Agree to stay longer in the office without being paid accept a new expensive insurance policy without real needs agree to render an big service to someone you do not know. You may already have surprised yourself to agree that after the fact while you would have refused in normal times. If this is the case, maybe you have been the victim of manipulation’s technique first experimented in 1966 by Freedman and Fraser. Nicolas (N): – Hello Agent Gull. Your mission is to get several housewives that they accept that many investigators can search their closets, and this in order to list their consumer products. To achieve this, you can refer to the discoveries of Freedman and Fraser. (G) – Ah! Easy! When people are asked directly if they would like investigators to search their closets, there is only 22% acceptance. Freedman and Fraser wanted to know if it was possible, following a certain method, to increase this acceptance rate. Women are randomly called from the phone book. Via the telephone, an investigator presents himself to them as mandated by a private organization and asked them if they would agree to answer a short questionnaire of 8 questions on the topic of everyday consumer products. When these women accept, this questionnaire is submitted to them and the investigator warmly thanks them for their participation. Three days later, the housewives who agreed to answer the questionnaire are contacted again and this time the final request is submitted to them: “Would you accept, Madam, to receive a group of investigators responsible for listing your products? ” Remember: When we ask this question directly, without a questionnaire, the acceptance rate is 22%. But following these preparatory steps, the acceptance rate is now 52%. This practice of preparing a subject, via intermediate steps, so that it accepts more easily a request, was named the technique of the “foot in the door”. (N): Hello Agent Gull. Congratulations on your previous assignment. Your new mission is to have owners accept the installation of a giant billboard in their garden, without offering them any consideration. You can again use the foot technique in the door. Freedman and Fraser have multiplied the experiences of the foot in the door, which this one well known: make an individual accept the installation of a 16m² sign in his garden. (G) – Hello sir. Would you accept the installation of a 16m² sign in your garden, on road safety, or for the preservation of nature? Technician (T) – 16m! No, but how are you? (G): When directly formulating the final query, without a preparatory step, the acceptance rate is 16.7%. Freedman and Fraser are developing two types of foot in the door, where the subject is solicited face-to-face. In one case, we first ask the subject if he would agree to place on his windshield a sticker on road safety or nature prevention. In another case, we ask the subject if he would agree to sign a petition on these two same themes. (G) – Hello sir. I distribute road safety stickers to encourage our fellow citizens to drive safely. Would you agree to take one and stick it on the windshield of your vehicle? (T) – Of course, I’ll take you! The speeders, I really do not like that! (G): When we come back three days later to make the final request about having suffered this foot in the door, the sticker or the petition, the results are amazing: 76% of the subjects accept the installation of the 16m² sign in their garden. (G) – Hello sir. Would you accept the installation of a 16m² sign in your garden on road safety? (T) – (Ah yes, road safety is important, I really care about it, I even have a sticker on my car! Yeah! I am the kind of person who is sensitive to road safety!) Uh, alright! You can install your sign in my garden. I am someone committed! Once again, the technique of foot in the door was effective. For the same request, we went from 16.7% acceptance to 76% in the “sticker for road safety” condition. (N): Well done, Agent Gull! We appreciate what you do for the agency. Your new mission is this time to extract money from passersby. (G): Several foot-in-door experiments were conducted, and a question was asked: could one extract money more easily with such a technique? Guéguen and Fischer-Lokou wanted to answer this question by testing 3,600 people on the street. When you ask the passers-by directly, “Excuse me, you would not have a little change? ” the acceptance rate is 28% for an amount of donations of 28 cents on average. If you put a foot in the door, like the simple request of the hour, the results are interesting. (G) – Excuse me, could you give me the time please? (T) – Uh, yes, it’s noon! (G) – Thank you very much, you would not have a bit of money? (T) – Well, so much to do … Uh, yes, of course. Hold. (G): In the “foot in the door” condition, acceptance of the request is 43% and the average amount of donations is now 37 cents. How to explain the effectiveness of this technique of the foot in the door? The psychological preparation, progressive, via small requests, like signing a petition, answering a questionnaire, giving the time … facilitates the acceptance of the final request. There are several explanations and theories, but let us remember that in the first experiments that we presented, foot in the door relies on engagement. When the subject accepts the first request, such as signing a petition for the preservation of nature, he gives himself the image of a defender of nature. As a result, he will try as much as possible that his future actions stick with this image. His initial act, the acceptance of the first request, will engage him. We are tempted to believe that we act according to our personality, our intrinsic qualities. On the contrary, and these two experiences clearly show us, it is our actions that shape our attitudes, our aspirations, by returning a certain image of ourselves. (T): “Oh, yes, road safety is important, I really care about it, I even have a sticker on my car. Yeah! I am the kind of person who is sensitive to road safety. ” (G): It’s not who we are who determines our actions, it is our actions that determine what we believe we are. Our actions send back a certain image of ourselves and engage us. As for the last experience we have seen, the success of the foot in the door would be explained otherwise. There is no connection between the first request, which consists in giving the hour, and the second, which consists in giving money. Moreover, these two requests are not separated in time. In this situation, the foot in the door is based on a tendency of acquiescence. The subject having agreed to render a first service, such as giving the time, the chances of him accepting the second request will be greater. (T): “Well what to do … Uh … yes of course. Uh … hold on. ” (G): Concretely, this technique of the foot in the door is used in various fields. In everyday life, we can meet her in sales or canvassing. On the phone, you may have already been offered free and without obligation sending a form or a catalog presenting various commercial offers. Again, it’s a foot in the door, and contrary to what your interlocutor You hammer on the phone saying, “It’s not binding,” the acceptance of a first request is always a form of commitment. Another example: in the world of work, some manipulative managers, sometimes trained to be so during their studies or other training, use this technique of the foot in the
door to get an employee to do extra work. And for greater efficiency, the mating with a positive labeling technique using desirability bias, that is to say flatteries that meet a need to please, a need to be recognized. Raven (R) – Technician, could you give me the time? (T) – Uh, yeah, it’s seven o’clock. Oh well that’s cool, I finished my day. (R) – Well done, you worked very well. Before you leave, could you just bring me the budget for the last semester? (T) – Uh, yes, that’s it.
(R) – Thank you. You are helpful. You could forward that to the management?
(T) – Uh, yeah … Yeah, sure, no problem. (R) – Oh, and we should also send them the next semester’s forecast. If you could also recheck the latest calculations and make a small assessment, it would be perfect. (T) – Okay, I’m doing that.
(G): This man just accepted with enthusiasm to work an extra hour. Let’s analyze the scene together. (R) “- Technician, could you give me the time? ” (G): First request of the foot in the door: simple question to which our Technician will answer. (T) “- Uh, yeah, it’s seven o’clock. Oh well that’s cool, I finished my day. (R) – Well done, you worked very well. ” (G): First labeling: the manager refers to the Technician the image of a serious employee. Our manipulator can
henceforth formulate his new request. (R) “- Before leaving, could you just bring me back the budget for the last semester? ” (G): Notice the turn of the sentence: everything is done to give the impression
that this request is inexpensive (“Before leaving”), which gives the impression that it is a quick task, and the “you could just …” that minimizes the cost of the query. The Technician, after that foot in the door, this labeling of serious employee, and this formulation, will have difficulty to refuse. (T) “- Uh, yes, that’s it.
(R) – Thank you. You are helpful. ” (G): New labeling before a new request. (R) “-Are you able to follow that to the management?
(T) – Uh, yeah … Yeah, sure, no problem. ” (G): Our Technician is caught in a gear. He can not refuse what seems to him inexpensive compared to what he already has
accepted. (R) “- Oh, and we should also send them the next semester’s forecast. If you could also recheck the latest calculations and make a small assessment, it would be perfect. (T) – Okay, I’m doing that. ” (G): Our Technician is fully committed to being a serious and helpful employee. The “it would be perfect” also has the effect of recalling the previous labels. To refuse this last request would be to imperfect the whole of his work. “Foot in the door sprinkled with positive labeling” is a formidable cocktail which you may have already paid for without realizing it. How to resist to
such techniques? We must learn to counter them in everyday life, because they are unfortunately techniques that have become widespread. Beware of the touts who are
trained in this type of manipulation. In front of them, it is enough to refuse
the first request. However, very often, we do not notice the foot in the
door from the first request. When a person or organization asks you something, independently inspect each request as if it were the first one, and do not be afraid to refuse some, even if it sounds whimsical on your part. Ask questions to your interlocutor to give you time to think and slow down the discussion. Reformulate what is said, ask for clarification, come back to words. You will avoid an automatic acquiescence that you may regret later. We can give ourselves the right to say yes, then no, whatever the sequence of situations. It also means to put in the background the image that is returned to you or the fact of wanting at all costs to please others. (N) – Rerebonjour agent Gull. We are very impressed with the agency by your brilliance. Your last mission is to subscribe to our brand new life insurance policy by sending us your bank details
as well as a form which you will find attached to the address …
(G) – Tell me, you would not be trying to try on me foot in the door? (N) – Uh … this message will self-destruct … Right now! (Gull sighs)