Anchoring in Sales

What is anchoring in sales ?

But first.

Welcome back to the new year.

I trust that you are well underway to making this your best sales year ever.
I’m very glad I decided to have a break from producing this eZine over the Dec / Jan period.
I had a hectic time.

A few days before Christmas my home was surrounded by bushfires.
Nothing happened to us, but boy it was scary.
Early in January my little part-time business took off and we had the busiest January ever, this coincided with my wife coming down with a virus, leaving me largely alone to cope.
That was followed by a burglary!

Then I spent many hours in hospital by my elderly mum’s bedside.
I went in one morning to find her not only conscious but fighting with the male nurse.
I though to myself “she’s back!”….. And so am I.




You may be thinking, “What is Anchoring?”

The word may not be familiar to you but I’m sure the process will be.

This phenomenon was first noticed by an American doctor (Dr. Bill Twitmeyer) and popularised by the work of Dr. Ivan Pavlov (does that name ring a bell?).
Pavlov’s famous work was to give a dog some food and simultaneously ring a bell.
After doing this for a while whenever the bell was rung, even if no food was present, the dog would salivate.

This is often referred to as Stimulus – Response.

It was not until the late 70’s that Richard Bandler and John Grinder noticed that humans behave the same way.
So, whenever you experience an intense emotional state it is almost certain that your mind will link something else in your environment to that feeling.

Perhaps you doubt this?




Let me ask you what happens if you look at some old school photos?
Perhaps your memory takes you back to some distant time and you feel good or bad depending on the specific memory you’re experiencing.
Let me ask you another question.
Do certain songs or movies remind you of a childhood sweetheart?
What about perfume? 
Does a certain perfume have a marked effect on you; perhaps it triggers a memory of some special time?

OK. So, maybe we do experience Anchors.




If you remember I touched on Anchors back in edition 18 of YourSalesSuccess. "Big sales Part 2"
Let me quote:
”During the meeting with the buyer every time he started to talk about the opposition product I kept reminding him of the problems he would have keeping supply of this product and the problems created by stock-outs.
I would then talk about our offer and how much easier it would be for him to manage the stocks.
(I was anchoring good feelings to my product and bad feelings to the competitors.)”
At this early stage of my career I was not using Anchors optimally.




The power of Anchors lies in the fact that we can engineer Anchors intentionally!

Whenever someone is experiencing a strong emotion or state it is likely that they will link anything unique in their environment to that experience.

Not only does this work when we are experiencing something but it works when we are re-experiencing something in our head, if the memory is intense enough.

There are many things we can set up as Anchors:
A certain location, like the restaurant where you went on a first date.
A certain smell, like grandmas apple pie cooking.
A certain sound, how do some Vietnam vets react to the sound of a helicopter?
The feeling of comfort you get wearing an old sweater may be as much related to the things you’ve experienced in that sweater as it is to the sweater itself.




How do we use this in selling and why is it useful?

Say you are talking to a client and you ask her what sort of car she drives and her eyes light up and her tone of voice changes as she talks about her Mercedes SLK. 
You may then ask, “Was buying that car a good decision?” 
When you get a strong positive response anchor it to a unique sound or movement you make.
Perhaps pushing your glasses up higher on your nose.
Do this several times as you ask for more details about what they like about their favourite car. (This amplifies the feeling.)
Then change the subject and talk about something with no emotional content. 
Later, when it comes time to ask your client for the order, repeat the exact same movement (pushing your glasses higher up), your client will feel good without really knowing why.
This will greatly assist you in getting an order.

How useful would it be to be able to control the emotional state of your client?
Used correctly, Anchoring can do this for you.
This is just one of the many skills covered in influence and persuasion.




You can also anchor someone to a feeling using your voice tone.
I had a number of clients where our meetings almost invariably started with chatting about the weekend.
I would always sit in the same chair opposite them at their desk.
If they had a really good weekend I would talk in a certain tone and place my left hand on a certain spot on their desk.
Conversely, if they had a lousy weekend I would talk in a different tone and place by right arm on the arm of the chair I was sitting in.
Then I’d change the conversation to business. 
When the client and I discussed our opposition products I’d talk in the tone I’d anchored to their bad weekend while I sat with my right arm on the arm of the chair.
However, when they spoke about the products I was selling I’d put my left hand on the appropriate spot on their desk and talk in the tone I had associated to their good weekend.




The use of Anchors is quite widespread.
Do you remember Johnny Carson?
He was the host of the Tonight Show for almost 30 years before Jay Len took over in the 1990's.

Each night that Johnny came out he stood on a small star that marked exactly where he was supposed to stand.
It was the best spot on the entire stage for camera angles, connecting with the audience and because of the curtain back drop, we knew without seeing Johnny's face that he was there and not a guest host, who would stand on a different star.
The only thing Johnny ever did from this specific location was to make people laugh.
He didn't wander around the stage and tell his jokes.
He stood right there and made people laugh.
There were many nights when Johnny literally could just stand on his star and people would laugh.
That is spatial anchoring.
Audience laughter was anchored (conditioned to) Johnny's standing on his star.
Many may have thought he was just being vain and hogging the best place on the stage.
Oh, no. Johnny was using anchoring.
How well did Anchoring work for Johnny?
He was on air for 30 years, wasn’t he?

A salesman friend of mine always took cake or donuts with him when he went to visit his biggest customer.
How do you think most people in that office felt as they saw him coming up the path to reception? 
He was anchoring good feelings to himself, wasn’t he?




So, to make Anchors work you need to:

  • Get your prospect thinking about / experiencing some emotion.
  • Help the client get into that emotion. Amplify it.
  • Attach a movement or voice tone or location or posture to the feeling ( good or bad )
  • Move the conversation away to other topics.
  • At the appropriate time use the anchor to recreate the emotion you want your client to experience.

Don’t take my word for it.
Try this approach for yourself.
Experience how effective it is.
If you have any difficulties, feel free to contact me for some sales coaching so you can make better use of Anchoring.

You may have noticed that this edition is a bit longer than normal.
You may also have noticed that at the start of this edition I wrote that this publication is monthly.
My plan for this year is to make YourSalesSuccess (YSS) more detailed and produce it less often.(i.e. every moth rather than every two weeks)

Before the next edition of YSS I’ll be posting on my website a report on selling and persuasion skills.
This report will be free to any subscriber to YSS.
Keep an eye out for it.

In the meantime. Here's to YourSalesSuccess.