I Hear You But I Can’t See You

I Hear You But I Can’t See You

If you are like most sales people today, more than half of your customer conversations are via the phone, not in person. Excellent listening skills become even more important when visual cues are not available.

No matter what you sell; equipment, service plans, ink, paper or lease financing, the phone can be tricky. Good listeners are successful sales people.

I learn my biggest listening lessons in Improv Comedy Class. For the past three years, I’ve performed with an improv comedy troupe in my little town of Bonner Springs, Kansas. I do this just for fun, not money.

As a comedy improvisational actor, I attend classes and rehearsals for a total of fourteen hours per month. I commit that time to improve my stage performances. Why do I like Improv so much? One of the main reasons is that Improv makes me a better listener.

How much time per month do you invest in improving your business skills?

Good listeners are super sales professionals. Great communicators. Skilled negotiators. Listening skills transfer to my daily life with my customers, bosses, friends, spouse, and children.

This month, let’s take lessons from my comedy class and apply them to our customer telephone conversations. When visual clues are absent, sharpen your listening skills.

Lease sales tips when you call a customer are:

  1. Remove distractions such as ringing telephones. Put phones on stun.
  2. Turn away from your computer to avoid the temptation to check emails.
  3. If you work in a noisy environment, consider moving to a conference room or private area in which to conduct sales calls.
  4. Close your office door if you have one, to discourage others from entering and creating visual and auditory distractions.
  5. Have water available to sip in case your voice becomes dry.
  6. Take notes of your customer’s comments to keep your mind from wandering as the call progresses. This is especially important when there are multiple parties to the conversation.
  7. Prepare a proposed agenda for the call and distribute before conversation commences. Allow all parties to add to the agenda before the call begins.
  8. Send all call participants a summary of call assignments or commitments made and timelines for the next step to keep the selling process moving forward.

As you work on your listening and communication skills, success will follow you to all parts of your life.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!

Body Language to Watch for During the Proposal Process

Body Language to Watch for During the Proposal Process

During every step of the sales process, it is important to observe your buyer’s body language. As you lay out your proposal, be sure to watch for certain movements, positions, and other facets of body language. If you are able to understand the clues listed below, you will have the inside track on your prospect’s thinking:

  1. Body Posture: Do they lean towards you or away from you? Leaning closer is usually a good sign, unless they are hearing challenged and must do this to understand your message.
  1. Hands: If hands are in their lap, it may mean they are hiding something from you or their mother taught them that a “lady” never puts her hands on the table.
  1. Are their arms folded across their body? This can signal that your client is cold or are they closed to your message.
  1. Eyes: You’ve probably heard that eyes are the mirror to the soul. That may be true unless your customer is taking a medication that dilates their eyes or they are a trained liar. There are those individuals who can look you straight in the face while lying.
  1. Head: Nodding is a good sign, right? Yes, unless the customer is just a nice person who wants to encourage you to keep improving your sales skills and has absolutely no interest in your product or service. They just like you as a person and don’t want to hurt your feelings.
  1. Voice: If your prospect is a woman and her voice rises an octave or it becomes deeper and her pace slows, she may be excited with your presentation. However, this can also mean she is angry and losing her patience.
  1. Feet: Yes the feet can tell you if you have a chance to close the sale or your buyer is ready to walk out the door. Drop your pen on the floor and bend over to pick it up. See if their feet are facing you or the exit. If they are facing you, you have their attention. Feet facing the exit means you better finish up or retrace your steps. The prospect wants you to leave.

Body language is not easy to interpret. It takes study and practice. Once mastered, you will be able to modify your own body language as well as accurately interpret your customer’s hidden signals in order to close more sales.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!

Test Your Lie Detection Skills

Test Your Lie Detection Skills

People say, “I know when someone is lying.” Others relate that they get a gut feeling when in the presence of a prevaricator. Some believe liars won’t look you in the eyes. Those folks never faced off with those big brown liquid-filled eyes of a 3-year old who said, “No mommy, I didn’t break the glass.”

There are verbal and visual clues galore to assist you in your lie detection diagnostics. Whether you are buying or selling, it’s critical to accurately decipher between truth and dishonesty.

Prior to passing judgment of someone’s truth telling, engage your subject in casual conversation. This is known as conducting the baseline observation. You are observing their normal body language signals when engaged in a low stress situation. Following this step, you search for changes in their earlier relaxed signals.

How many Body Language Lie Detection Signals do you spot in the following situations?


You consider leasing a car for the first time. You ask the car sales person if you can pay off a lease early without penalties. Before answering your question, they hesitate for 2-3 seconds; look up and to their right, then down to their right. Finally while looking you boldly in the eyes with a long unblinking stare they respond, “Uh, sure, yeah uh, no problem.”


You easily hear and observe the sales person’s excitement about their newest product. Their breathing is shallow and rapid; their vocal pitch has risen since arriving at your office. They blink frequently as they lean forward to extol you with product factoids.

Now turn on the human lie detector skills. You’ve heard that the manufacturer is having challenges meeting delivery deadlines. You ask the sales person if their company can deliver the new equipment in 30-days. Their breathing grows more rapid, they stammer a little, their eyes open wider, the rapid blinking ceases, they scratch their nose, shake their head from side to side and say “yes, sure, absolutely, no doubt about it.”


It’s time for a heart-to-heart with your teen-ager daughter about her disappointing college grades. You inquire about her study habits and plans for improvements in next semester’s performance.

Before responding, she attempts to moisten her lips as if parched, pulls one leg up under her into the chair, rubs her hands on her thighs, looks away into the distance and in an unusually slow and low raspy monotone voice she replies, “the plan for the next semester is to study more and party less.” Then she adds insistently, “Honestly Mom, I’m not lying. I’d never lie to you.”

Every example is jammed with signals that the speakers are lying. Some body language examples are thrown in for amplification. Most clues come oozing out. No matter how hard we try to control them, body language is hard wired in our brains. Learn the basic body language detection clues or face a lifetime of lies. Good lie detecting to you!

Mary Redmond is a negotiation expert that provides workshops, presentations and coaching for companies and organizations.  She is a well-known professional speaker, author and consultant that can help you achieve success.

Can You Spot a Liar?

Can You Spot a Liar?

Most individuals pride themselves in their ability to “read” their customers body language. However, the price can be expensive if we mistake “honest eyes” for “lying eyes” and offend a prospect.

“The eyes are the mirror to the soul,” is a quote attributed to Cicero during his lifetime (106-43B.C.). The phrase may be romantic but it’s untrue. People and their lovely baby-blues lie too.

Depending on the home you were raised in, you may have learned at a young age to disguise your true thoughts and feeling. Some parents threatened corporal punishment if they perceive a child won’t look them in the eyes. Veteran police interrogators attest to the fact that they often face liars who mask their guilt with strong, unflinching eye contact.


There are a few eye “tells” that may be good indicators of an individual’s inner thoughts. Blinking at a rapid pace can be a sign of nervousness, inner stress, personal strife and even poor self-confidence. The average conversational blink rate is between 12 and 20 blinks per minute.

Blinking might even mean a guilty verdict in a court case because jurors thought the suspect “looked like he was lying.”

Rubbing and Rolling

Frequent eye rubbing can indicate that someone does not believe what they said, heard or saw. It’s as if they hope to rub the vision away. Another eye signal is eye rolling. This can mean disrespect or disagreement and is not a positive signal. When observing eye rubbing or rolling, it’s best to stop and make inquiries as to what is going on in your subject’s mind.


It may not be a contact lense problem when the eyes are fluttering. Perhaps it’s as simple as an old-fashioned flirtation. Usually the flutter is combined with an upturned glance, tilt of the chin and the head may rotate slightly to the side.


If a prospect squints while they are reading your contract, you have more selling to do.  Squinting is an indicator of confusion, concern, doubt or discomfort. Words may never be spoken but your sale has hit a road block. You must address the problem before attempting to continue to close the sale.

Learning to accurately read eye signals will bring you more success and confidence. You will be build rapport in your business and personal life and be perceived as a master communicator.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!




Listening: Three Tools to Maintain Focus

Listening: Three Tools to Maintain Focus

In order to be a good listener, consider these tools to help you maintain focus.

Do you find it difficult to maintain attention when listening to others? Most of us do.

My husband is a slow, thoughtful talker. He considers his words and their impact before uttering them. Meanwhile I’ve made assumptions about him as I wait for a response. I’ve either restated the question, thinking he did not hear me or I have given up on getting an answer and have moved to a new subject. Am I just a horrible spouse? No, I’m a normal listener.

We hear between 400-500 words per minute. Unfortunately, we speak at 135-150 words per minute. I use these tools to assist me in hearing what others say.

Tool #1: Watch Body Language for Mixed Messages

I love to observe Body Language. One thing I look for is to see if the words are congruent with the body language. In TV commercials, does the sales person shout about his “Best Deal in Town, as he shakes his head from side to side, negatively communicating his inability to deliver on his verbal promises?

One of the most well publicized examples of mixed messages is when former President Bill Clinton was questioned during the Monica Lewinsky trial. He verbally denied his sexual involvement with Ms. Lewinsky, all the while, his head kept bobbing up and down affirmatively.

Tool 2: Mirroring

To keep my attention focused on the speaker, I may mirror their body movements and posture. Two things are accomplished. It keeps me listening and watching them, while not allowing my mind to drift off. It also may make them more comfortable as my mirroring movements can show that I am similar to them.

Tool 3: Well Prepared Questions

Before all client meetings, I construct a set of well thought out questions that will uncover problems, detect dissatisfaction with the current service supplier and discover preferences, priorities, timelines and budgets.

To gather the data I need, I use a combination of closed and open-ended questions.

Closed –end questions are answered with a simple, one-word answer. It’s either YES or NO!

Open-Ended questions are best remembered as the 5-W’s and the One Big –H. For those who recall their writing professor’s lessons, every story must contain the answers to these questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

Listening gets easier when we’re equipped with tools that keep us anchored.

Mary A. Redmond is a professional speaker, author, coach and trainer. She specializes in negotiation, body language, listening and asking for more of what you want in your life at work, home or play. Contact her to speak at your next meeting, conference, trade show or special event. Mary@FearLessNegotiator.com, 913-422-7775.

Body Language Tips: The Do’s and Don’ts to Win at Work or in the White House

It’s an election year. We’re bombarded with political messages, press briefings and debates. The world has had the opportunity to observe Americans bickering, pointing fingers and displaying behavior that, if they were children, would result in an extended timeout or a trip to the principal’s office. For a body language expert, this is fodder for juicy articles. Politicians unintentionally provide meaty examples of Americans displaying horrible body language and making numerous verbal mistakes. We’ve heard personal insults, shouts, and rants and observed displays of threatening gestures — fists clenched in the air as if challenging a higher power and index fingers directed in threatening motions. If you think of the presidential race as a job interview for the highest, most powerful CEO position in a multi-trillion-dollar business, could any of us behave in this manner and find an employer who’d hire us? If we survived the interview process and continued this bad behavior, we’d soon hear the words, “You’re fired.” There are business lessons to learn from the political circus.body-language-3-1240767

Body Talk: The Feet. Although you may not have thought about the importance of your feet at work, they send messages to those around you all day long. Feet move us out of danger as we flee from a perceived unsafe situation, like a falling warehouse crate. Feet help us stand our ground when we want to stress a point in a meeting with colleagues. Standing on our own two feet conveys leadership. If you want the truth at work, take a glance at the feet — yours and the other person’s. Feet Scenario #1 While discussing pricing with a manufacturer’s sales representative, we’re surprised to find that our feet point toward the exit doors. The feet were ready to walk out, yet our mind and voice had not made the departure decision. We silently telegraphed that we were no longer listening to the salesperson. There are two choices: Listen to your feet and end the meeting, or re-engage listening skills while turning your feet toward the salesperson. Sometimes, asking open-ended questions will reignite your interest and help you keep your feet and mind reengaged.

Feet Scenario #2 When happy and pleased with ourselves, we may walk with a “bounce in our step.” Other body language signals validate a happy mood. Pupils may dilate, the corners of our eyes crinkle, and our lips move upward into a smile. These behaviors tell coworkers we’re joyous. Our entire body language is congruent from head to toe. There’s no reason to doubt this person’s attitude. If this good mood is coming from your boss, it might be a good time to discuss your promotion or give a progress report on a new project.

Body Talk: The Eyes “The eyes are the window to the soul,” is a phrase attributed to Cicero. The sentence is a beautifully descriptive way of saying, “Eyes don’t lie.” Depending on the home in which you were raised, this window to your soul may have slammed shut by age two or three. In the home in which my parents raised their six children, spankings were a disciplinary option. We all quickly mastered the “I’m innocent — it’s not me, mom” look. Police interrogators attest to the fact that they’ve faced liars who mask guilt with strong, unflinching eye contact that fools rookie detectives. When reading co-workers’ eyes, there are a few eye “tells” that are effective gauges of the individual’s state-of-mind. Fast blinking often indicates nervousness, inner stress, personal struggles and even low self-esteem. The average relaxed blink rate is between 15 and 20 blinks per minute. More frequent blinking is a tip-off of possible lying.

Frequent eye rubbing can show that someone does not believe what they’ve heard, said, or saw. Another eye signal is the rolling of the eyes. This can mean disrespect or contempt and is definitely not a positive signal in an important meeting or presentation. When observing eye rubbing or rolling, it’s best to stop and make inquiries as to what is going on in your subject’s mind.

Body Talk: The Hands Stop where you are. Come closer. Keep your distance. I surrender. It’s nice to meet you. Each of these phrases relates to a specific hand gesture. The tricky part is interpreting them correctly in all cultures. These manual gestures are not universal. Care must be taken to accurately decipher their meanings to avoid misunderstanding.

In the U.S., when an individual extends their right hand toward you at waist level, they’re usually attempting to shake hands. Two hands grasping one another may be the only body contact experienced with another person before negotiation commences. There are numerous types of handshakes. Each carries their own meaning. They also set the stage for future business dealings. The grasp can range from a 10-second bone-crusher to a two-second, limp-fingertip extension. The “power grip” sends a message that the individual is the authority. They’ll attempt to dominate the conversation. The flaccid, cold “jellyfish extension” sets a tone of weakness and a lack of self-confidence. Another handshake is called “cupping.” In it, one of the individuals never allows palm to palm skin contact. It is as if they’re saying, I can’t commit to you. Our primary goal should not be to intimidate another individual with the shake of a hand. Handshakes leave lasting memories. Start things out right by extending your hand to all you meet for the first time, no matter what their age or gender. The more modern “knuckle-bump” or high-five may be OK for a group of professionals meeting after work. If the gathering involves business, use the traditional firm handshake.


As we become more observant of body language, we more frequently see what others are thinking and build stronger business relationships.