Who Is Negotiating Your Short Sale?

Imagine you are selling your home (it’s a short sale, you owe more than your home is worth). Let’s say you called the Realtor that sold you your home, they state they “do short sales”, so you say great- I can’t afford my home, I need to sell it and get a fresh start!

Sometimes- this is easier said than done. One question most home sellers don’t think to ask “WHO IS NEGOTIATING WITH MY LENDER”. This could not be more important! This is the person that will be calling your lender WEEKLY (well you hope), will have updates and will get the short sale approved.

There are a couple of options for negotiators:

1. The Realtor negotiates themselves (I personally prefer this – I like to control the deal, know where we are and hopefully keep the buyer interested). My duty is to my Seller to get the short sale completed so they can move on with their lives.

2. The Realtor hires a third party negotiator (this could be another Realtor or a company who negotiates these deals). The downfall with this scenario is YOUR Realtor never quite knows where the negotiation is. The third party negotiator claims they call every week, gives really lame updates, and generally takes about twice as long to get any short sale done.

So why on earth do Realtors use these third party negotiators?

Well – I think in general, most Realtors don’t want to follow up weekly, they would rather pass on that duty. However, there are too many potential pitfalls.

Pitfalls of a Third Party Negotiator

* Short sale takes too long- buyer gets antsy and cancels the deal. The Seller is left with no buyer
* The short sale takes twice as long- every month the Seller is getting another ding on their credit for the missed payments
* Short sale doesn’t get completed- the Negotiator wasn’t watching the Foreclosure date and the home forecloses

Nine Suggestions When Giving a Presentation

Once again, I attended a business presentation in which the presenter was quite knowledgeable, but the presenter…

  1. was half-hour late
  2. further delayed the presentation because the presenter had to set up the equipment for the PowerPoint presentation
  3. began nearly an hour late
  4. was underdressed for a business presentation (wore jeans to a business presentation)
  5. knew the materials presented, but not really organized, and certainly, was not concise
  6. showed a PowerPoint presentation where some slides had 3 paragraphs on a slide (i.e. the fonts were nearly unreadable even in a small room) and where some text was grayish-blue or white on a relatively light blue background
  7. and said, in our opinion, a rather uncalled for remark, when we had to leave before the end of the presentation

I purposely avoided stating he or she in the above bullet points or mentioning the business or type of business because these are not important.  I’ve attended, not infrequently, similar ill-presented presentations related to several different industries. In fact, I listened to the CEO and the national speaker for this company one evening.  The presentation was one of the most unexciting presentations I heard.  People around me were falling asleep and doing other things during this person’s presentation.  This person took an hour to give a presentation, which could have been presented in 20 minutes.

If you plan to give a presentation:

  1. Come at least 1/2 hour early and never, never, never arrive late.  
  2. If you need to set up for a PowerPoint presentation, arrive even earlier to set up and test the equipment well before any attendees arrive
  3. Never under dress for the presentation.  You are the expert.  First impressions are important and giving a business presentation while wearing jeans or sweatshirt undermines your expertise.  Always dress slightly above the expected dress attire for the event.  In my opinion, the audience has a right to under dress, but never the presenter.  If the expected attire is business casual, come in a suit.  If you plan to speak to students at their school, you may come in a suit, sports jacket, or in just a shirt (blouse) and slacks. Personally,  I would come with a sports jacket and then remove my jacket when I begin my presentation. I bolded slightly because you don’t want to overdress If you are talking to a group of farmers who are dressed in their work clothes, you may not want to come in a suit and tie, but you also don’t want to come in work clothes.  Presenting in a shirt and slacks, without a tie, may be appropriate. However, if you should happen to come to an event more than slightly overdressed (e.g. if you arrive in a suit and tie and the attire for most is jeans and t-shirts), then ask permission to remove the tie and jacket.
  4. Be sure, if you are planning to use any equipment, such as a laptop, projector, or speakers, you have everything with you, including all the cabling, extension cords, etc.  Also, bring duplicate accessories.  If you can afford it, bring a duplicate laptop or a projector.  Definitely, bring backup materials, i.e. printed copies of your PowerPoint slides.  In the presentation I attended, the presenter was late, unable to set up the equipment quickly because the presenter forgot to bring accessory cords necessary to connect the laptop to the projector.
  5. Practice and rehearse your PowerPoint presentation without the PowerPoint. Then add the PowerPoint and throw out or modify any slide that does not enhance your presentation.  Then, if you are running late (a definite negative), a bulb burns out, or the laptop crashes unexpectedly, you can still proceed because you had practiced without the PowerPoint. As in #4 directly above, have a printout of the slides for yourself in case you can’t use the PowerPoint.  Use these slides as your notes to keep you on track. 
  6. If possible, print an introduction and have someone introduce you.  If not, briefly, and I mean briefly, give a background of who you are immediately after your attention getter.  Don’t begin with a long-winded introduction.  This occurred in this last presentation, and a few months ago, I heard a trainer talk about himself for at least 10 minutes-and the trainer had only 75 minute to give the presentation. By the time the trainer started the on the topic at hand, I had refocused my energies to my own materials.  I hardly listened for the remaining 65 minutes. Also, be sure to limit your introduction that relates directly to your presentation.  I am a chemist by education, but I don’t include my chemistry background.  Most of the time, I have someone introduce me as a communications and life coach, an international instructor and trainer, and a published author.  Only if I am giving a presentation, for example, on effective presentation skills for scientists and other technical professionals, will I include my chemistry credentials.
  7. Write your speech-not to memorize it or to read it, but refine it.  You write your speech to reorganize it so that the presentation flows smoothly, and to remove verbiage which is not beneficial to your speech so that your presentation is concise and to the point.
  8. Particularly, if you are already late in starting, don’t wander off on tangents. Stay within the confines of your presentation, and if possible, eliminate certain parts of your presentation to end on time.  Otherwise, you may have disgruntled members of the audience.
  9. If members of the audience must leave before you are finished, don’t say disparaging remarks such as “I hate it when people leave before I’m finished.”  It does no good and you may have killed any chance of closing the deal.

If you want to encourage people to invest in a business, product, or service, don’t do what the presenter I discussed did. Rather, be aware of these nine suggestions to assure that they remain interested.

Power Up Your Power Point Presentations

Brian Fugere and several co authors wrote a great book titled Why Business People Speak Like Idiots, a look at the frightening world of corporate speak. I would like to suggest a sequel called Why Business People Create Slides that Put You to Sleep.

You’ve seen these people. You’ve probably been in their audiences. They have 495 slides which they read to you one by one in a monotone voice with no facial expression and expect you to follow along in a font that even your ophthalmologist couldn’t translate.

For starters, most of us can read by ourselves, thank you very much. Secondly, assuming we can read, maybe the presenter should just send us the slides and spare us the presentation?

Am I being too sarcastic? Perhaps. But, I spend most of my time coaching people through presentations and critical meetings for which they’ve spent a lot of time designing and perfecting slides, but little if any time thinking through their message. Creating slides is not communicating. According to the English dictionary, communicate means to “converse”, to “impart” or to “connect”. The only thing connective about most slide shows is the plug that you stick into the socket to make the projector run.

So, what is a presenter to do?

No One Came to See a Slide Show. Before you create a single slide, think about what you want to say. What do you want people to think, do, know or feel when you’re done speaking? If the slides crashed, could you still tell the story? If your answer is no, then your message is muddled and you don’t truly own your material. Write your talk first and then create slides that reinforce what you’re saying instead of using your slides as a script.

Talk, Don’t Read. Reading is for the eye. Listening is for the ear. It’s important to create slides that speak in phrases, not sentences so you talk instead of read. Eliminate words such as, if, the, in, on, and of. Instead, use 3 to 5 words per line to reinforce what you’re saying so people listen to you instead of reading the slide. Look for opportunities to reveal the lines to prevent people from reading ahead so you focus their attention where you want it.

Don’t put everything on the slide. What works in print doesn’t always translate to slides. Your job is to help listeners make sense of information. If you cram too much on the slide, they’ll be reading item Z while you’re still talking about item A. Instead of cutting and pasting data from a study, create colorful charts, graphs and pictures that highlight data, evoke emotion and make the information more relevant. That’s what listeners remember.

Think headline. Look at each slide and ask: “What’s the headline and what does it mean to the people in the room?” Then think about how to walk them through the information. For example: “Look at the purple box on the left compared to the yellow box on the right. It’s nearly double the size. That means we’ve doubled our profits.” While every slide doesn’t have to stand on its own, it must have a reason for being there such as setting up a point or driving home a message.

We don’t do it that way here. Just because others drone on doesn’t mean you have to be boring too. Think of every presentation as a huge opportunity to inform, persuade or sell your point of view. If a slide set has been designed for you, you should still look for ways to personalize the information and create moments that audiences remember. If you are required to present every single slide, that doesn’t mean you have to read every point. Provide an overview and tell the audience that details will be available in written form later.

Hit them over the head. Your first few words determine whether your audience tunes in or out. So, why do people need a slide to tell the audience what they are going to talk about? Don’t they know why they’re here? When you open your mouth, hit them over the head with a story or example that engages and grabs attention so they understand why they should care? Ask what’s in it for them?

Finally, create slides for people in the back of the room. Use color, big fonts and contrast. Remember, every time you speak, you’re on! Look for ways to stand out and set the bar a bit higher so people look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Copyright (c) 2008 Karen Friedman