DoorInThe Face Method

Another way to use the Principle of Reciprocity is by deploying the Door-In-The-Face technique. More devastating than the straightforward approach of giving a gift and receiving a return favor, this technique takes a subtle approach.

Supposing you want to make a request "B." One way to increase your chances of receiving compliance to that request "B" is to first make a much larger request "A." Request "A" is similar to request "B", except that because of its magnitude, compliance to it is almost impossible. This much larger request is expected to be rejected. After the rejection, you immediately retreat to your originally planned request "B". Statistically, the request "B" has an almost 95% chance of receiving compliance because of this linguistic framework.

This so effective because social norms dictate that a concession must be exchanged with a concession. By allowing your request "A" to be rejected, you gave a concession. Therefore the person you persuade must respond with a concession that of complying with your allegedly smaller request "B"! Why does it work so well? Cultural norms tend to override even logic and inner resistance.

The Door-In-The-Face Method takes two steps:

First Step: Make a large request (this elicits a No!)

Second Step: Make the real, and smaller request: (this gets the Yes!)

Labor negotiators frequently deploy this tool. They begin with extreme demands expected to be turned down. Abruptly, they repeat to a series of smaller demands, or concessions which will then be more easily accepted. These smaller demands are the real target of the labor group. The larger requests were merely decoys meant to provide smokescreens.

Children use this technique very well. Sometimes, a child may desire a small item like a cassette. To increase his chance of getting it, he makes huge requests, like a CD player or arcade game. The parents expectedly turn it down. What does the child do then? He retreats to his real request and says that if he can't get a CD, can he get a cassette tape instead?

The response to such a comparatively trifling request is evident.

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