I want to begin this blog by stating ” I am NOT the greatest Title Sales Rep in the world.” This isn’t going to be about my accomplishments or how I built my business. Instead, this is about something that affects every organically grown Title Company and Title Sales Rep who works their butt off to earn the business of a producing Realtor and to have it potentially taken away on a technicality.
Every year, I would say I lose 10% of my business. Agents leave the business, move away, join a team and the team leader pushes them to a competitor, OR they get taken away by the greatest Title Sales Rep in the world. Now, we ALL know this great Title Sales rep and have dealt with him/her many times over our careers. No matter how much business you are currently doing and how hard you worked to make it happen, you can’t compete with the sheer power and persuasion of this top-performing Title Sales rep. The crazy thing is this great Title Sales rep doesn’t promote any Title Company tools and in most cases doesn’t have high knowledge of the Title Insurance industry, yet they push more Title business than most. Who is this great Title Insurance sales rep you ask?? It is the real estate broker of the Real Estate/Title Company Joint Venture.
How it Works
Real estate joint ventures aren’t knew, in fact, they have been around a long time. I’ve spoken at length before regarding the two types of Title Company business models and how they work, but head real estate brokers do their best to capture as much of the Title business as possible. He/She has a great reason to and it involves money for the brokerage to help elevate profits. Once a Title Company signs a JV with a real estate company, they lock out any other Title competitors from coming into the real estate office for classes, presentations, and sponsorships. The broker, allows the JV Title Company to sponsor and attend all office meetings and events. He/She also tells the agents to make sure they “support our partners” (wink/nod) when they have business to send.
I know brokerages that flat out tell new agents coming aboard that they “need to use” the Title Company where the brokerage has a relationship. Of course, this isn’t RESPA compliant, but in many instances, agents are happy to join a new brokerage and comply with what the broker wants. How easy would it be to generate business as a Title rep if all you had to do was directly tell a new prospect they had to use you. Wow!
The Guilt Call
As hard-working Title Sales reps, we bring in new accounts by adding real value to help a Realtor’s business. These agents get their eyes opened once they see what marketing tools and direct help they can receive from their Title sales rep. You get a contract, 2,3, then 4…then the guilt call comes from the greatest Title sales rep. He/she calls the Realtor and makes small talk, then wants to know why their business is going to your Title Company vs the joint venture company? He/She then lays it on thick how you aren’t being a team player and stepping up to support the brokerage will put you in a better light with others. What they are really saying is:
“I got a call from the JV Title Company owner and they are upset their capture rate has fallen the last few months. I need to comb the contracts and see who stopped using the JV Title Company, call the agents, and get their commitment to switch back.” We can’t afford to lose any revenue to XYZ Title.”
Here is the thing…it works! Agents get these calls and switch back. The Title Sales reps hard work…gone!
What Agents Need to Know
As Realtors, Lenders, and Title professionals, we all work together, finding the right “partners” that will help us become the most successful. It could be the JV Title Company, but in most instances, it’s not. They are there to take your business and close it, but the rub is they are working for only partial fees (hence the JV) and it’s a volume business. The main relationship is between the two company owners, not with each client and their Title sales rep/escrow officer.
Agents don’t work for their real estate brokers…it’s the other way around. The agents sell the homes and bring money into the brokerage. The Broker is there to support and help the agents in their office, not lean heavily on them to use vendors they don’t want to use, but feel if they don’t the guilt call comes wanting an explanation.
As a high performing Title Sales rep, in many instances, our biggest competition isn’t the Title rep down the street, its the Broker of the joint venture who locks you out of their office and acts as the greatest Title sales rep in the world, pushing the Realtor business to their “partner.”
How to Overcome This
You need to take your value propositions to another level. Instead of trying to get into offices, bring the agents to you. Hone your craft, and teach value-added classes that teach Realtors how to get more qualified eyes to their business. Go after the agents you want to work with and prepare them in advance, their broker might contact them after they make the switch to you. Get out ahead of what’s coming and educate your prospects, while being SO much better than the JV Title Company. If you can do this, you are on your way to defeating the greatest Title Sales Rep in the world.
There have been numerous occasions where I have met with seasoned agents who said “wow, I had no idea Title Companies could help my business and offered these marketing tools.” I tell them, it’s because they weren’t allowed to be exposed to other Title companies due to their joint venture. The good Title sales reps are locked out.
At Stewart Title, we work organically with our clients to help them grow and gain more business…that’s it. We grow as they do and our success is their success. Click on the “How I Can Help You” tab above and check out how we assist our clients. These are all things joint venture Title Companies don’t offer. If you want to chat and set up a time to meet…just fill out the form below!
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