People influence each other constantly, in a variety of different ways.

Social Influence Strategies

One social influence strategy is the foot-in-the-door technique (see the “Attitudes” section for a complete explanation). Three other strategies include manipulating the reciprocity norm, the lowball technique, and feigned scarcity.

Manipulation of the Reciprocity Norm

The reciprocity norm is an implicit rule in many societies that tells people they should return favors or gifts given to them. A person or group can manipulate this norm to make it more likely that people will buy a product or make a donation.

Example: If a wildlife preservation organization sends Harry a pad of notepaper personalized with his name, he may feel obligated to send them the donation they want.

The Lowball Technique

The lowball technique involves making an attractive proposition and revealing its downsides only after a person has agreed to it.

Example: A car salesperson tells Sheila that a car she is interested in buying costs $5,000. After she has committed to buying the car, the salesperson points out that adding a stereo, an air conditioner, and floor mats will cost an extra $3,000.

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