Influence’s Tools, Concession and Consistency

This week’s Book of the Week is Influence by Robert B. Cialdini. Some of these techniques for influence whether in sales or negotiations, you may have heard before. But, the big lesson in his collection of techniques is keeping them in mind and using them more frequently. Also when you can throw in more than one technique you increase your chances for creating greater influence. I also would like to share the importance of knowing the difference between influence and manipulation. Influence is creates support for where you are headed as a leader and pleads your case. It understands the difference, between effectively communicating your ideas while leading with integrity and manipulating others into submission of your ideas. Always choose the side of integrity. Continuing with techniques discussed in the book Influence is the rejection-then-retreat technique.

The Rejection-then-retreat Technique

“Because the rule for reciprocation governs the compromise process, it is possible to use an initial concession as part of a highly effective compliance technique. The technique is a simple one that we can call the rejection-then-retreat technique. Suppose you want me to agree to a certain request. One way to increase your chances would be first to make a larger request of me, one that I will most likely turn down. Then, after I have refused, you would make the smaller request that you were really interested in all along. Provided that you have structured your requests skillfully, I should view your second request as a concession to me and should feel inclined to respond with a concession of my own, the only one I would have immediately open to me—compliance with your second request.”¹

Robert also warns against inflating your initial offer or position. “The truly gifted negotiator, then, is one whose initial position is exaggerated enough to allow for a series of reciprocal concessions that will yield a desirable final offer from the opponent, yet is not so outlandish as to be seen as illegitimate from the start.”²

Dragomir Vujnovic.

Photo Credit: Dragomir Vujnovic. Used by Permission.

By-products of Concession

There are a couple interesting side effects of the concession technique. “But what we have not yet examined is a little-known pair of positive by-products of the act of concession: feelings of greater responsibility for, and satisfaction with, the arrangement. It is this set of sweet side effects that enables the technique to move its victims to fulfill their agreements and to engage in further such agreements.”³ Because they appeared to have caused the person doing the offering to an act of concession, they feel more responsibility for the transaction.

Consistency of Decision

Whether or not we’ve previously made the right decision. Many times we will stick to those decisions despite ourselves for the sake of staying consistent. “Like the other weapons of influence, this one lies deep within us, directing our actions with quiet power. It is, quite simply, our nearly obsessive desire to be (and to appear) consistent with what we have already done. Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision.”  It’s why people stay in jobs they hate and relationships that are destructive. It’s why they continue to stick by their decision, even if it is no longer serving them.

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Sarah Jackson

Vigilant Poster Girl

Every week I talk about a book a book that we’re reading on leadership and self-development. You can follow along by going to the Book of the Week page at the top. And order a book (either kindle, audible, or paperback) by clicking on the photo of that book. When you do that, it also helps fund this site. 


  1. Cialdini PhD, Robert B.. Influence (Collins Business Essentials) (p. 38). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.
  2. Cialdini PhD, Robert B.. Influence (Collins Business Essentials) (p. 40). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.
  3. Cialdini PhD, Robert B.. Influence (Collins Business Essentials) (p. 49). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.
  4. Cialdini PhD, Robert B.. Influence (Collins Business Essentials) (pp. 57-58). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.


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