Persuasion techniques


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Basic persuasive sales techiques. Mostly used in wrong situations, but if these techniques would be used instead of forced motivations, it would trigger a more internalised motivation of ourselves.

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Persuasion techniques

  1. 1. SequentialPersuasionTechniquesFoot in the Door p. 2Door in the Face p. 3Bait and Switch p. 4Low Ball p. 5That’s not all p. 6Disrupt then reframe p. 7Fear then relief p. 8Selling the top of the line p. 9Dump and chase p. 10 Source: 1
  2. 2. Foot in the DoorDescriptionAsk for something small.When they give it to you, then ask for something bigger.And maybe then something bigger again.ExampleA person in the street asks me directions, which I give. They then ask me to walk a little way with them to make surethey dont get lost. In the end, I take them all the way to their destination.Dad, can I go out for an hour to see Sam? [answer yes]...I just called Sam and hes going to the cinema - can I go with him?...I havent got money -- could you lend me enough to get in?...Could you give us a lift there?...Could you pick us up after?DiscussionFITD works by first getting a small yes and then getting an even better yes.The principle involved is that a small agreement creates a bond between the requester and the requestee. The otherperson has to justify their agreement to themself. They cannot use the first request as something significant, so theyhave to convince themself that it is because they are nice and like the requester or that they actually are interested inthe item being requested. In a future request, they then feel obliged to act consistently with their internal explanationthey have built.Freedman and Fraser (1966) asked people to either sign a petition or place a small card in a window in their home orcar about keeping California beautiful or supporting safe driving. About two weeks later, the same people wereasked by a second person to put a large sign advocating safe driving in their front yard. Many people who agreed tothe first request now complied with the second, far more intrusive request.The Freedman and Fraser study showed significant effect. later studies showed that the actual effect was more oftenfar less.The most powerful effect occurs when the persons self-image is aligned with the request. Requests thus need to bekept close to issues that the person is likely to support, such as helping other people. It is also affected by individualneed for consistency.Pro-social requests also increase likelihood of success with this method. It is also more likely to succeed when thesecond request is an extension of the first request (as opposed to being something completely different).The Foot-in-the-door technique is a sequential request.Note also that foot in the door is also used as a generic term to describe where early sales are relatively unprofitable(maybe a loss leader), as the key purpose is to enable a relationship to be developed whereby further and moreprofitable sales may be completed. 2
  3. 3. Door in the FaceDescriptionFirst make a request of the other person that is excessive and to which they will most naturally refuse.Look disappointed but then make a request that is more reasonable. The other person will then be more likely toaccept.ExampleWill you donate $100 to our cause? [response is no].Oh. Well could you donate $10?Can you help me do all this work?Well can you help me with this bit?Can I stay out until 4am?OK. How about midnight?DiscussionDITF works by first getting a no and then getting a yes.When the other person refuses the first request, they may feel guilty about having refused another person and fearrejection as a result. The second request gives them the opportunity to assuage that guilt and mitigate any threat ofsocial rejection. In effect, the person making the request is making an exchange of concession for belonging.The lower request uses the contrast principle, making it seem very small in comparison with the larger initial requestand hence relatively trivial and easy to agree with.This method works best when the requests being made have a socially valid element, for example where you areseeking to learn something, teach people or help others. This is so that the other person does not reject the wholerequest out of hand (it is just that the initial request is too much).The second request should be made soon after the first request, before the effects of guilt and other motivators wearsoff.Cialdini, Cacioppo, Bassett, and Miller asked students to to volunteer to council juvenile delinquents for two hours aweek for two years. After their refusal, they were asked to chaperone juvenile delinquents on a one-day trip to thezoo. 50% agreed to chaperone the trip to the zoo as compared to 17% of participants who only received the zoorequest.The Door-in-the-face technique is a sequential request and is also known as rejection-then-retreat. 3
  4. 4. Bait and SwitchDescriptionOffer them something that appears to be very good value. This should be a real bargain, an offer they cant possiblyrefuse, even if they were not thinking about it.Later, replace the item with something of less value to them (and more profit to you).ExampleA car sales showroom puts a basic car outside with a very low price-tag. Once the customer is interested, the salesperson trades them up to a more expensive model.Would you like to go out to this really expensive restaurant? ... Oh dear, its booked up. Never mind, we can go to the usualplace.DiscussionWhen the person sees the initial item of high value they cognitively close on the idea of acquiring it and hence Theearly bait thus moves them from a negative position to one of commitment.When the high value item is removed, then they enter a state of anxiety in which they seek to re-enter the comfortableclosed state. They thus seek to satisfice, accepting almost any solution that will get them back to that comfortablestate.There may also be an element of commitment to the person making the offer. If I offer something to you, you feelsome obligation to me. If I then switch the offer, especially if the switching seems reasonable, then you are likely toaccept the second offer out of a sense of obligation to me. To do otherwise would expose myself as inconsistent andbreak bonding between us.Although common in sales, this method was first researched by Joule, Gouilloux, and Weber (1989), who called itthe lure procedure. They invited students to watch interesting film clips (and hence got a lot of volunteers), but thenswitched the task to memorizing lists of numbers. In the control group that was just asked to help by memorizingnumbers (no initial film-clip offer), only 15% agreed, as opposed to 47% who had been first offered the film-clipexperiment.The bait and switch technique is a sequential request. 4
  5. 5. Low BallDescriptionFirst make what you want the other person to agree to easy to accept by making it quick, cheap, easy, etc.Maximize their buy-in, in particular by getting both verbal and public commitment to this.Make it clear that they are agreeing to this of their own free will.Then change the agreement to what you really want. The other person may complain, but, if the low-ball is donecorrectly they should agree to the change.The trick of a successful low-ball is in the balance of making the initial request attractive enough to gain agreement,whilst not making the second request so outrageous that the other person refuses. It nevertheless is surprising howgreat a difference there can be between these two requests.ExampleA person agrees to buy a car at a low price. The sales person then apologizes that the wrong price was on the car. Theperson still agrees to buy it at the higher price.A family books a package holiday. They find that there are surcharges. They pay these without question.DiscussionThe Low-ball works by first gaining closure and commitment to the idea or item which you want the other person toaccept, then using the fact that people will behave consistently with their beliefs to sustain the commitment whenyou change the agreement.There is also an illusion of irrevocability whereby a person believes that a decision made cannot be reversed, forexample when a person agrees to buy a car and considers the handshake as the final transaction (as opposed tohanding over the money).Agreeing to a low price creates excitement and not buying after this state is induced may lead to an equally deepdepression, which the person may avoid by continuing with the more expensive purchase.When the final price is not that much higher than elsewhere, the person weighs up the inconvenience of goingelsewhere with the short-term benefit of holding their purchase very soon.Cialdini, Cacioppo, Bassett, and Miller (1978) asked students to participate in an experiment. The control group wastold during the request that it would be at 7am. The low-ball group was only told this later. 24% of the control groupagreed to this, whilst 56% of the low-ball group agreed (and 95% of these actually turned up).Guéguen and Pascual (2000) found it to be important that the person believes that they have made a free and non-coerced agreement to the first request. In particular adding but you are free to accept or to refuse to the first requestincreased compliance.Burger and Petty (1981) showed that the same person must make both requests.The Low-ball technique is a sequential request. 5
  6. 6. That’s not allDescriptionWhen offering or conceding something to somebody, rather than give it to them as a final item, give it in incrementalpieces. Do not allow them to respond to each piece you give them -- keep on offering more.Thus, for example, you can: Offer a discount in several stages. Add extra gifts to a product offering. Start with a high price and reduce it. Tell them all the things you are going to do, one at a time.The increments can be in different amounts, but each should surprise and delight the person. It can also help if thefinal increment is particularly desirable.ExampleLadies and gentlemen, Im not only going to reduce this by 10%, not even by 20% and not even by 40%. Today, ladiesand gentlemen, the price is reduced for you by a whopping 50%!Im not going to give you this cookie cutter. No. Thats not all Im going to give you. For the same price, Im going tothrow in a fine steel spatula. A bargain I hear you say? But Im going to make it even better, with this splendidtemperature probe, absolutely free. Now, who wants this wonderful offer now?Mr Jones, youve been treated badly and Im going to make sure youre ok today. First, Im going to call the serviceteam. Then Im going to talk to the manager and then Ill get him to call you today. Is this ok for you?DiscussionThis technique is reminiscent of the highball tactic in that it starts with high and comes down. The only difference isthat the thats not all method does not do this in negotiated concessions.It can, however, seem like a negotiation. Burger (1986) found that this technique works partly because a customersees the salesperson as entering into a type of negotiation by offering an additional product. With each increment, thecustomer feels an increasing obligation to purchase the product in return for the salespersons concessions.In Burgers experiment, he sold a cupcake with two cookies together for 75 cents (this was the control) or stated theprice of cupcake was 75 cents and then added two cookies for free (TNA). Successful sales in the control were 40%,whilst in the TNA case they were 73%.In a second experiment, Burger showed it going the other way, either selling the cupcakes straight for 75 cents (thecontrol) or starting at one dollar and then immediately discounting to 75 cents (the TNA case). Successful sales in thecontrol were 44% whilst in the TNA case were again 73%.The method depends largely on an automatic social response and hence works better when the customer does nothave time to think hard about what is going on. 6
  7. 7. Disrupt then reframeDescriptionMake a statement that goes off the normal track of how the other person thinks. Then make a rational-soundingstatement that makes apparent sense and leads the other person to agree to your request.This is typically done in a single speech, effectively disrupting and reframing your own statements.The principle can also be used in disrupting the other person, breaking into their speech and reinterpret what theyare saying to indicate something else. This is best done when they are in the middle of talking and are in a state offlow, effectively trotting out a familiar script on the subject.The disruption can even be something nonsensical -- the key is that it breaks a pattern and readies them forsomething else.ExampleDavis and Knowles told customers that a package of eight cards sold for $3.00, and subsequently made sales toapproximately 40% of customers. When they told customers that "the price of eight cards is 300 pennies, which is abargain", then sales doubled to 80% of customers.Them: You know I hate it when you...You: Marakanas!...I hate it when we dont get on. So lets try again?DiscussionDavis and Knowles based this approach on a study of hypnotist Milton Eriksons methods whereby he woulddeliberately disrupt thinking and behaving and hence destabilize his patients habitual patterns and then change thatthinking whilst the patient was still unsure what to think next.This method uses the principle of confusion to unfreeze the person and then uses reframing in a hurt andrescue route to closure.In their pennies example, the use of 300 pennies is a disruption of the normal 3 dollars. Whilst the person is tryingto figure out what this means, the reframe which is a bargain is slipped in as an explanation, which many peopleaccept and hence conclude that it is worth purchasing before they decide that 300 pennies is really $3, which is notworth paying.Rather than use standard persuasive pressure, as in traditional one-off selling, it acts more subtly to createalternative forms of tension that are literally doubly (as in Davis and Knowles experiment) as effective. The aim isthus to reduce avoidance rather than focus first on increasing attractiveness.The persuader thus becomes a trusted supporter rather than an oppositional enforcer, which supports futurepersuasion as in relationship selling or collaborative negotiation.Fennis, Das and Pruyn extended this principle to show that this disruption and reframing approach was applicableacross a wider range of settings. Specifically, the Disrupt-Then-Reframe technique reduced the extentof objections and counter-argument to a sales script and boosted the impact of questioning and alignment methods. 7
  8. 8. Fear then reliefDescriptionInvoke fear in the other person. Then, when they seek a solution, provide one that leads them in the direction youchoose.Fear is invoked by threatening needs. Relief may be gained by doing what you request. Relief may also given freelyto create trust and invoke the rules of social exchange.Be careful not to be seen as an aggressor, for example by using external sources to invoke the fear.Also be careful not to invoke so much fear that they flee from you or become aggressive.ExampleYour performance has been below standard recently and you may be placed on the at risk register. I wont do thisnow but I do want you to show me what you are capable of.The boss came around when you were out and asked where you were. Dont worry, I gave a good excuse. Could youcover for me? I want to go home early.DiscussionThis is a direct application of the hurt and rescue principle, creating discomfort and then providing the means ofreducing that discomfort. Whilst a relatively crude method, it is still quite common and often effective when donewell.This works as the pleasant relief is linked with the second request, which receives the pleasant emotionby association. In the state of blessed relief the person may also be temporarily unthinking as the strong emotionoverwhelms any rational consideration.Repeated fear-relief cycles can be emotionally very exhausting and is used in suchas interrogation and conversion to break a person down. When a person thinks they are rescued from a fearfulsituation, they relax and drop their guard, making the next wave even more terrifying as they are less and less ableto emotional defend against it.Invoking fear can be hazardous as it may well trigger the Fight-or-Flight reaction. Particularly when the persuader isseen as the primary cause of the discomfort, they may become the target of aggression and compliance will becomevery unlikely. One way this can be handled is that the persuader pleads innocence or unintentional action, whichleader the aggressor into apology and compliance as a way of restoring social harmony. 8
  9. 9. Selling the top of the lineDescriptionFirst promote an expensive product. Then show them a cheaper product.This can be done without really trying to sell the expensive product. Do it as if you are just a kind of product geekwho is proud of what can be done and want to show off great products. Then become the friend who sells them aproduct that suits them best.You can also try to sell the expensive product if they seem to be interested. Expensive products are sought by theaffluent and those who value the social kudos the product gives. If they seem like the latter, add what people willsay into your patter.If they reject the expensive product, then it is a simple step to move down to the cheaper product.ExampleJust look at this wonderful washing machine, it has many different cycles and controls...It is a bit expensive - but thisother machine does almost as much and is 30% less.I really want to go to the Seychelles for a fortnight. But I guess thats a bit expensive...Maybe a week in Cannes wouldbe better.DiscussionSelling the top of the line is a common approach that is a variant of the Door In The Face (DITF) method.Acting as a product geek in showing off the more expensive item establishes the sales person as an expert and canhelp to build trust. Note that serious attempts to sell the expensive product may negate or even invert these effects.The more expensive product creates desire, but cannot be afforded. The second product hooks into the created desirewith something that is closer to the buyers budget. The method uses the contrast principle to make the secondproduct appear relatively inexpensive.The exchange principle also applies as the sales person is giving up a higher sale in apparent concern for thecustomer, who reciprocates the favor by buying the product.Donoho (2003) showed 290 business majors different videos designed to sell CD players. Some were shown a top ofthe line video, showing first an expensive product followed by a less expensive product. Others were shownproducts in different orders. The top of the line video resulted in purchases of average 10% greater value. 9
  10. 10. Dump and chaseDescriptionAsk for something. When they flatly refuse, ask why (or why not, depending on how the situation is phrased).Then turn the discussion into a negotiation whereby you remove the reasons for them not agreeing with you orotherwise complying with your request.ExampleWhen a customer says they do not want buy a product, the sales person asks what is stopping them from buyingtoday, and then proceeds to address their issues.A boy wants to go out with his friends. His mother says no. He asks why not and then gives reasons and evidencethat outweigh the mothers reasons. In the end, she gives in.DiscussionThere are two forms of refusal: a flat refusal where no explanation is given and and obstacle where reasons are givenfor refusing. People often present obstacles as this is a more polite form and less likely to result in reactive argument.However, this form also gives space for the persuader to continue persuading.Persistence by the persuader allows them to wear down the other person, who also may become convinced that thisis an urgent and important matter for the persuader. The person may feel guilty in holding out when conceding isnot that important for them, or become sympathetic to their need.This method pulls on the needs to explain, effectively forcing the other person to give reason, which also enables thepersuader to continue.Dump and chase is also a strategy in ice hockey whereby a team hits the puck into the attacking zone, thenaggressively tries to retrieve it (which is similar to kick and rush in rugby union). 10