What is the Foot-In-The-Door Tactic (FITD) and why is it so persuasive?
The "Foot-In-The-Door" Tactic has to do when you agree to comply with a small request, you see yourself as an altruistic person who is likely to help. Once you form that impression, a larger request is made, you are more easily persuaded.
Size of the initial request
The initial request cannot be so large that it is rejected. Thus, the persuader must strike a balance between making a large enough initial request to trigger the FITD effect but not so large that it is declined. The persuader wants to use the largest possible request that will be accepted.
Labeling increases the odds that you will comply with larger follow up requests. If someone labels you as someone who is helpful, you may begin to see yourself that way and, as a result, act in accordance with your self-perception.
External incentives to comply
People are less susceptible to the FITD tactic if they are offered external incentives for complying with the first request. You are only complying because you have a material reason for doing so.
Pro-socialness of the request
The FITD tactic is more effective when used for prosocial causes than it is when used for self-serving reasons.
Who makes the requests
For the FITD strategy to work, the same person needn't make both initial and the follow-up requests.
Preference for consistency
If you agree to an initial request, you should be motivated to behave consistently by also agreeing to a second request. This is especially true if the two requests are similar.
Some people have a clearer picture of their self-concept than others. These folks are said to have "high self-concept clarity." Research shows this makes them more susceptible to the FITD tactic. They are more likely than people with low self-concept clarity to see themselves as helpful and, in turn, comply with a second request.
Jehovah's Witnesses are known for using the FITD Tactic. They use their faith to draw you in, while making a small request, followed up by a larger request. The larger request may be letting them into your home, or visiting their church.