Title agents work with lenders, real estate agents, buyers, sellers, and all other sorts of transaction participants like municipalities and community associations to get all the necessary documents completed, signed, and filed correctly. So much of what title agents do is vital to the closing, but the value they bring to other real estate professionals and consumers isn’t always obvious.
To an outsider, it may seem like the title agent has a magic wand a la Cinderella’s fairy godmother and bippity boppity boo — the closing comes together as quickly as a stagecoach flanked by footmen and horses in a pumpkin patch. It certainly isn’t that easy.
On top of that you want to get more business and repeat business to sustain your company. Tempted as you might be to talk about your company and your services, a better strategy will focus on your clients: who they are and what they need. Here is how you can identify the needs of your current and potential clients, fit your process to their needs, and build the relationship.
Identify the needs of your current and potential clients
A great marketing strategy to grow your title company can be difficult to pin down when you’re working with so many people with different needs and expectations. You want to be sure that you are connecting with the right people and explaining how your company is the best fit for their closing needs. That message will be significantly different for a lender than it would be for a real estate agent or homebuyer.
So, the first thing to do is to identify who your clients are and what they need. The best way to find out is to ask. Check out the video below with our Client Success Director, Haley Bergamo, for tips on what questions to ask.
Here are some questions to help you pinpoint what’s important to your clients:
- What are your daily challenges and pain points?
- What are some of your short term and long term goals?
- What are some of the barriers keeping you from those goals?
- What does it mean to be successful in your role?
- What are your current priorities?
- How can we better serve you?
- What do you need from me? (sometimes directness yields the best results)
These are the kind of questions you can ask in a nonchalant way during regular discussions or you may want to make these questions part of a more in-depth research project by setting up interviews with both “bad” and “good” customers. You want to get feedback from everyone. Not just the people who love you.
Think Flywheel Not Funnel
Once you have a clear idea of all the needs of your clients, you want to put them at the center of your business strategy. In the past, sales and marketing experts used the concept of a funnel to visualize how a company identifies their target audience to gain leads to then turn into customers. The problem with the growth model of the funnel is that all the momentum is focused on top and it slowly fizzles out as leads become customers. The customer is an afterthought.
Research conducted by marketing giant, Hubspot, shows that potential customers rely on references from existing customers and people they know when making a decision of whether or not to work with a company. Believe it or not, happy customers are your biggest marketing opportunity.
The Funnel is now reimaged as the Flywheel, which recognizes the customer as the accelerant of your business. Before, all the energy was expelled at the top of the funnel and companies would have to start over every month, quarter, and year to acquire customers. With the customer at the center of the Flywheel, companies attract, engage, and delight every client on a continuous basis.
Fit your process to their needs
As you begin to learn more about your clients’ needs, you may realize that your current internal process doesn’t address all of them. This may be a great opportunity to evaluate your company’s mission and vision to decide if you want to expand or shift your offerings. It’s important to remember that you can’t be everything to everyone, so focus on the core of your role as a title agent: to give everyone involved in the real estate transaction the best closing experience possible.
Here are some things to consider when evaluating your current process:
- Recognize and reduce friction. Take stock of your current process and where you struggle to meet a client’s needs. Determine if there are any tools to help you better serve clients, whether it’s a new closing software that helps your team manage tasks better, a project management tool, or a customer relationship management tool.
- Be flexible while staying true to your vision. Have options to close the way that’s easiest for other real estate professionals and consumers. Some will want a fully digital closing, but others may not be ready or comfortable with that sort of experience. Regardless, be sure that you still offer the right balance of convenient technology and human engagement.
- Choose the right partners. Work with underwriters that accommodate changes that will meet your client’s needs. Collaborate with lenders to better serve realtors and their clients. This will be especially important as things continue to move from the current hybrid closing model to a fully digital experience.
- Take action. Become an advocate for the title industry and help make legislative changes that will create a better closing experience. Keep up to date on state and federal regulations that affect real estate transactions. Joining the Title Action Network is a great way for title agents to stay up-to-date and take action.
- Keep asking questions. Even if you have a good idea already of what your clients want right now, you never know when things might change. A customer comment might be the catalyst for a brilliant process change. Get regular feedback on what is working for them and what isn’t.
Build the relationship with trust
“People do business with those they know, like and trust”.
Once you’ve identified some of the common needs among your clients and established a process to meet those needs, create a plan for a clear marketing strategy for your business that centers those needs of your clients and answers some of their most frequently asked questions.
There may be several different strategies you’ll end up with depending on how many business goals you have and how many different types of clients you have. Real estate agents are some of the most important business partnerships you have, but you’ll miss out on opportunities to grow your influence even more if you aren’t thinking of the consumer as well.
While most homebuyers and sellers go with the title insurance company recommended by their real estate agent, not everyone does. Savvy consumers will educate themselves about their options and seek out companies that best suit them. People do business with those they know, like, and trust.
Here are some of the ways that you can build trust:
- Ask for ratings. Ask clients who are happy with your services to rate you on Google or Facebook. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get more clients. Most consumers and business-people looking for partners will search for your company and reviews to determine if they want to buy from you. ALSO, Google reviews will help you rank higher on searches. You can get more tips on how to leverage local SEO to build your title company’s presence on search here.
- Demonstrate you’re an authority. Share or create content that helps them do their jobs better or feel confident in their purchase. Focus first on building relationships by providing value to your network. Videos are becoming a popular way for business decision makers to consume content, and LinkedIn videos are becoming more popular. There are lots of opportunities to build your audience on the platform.
- Always be helpful. Before you post or create anything, whether its a blog article, a video or an email newsletter, always ask “Will my clients find this educational, helpful, interesting, etc?”
- Keep up with industry standards and regulations. Help your real estate agents stay up to date with new regulations by regularly communicating the newest guidelines set by organizations like the American Land Title Association (ALTA), as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Make this information instantly accessible on your website.
We know you’re passionate about providing the best closing experience and title insurance protection to your clients. With all the work you do, it can be difficult to take the time to step back and examine where to improve your business or the best way to implement all the changes happening in the industry right now. It can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be a major overhaul overnight. In fact, most clients don’t want that. Any changes you make should feel natural and seamless.
What’s important is that we continue to move forward, even if it’s a couple of baby steps at a time. If you’re attending NS3 this year and want to learn more about putting clients first, be sure to check out the session with JoAnn and Joseph Callaway of Those Callaways for 3 Keys to Putting Clients First. We’ll be there, so be sure to stop by and say hello.