When you are shopping in a mall, what makes you want to buy the product? Practicability of that product? Nice appearance of that product? Good attitude of the salesperson? Usually, you will buy that product because it is useful to you. Sometimes, however, you were “persuaded” by the salespeople as you fell into their trap initially.
This kind of selling strategy can be referred to a social psychology concept, compliance, which can be defined as a change in behavior consistent with a communication source’s direct request (Cherry, K., 2013). In terms of this concept, one of the factor which easily put consumers into a trap is called reciprocity. This is the psychological strategy which mainly used by the salespeople. Under the reciprocity norm, it is assumed that if someone does something for others, others will do something in return (Gerrig, R. J., Zimbardo, P. G. 19th ed., 2010, p. 527). Imagine, we will usually not buy a cloth which cost you 1000 pounds. We might, however, probably consider if the salesperson said that he give you a 70% Discount. In this circumstance, consumers will usually experience a deep deliberation whether they should buy that products. This kind of selling skill is referred to door in the face technique, a situation in which people will often agree with the “smaller” request in comparison with the “big” one (Gerrig, R. J., Zimbardo, P. G. 19th ed., 2010, p. 527). Several studies support that people will usually accept moderate request than larger demand (Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M., 1977; Cialdini, R. B. et al., 1975; Guéguen, N., 2011).
Moreover, beside reciprocity, another variable which will also make consumers fell into the trap is called commitment. This factor make use of one selling skill, foot in the door technique, which can be referred to a situation that once people promise the moderate request, they will easily agree to a larger request further (Gerrig, R. J., Zimbardo, P. G. 19th ed., 2010, p. 528).
In summary, it is prevalent that we will always “psychologically defeated” by the salesperson. although we know the skills used by the salespeople, we will still fall into their trap easily. Thus, to become an astute consumer, we should take the practicability of that product into consideration rather than “psychologically” persuaded by the salespeople.
Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. (1977). Attitude-behavior relations: A theoretical analysis and review of empirical research. Psychological bulletin, 84(5), 888.
Cherry, K. (2013). Compliance – Psychology definition of the week. Retrieved 25 February 2014, from http://psychology.about.com/b/2013/04/12/compliance-psychology-definition-of-the-week.htm
Cialdini, R. B., Vincent, J. E., Lewis, S. K., Catalan, J., Wheeler, D., & Darby, B. L. (1975). Reciprocal concessions procedure for inducing compliance: The door-in-the-face technique. Journal of personality and Social Psychology, 31(2), 206.
Gerrig, R. J., Zimbardo, P. G. (19th ed). (2010). Psychology and Life. Boston: Pearson.
Guéguen, N., Jacob, C., & Meineri, S. (2011). Effects of the Door-in-the-Face technique on restaurant customers’ behavior. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 30(3), 759-761.