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The door in the face (DITF) technique is a persuasion method eliciting compliance. The persuader approaches an individual with a request that is so demanding or outrageous that it would most likely be refused. Then, the persuader presents a smaller and more reasonable request which was the intended request. The individual accepts the second request because it seems smaller than the first. If the persuader had simply made the smaller request first he would have been turned down, but because the larger one was presented first the individual views the second option as a gain over the first offer. Another explanation is that the individual reciprocates with a compliance to the concession.
There is also a feeling of guilt associated with the DITF technique of sequential requests (Cialdini, 2000). A person is also more likely to agree with the second request because they feel guilty for having rejected the first request. A reference point (or framing) construal can also explain this phenomenon, as the initial bad offer sets a reference point from which the second offer looks like an improvement.
Imagine a product that is obscure or new to the market and the price it will reach once it becomes widespread is generally unknown. A salesman could first ask an outrageous price for the product, then after the customer refuses, he can ask another price, which is lower than the first one but still somewhat higher than the intended price. However, because the prospective buyer was just presented with a less desirable alternative, he is more likely to pay the price.
As a version of the above example, shops are sometimes accused of raising prices before announcing a discount, so that the discounted price is the same or even higher than the original price. People are more inclined to pay it because the non-discounted price is higher still and thus creates the illusion of making a saving.
- Brehm, S.S., Kassin, S., Fein,S. (2005) Social Psychology 6th ed. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Cialdini, R. B. (2000) Persuasion: Influence and practice 4th ed. New York: Allyn & Bacon.
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