School Violence

School Violence

This morning, I called a friend who is a Facility manager at a large company in Phoenix, Arizona. She said let’s talk later. She said, “I’m pretty busy right now, we’re running a fire evacuation drill.”

That got me to wondering, how often companies and schools run drills? Drills of every kind. There are drills for natural disasters: Fire, Tornado, Flash Flooding, Earthquake, Hurricane etc.

And in our current daily life, we must also be aware of and prepare for Terrorists, and Active Shooters. Sometimes the violence comes from within the walls of a company and the perpetrator is a disgruntled employee. At other times, it is a student who is angry at their teacher, school administrator or even a fellow student who is bullying them.

Less frequently these days, and I am thankful for this, the individuals doing the shooting are not domestic terrorists. That is not to say that any actions taken by our law enforcement organizations have reduced the threat or possibility of violence from someone who is not a US citizen.

Statistics would seem to show that we are killing our fellow American citizens. 

Terrorist and Active Shooter drills are a sad fact of life today. The number of drills that are mandated by the states for schools is essential. Is it adequate? I don’t know.

This article was originally written the day before the latest terrorists shooting at Stem School at Highlands Ranch Colorado in which 18-year-old Kendrick Ray Castillo heroically lost his life protecting his classmates as he fought to stop the shooter’s rampage. Kendrick sacrificed his life that others would live. w

A 2018 BBC article analyzed the number of US school shootings in which at least a life was lost or there were individuals wounded. In 2018, there were 113 killed or wounded in 23 shootings. .

Statistically, that means there was one shooting every 8-days. That study is based upon a 180-day class year and the 23 school shooting in 2018.

What happened to fighting on the school playground to settle differences? How about those old-fashioned pushing and shoving matches that involved forcing another kids up against a locker? Or invitations to take it out on the playground after school? School fences used to protect our children from chasing a ball into the path of a vehicle passing the school. Fences can’t stop bullets.

Arming teachers with weapons or having guards with guns on school campuses is not the answer. I believe choosing that solution only teaches that disagreements must be managed with force, whether it’s with guns, other weapons of choice or even using a vehicle as the weapon.

Does Might Mean Right?

Once the school day is over, guns move to the streets. If individuals do not know how to manage their anger, fury, rage or even the small disappointments that everyone experiences, they will resort to the weapons they know, have seen and are familiar with.  

Without training in non-violent methods to manage disputes, quarrels, arguments and misunderstandings, the quick and easy solution is to pick up a gun. The outcome for some in these situations may be death. 

Corporations teach Conflict Management, Dispute Resolution, Anger Management. They hire outside consultants and invest in programs that will help their employees “Play Fair” at work.

Let’s put some serious funding into training our children how to” Play Fair” too. This should involve teaching them to #Negotiate. #MakeTrades. #ExploreOptions. #DiscussDifferences.

Learn how to #CalmTheInnerAnger. #CountToTen. #MeetInTheMiddle. #BeALeaderNotAFollower

Our children need the adults in their lives to follow the same rules. Be the Role Model your children need.

School administrators negotiate and maneuver legislators into funding these programs. Corporate Executives partner with schools to support these programs. The children reach with #Negotiation and #DisputeResolution programs will be your managers and executives tomorrow.

We all must be responsible. Our children deserve it.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speakerauthorconsultant 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.

If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get.  5-Steps to Be HEARD in a Noisy World

If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get.  5-Steps to Be HEARD in a Noisy World

Successful negotiators are prepared negotiators. Most of us are not born negotiators. However, through trial-and-error, we learn how to get what we want. By the age of two, a toddler knows how mommy and daddy tick and what it takes to get a cuddle, cookie or favorite toy.

The stakes grew larger as we reach adulthood. The “winner takes all” theory ceases to work. The anthem becomes “I want to be HEARD. LISTEN to me. RESPECT my opinions.”

Five Negotiation Success Steps are contained in the acronym H.E.A.R.D.

Step 1 – H – Homework

Before every negotiation, know as much as possible about the “other team.” Homework comes before conversation. Jump into the heart of the negotiation without proper preparation and you lose more than you gain. It never pays to avoid the homework phase.

Homework includes:

  1.  On-line research tools such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube to uncover information gold that will provide keys to your negotiation success.
  2. Check the other teams’ website, marketing philosophy, recent press releases, stock price, trade magazines articles, blogs, podcasts and webinars.
  3. Homework helps understand your opponent’s needs, wants and bottom line and how it matches your goals.

Step 2 – E – Engage

In the initial meeting, engage the opponent and assess what you know and need to know.

  1. Use open-ended questions to get the other team talking. Confirm research facts you’re unsure about.
  2. Use active listening skills and demonstrate your interest in their position.
  3. Take notes. Notes aid recall of what was said, and commitments made.
  4. Learn to accurately read language. You’ll peek into their true thoughts.
  5. Don’t interrupt. Allow prospects to speak freely.

Step 3 – A – Assess

Assess what you know and don’t know. Test possible solutions with phrases like “what would you say if…” or “let’s imagine when…” or even, “Other than that one deadline we are unable to meet, what else concerns you about doing business with us?”

If you’re faced with someone who answers questions with a question, consider taking a refreshment or comfort break. Their questioning technique can become an impediment rather than a tool. A pause for a coffee refill has saved many a negotiator from losing their emotional control.

Step 4 – R – Recommendation

You’re ready to present your solution, proposal or position.

The recommendation phase is not called the Godfather Step. If you recall in the classic movie The Godfather, there is a scene in which one of the lead characters, Don Corleone, tells his associates that he plans to make their opponents an offer—“an offer they can’t refuse.”

There are debates over who should make the first offer. Go with your gut. I’ve won with either approach. There is adequate research to support either technique.

Step 5 – D – Document

A deal is not finished until it’s in writing. Accurate note taking throughout the process makes this phase easy. Immediately after discussions are concluded and the handshake consummates the verbal agreement, draft the contract.

Before anyone leaves the room, assign responsibilities to participants regarding the next steps towards completion and timing.

Allow time for contract clarifications. You laid the foundation for a future meeting, negotiation or transaction. If all parties were treated fairly and each departs with some of what they need, you’ve built a win-win relationship. You’ll live to do another deal.


I Don’t Know You. I Don’t Trust You. I’m Not Buying.

I Don’t Know You. I Don’t Trust You. I’m Not Buying.

Many sales professionals believe their biggest selling roadblock is that they “Don’t Ask for the Order.” When sales managers review their team’s progress, they ask, how many times did you attempt to close the sale?

An old sales myth is that you must hear NO! 10 times before you get to YES.

Here are some of the “excuses” sales managers hear when dissecting a lost sale.

  1. I guess I didn’t ask for the order at the “Right Time” or use the “Right Words”.
  2. I was afraid they’d say NO.
  3. Rookies blame customers who didn’t allow enough time to listen to the whole sales pitch.
  4. Some reps use the excuse that “I caught the customer on a bad day.”

I believe that a significant portion of the customer sales reluctance is because the sales rep did not gain the customer’s trust.

We live in a rush, rush, close the sale quickly world. With email, voicemail, virtual meetings and on-line presentations, digital contract signatures, and a plethora of non-face-to-face sales tools, we constantly hear about efficient selling.

What I find is that many sales people do not invest the time to conduct face-to-face meetings. Some say that driving to an appointment for one prospect is a waste of time. It’s smarter to have a virtual meeting with many prospects every day.

Last year, I taught a Body Language workshop for 75 real estate professionals from a large brokerage in my part of the US. We discussed reading their seller’s Body Language. The agents admitted that they ‘re not great at reading Body Language because they usually only get in front of a customer one time. They said that most customer communications were via phone or email. They rarely saw their sellers or buyers.

If the prospect was a seller, they met that individual at the time of the formal “Sales Presentation.” Big Money Realtors have real estate assistants who looked at the seller’s property, talked to the customer and did information gathering.

I was shocked at learning this. The slam, bam, thank you ma’am technique was not new to me. However, when dealing with the biggest asset a family will ever own, could the investment in up close and personal time to establish trust and build a relationship, be an antique idea? How about in your organization?

My husband sold real estate for 20 years. He always took the time to get to know his buyers or sellers over a cup of coffee. He visited them in their home, met their pets and maybe their children. He took time touring and admiring the sellers home. He laid groundwork for a trusting friendship.

He was known as the agent who could save his fellow agents deals when it looked like all was lost. I believe that was because he had honed his skills at reading customer’s silent signals and knew how to gain trust quickly.  He knew that Trust Takes Time.

How about you? Are you getting to know your prospects? Are you letting technology keep you from gaining your customers trust?

As Zig Ziglar, the first motivational speaker I ever heard said, “If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”

Who do you sell to? Clients or Customers?

Who do you sell to? Clients or Customers?

Recently, a Pennsylvania commercial printer, we’ll call Mike, called me for help. He heard that I specialize in equipment lease negotiations. Mike was at the end of a three-year lease on two digital copiers. He wanted to buy the equipment. As I live by the rule “everything is negotiable if only you ask,” I assured him I could help.

Do Your Homework

Negotiation step one is to research all available facts. “Knowledge is power,” Sir Francis Bacon advised. The more I know about my customer’s wants and needs the better I am at negotiating.

Here’s what I did to prepare.

Step 1. I researched Mike’s short-term and long-range equipment plans, and gathered copies of the lease contract, information on the leasing company, equipment dealer and investigated used equipment values.

Step 2. Prepared a plan for the various negotiation outcomes.

Step 3. Located the right person with whom to negotiate. I started with the leasing company and was told that the dealer controlled the end of lease purchase price. Not to spoil the story, however, sometimes what we are initially told is not the final word.

The dealer salesperson was identified as my “go to guy.” It became obvious after two discussions that he: 1) Had little authority and 2) If he had power, he was unwilling to lower the purchase price. He felt that he had given the customer several opportunities to accept HIS proposal for a lease extension. What did the customer want? Mike wanted to purchase the equipment, not sign a two-year lease renewal.

Numerous telephone conversations ensued. The dealer position remained unchanged.  The salesman’s voice indicated his boredom with the negotiation and an unwillingness to make any concessions. He had no further interest in helping Mike. He was only interested in his position. Did he win the battle but lose the war? YES.

Step 4. Don’t give up. Go back to the beginning. Mike’s story concludes happily. I returned to the leasing company and finally reached a manager that uttered the beautiful words “You’d like to negotiate? I can help you.” She immediately reduced Mike’s purchase price by 50%.

Are you listening to your customer? Do you work as their partner or are you in the deal for a commission check? That is transactional thinking. Instead, build relationships. I refer to my “customers” as clients. I am an adviser and confidante. What do your customers call you?

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!

Take a Challenge With Me for a Successful 2017!

Take a Challenge With Me for a Successful 2017!

Ready for the Big Game? Not the Super Bowl. Are you geared up for the sales game? Are you prepared for the challenges, hurdles and victories in your 2017 personal Sales Super Bowl?  You’re not a bench warmer. Be a key contributor to your company’s success.  If you didn’t track when your customer’s lease ends, that’s no excuse to avoid contacting a company.

For at least eighty percent of the US, it’s cold during January and February. If you’re like me, the cold and snow is an excuse to avoid sales calls. “No one wants to see me on a snowy, freezing cold day. However, your phone works.

Even though your car may not be able to pile-drive through snowdrifts and traverse treacherous black ice covered roads, prospecting calls are always in season.

If you no longer want to see the same results as in prior years, join me in a challenge for 2017. We’ll have to make behavioral changes to see new results. Let’s make 2017 one of our best years ever.

Take five steps with me.

  1. I will make more “warm” prospecting calls. A warm call is one that is a result of some prior communication. Warm calls may be the result of a chance meeting at a networking event, a former customer that slipped through our sales net, a referral from a current customer or someone who has received one of company marketing letters.
  1. I will prepare a series of well-written marketing messages.
  1. I will commit to make a specific number of marketing calls each week. How many calls is the right number? It’s different for each of us. Write a goal that is consistently achievable. Powerful results come from consistent calling efforts and a written goal. Hold yourself accountable and reward your successes.
  1. I will create a three step follow-up process for those I meet face-to-face. The process must be easy to put into place or the temptation to abandon the plan will hit by February.
  1. For everyone from whom I collect a business card, I will:
    1. Send a brief note or email within 3-5-days of meeting them. Personalize the message. Add a detail from your conversation. Form letters are a waste of time. In 2012, we must do that which is unexpected.
    1. The second contact includes your company qualifications as it relates to your ability to solve the prospect’s biggest problem. . All communication is from a customer’s perspective focused on needs and the outcome that comes with your solution.
    1. Step three is a phone call. The message is problem and solution oriented. Ask open-ended questions. No drive-by spontaneous visits allowed.

We will have an improved 2017 if we work this plan together. Let me hear from you when you hit a bump. I’ll be on the journey with 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.

Negotiate When You Want to be HEARD: 5 Tips to Negotiation Success Part 5 of 5

Successful negotiators are prepared negotiators. Most of us are not born as great negotiators. We learn at an early age how to get what we want. By age two, a toddler knows how mommy and daddy tick and what it takes to get a cookie.

As we grow the stakes get bigger. We need to refine our old motto “I want what I want.” What we are really saying is “I want to be HEARD. Please listen to me. Respect my opinions.”

Five tips for a successful negotiation are contained in the acronym H.E.A.R.D.

This article is the last in a five-part series sharing essential steps to become a more successful negotiator in leasing as well as in life.

Step 5 – D – Document

A deal is not finished until it is in writing. Accurate note taking throughout the process makes this phase easy and painless. Immediately after the discussions are finished and the handshake consummates the agreement, the meeting summaries or contracts need to be drafted. Once drafted, the contracts are distributed to all involved parties.

Before anyone leaves the room, assign responsibilities to the participants regarding who is going to perform which steps, when they will be completed, and when the documents will be signed.

Time should be allowed for clarification of contract details and misunderstandings.

You just laid the foundation for the next meeting, negotiation or transaction. If all parties were treated fairly and each leaves with some of what they need, you have a win-win relationship. You will live to do another deal.

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!