What is Foot in the Door Technique: Ultimate Guide + how to leverage in 2023

foot in the door technique

How often have you been asked to taste a bite of chocolate or have a perfume sample while crossing a busy street? Did the sellers try to start a conversation with you, and minutes later, you bought things you didn’t need? Yes, all these miraculous events are part of the Foot In The Door Technique (FITD)  used since the days of door-to-door salespeople. 

Of course, it’s not going to happen for everyone, and that’s why there is a section in marketing called Psychographic Segmentation that focuses on categorizing customers and why and how they can be persuaded to buy.

Here we discuss the origins of this method and, of course, why you see yourself buying those stuff. Plus, we provide you with some instances of how to use WatchThemLive to your own benefit and sell your product to your customers. Are you ready now? Let’s go!

What is Foot in The Door Technique

It is a method for convincing people to consent to a specific action. Using foot in the door technique, when a person complies with a small initial request, they will more likely agree to a second, more remarkable request or favor, which they would not have agreed to if they had been asked directly. 

Let’s break it down a little. Foot in the door phenomenon (FITD) works by trying to receive a  ‘YES’ first and asking for a small favor. Then getting the second ‘YES’ for the main bigger request wouldn’t be such a pain in the neck. 

Here is how foot in the door technique works:

  1. First, start with a small request. 
  2. Next, ask for something more significant or bigger, and you’ll see people are more likely to accept it. 

This psychological trick can be discussed in depth in customer behavior analytics.

big foot in small door

Why Does Foot in The Door Technique Work

Well, now it’s time to discuss the reason behind buying stuff you don’t need on that busy street or on a website and how behavioral targeting can work in favor of companies. Psychologists have tried to explain how foot-in-the-door technique works and found two main reasons influencing it. 

1. Consistency

Imagine you are in a clothing store, and the salesperson suddenly asks, ‘What color do you have in mind?’

By asking this simple question, they actually try to develop their relationship with you, and you see yourself honoring them. 
This is basically the first foot in the door technique effect. Why? Since after this small question that you see no harm in answering, you probably agree with other offers due to the initial relationship you had already made with the salesman.

2. Self-Perception

Another factor influencing foot in the door phenomenon is the concept of self-perception. When a customer complies with the first request, since they feel the urge to suggest an acceptable picture of themselves, they are more inclined to consent to another offer. This way, they feel more pleased with the self-perception they create after saying the second ‘YES.’

Proofs for Foot in The Door Technique

The research on foot-in-the-door phenomenon was first done by Jonathan Freedman and Scott  Fraser in 1996.

In this study, some people were asked on the phone to talk about the type of cleaning products they used. Then, after a while, they were asked to let some people go to their houses and check their cleaning brands.

Surprisingly, the people who said ‘YES’ to the first request and had talked about their cleaning products were %135 more liable to say ‘YES’ to the second request.
Of course, other similar experiments regarding foot in the door technique proved Freedman and Fraser’s first hypothesis; That is, FITD works.

chart of three sale method
Source:  IvyPanda

What Are the Foot in The Door Technique Examples

We all know that the glory days of foot in the door technique have passed, the days when the door-to-door business model was the primary option, but in the online era, this method still works. In the following, you can see some of these examples.

1. Asking for an Email

In our modern days, the most common thing almost everyone has is an email. So it’s more likely that people will give away their email addresses to websites and businesses that ask for it, and this is the first ‘YES.’ 

For instance, using WatchThemLive, you can easily analyze your visitors’ behavior, see the type of device and browser they use, or even their locations, etc. 

Next, you can ask for their emails and then based on their behavior analysis, send them the news about your campaigns and new features and attract their attention to your business.From here, your business can sell products and take the second and third ‘YES’ too.

2. Asking for Feedback Through Video Testimonials on WatchThemLive

Using the foot-in-the-door technique, you might also ask people questions about their experiences regarding a product or service you offer. For example, in our business, we ask our clients to share their experiences while working with WatchThemLive using video testimonials.
Then, we can offer them more services with useful options on  our platform and let them consider this service as their next choice and get the second ‘YES.’

3. Asking for Sharing on Social Media

Another example would be asking customers to share their experiences on social media to develop an initial relationship. It’s too easy for them to share a post or product on Twitter, Instagram, etc. This bridge is easy to build and maintain for receiving the second ‘YES.’

Difference Between Foot In The Door Technique & Door in the Face Technique

These two techniques may seem similar, but they are the exact opposite of each other. We discussed the foot in the door phenomenon before and how persuading the clients to agree to your request leads you to the second and more important ‘YES.’ 

FITD technique Vs.  DITF technique
FITD technique Vs. DITF technique

The door in the face technique works the other way around. Contrary to FITD, this technique starts by asking a large request from a customer or audience. This request is so demanding that the customer probably rejects it. 

Then, another realistic offer is made. This time, the client may be more inclined to give their consent to the second request. 

For example, if the salesman tells you that they are selling a product for 10 times higher than the reasonable price, you will probably reject it. But then, when they reduce the cost to two times higher than normal, here you’ll compare the two offers. Now you are more likely to accept the second one because you think it’s more logical.

In fact, while the salesman reduces the price, you feel like you have to reply to their favor. So, you decide to buy that product or service. This occurs based on the reciprocity principle.

FAQs on Foot in the Door Technique

Now, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions related to our topic.

#1 Foot in the Door Technique VS. Low-Ball Technique: What Is the Difference?

While the first technique starts with a small request and acts based on consistency and self-perception principles, the low-ball technique works based on the commitment principle.

How? First, the salesperson offers the customer a lower price but doesn’t intend to keep their promise. After the client makes up their mind to buy the service/product and gives the salesperson their consent, the salesperson tells them that there is a slight change in the cost due to a reason, for example, a mistake.

Since the buyer had agreed to the lower price, they usually feel committed to buying the product at a higher price as well. This is when a salesperson has used low-ball technique to persuade a buyer to purchase something.

#2 Is Foot in the Door Phenomenon Manipulation?

Yes, it is for sure. You may find yourself buying things you never wanted when someone uses this technique on you.


Foot in The Door Technique may seem rude and intrusive, but, as Freedman and Fraser explained, it is a method of ‘compliance without pressure.’ In psychology studies of this method, it’s the customer who persuades him or herself. So you should be aware of this technique and use it if you desire.

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