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Ian McMurray

Ian McMurray started his 40-year career in the technology industry back when 4K wasn’t the latest TV resolution — it was as much memory as you needed to write a complete, integrated accounting system for a computer. He started life as a mainframe salesman but eventually succumbed to the lure of marketing, and has since held a variety of European and worldwide marketing management positions, as well as occasional forays into sales training and development. He’s now the PR guy for GE’s embedded computing business, and is based in Towcester, England.

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Glass Ashtray

What's the Benefit?

As I mentioned in my previous column, being able to articulate the benefits of what you’re selling is one of the keys to the whole process—but "benefits" are widely misunderstood. A memorable exercise at sales training school was that groups of us were given glass ashtrays (remember ashtrays? Back when people used to smoke?). Our instructor told us to write lists of its features, their functions—and the benefits of those functions. What was—and...


Pros and Cons

Closing Deals: Do the Old Ways Still Get the Yes?

I've talked about how we were taught sales "tricks" back when I trained as a computer salesman in the 1970s—tricks like "accidentally" leaving your hat behind in the prospect’s office, so you had a reason to return. That was far from the only one. Here are some others. Yes Get your prospect into thinking positively by asking him (or her) questions that he/she can only answer “yes” to. The thinking behind that particular little ruse was that,...