The rejection then retreat technique is not as complicated as first thought.
Sure, everyone conjures up images of a stereotypical deal maker making outrageous demands. This is not wrong. But the center of the power here is found in the concession.
You want the other party to feel like they are exercising control over the terms of the deal, and that your good-will backing down is a gift of sorts.
The initial position, however, does not need to be an outrageous one in a corporate setting.
For a teen is more likely to get $20 from their parents if they ask for $50 first.
And a parent is more likely to get their children to clean their rooms if they ask them to mow the lawn too.
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.
-Robert Cialdini, Influence