Door In The Face Technique
Go big, then go small to get the 'yes'.
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And with that subtle example, let’s get into today’s piece on the door-in-the-face technique!
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The Face-In-The-Door Technique
I was taking a nap on my couch the other day. As one should. And my friend woke me up to help move his couch. You know me, of course I helped.
I was back at it. Taking another splendid afternoon nap. As one should. But this time it was my other roommate. Shamelessly waking me up to help clean the mess he made in the kitchen.
Not this time, no. I was going back to sleep. No way I’m helping him clean that entire kitchen - looks like too much work. Guess I’m not that nice after all?
Next thing we know - I’m out here taking the trash out. Apparently, after telling him no to help clean the kitchen, this was the least I could do. Right?
It was the "Door In The Face technique doing its job... There's been extensive research on it, and there are three factors I want to focus on that may enhance its persuasiveness:
Request Alignment: This technique usually works best when the second request is a smaller version of the first request, rather than a new request
The Relationship Level: This technique usually works better when it’s a friend asking for the favor, not strangers. A friend asking for a favor increases one’s concern about self-presentation.
Legitimacy of Initial Requests: Research has found that exaggerated initial requests discredit the person asking the question, and may even induce a boomerang effect - suppressing compliance with the requests.
Tl;DR: Align your requests. Stick to your friends. Be reasonable.
3 Tactics To Leverage The Door-In-The-Face Technique
1/ For SaaS Companies: Lifetime Deals
Till date, I haven’t once signed up for a lifetime deal for any SaaS company. And I don’t think that’s changing soon either. But I know a couple people that have.
So, in my eyes, the benefit of the lifetime subscription offer is worthwhile for two reasons: building momentum with your early adopters and increasing conversion rates on your monthly/annual subscription plans.
It’s the perfect way to apply the door-in-the-face technique. A pop-up showcasing your lifetime offer - that most might see as unreasonable - followed by your annual/monthly subscription. Suddenly the latter make a lot of sense!
2/ For E-Commerce Brands: Your Cancellation Flow
Earlier this month, I gave Hello Fresh a shot. Turns out, I’m way lazier than I expected. And even cancelling my Hello Fresh subscription was a challenge.
Right after I was asked if I’m sure if I want to cancel (which I was), I was hit with these 3 options:
Guess what? I ended up switching to bi-weekly delivery, and it’s working out a lot better for me. In a way, this was another example of the door-in-the-face technique. Starting with the “Are you sure?” option which is reasonable, but highly unlikely to keep me subscribed, and ending with a simpler downsell.
Sounds pretty simple to me, but too many brands are still sleeping on this.
3/ For Digital Businesses: Get More Feedback
Whether it’s a course or an info product, feedback is a necessity. Most digital business owners seem to know that, but don’t know how to acquire more feedback. Well, if you’ve ever felt like that, I got you covered.
Here are a couple of ideas to leverage the door-in-the-face technique:
Start by asking for a video testimonial and for those who ignore/reject, follow up in a bit with a quick 1-minute survey
Start by asking for 5 referrals for a 50% discount and for those who don’t even get started offer 10% off for 1 referral
Either way, you’ll end up with increased feedback (retention and revenue). That’s what I love about this persuasive technique. Another win-win!
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ICYMI, last week we analyzed the Foot In The Door Technique
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A Review From A Fellow Marketing Psychologist...
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See you next Thursday,
Abhishek "The Doorman" Shah