What Is Door In The Face Technique: Complete Guide + Best Examples in 2023

what is door in the face technique

Looking for an innovative technique and clever trick to sell your products?! That’s where the door in the face technique comes to help you out. But what is it?!

Well, it’s one of social psychology’s most famous and influential strategies. The door-in-the-face technique is a sequential request strategy to increase the compliance rates of a particular request. You can use it along with many other psychological tactics on your customers with significant effects and persuade them to buy your products and services! But as a business owner, you need a behavioral analytics tool to gather valuable insights into your customers to initiate any marketing strategy.

In this article, we’re going to give you the ultimate guide to this groundbreaking strategy. You will also find some examples of the door in the face technique. Moreover, we will learn how an analytics tool like WatchThemLive helps you increase your conversion rate.

To buckle up, let’s get started! Ready?!

What Is Door In the Face Technique

Have you ever disagreed with someone’s unexpected and unusual request, then s/he asks a smaller request and you find yourself agreeing to it? If yes, then I must congratulate you! You are a victim of the door-in-the-face technique and you have seen the high impact of this technique with your own eyes.

But why did you accept the second demand?! To clarify, in the door in the face technique, the first request is unrealistic. So you would be likely to refuse it. But when the second request, actually the intended request is made, you would accept it. Because in comparison with the first one, it’s more reasonable.

There are many other incredible marketing techniques like guerilla marketing, but the door in the face is a game changer to grow your business and increase sales!

in the following, we’re going to explain what’s the difference between door in the face technique and the foot in the door technique: 

Door in the Face Technique vs. Foot In the Door technique

The foot in the Door technique (or FITD) is used when you have a big request from someone and you need to make a smaller request before making it. When you start with a small request, you commit your counterpart to help, and the larger request is made based on a prior agreement.

In contrast, in the door in the face technique, the first demand is illogical and very difficult to fulfill, while the second demand is a little easier to fulfill. As a general rule, the person we ask will refuse the first request without thinking too much, because s/he considers it absurd, but it is quite possible that he will agree to the second request.

The History of the Door In the Face Technique

It was identified by professor Robert Cialdini in 1975 via a series of on-the-street survey questions. He has led decades of study and research into persuasion and is well-known for his book ‘ Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’.

Cialdini asked random passersby a large initial request at first: Would you agree to be mentors of prisoners for 2 years? He also naked this question from another group and followed up the smaller and intended request: Would you escort children around a zoo?!

All the participants tended to be agreed to the second request, but why?! Because it was more reasonable than the first demand. However, it takes time and effort! Amazing, isn’t it?!

How Does the Door In the Face Technique Work

Door in the face is a technique that works against FITF. By first making a very very big request that you know will not be agreed to in any way, you present your main request, which seems relatively unimportant and much easier.

Now, you may consider:

Why Do We Accept the Second Request

In the context of persuasion strategies, the door-in-the-face technique involves some explanations for the efficacy of this technique. In addition to the second request being more convenient than the first one, there are several psychological and social desirability aspects that seem to increase the likelihood of the second demand being accepted. Here’s the list of explanations that make people accept your demand:

1. Experience A Sense of Guilt

Here is our possible explanation: After rejecting the first request, no matter how illogical and difficult to agree to, we felt very guilty about the simple fact that we said no. This sense of guilt can be what motivate compliance with an ultimate request. Because we fear that if we refuse it, we will be even worse off. In addition, we believe that accepting the second offer reduces the guilt of rejecting the first offer.

2. The Sign of Compromise & Reciprocity

Another explanation is given by Robert Cialdini himself. He said that people interpret the least difficult second request as a sign of commitment from the person who is asking a favor. On the other hand, people see the fact that whoever wants us to do them a favor, gives us the second demand as a favor. Therefore, we are pressured by the social norm of reciprocity to accept their second demand and return the favor.

3. Maintain A Positive Social Image

Finally, another explanation for why the door in the face technique works well is related to our desire to maintain a good social image. Especially in front of people we care about, such as friends, family, or other loved ones, and relatives. We worry about what they say about us, and we put special emphasis on our actions.

If we are given an illogical and absurd initial demand, which we immediately refuse, we begin to believe that others may see us as unkind, selfish, or incapable of commitment. For this reason, we can easily accept the second demand to prove that we aren’t as unkind as the first request led us to appear.

What Does Affect Compliance Rates on Door In The Face Technique

There have been several studies that can see what factors can affect the effectiveness of the door-in-the-face technique because it doesn’t always work well. Aspects such as when to make a second request after the first one.

In 1999, the research conducted by the Chartrand group and colleagues from Santa Clara University examined the effect of time delay in the presentation of the second question. In their experiment, they divided their participants into two groups. 

One was given the second request immediately after being told the first, while the other was given a long time before being told the second demand. In the latter group, there is more acceptance.

One possible explanation for this finding is that by allowing a long time gap between the first and second requests, participants had time to feel bad about refusing the initial request. As time passes, the more they think about rejecting the first favor they’ve been asked, however, it was surreal or exaggerated. They may even think about the damage they have done to their social image after refusal.

Meanwhile, if the two offers are made close together, people don’t have time to think about how bad it was to reject the first offer. They don’t have the opportunity to think about their social image, and it also doesn’t give them a chance to feel guilty. This means that although they intend to compare the second request with the first one, they won’t be accepted as much as the group that has enough time to think.

Now, it’s time to give you an inspiring example of this technique!

The Door-In-the-Face Technique Example

The door-in-the-face technique is very repetitive in countless situations, and we may even have used it more than once without realizing it. Let’s take a look that the door in the face example, ready?!

A potential customer goes to a flea market and one of the antique clocks draws his attention. Then, he asks the seller how much it costs, he replies that it’s priced at 500 euros. The potential customer is surprised at such an exorbitant and unreasonable price for the watch, although it is beautiful, it does not seem to be worth much. If it even works, it can be worth around 150 or 200 euros at most. Therefore, firstly the customer decides not to buy the watch at such a high price, that is, he kindly “shuts the door in the face” of the retailer.

That being said, the seller knows well that the clock is not worth €500 but €50, and he also knows that the price he has given is exorbitant. So, the retailer calls after the man and tells him that:

“But today, I will sell it for 100 euros and give him an 80% discount.”

The customer feels like they are getting a real deal because they are originally going to get a clock that was worth a lot more. However, the real value of the watch is only 50 euros, which means that the customer is going to pay twice what he could actually pay. 

What a clever retailer he is! 😀

But, why Do We Need Use Such Techniques:

Despite some of the old techniques that annoy the customer, you as one of the sales professionals must have some high-converting sales techniques and tricks that can be used in today’s age.

How to Use the Door In The Face in Digital Marketing

Keep in mind that, in today’s day and age everything has changed compared to the past. We sell everything online. So, there’s no more persuading customers to buy our products with the power of our words. Currently, our marketing media includes: web pages, emails, landing pages, capture forms, and calls-to-action. In this section, we want to use old sales techniques in a new way in today’s world.

It is like any other marketing strategy that is used to achieve your desired goals. They may increase the sign-up, increase sales, etc. Let’s see some of the cases you can use this technique!

#1 Negotiating to Increase Sign-Up

When you run a pop-up and your desired goal is to make more people sign up on your website by entering their email addresses. So, you must offer a bigger request first and then ask them to complete your intended action. How?! Let’s see:

  • Ask first to buy your product. you’ll probably be refused.
  • Then ask for signing up for Free!

Pretty straightforward, isn’t it?!

#2 Increasing Sales

Imagine you’re in these two situations: Buying an expensive product or Buying an expensive product with incredible discounts?! Which one do you prefer?!🤔 

So, to negotiate the price for a price and increase the sales with your desired price:

  • Offer a much higher piece than your real goal,
  • Then offer a second offer with considerable discounts, but similar to your goal.

#3 Market Research

Looking for a trick to get more people to fill out your market research survey?! Worry not, you can ask them to do it via the door-in-the-face technique:

  • Ask potential participants to fill out a 100-question survey,
  • Then ask them to fill out two multiple-choice questions survey.

#4 Email Marketing

You can do the same with email marketing. For example, send an email asking them to attend a three-day conference. If your request is rejected, it’s okay to ask them to sign up for a thirty-minute online conference the next day. They will accept it rapidly! 🤗

Why We Need WatchThemLive to Increase conversions via DINF 

But there’s a big elephant in the room! Before you use any marketing strategy, you must know and identify your customers’ behavioral patterns well. Whether you want to increase the conversion rate or achieve any other goals like clicking on CTAs, you must use a behavioral analytics tool like WatchThemLive to analyze your customers’ interactions and then find a way to use the door-in-the-face technique.

To clarify, if your intended goal is to encourage customers to take a specific action, you must place a button or CTA on your website or pop-ups. But before designing your pop-ups, you must find the most clickable areas to increase the number of customers who click on CTA.

In order to achieve this goal, WatchThemLive’s clickmaps give you in-depth insights into designing your website menu and finding the best place for CTAs.

Moreover, it has an impressive feature that persuades your customer to record a video testimonial for social proof. It is a ‘Video Testimonials’ feature that asks users to answer some questions after pressing the record button. 

Firstly you can ask users to make a video and explain how they are satisfied with using your products or service. You’re probably be rejected! Then you can ask them to just press the record button and answer pre-set questions shortly. 

See?! You conduct door in the face technique to ask your customers to record a video, although it’s hard to make people come in front of the camera and talk about their experiences!

Now, run in the street and read out our article loudly! Well, if you don’t, Sign up now on WatchThemLive For FREE, take full advantage of it, and boost your conversion rate rapidly! 😁

FAQs on the Door In The Face Technique

By now, it’s time to answer some frequently asked questions regarding this incredible marketing technique. Ready for a ride?! Let’s go!

1. What Is the Door In The Face Technique Definition?

It refers to a compliance method commonly studied in psychology. It is a persuasive strategy to convince a participant to comply by making unrealistic demands that the respondent will mostly refuse it. This concept is a metaphorical slamming of a door in the face of the persuader. But when the persuader makes a second demand which is more reasonable, the respondent is more likely to agree to it.

2. Why Is Door-In-The-Face Technique Effective?

Because it can increase compliance with the target request compared to situations where you ask someone to do something.

3. What Is the Disadvantage of The Door-In-The-Face Technique?

Although it’s a sequential persuading technique, this technique has its own limits. If you make your first request unreasonably large, then it can backfire. So, the first request can get pretty big before they seem unreasonable.

To Wrap Things Up

If you ask your customers for too big a request, they will most likely refuse your request and it will make their mind slam their door in your face. But, if you keep asking for smaller demand after the initial large demand, they will be more inclined to accept your request. This trick is called the door in the face technique that will help you to activate your desired goal which is the second request.

Najmieh Sarmadi
Najmieh Sarmadi
Najmeh began her career with WatchThemLive, gaining unparalleled experience in the marketing space while also establishing herself as a content writer. She has spent most of her career in the content writing industry.
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