NO or I Don’t Know. Which No/Know is More Powerful?

NO or I Don’t Know. Which No/Know is More Powerful?

There is power in saying NO. Guru’s preach that if we say that simple one-syllable word-NO-we will:

  1. Establish office and project boundaries quicker.
  2. Manage time more effectively. Be a more successful, productive sales or territory manager.
  3. Control or eliminate excesses like eating unhealthy foods, drinking excessively or smoking.
  4. Be happier, more contented and fulfilled.
  5. Avoid over-volunteering for activities. You’ll recognize this pattern if your community nickname is “The Always Go-to Soccer Coach” or “Fund Raising Chair Extraordinaire.”

Brick and mortar bookstores contain huge Self-Help sections. Amazon lists 1.5 million book titles containing the word NO. If there are so many resources available to instruct us on how to say NO, why are we unable or unwilling to say that 2-letter word?

I believe it has a lot to do with difficulty in uttering another phrase, “I don’t know”, which is usually followed by the phrase, “I want to talk it over with….”

Somehow or at some time in our cultural development, it became imperative to respond immediately to a request with either a Yes or a No. Delay in decision-making was unacceptable. We feared that decision delay was a sign of weakness. Maybe it was an indication that we didn’t control our own destiny, personal lives, service territory, company future or world peace.

Uttering the phrase “I don’t know, I’ll get back to you on that” was as challenging as watching a cat passing a hair ball.

As children, if we were smart, we relied upon the excuse “I’ll have to ask my mom or dad for permission.” We maintained peace at home and avoided punishment when we asked an authority for approval of a scheme or plan.

As adults, who is our go-to for counsel? We’re fortunate if we have someone to consult prior to decision-making. The title we use is not as important as that there is someone we go to for guidance.

We may refer to them as an adviser, coach, mentor, business partner, counselor, colleague, spouse and occasionally attorney. Their title depended upon the issue. The point is that we have someone to discuss a decision with before saying yes or no. For some of us, we refer to our guide as a higher-power.

There is another possible challenge on the way to “I Don’t Know.” It’s the ego, our sense of self-esteem, self-importance and personal identity. A strong ego is an asset but can be a liability if it overrides humility.

When the ego is strong enough to admit that Smart People Say I Don’t Know, you are on your way to more personal fulfillment and success.

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!   


Eight Steps to Sales Success

Eight Steps to Sales Success

2016 is almost over.  Close out the year on a successful note. Read below for some tips and inspiration to close some deals!

You have taken the time to get to know your customer equipment and finance needs and wants.  You feel the excitement. Adrenaline rushes through your body. It’s time to present your proposal. Lay your deal on the table.

  1. Rehearse: Proper preparation for your proposal includes role-play. This is not the time for improvisation. Be prepared for all possible objections.  Consider role-playing the sales appointment with a buddy, your boss or another sales rep. Practice like this is your Carnegie Hall debut, not a sale to the printer across town.
  1. Recommendation: During your presentation, introduce the lease payments as a daily expense. Also, use the concept of the customer’s return on their investment. Now is not the time to remind your customer about the total cash purchase price. Discuss the daily lease payment, which will allow customers to add helpful equipment accessories and software when they do not have the cash to purchase the extras. Extras increase your sale and only add pennies to the customers daily lease payment.
  1. Relate: Compare your customer’s current daily lease payment to your proposed and more affordable daily investment. You structured the lease to improve their cash flow. Their new lease payment is lower than their current payment and the equipment is less expensive to maintain.
  1. Review: Look at notes from previous customer meetings. Your solutions should solve the problems your prospect faces with their current equipment supplier or leasing company.
  1. Remove time constraints: Allow adequate time to present your solution and handle customer questions and objections. Never interrupt the presentation to catch a flight home or make your next appointment. Miss the flight or reschedule the second appointment rather than rush your customer. Allow time to properly close the deal.
  1. Remember: Do not take objections and questions personally. This is business. If you do not know the answer to their lease questions, equipment concerns or service issues, promise to promptly, find the answer.
  1. Respond: It’s essential to respond to customers objections quickly before fears and doubts develop. Always tell your prospect when you will return with answers to their questions.
  1. Relationship: People buy from people not brochures. Develop a trusting relationship with your prospect. Trust requires mutual respect.

You should know the easy compromises that you are empowered to make on the spot. However, depending upon the situation, you might want to defer to your business partner or manager before closing the sale the same day as the presentation.

In the heat of the moment, even seasoned negotiators give away too much and later regret their quick decision.

Compromise and concessions may be necessary before the deal is done. However, you have a fabulous foundation. You allowed time to develop a strong customer relationship. You are a problem solver. You are not someone who tries to talk customers into things they don’t need, want or can’t afford.

You are sales professional.

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!

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!




The Answer is NO….Until it’s  YES!

The Answer is NO….Until it’s YES!

For my first few years of life, I thought that when Mom said NO, she meant NO. There was seldom a reversal of a decision. It was useless to ask my dad, hoping that to keep the peace, he’d give in to a request. Nope. He was afraid of my mom too.

Eventually, I learned that I was making rookie negotiator’s mistake. Little did I suspect that there was more than one-way of asking.

I am the second of six-children and the first female. My “Big Brother” was 10 years older than I was. For a couple of years, as an adorable little girl, the answers to my requests were often YES.

That lucky streak ran out. The next four children arrived in our family, over the next 10-years. My requests were now met with a NO WAY! There’s not enough money to do that for all of you. My parents believed that their duty was to be financially fair to all the children.

The family budget was frequently stretched to the breaking point. There was enough for life’s basics, but little remained for extra treats, vacations or new clothes.

Early in life, I prepared a mental list of the Negotiation-Facts of Life.

  1. No Meant No.
  2. Money would be spent equally on each child.
  3. Whining never worked.
  4. Asking my dad did not fly in our house. Mom was the absolute authority and the decision maker.
  5. Team negotiations in which all of us ganged up against my parents came with negative consequences and sometimes in the form of a spanking.

Today, as the FearLess Negotiator the childhood Negotiation Facts of Life no longer apply.

I approach every negotiation with a new rulebook.

  1. No means no, not right now. Situations change. When new information is reported, new rules apply. No can switch to yes in the blink of an eye.
  2. People get the money they ask for. “If you Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get.”
  3. Whining, crying and pleading works sometimes. However, use this technique judiciously.
  4. There is always a Higher Authority. Every business professional has a boss, even though bosses may be called shareholders, stakeholders or the Board of Directors.
  5. Team Negotiators are effective as long as the participants:
  6. Know their duties and responsibilities.
  7. Understand their individual strengths and why they have been invited to sit at the negotiation table.
  8. Sometimes, the team with the biggest number of players WINS!

I challenge each sales person, customer service representative, manager or business owner to reconsider their personal rules of negotiation. Do not be discouraged when you receive a NO. No is just a word that is constantly changing. No wants to be a YES when it grows up.

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., 913-422-7775.

Face Your Biggest Fears…Most of them Won’t Kill You.

Face Your Biggest Fears…Most of them Won’t Kill You.

Unless the chute fails to open. Alternatively, your tandem instructor decides not to pull the ripcord because he has a death wish. By now, you’ve probably guessed this story is about skydiving, one of my biggest fears.13592406_1049624141792932_7132323744764427168_n

Last year, at a luncheon of an organization of Business Women, the foursome at my table began to discuss “Bucket Lists.” My Bucket List at the time, included skydiving. I casually asked if any of the others had that on their list. Nancy excitedly said yes she had wanted to jump since she was 15-years of age. She volunteered to be my accountability buddy and would do a tandem jump too. Rats, there went the excuse of “I’d never do this alone.”

The other two women said they thought we were both a bit crazy but they’d cheer us on from a safe spot on the ground. Nancy and I researched jump locations safety records, instructors, prices and personal jump site recommendations. Excuses and delays caused us to push the jump into the summer of 2016.

Jump day, Sunday, June 5 arrived. The weather was perfect. However, I was on day 16 of the worst head cold I have had in years. I had every excuse to not go through with the jump. However, I knew that if I backed out that Sunday, the odds were extremely high that I would never reschedule the jump.

Forty years before, I had taken a parachute jumping class and never made the jump. For a stack of reasons mostly having to do with an extremely rainy spring, I never put on the chute and jumped.

Facing fears is a subject I speak about frequently in my keynotes. I love to challenge my audiences to be courageous and face fears. Here are a few of the fears I’ve faced:

  • The fear of not making payroll as a small business owner for 14-years.
  • At age 30, I quit my job, loaded my car with the essentials I thought I’d need to live and headed west with no specific destination in mind. I had clothes for 4 seasons, a tent, sleeping bag, propane cook stove and my favorite cookbooks. I saw five states and settled for the next three years in Boulder, Colorado.
  • In my 30’s, I traveled to seven European countries alone for six weeks.
  • As a single woman, I purchased my first home in my 30’s before that was a common occurrence.
  • After receiving a traumatic brain injury while riding on my bicycle, a few months later, I got back on the same bicycle and rode over the spot where the accident occurred.
  • I’ve para sailed, skinny-dipped, spoken in front of an audience of 1,000 and visited someone at a maximum-security prison where I was informed that most of the inmates visiting with their families in the cafeteria around us were murderers.

What I’ve learned is when I face any fear, I grow stronger. The next fear is always easier to face.

Marilyn Ferguson, the author of The Aquarian Conspiracy said it succinctly, “we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.”

If you are anything like me, you yearn for freedom to live life to its fullest. No shortcuts or excuses, following the Nike slogan “Just Do It.”

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!