Having been in the Title business since 2005, I have seen many things as it relates to methods used by Title Companies to generate business. When I was a Title sales rep in Phoenix, AZ most of the major Title Companies has sales teams. These salespeople would lead generate Realtors and lenders to create Title orders for their company. There were some companies that had joint ventures or MSA’s (market service agreements) but they were not prevalent. Mostly because of the many Title salespeople each company had that caused the “capture rate” of those agreements are pretty low. When I moved to the Washington DC area, I found the opposite is true. Most Title Companies had joint ventures or other agreements in place and very few employed salespeople who generated the organic business. Let’s discuss the two different Title Company business models, how they work and the major differences.
This is not a blog about how amazing Stewart Title is because we have the best service, escrow staff, etc. Everyone says that about their company. I want to talk about the REAL differences that influence and affect YOU…our clients. Settlement and Title Companies are everywhere in each market. Figuring out who to use to support your business can be tough, especially if they essentially all do the same things. Realtors are viewed the same way. If you don’t have at least one strong value proposition, you are in trouble as consumers will view you as the same as other Realtors.
Having been in the Title industry since 2005, I have seen many Title Sales Reps come and go with only a handful really “making it” and taking their business to truly lucrative levels. With thousands of Title Salespeople in the US, that means a huge majority either wash out or never find the level of success they are seeking. Why is that? The main reason is a massive lack of training for Title Insurance Sales Reps. When I started in the business, I received little to no training. Being the newest Title Rep of 20 for my Phoenix, AZ company, I “shadowed” a few people but none were eager to share how they grew a book of business or their success secrets. I was left floundering around for a while before actually learning the job and finding my way. That learning curve could have shortened if there was training available. Thankfully for me, I kept working hard and grew a successful business in not only Phoenix but 2000 miles away in the Washington DC area. With many Title sales reps reaching out for assistance for this very reason, let’s chat about why there is a lack of training for Title Insurance Sales reps and how we can fix it.
The DAAR Fall Convention took place this year on October 19th. If you don’t know about DAAR–its the Dulles Area Association of Realtors. The main focus of this Realtor Association is Loudoun County and the cities along the Dulles Airport corridor. These conventions are pretty cool, in that you get to meet and talk to not only great Realtors in the area but other vendors as well. This year I was asked to not only teach a 2 hour class, but also a smaller class that lasted about half an hour. I know many vendors across the country attend their local association’s conventions, but gaining the platform to speak at length is another type of experience. I wanted to share this with you and deviate a little bit away from my normal real estate marketing/technology posts.
Over the last few years, I have received many emails and calls from Title Companies and Title Insurance Sales reps. Washington State to Florida, most of their questions and work struggles have a similar tone. This shows that no matter how business is done in your area, the concepts of sales and marketing strategies to gain Realtor, Lender, or Attorney clients is the same. When I moved to the Washington DC area in 2012, I did “start over” in the Title Insurance sales business. I moved to a brand new area, 2000 miles away from my former market (Phoenix, AZ) and I had zero clients. The positive thing is that I had seven years of Title Sales experience and had a proven track record building a book of business. With that said, what if I had to start over in Title Sales…right now? Would I do things the exact same or differently? Hmm…if I started over today.
I would say at least 3 -4 times a month I get this call or email from a Realtor: “Wade…we really want to use Stewart Title on this transaction, but this other Title Company says that if we go with them, they will give my buyer a free home warranty at closing. Can you guys do that?” That is when I have to drop the news, that the Title Company Home Warranty isn’t really free. Ever hear the phrase…”no such thing as a free lunch?” Think along those lines. You might be thinking that this doesn’t happen in your area of country, and you are probably right. It does happen in the Northern Virginia/Washington DC area…all the time. There are several things about this marketing tactic to “earn business” that needs to be explained. Not only to real estate agents, but also the buyers and sellers on the transaction. It affects them as well.
I was meeting with someone last week and he said: “If Title Companies stopped bringing bagels and donuts to Realtor offices, bakeries would go out of business!” We had a chuckle but the more I thought about it, I agreed with him. In many markets around the country, the Title Insurance Sales Rep behaves and is seen as just that…the “order taker/bagel pusher.” It is time to change the mindset of the real estate agent and start adding real value. I can’t tell you how many times I offered a marketing solution, taught an agent a valuable lesson in real estate technology, or helped them in their business and they said–“Wow, I didn’t realize Title Company people offered this help for agents.” Ever have this happen to you…or never happen to you? So how should the Realtor view their Title Insurance Sales rep? As an order taker/bagel pusher or more? Much…much more.
Having this website active and creating consistent online content (blogs/videos) for 3.5 years now, it has led to a lot of people on the site (thank you) and in turn resulted in many calls and emails with questions from real estate agents and mortgage lenders. It has also resulted in lot of questions from other Title Insurance sales reps from all around the country. I realize that in our job position, there is not much training out there. In fact, most companies offer none at all! I remember when I first started in the business back in 2005 and I was the 21st title rep for my very large company. We had many successful Title Insurance sales reps but they weren’t too keen on sharing HOW they became successful. I had to learn for the most part…on my own. So once a year I post a helpful blog/video just for you…the title sales rep looking for advice, answers and how to be the top rep in your area. Here are the top questions I get from other Title Insurance sales reps from around the country.
Most real estate agents and mortgage lenders have some sort of Title Company relationship. Some are stronger and more loyal than others, some of these relationships are due to a joint venture or Market Service Agreement. But are all Title Companies the same? Definitely not! Just like not all real estate brokerages are the same. With that said, Title Companies are key vendors for agents and lenders to leverage to get their deals closed and help them in the expansion of further business. So how do you know when you are working with a good company? When do you know that it is time to make the “switch” to someone else? Here are the 3 major signs you should switch your Title Company relationship right now.
Real Estate agent partnerships form constantly. Partnerships with lenders, Title Companies,inspectors, etc. People form these partnerships because they believe by doing so it will improve their business and make their life easier. Sometimes this is true, other times it is not. This is more true than in the Northern Virginia/Washington DC area. Here “Joint Ventures and MSA’s” (Market Service Agreements) are a large way that many of the Title Companies gain their business. Title Insurance Sales Reps play a different role here to their agent and lender partners. I have been in this area since 2012 and working like mad everyday to overturn how Title Sales people are viewed by real estate agents and mortgage lenders. This brings me to an email I received from a mortgage lender client. *snippet