If your product or service offerings are fairly expensive and you are looking for new clients, one way of getting in the door is having a door opener.


In retail you see door crashers all the time. Special prices designed to get you in the door or to generate a bit of a marketing buzz.

If oranges are on for 50 cents a pound, you might go to the store and while you are there upgrade to bread and cereal. The upgrade path is clear.

If a big screen TV is regularly $1500 and they have 5 on for $400, they are creating marketing buzz. It is unlikely that you are also going to buy enough other products while picking up the TV for them to recoup the loss.

Consulting Services

Consulting services (or larger cost products) are a bigger sale. Trust and relationships are also important. Things may not be perfect with the incumbent supplier(s) but the perceived risk in trying your services may be too high.

How do you get in the door without requiring a large leap of faith from the client?

Many companies try to do this by offering a door opener.

However, you need to be really careful in how you go about this. There are several options commonly used:

  • Offer your regular service at a steep discount and take the loss as an investment,

  • Offer a smaller version of your core service,

  • Offer another service or product to get in the door and then convert to the core service.

I don't recommend the first option. It just teaches the new client that they should expect low prices and steep discounts in the future.

The second option requires enough value to impress your client and build trust. If the light version is too good, why would they need to upgrade to the full service. If it is too light it won't meet the value and trust requirements.

The third option needs to be considered very carefully. You need to understand how one lower cost product or service will map into another more expensive product or service. Buying a great suit doesn't mean I will go to you for a fridge. Don't plan this right and you may get in the door, but remain in the lobby.

Have a Plan

If you are going to implement any of these strategies, it is just like any other marketing to sales planning. You need to carefully consider how you will move up the value chain and what the likelihood of doing so will be.

What is the upgrade path? If they buy X what is the likely path to Y? When is this likely to occur? Each step must create value for the client and in turn build trust in the relationship.

Then you need to implement the strategy, measure, tune and repeat.

The Fourth Option

Don't follow the traditional paths. Dare to be different.

Maybe your door opener is being great at what you do. You build a name for yourself for something and let word of mouth and your clients build trust in new clients. Jump right to the meaningful work.

Of course this requires that you focus on great.