Door In The FaceOpen Access

Door In The Face

We're more likely to agree to a small request after first rejecting a larger one

Seeing the other party shift to a more reasonable negotiation position makes us do the same, especially if they’re realistic and physically present.

Ebster & Neumayr (2008). Applying the door-in-the-face compliance technique to retailing. The Int’l Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research.

The study

Setup

375 mountain hikers were approached as they passed a cheese sales counter and asked to buy a large piece, with all rejecting it. They were then offered a piece half in size and cost and split into 4 groups: 1 - Simple DITF2 - a verbal concession that large was too big; 3 - credibility by wearing a traditional uniform; and 42+3 combined.

Results

Purchases were much higher with DITF, especially carried out by a credible salesperson conceding verbally.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

Verbally emphasize the concession of the target request over the initial one. This is vital - hearing the salesperson empathize and adjust their request is required for the consumer to reciprocate and accept.

Takeaway image

Only use in physical sales situations. It’s unlikely to work where there is no direct contact between buyer and seller (e.g. online auctions), due to the lack of verbal concession and face-to-face interaction. It’s best used in an in-person context where negotiation is key (car showrooms, charitable giving, B2B contracts etc).

Takeaway image

Sizes matter. Don’t make your initial request too high, as consumers will use it to justify their rejection of the target request (Wang et al, 1989). Also ensure that the reduction of the target feels significant enough for the consumer to justify a decision change. 

Takeaway image
Takeaway image
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Door In The Face

Door In The Face

We're more likely to agree to a small request after first rejecting a larger one

Seeing the other party shift to a more reasonable negotiation position makes us do the same, especially if they’re realistic and physically present.

The study

Setup

375 mountain hikers were approached as they passed a cheese sales counter and asked to buy a large piece, with all rejecting it. They were then offered a piece half in size and cost and split into 4 groups: 1 - Simple DITF2 - a verbal concession that large was too big; 3 - credibility by wearing a traditional uniform; and 42+3 combined.

Results

Purchases were much higher with DITF, especially carried out by a credible salesperson conceding verbally.

study graph
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