Because perceived risk is one of the greatest obstacles to the decision to buy, gradual thresholds make it easier to gain confidence and reduce risk in the mind of the prospect. “Starting Points,” therefore, become an important element in early stage relationships.
Marketing is essentially the process of creating relationships. Imagine walking up to someone who’s sitting at a bar and starting off with a line like, “I’d like to start a long term relationship with someone like you.” A better start is a series of questions like, “Is this seat taken,” “Could you pass the peanuts,” “Is that a Cosmopolitan you’re drinking. I think I’ll have one, too. Would you like a refill.” The goal of sequencing is to make it easy for another person to cross the threshold toward greater levels of commitment. Further, because it requires less investment to create incremental sales from an existing customer than to create a new one, low relationship thresholds create greater efficiency and lower acquisition cost. By reducing risk, lowering buying thresholds also increases the perceived benefit or value in the mind of the prospect.