as many people as possible, thereby decreasing the likelihood of failure.

The key to using FITD is to get the person to initially grant a small request. For example, if you were to ask someone, “Can I have just thirty seconds of your time?” most individuals would respond affirmatively. According to self-perception theory, the person would observe his own behavior and, in regard to this interaction, consider himself to be a helpful person. The second step in the FITD principle is making another, more involved request. “Can I try this on the stain on your carpet?” The person feels he should consent to the second request because he is “that kind of person.” He has already seen himself do other behaviors in support of the product or service, so he willingly complies with the second request.

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When utilizing this technique, you must first determine exactly what end result you are seeking. This will be the big commitment you ask for. You should then create several small and simple requests that are related to your ultimate request, making sure they can be easily satisfied. As the examples above demonstrate, taking these measures will greatly increase the likelihood that your ultimate request will be granted.

Here are some more key points to remember in using FITD:

1. The first request: The first request needs to be “of sufficient size for the foot in the door technique to work,” but, on the other hand, it cannot be so big that it seems inappropriate and/or is not easily and readily accomplished. Basically, you want to present the largest possible request that will still realistically be accepted.

2. Your prospect’s viewpoint: The FITD tactic is not effective if your prospect senses that you are acting in your own self-interests instead of in hers or society’s. What is in it for you? Why are you requesting this from her?

3. External incentives: The FITD technique loses impact if your prospect is offered external incentives for agreeing to your first request. Researchers typically use self-perception theory to explain this phenomenon. For example, if you are given a gift for listening to a salesperson, you will not consciously or subconsciously perceive yourself to be one who is willing to readily listen and agree to the salesperson’s offer. Instead, you agree to listen only for the incentive being offered to you.

4. The source of the request: Having different people employ the initial and subsequent requests when using the FITD technique can be an effective strategy. This way, the same person isn’t required to make both the initial and the follow-up requests and your prospects won’t feel like they are being taken advantage of.

Another study involved testing to see whether introductory psychology students would rise early to take part in a 7:00 A.M. study session on thinking processes. In one group, the students were told at the beginning of the call that the session would begin promptly at 7:00 A.M. Of these students, only 24 percent agreed to participate. In the second group, the students were first told what the study was and that their participation was desired. The 7:00 A.M. time was not mentioned until after they had consented to take part, which 56 percent of them did. When the opportunity to change their minds was presented to them, however, none of them took advantage of it. Ninety-five percent of students actually followed through and showed up for the 7:00 A.M. session.

In another case, social psychologist Steven J. Sherman wanted to see if he could increase the number of people who would be willing to collect door-to-door donations for the American Cancer Society. He called a sample of residents and simply asked them what their response would be if they were asked to volunteer three hours of their time to collect charitable donations for the American Cancer Society. Not wanting to seem uncharitable, many responded that they would indeed volunteer. The final outcome? When a representative of the American Cancer Society actually called and asked for volunteers, there was a 700 percent increase of individuals agreeing to participate.

Conclusion

Persuasion is the missing puzzle piece that will crack the code to dramatically increase your income, improve your relationships, and help you get what you want, when you want, and win friends for life. Ask yourself how much money and income you have lost because of your inability to persuade and influence. Think about it. Sure you’ve seen some success, but think of the times you couldn’t get it done. Has there ever been a time when you did not get your point across? Were you unable to convince someone to do something? Have you reached your full potential? Are you able to motivate yourself and others to achieve more and accomplish their goals? What about your relationships? Imagine being able to overcome objections before they happen, know what your prospect is thinking and feeling, feel more confident in your ability to persuade.

Kurt Mortensen teaches over a hundred techniques to give you the ability to effectively work with every customer that walks in your door. Professional success, personal happiness, leadership potential, and income depend on the ability to persuade, influence, and motivate others. Learning how to persuade and influence will make the difference between hoping for a better income and having a better income.

If you are ready to claim your success and learn what only the ultra-prosperous know, begin by going to http://www.PreWealth.com and getting my free report “10 Mistakes That Continue Costing You Thousands.” After reading my free report, go to http://www.PreWealth.com/IQ and take the free Persuasion IQ analysis to determine where you rank and what area of the sales cycle you need to improve in order to close every sale!

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  • Posted On December 26, 2006
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