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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.

Design Ideas: How to Improve PowerPoint Templates

It’s definitely a challenge to navigate around a creative block, especially when you’re preparing for a big presentation. A successful outcome calls for a long list of tasks to accomplish. With so much to prepare, there’s simply no time to wase waiting for your muse to arrive. If you’re drawing a blank on a creative look for your slide deck, the quickest solution might be to use PowerPoint templates.

If this advice gives you pause, it’s because we don’t usually associate PowerPoint templates with creativity. While they can surely save you time, PowerPoint templates often look repetitive and uninspired.

default powerpoint templates

Regardless of what you choose from the built-in gallery, you’ll always end up with something that looks closely similar  to another template. Sure, there might be variations in style and color but the structure remains the same throughout. While it’s definitely easier to just add what you need inside placeholders, you’ll still end up with something that looks a lot like what others have seen before.

powerpoint templates layouts

Should you sacrifice great design in order to meet your deadline?

Luckily, it’s not that hard to strike a balance between convenience and creativity. Even if you’re in a rush to finish your presentation, you can still aim to meet both objectives. In fact, there’s is one particular way you can improve the look of PowerPoint templates in a tight schedule.

Customize templates in the Slide Master view

The Slide Master view is an easy way to customize everything in one go. Whether you decide to change up fonts, layouts, color schemes or backgrounds, anything you adjust will be applied throughout your presentation. This saves you from having to adjust every single detail to each individual slide. To get started, all you have to do is click on the View tab and choose “Slide Master” among the different options.

slide master view complete

Once in the Slide Master view, you can easily change up the template’s design by using the options available in the ribbon. Among the things you can do is create a new color scheme, choose a different background style, insert new placeholders and define a custom set of fonts. You have a lot of flexibility to explore different ways to create your own unique designs. After you become familiar with the Slide Master view, it will be far easier to customize templates in creative ways.

If you’re pressed for time, here are two simple things you can try to improve PowerPoint templates:

Change the slide layouts or create your own

A simple way to change the look of PowerPoint templates is by manipulating the default slide layouts. Through the Slide Master view, you can change the place of particular design elements to come up with something more original.  All you have to do is add, delete, or move placeholders around.

slide master edit layout

Better yet, you can create a custom slide layout by choosing “Insert Layout” from the ribbon. Anything you come up with will be available under “Layout” once revert back to Normal view. At this stage, think of what you commonly see in PowerPoint presentations and aim for the opposite direction. Try to experiment with new layouts.

Create a new color scheme and font set that reflects your brand

Another way to customize PowerPoint templates is by creating something that’s particular to your brand. As we’ve discussed in the past, color and font are essential elements to your company’s logo. By following the same theme in your presentation, you can easily come up with a template that matches your branding.

slide master edit color

While in Slide Master view, click on “Colors” under the “Edit Theme” group. Click on the “Create New Theme Colors” option to define you own color scheme. You can also scroll down the options to find something that resembles your brand colors and customize it following the same steps. The same directions apply for defining a new font set. All you have to do is click on “Fonts” and select “Create New Theme Fonts”.

In an ideal scenario, you’ll have plenty of time to prepare for your big presentation. Reality, however, isn’t always that convenient. If you have very little time to create great PowerPoint designs, you can use the Slide Master view to customize default templates. PowerPoint is a flexible presentation tool. You only have to explore and experiment to get the best results.

Learn more about using the Slide Master view: 


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