One offer two techniques: foot-in-the-door versus that’s- not- all

Consider the following offer made by a direct marketer through print media (inanimate medium with lesser possibilities for dramatization):

‘Lotto combo: actual price Rs 10894 but we will give it to you at an offer price of Rs 2499- save 77%

  • Duffle bag
  • Gym bag
  • Lotto shoes
  • Lotto black T shirt
  • Lotto white shirt
  • Lotto wrist watch

And now consider the following offer made by a direct marketer on television (seller str talking straight to prospects):

  • Today’s special offer, Lotto shoes market price Rs 3499 at special price Rs 2499
  • That’s not all; you get duffle bag worth 1999 with the shoes
  • That’s not all, along with duffle bag you get a gym bag worth Rs 999
  • You get merchandise  worth Rs 6497 for just Rs 2499
  • It is a limited period offer

That’s not all, we will give you a pair of two T shirts (white and black) of your size worth Rs 2400 if you order now

Now you are getting good quality branded merchandise worth Rs 7697 for just Rs 2499

  • Can you get this kind of attractive offer any where?
  • We have limited stocks and the offer is open till stocks last.
  • Today is a lucky day for you customers, that’s not all in this combo.
  • We will give you a wrist watch worth Rs 3197
  • That makes the total combo value Rs 10894 which you will get for just Rs 2499

Technically both the offers are identical but would the method of selling make a difference in customer response? Professor Burger’s finding in similar kind of situation revealed that compliance rate is likely to be higher in the latter offer.

The first marketer’s offer is some what based on ‘foot-in-the-door technique’. This involves making a first big request (Rs 10894) followed by a more reasonable request (Rs2499) to extract customer compliance. This technique relies upon the principle of reciprocity. If somebody acts reasonably (sacrifices made by the marketer by coming down from a big amount to a lower amount) with us we feel compelled to respond similarly in return.

The second offer is built on ‘that’s not all technique’ to get the prospect into complying behavior. Here the initial deal is made attractive sequentially by subsequent additions ( to the other person, with each addition, the ofer begins to appear better and better- and thus evokes the obligation to respond. The social norm of reciprocity is that if he is making so much of concessions, I must do the same.

Reciprocity is the underlying principle employed in both of  these techniques. Superior compliance is achieved in that-is-not-all condition because the deal is made successively attractive even before customer gets a chance to reject the offer. This builds up pressure to comply. But in the door-in-the-face condition, when buyer rejects the offer he is offered a better deal. In that’s not all technique the customer is not allowed to focus on the real information; rather the successive additions drive attention away from it. The presenter employs high voltage pitch and pointers (camera zooms in on displayed articles) to draw attention to what customer is getting.


3 thoughts on “One offer two techniques: foot-in-the-door versus that’s- not- all

  1. Both work on the principle of eliciting “Greed”! Who will feel greedy when & how may be subjective, but “That’s not all….” is endogenously greed elicitation technique than “Combo” offer technique. “That’s not all” is sequentially built up like a stepladder and therefore media-availability dependent, whereas “Combo Offer” is concise and versatile. The problem of compliance lies less in the techniques or the offer, but more on the ‘credibility’ of the channel.

  2. I don’t think greed entirely explains this behavior. The norm of reciprocity in social conduct also plays instrumental role. When the other person is perceived to be ‘giving up’ or ‘surrendering’, we feel obligated to behave in similar manner. Thanks a lot for your comment.

  3. i agree to ‘reciprocity factor’
    the deceptive techniques above aim at creating cognitive dissonance among prospects … easily if the channel leads to personal impact …
    where techniques form intricate part of these personal impacts….

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