NLP Anchoring Techniques - anchoring others for fun and profit


There are many different NLP anchoring techniques. Hopefully this article will get you started and then you can develop various anchoring techniques of your own. NLP Anchoring is incredibly easy to understand and with a little practice many NLP anchoring techniques can become almost automatic.

The idea is simple, get a client or customer into a specific mental state (the stronger and more distinct the better), and create an association to it so that the state can be re-accessed (activated) at will.

In this article we will be dealing with the more subtle NLP anchoring techniques that you can use within a sales environment, rather than the kind of anchoring often used with NLP clients where it is possible to build a really strong state and keep accessing it simply because the client is happy to go along with your instructions.

So, for a covert form of anchoring, there are four skills involved:

  • Access a powerful state
  • Recognize when to set the anchor
  • Anchor the state as specifically as possible
  • Fire the anchor when required

Taking these one by one:

Access a powerful state

Firstly, it is important to decide what state is being anchored.

If you're trying to sell then you probably want your customer to be in a wanton buying state. The simplest way to access a state is to get the customer to remember a time when they were in that state:

"Can you remember a time when you saw something, and you just had to have it?"

"Have you ever seen something, and just brought it immediately on impulse?"

These kind of questions force the customer to remember a time that matches the state, and to do that they must access the state. This is key to the success of your nlp anchoring techniques,

Other powerful states you may want to access include frustration (about your competitors), clarity, and stubbornness (if they've come to see you with a friend who is trying to put them off).

When to set the NLP anchor

The key to success with most NLP anchoring techniques is to watch the customer as they access their memories.

The best time to anchor the state is exactly as they access the state linked to the memory.

So watch their eyes and keep an eye out for any subtle body movements.

If they suddenly drop their shoulders or become otherwise relaxed, or in some cases become more alert and excited, then this is the time to set the anchor.

Anchor the state as specifically as possible

Most people anchor with a touch. The best places for touch anchors are those are parts of the body that are easy to re-access, seem completely natural, and can be touched without offending or upsetting the customer.

The elbow or the shoulder are good for this. Remember that areas with more nerve endings need to be anchored more accurately, and avoid areas that are likely to be touched often.

As well as touch, which can be difficult to use in a sales environment, there are many other ways to create anchors.

These include:

  • a particular word (especially in a particular tone)
  • a particular facial gesture (such as a raised eyebrow)
  • a particular gesture such as pointing or scratching your nose

It is also useful to use multiple NLP anchors together. Using touch and a particular word together is more powerful (and specific) that just using the touch or the word.

If you touch their shoulder, raise your eyebrow, and say 'great' all at the same time you have anchored visually, auditory, and kinesthetically, which is very powerful.

Fire the anchor when required

If you're selling something and you've set an anchor for a very powerful buying state then there are specific times you may wish to fire the anchor.

The first time you show the customer the product you want them to buy, or the moment you bring the contract out to sign are the kind of moments when you should fire the anchor.

Like most NLP skills, the more you practice with different NLP anchoring techniques the better you will become. It's best to have a plan the first few times you use these techniques. Also it is useful to use the same anchors with all your customers so you don't have to remember each one individually. Anchoring in this way will become almost second nature after a few practices.

Good Luck!



Previous comments

Touch Anchors

For me, touching on the upper arm seems the most natural. Also I always anchor in this way for my business clients (sales) so that I don't have to remember each person. Touching the arm, saying something positive and nodding while maintaining eye contact is a really powerful anchor.

Annie, York

Posted May 7, 2010 at 08:12


This is an elegant and subtle use of NLP anchoring techniques. It's always nice to find ways to use NLP anchors as effectively and easily as possible.

Chris Harrison, UK

Posted May 7, 2010 at 10:12