How to Use Compliance Techniques to Persuading People

Compliance techniques are powerful in influencing consumer behavior. Have you noticed a brand of shampoo, soap, and other commodities introduced in different media commercials? Either you are aware or not, chances are your buying behavior has been influenced by those commercials.

What do you think your reason for choosing a specific brand of commodity rather than its competitors?

This is how compliance techniques work. But most of the time most people are not aware of this psychological force.

Compliance Techniques
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Before discussing compliance techniques, let us define first what compliance is.

Compliance refers to changing people’s behavior due to request or direction of another person. Compliance is different from obedience. In compliance, the person or group who made the request does not necessarily exist. While in obedience the order is made by an explicit authority.

Marketing products or convincing people to do things you want them to do is a whole psychological process. The question is how can you make people comply or do your request or buy the products you are selling without imposing authority?

The answer is compliance techniques. This article discusses four effective compliance techniques you can use both in daily life experiences and in business marketing. Let’s dive in.

Compliance Techniques
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The Compliance Techniques

1. Foot-in-the-Door Technique

This technique starts at a small followed by a bigger request. You are basically asking for a small favor from others and if they say yes to your small request, it’s time to make the bigger ones. The principle behind this is that people will find it hard to decline if they already have made a commitment (the foot is already in the door). For example, if you want to borrow a large amount of money from your friend, do not tell the actual amount. Instead start low. The moment you feel his/her confidence in lending you money, you can tell the real amount you intend to borrow. At this point, he/she may find it difficult to say no.

Compliance Techniques
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2. Door-in-the-Face Technique

The door-in-the-face is the opposite of foot-in-the-door technique. In this technique, a bigger request (usually a refused one) comes first. This is followed by a smaller and more reasonable one. Taken the same example discussed above, you start borrowing the bigger amount of money. If your friend refuses, then time to reduce the amount.

3. Lowball Technique

Lowball technique is usually used in marketing and sale strategies. In this technique once a commitment is made the cost of that commitment is increased. Cost here does not always mean money. It could be anything of value. For example, a salesman is selling you a desktop computer for a certain amount (usually low). Once you get interested and by the said computer set, the salesman then tells you that you need to buy accessories in order to use the computer (because some parts are not included e.g. mouse, keyboard, camera, memory, etc.).

Compliance Techniques
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4. That’s-not-All Technique

That’s-not-all technique is somewhat opposite of the previous technique. In this compliance strategy, a salesman who is persuading the customer to buy his product is making an additional offer before the consumer makes any decision.

“But wait – that’s not all! If you buy the computer set now, we’ll be giving you one set of speakers for free”.

By offering something free, a customer may feel that he/she must return the favor –he/she must buy the computer set. The principle behind the effectiveness of this technique is reciprocity. If you received a favor, you feel obligated to return it.

Although these compliance techniques work, the effectiveness may vary among cultures. People in individualist cultures (like the United States) may respond differently to a certain request (e.g. Foot-in-the-Door Technique) than people in collectivist cultures such as the Philippines.

People in individualist cultures have no concern about the consistency of the request (from small to big). While people in collectivist cultures put emphasis on the consistency of the request.

What technique did you find more effective and interesting?

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