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9 Examples of Door In The Face

Door in the face is an influencing technique that involves an initial outrageous offer that is designed to fail followed by a more reasonable request. The theory is that the initial rejection puts the other side in the mood to be more agreeable. Door in the face is an analogy to a customer slamming a door in the face of a traveling salesperson after a unreasonable offer. The following are illustrative examples.


A sales team may pitch an expansive agreement they know that customer can not accept with the real goal of closing a more limited deal to get a foot in the door. For example, an outsourcing firm may initially pitch a proposal to take over all of the customer's IT processes. When this fails the team may propose taking a single process that is a pain point for the customer.

Price Negotiation

It is often a disadvantage to be the first to offer a price in negotiations. As such, if you are forced to make an offer it is usually best to make an unreasonable one. This may force the other side to make the first realistic offer.


Initially insisting that an agreement can't be made unless the other side makes a concession you know they can't make. This gives the other side a win when you offer to drop this stipulation. As diplomats need to show their value by collecting wins, this may make the other side more willing to agree to favorable terms.

Public Relations

A city proposes to make 40% of streets car-free within 2 years. When city residents complain, the city proposes to make 20% of streets mixed-use pedestrian zones within 5 years.


We need to drop everything we are doing and invest 100 million to develop this product.
Well, how about a $1 million dollar prototype and if that goes well we can scale it out?

Decision Making

I'm going to take next year off school to travel for a year.
No way.
How about I complete the school year and travel in the summer break?

Market Research

Could you help us out by answering this 100 question survey?
Not right now.
How about two questions? It will be quick.


Would you like to join our marathon run to raise money for cancer research?
No, I'm not a runner.
In that case, would you be willing to sponsor a runner for $1 a mile?

Team Management

Can you get back to me with a project plan by tomorrow?
It takes a month to develop a plan like this.
How about the end of next week?
Overview: Door In The Face
An influencing technique that involves an initial outrageous offer that is designed to fail followed by a more reasonable request.
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