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Psychological Biases: Anchor Effects in Sales Presentations

Effective marketing makes a business achieve its salad days. Everything must be aligned accordingly—from the market research, to strategy, and objectives—to obtain favorable results.

All segments pass through the decision-making process, providing marketers better opportunities in the industry.

Here’s how decision making is discussed in the psychological context, and how it can be used to make effective sales presentations.

The Psychology of Decision Making

In psychology, decisions are shaped by individual preferences and behavioral characteristics, which can lead to significant biases. Commonly referred to as cognitive or psychological biases, these are tendencies to draw judgements in an illogical fashion, affecting the overall decision-making process.

A few common biases are anchoring, bandwagon, loss aversion, overconfidence, and confirmation effect. Hubspot’s Emma Snider wrote about the benefits these cognitive biases serve in sales. As a takeaway for this post, we’ll be focusing on selling with the anchoring bias.

Defining the ‘Anchoring’ Effect

You will inevitably have to weigh and compare options when making decisions. We tend to assess probabilities and take actions based on firsthand information. When presented with a new product, we create quick comparisons to something we’ve previously used. This is the anchoring effect.

The bias surfaces when one makes a judgement around the “anchor” or the basis for the decision.

How to Make Anchors Your Ally

You can never escape from hasty judgements, but you can always control them. Think of it as a “first impression” bias. There’s a big chance that your audience members might be hesitant to buy your product due to customer loyalty issues.

According to marketing psychology consultant Magda Kay, avoiding anchoring may be inevitable. These biases are often triggered unconsciously in the client’s mind. However, Kay also suggests that instead of fighting the bias, it’s better to suggest the bias to your prospects.

Highlight your product’s audience benefits at the very beginning of your presentation, followed by its special features. They may think of something to compare with you, but these positive associations will draw an equally positive image of you. This strategy directs your potential customers back to you despite the initial comparison, reinforcing your business in their minds, generating more leads, and increasing sales.

Also make your presentation more engaging by making use of convincing body language. Own the stage you’re in by occasionally moving around and interacting with your audience. A stiff and uninspired delivery may have good content, but unless it connects with your viewers in any way, then people might not listen.

Let Anchors Steer Your Audiences Right

However logical we all think we may be, we all have our biases. Psychological biases influence poor decision making and negative judgements, leading to missed opportunities.

Use the anchoring effect to your advantage to set a positive tone in the overall selling and buying process. Craft your presentation around it correctly, and you’ll steer your audiences in the right direction.



Kay, Magda. “How to Use Cognitive Biases for Effective Marketing.Psychology for Marketers. n.d. Accessed August 3, 2015.
Snider, Emma. “How to Use Psychological Biases to Sell Better and Faster.” Hubspot Blogs. January 31, 2015. Accessed August 3, 2015.

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