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 had 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 to be 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.
I was having lunch last week with a client and we were discussing his current business model. This client primarily works by referral and spends his marketing dollars and time sending notes, making calls, and doing pop-byes. All great, but I asked him a question…“What are you doing to keep your real estate sales funnel full…with NEW people?” He looked at me and I could tell he was unsure on the answer. If your entire database is 50 people, it is a limited number of people who can use your services and refer you to others. What if your database was 100 or 200+ people? What would that look like for your business? This applies for Realtors, Lenders, and Title Reps. You have to always be adding new people into the sales funnel. Not doing so limits your business tremendously. Taking the right “action steps” to get new people is the challenging part. Here are some tips to make it happen!
For quite a while, there have been rumblings in our industry about eClosings. If you are unaware about eClosings, they allow us to conduct a settlement with a buyer/borrower electronically over a computer. Essentially we are doing a “face-time” with the buyer and they sign their closing documents similar to DocuSign. The documents are “e-notarized” and “e-recorded.” If you think this is too outside the box, keep in mind, this technology has been used for years for many things we do in our normal lives. I can pay my mortgage on my phone through an app, or I can order Domino’s Pizza and know online exactly when it goes into the oven. Why not closing on a home? The eClosing process is very easy and Stewart Title has partnered with Pavaso to make things even easier for our clients. Here is a press release that just came out:
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.
Ever since the new TRID rules came into effect in 2015 we have seen people opt-out and waive Owners Title Insurance on the final Closing Disclosure. Doesn’t help that Owners Title Insurance can be found under the “Other” section on the CD and “Optional.” It’s always been optional to obtain, but I feel they could have done a better job of not making it appear as a non-meaningful purchase. Every month, we have a handful of people that decide to waive Owners Title Insurance and find it as a useful way to save money on their real estate transaction. Waiving Owners Title Insurance may seem smart at first, but has a long-lasting impact on your largest asset, especially when you decide to sell your home. Before you decline his one time purchase–look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself these questions.
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.
Every week I get business cards from Realtors. We meet in a class I teach, or at an event. Either way, they are handing out business cards not only to me, but many other people. I realize that a business card doesn’t 100% reflect a person’s value or level of business that they conduct, but it does provide the person receiving the card an insight and upfront perception. Realtors are in the business of helping people buy and sell real estate, yet they usually leave 50% of their business card empty, or less than desired. I’m still curious as to why that is, but there are many things Realtors can do with their business card that can leave a far more lasting impression, AND get that person receiving the card to want to do business with them. Let’s discuss why Realtors lose credibility with and what better things are done with the business card.
In the last few months, we have had some transactions in which the buyer has waved purchasing the Owners Title Insurance Policy. That is their right to do so as “technically” it is optional. What many buyers don’t take the time to learn are the many upsides and protections Title Insurance Policies provide. Not purchasing a policy on your largest asset can have lasting affects even after you sell the home.
We ran into a specific situation last week where the buyer didn’t purchase the Owners Title Insurance Policy, AND they also forgot to order their survey. The Realtor wanted to order a survey after closing, then inquired what would happen if there was a survey issue after the fact? I told her that the “Survey Exception” is part of the protections laid out in the Owners Policy…which her clients declined. She freaked out. Here are 3 major items that are helpful to buyers regarding Title Insurance Polices.
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.