Breaking the ice or getting your foot in the door is a common technique in sales and negotiation for getting someone to agree to a large request by first convincing them to acquiesce to a small request. Like reciprocity, this phenomenon, called compliance operates on the theory that once you get them to agree with you, it’ll be harder to disagree with you later on.
For example, when raising funds for a non-profit organization you’d first ask for donations of time or money in small amounts. Since these requests are small, prospects are likely to say yes. However, after they’ve made the decision to donate it will be easier to return and ask for a larger donation next time.
This particular behavior is used heavily in sales funnels in conjunction with reciprocity. Brands give their customers and prospective clients samples, freebies, ebooks, webinars, and other valuable content in order to get them to make that first small purchase. Once a small purchase is made, brands have a much easier time convincing those same customers to make an even larger purchase, pushing them farther and farther down the sales funnel.
Let’s look at an example of compliance. Netflix, the movie streaming service offers prospective customers one month free, providing a risk-free trial in order to attract new customers to make a small purchase. Because Netflix is a recurring charge, the service is trying to get these new acquisitions to buy their basic service, only $7.99 per month.
Once they have a new customer at the basic level, they provide the subscriber information on their pricing, showing that for only $2.00 more a month, they receive more services, and can add more devices to their plan, and for only $4.00 more they can add even more devices. Each of these small increases provides them much more service. Netflix has shown this that once a person has purchased the basic service, it only takes a few months for Netflix to convert that customer to a higher service package.
Once a customer makes that initial purchase, he/she will subsequently behave in the same way and accelerate their spending to justify the earlier decision. Using compliance in conjunction with reciprocity provides more successful campaigns than using only one or the other.