Bait and Switch

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Bait and Switch

What is Bait and Switch? Meaning.

Bait and Switch is a persuasion technique aimed at attracting interest with an appealing proposal.


Bait and Switch or Lure Procedure is a method widely used in sales and in retail sales strategy. It has been empirically researched in 1989 by R.V. Joule, F. Gouilloux, and F. Weber.

Bait and Switch works by formulating an offer or a proposal that canít be refused to initially attract people and then replace it with a less convenient proposal to the prospect but more profitable to the proponent.


Bait and Switch Example

Typical example are products with a low price tag shown in shop windows: once the shopper gets in, the product shown is not available and there is only a more expensive version left.


Steps in Bait and Switch. Process

The process of this technique can be summarized as following:

  1. Attract a person with an exceptional offer to move her from a static or negative position to a dynamic or positive position (commitment).
  2. Re-establish a negative position by denying the possibility to get the initial offer which has been able to trigger commitment. The victim is now in anxious condition and look for satisfaction to re enter a comfortable state.
  3. Propose any solution that can offer satisfaction. Most of people are likely to accept different proposals while they have already had the feeling of getting something valuable.

Assumptions of Bait and Switch

  • The switching motives have to seem reasonable.
  • The gap between the 2 offers has to be proportional to a victim's tolerance (this is not easy to estimate).

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Compare with: Persuasion Techniques  |  Door in the Face  |  Foot in the Door  |  Sleeper Effect  |  Validity Effect  |  Mirroring and Matching  |  Low Ball Technique  |  Forced Compliance  |  4 Ps of Persuasion  |  Framing  |  Persuasion Theory  |  Balance Theory  |  Cognitive Dissonance

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