For the low-ball technique to be effective, the initial offer must be attractive enough (e.g. a low price) for a person to agree to. The person should give their consent to the offer and be faithfully committed to it. In a French compliance study, Guégen and Pascual (2000) found that the impression of free will affected agreement in such situations. In other words, the buyer should not feel pressured into agreeing to the sale.

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Once two parties have committed to an agreement, they create a relationship between one another. The subject feels an obligation to see the action they have agreed to through to its completion .

The second request is then made shortly before the commitment is fulfilled (e.g. prior to a customer signing a contract). The second request includes a higher demand, such as a higher sale price.

Applications

The success of the low-ball technique has been observed beyond the realm of sales. Psychologist Robert Cialdini conducted a study in which he asked college students to take part in an experiment. Participants would be expected to arrive early, as the experiment which would take place early in the morning. Cialdini informed one group of the start time before they were asked to agree to participate. Meanwhile, he asked a second group to agree to take part in the experiment, but only told the them start time after they had agreed to take part. Cialdini obtained more compliance from the second group. His findings support the efficacy of the low-ball technique in obtaining compliance (Cialdini et al, 1978).

The low-ball technique has also been observed to be effective in charitable situations. Richard Brownstein and Richard Katzev (1985) found the technique to be more effective than the door-in-the-face method in soliciting higher donations from people (Brownstein and Katzev, 1985).