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Top 11 business development books

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Bettering yourself as a business professional is an admirable goal for 2012. While there are many varying routes you could take to make that goal a reality, one of the most simplistic ways is to pick up a few good books that guide you along your journey. And because you may be one who enjoys holding a physical book in your hand rather than an electronic device, here are eleven physical books that are focused on your professional development and potential.

1. The Art of Asking

1. The Art of Asking: Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers by Terry J. Fadem – According to Fadem, there are essential questions that every manager or business professional needs to ask themselves. With that in mind, Fadem has “ten simple rules for asking every question more effectively.” This book has been positively reviewed by high-ranking business professionals across the country, including the Corporate Vice President of Johnson & Johnson, Garry A. Neil, who says that it is “required reading for every leader.”

2. Networking

2. Networking (52 Brilliant Ideas) by Nicolas King – Knowing the right people can mean the difference between getting your foot in the door and your brilliant idea never being heard or taken seriously. And the only way to get to know the right people is to effectively network. It’s all about turning your everyday professional contacts into powerful networking tools. And King provides you with 52 ways to do just that.

3. Social Pollination

3. Social Pollination: Escape the Hype of Social Media and Join the Companies Winning at It by Monica L. O’Brien – “Social pollination is about embracing the power of communities and using it to your advantage.” O’Brien asserts that potential customers used to go to a company’s website to find out the information they needed. However, today, they usually go straight to the company’s social media page. Social media has allowed users to share your company’s information quickly, conveniently, and efficiently. Marketing your business can be made easier through the proper use of social media.

4. Delivering Happiness

4. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh – Tony Hsieh sold his business to Microsoft for a substantial amount of money. He then became the CEO of Zappos, which was later purchased by Amazon. This book is all about the professional and business lessons he’s learned through his experiences, and it all centers around choosing happiness and helping others finding happiness, too.

5. The Innovator’s Dilemma

5. The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen – An essential way for a business to succeed is to keep up with current technologies. This can be increasingly difficult, as the number of new technology continues to grow. In his book, Christensen discusses the two types of technology: sustaining and disruptive. While disruptive technology is sometimes a cheaper option, it isn’t always the best for the livelihood and growth of the company.

6. Influence

6. Influencer: The Power to Change Anything by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler – Being an influencer can come with a great deal of responsibility and possibility. We all know influential people who really can make a difference. And you can be just like them. “An influencer motivates others to change. An influencer replaces bad behaviors with powerful new skills. An influencer makes things happen.”

7. Crucial Conversations

7. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler – Using dialogue effectively is a talent that not everyone is born with. However, it is a talent that can be developed. This book will help you prepare for situations when the stakes are high and so are tension and stress levels. It will also teach you how to avoid being abrasive and to be persuasive instead.

8. Secrets of Steve Jobs

8. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience by Carmine Gallo – Whether or not you’re a fan of Steve Jobs’ innovations, it’s hard to deny that he could give a great presentation. He had a passion that was unrivaled. He believed in his product and in his company, and that shined through clearly and strongly. Carmine Gallo takes you through the impact Steve Jobs had on the public and his competition.

9. Leadership

9. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by Arbinger Institute – This book takes a unique view of exploring leadership roles. Instead of focusing on methodologies for being a leader in the workplace, the focus is placed on how leaders view those they lead and how and why that makes a large impact on how they lead their staff. Some will never be good leaders because of their personal judgments of others.

10. Presentation Zen

10. Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds – The right presentation can mean additional funding, profit, and professional success. Garr Reynolds encourages readers to be creative and think differently when it comes to professional presentations. Regular slide presentations are no more, and should be replaced with something unique and new.

11. Organizing

11. The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization by Peter M. Senge – There are living companies and there are those that are stagnant. The stagnant companies will never survive for long because the business world is constantly changing. That’s why it’s important to have a “learning organization.” That means your company changes along with the industry. And that’s the only way for a healthy professional life these days.

These eleven books are just a small sampling of the direction and assistance you can find on many book lists for business professionals. Explore the books that seem interesting or unique and leave the other ones behind. Focus on your goals for 2012 and cut out the business books you feel obligated to read and those that don’t hold your interest. Before you know it, you’ll be improving yourself and your business.

Coaching

Disputing a property’s value in a short sale: turn a no into a go

During a short sale, there may be various obstacles, with misaligned property values ranking near the top, but it doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker!

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magic eight ball

It’s about getting your way

Were you on the debate team in high school? Were you really effective at convincing your parent or guardian to let you do things that you shouldn’t have been doing? How are your objection-handling skills? Can you flip a no into a go?

When working on short sales, there is one aspect of the process that may require those excellent negotiation or debate skills: disputing the property value. In a short sale, the short sale lender sends an appraiser or broker to the property and this individual conducts a Broker Price Opinion or an appraisal, using special forms provided by the short sale lender.

After this individual completes the Broker Price Opinion or the appraisal, he or she will return it to the short sale lender. Shortly thereafter, the short sale lender will be ready to talk about the purchase price. Will the lender accept the offer on the table or is the lender looking for more? If the lender is seeking an offer for a lot more than the one on the table, mentally prepare for the fact that you will need to conduct a value dispute.

Value Dispute Process

While each of the different short sale lenders (including Fannie Mae) has their own policies and procedures for value dispute, all these procedures have some things in common. Follow the steps below in order to conduct an effective value dispute.

  1. Inquire about forms. Ask your short sale lender if there are specific forms that you need to complete in order to conduct a value dispute. Obtain those forms if necessary.
  2. Gather information. Your goal is to convince the lender to accept the buyer’s offer, so you need to demonstrate that your offer is in line with the value of the property. Collect data that proves this point, such as reports from the MLS, Trulia, Zillow, or your local title company.
  3. Take photos. If there are parts of the property that are substandard and possibly were not revealed to the lender by the individual conducting the BPO, take photos of those items. Perhaps the kitchen has no flooring, or there is a 40-year old roof. Take photos to demonstrate these defects.
  4. Obtain bids. For any defects on the property, obtain a minimum of two bids from licensed contractors. For example, obtain two bids from roofers or structural engineers if necessary
  5. Write a report. Think back to high school English class if necessary. Write a short essay that references your information, photos, and bids, and explains how these items support your buyer’s value. This is not something that you whip up in five minutes. Spend time preparing a compelling appeal.

It is entirely possible that some lenders will not be particularly open-minded when it comes to valuation dispute. However, more times than not, an effective value dispute leads to short sale approval.

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Coaching

Short sale standoffs: how to avoid getting hit

The short sale process can feel a lot like a wild west standoff, but there are ways to come out victorious, so let’s talk about those methods:

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short sales standoff

What is a short sale standoff?

If you are a short sale listing agent, a short sale processor, or a short sale negotiator then you probably already know about the short sale standoff. That’s when you are processing a short sale with more than one lien holder and neither will agree to the terms offered by the other. Or… better yet, each one will not move any further in the short sale process until they see the short sale approval letter from the other lien holder.

Scenario #1 – You are processing a short sale with two different mortgage-servicing companies. Bank 1 employees tell you that they will proceed with the short sale, and they will offer Bank 2 a certain amount to release their lien. You call Bank 2 and tell them the good news. Unfortunately, the folks at Bank 2 want more money. If Bank 1 and Bank 2 do not agree, then you are in a standoff.

Scenario #2 – You are processing a short sale with two different mortgage-servicing companies. Bank 1 employees tell you that they cannot generate your approval letter until you present them with the approval letter from Bank 2. Bank 2 employees tell you the exact same thing. Clearly, in this situation, you are in a standoff.

How to Avoid the Standoff

If you are in the middle of a standoff, then you are likely very frustrated. You’ve gotten pretty far in the short sale process and you are likely receiving lots of pressure from all of the parties to the transaction. And, the lenders are not helping much by creating the standoff.

Here are some ideas for how to get out of the situation:

  • Go back to the first lien holder and ask them if they are willing to give the second lien holder more money.
  • Go to the second lien holder and tell them that the first lien holder has insisted on a maximum amount and see if they will budge.
  • If no one will budge, find out why. Is this a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan? If so, they have a maximum that they allow the second. And, if you alert the second of that information, they may become more compliant.
  • Worst case: someone will have to pay the difference. Depending on the laws in your state, it could be the buyer, the seller, or the agents (yuck). No matter what, make sure that this contribution is disclosed to all parties and appears on the short sale settlement statement at closing.
  • In Scenario #2, someone’s got to give in. Try explaining to both sides where you are and see if one will agree to generate their approval letter. If not, follow the tips provided in this Agent Genius article and take your complaint to the streets.

One thing about short sales is that the problems that arise can be difficult to resolve merely because of the number of parties involved—and all from remote locations. Imagine how much easier this would be if all parties sat at the same table and broke bread? If we all sat at the same table, then we wouldn’t need armor in order to avoid the flying bullets from the short sale standoff.

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Coaching

Short sale approval letters don’t arrive in the blink of an eye

Short sale approval letters may look like they’ve been obtained simply by experts, but it takes time and doesn’t just happen with luck.

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Short sale approval: getting prepared, making it happen

People always ask me how it is that I obtain short sale approval letters with such ease. The truth is, that while I have more short sale processing and negotiating experience than most agents and brokers, I don’t just blink my eyes like Jeannie and make those short sale approval letters appear. I often sweat it, just like everyone else.

Despite the fact that I do not have magical powers, I do have something else on my side—education. One of the most important things than can lead to short sale success for any and all agents is education.

Experience dictates that agents that learn about the short sale process
have increased short sale closings.

Short sale education opportunities abound

There are many ways to become educated about the short sale process and make getting short sale approval letters look easy to obtain. These include:

  • Classes at your local board of Realtors®
  • Free short sale webinars and workshops
  • The short sale or foreclosure specialist designations

As the distressed property arena grows and changes, it is important to always stay abreast of policy changes that may impact how you do your job and how you process any short sale that lands on your plate.

The most important thing to do is to read, read, read. Follow short sale specialists and those who blog about short sales on AGBeat, Google+, facebook, and twitter. Set up a Google Alert for the term ‘short sale’ and you will receive Google’s top short sale picks daily in your email inbox. Visit mortgagor websites to read up on their specific policies and procedures.

Don’t take on too much

And, when you get a call from a prospective short sale seller, make sure that you don’t bit off more than you can chew. Agents in most of America right now are clamoring for listings since we are in the midst of a listing shortage. But, if you are going to take on a short sale, be sure that it is a deal that you can close. And, if you have your doubts, why not partner up with a local agent that can mentor your and assist you in getting the job done? After all, half a commission check is better than none!

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