In this second half of the blog, I’m going to focus on how I overcame the struggles of Title Sales and emerge. Many of you reading this might be looking for answers to WHY you might be struggling in the business or that golden nugget that leads to big success. There is no golden nugget other than hard work and lots of innovation. In late August of 2005, I went for an interview at Capital Title in Phoenix Arizona. Not knowing at the time, but Capital was the largest Title Company in Phoenix with almost 30 offices and 20 Title Sales Reps. Realize that in 2005 the housing market was on fire and taking a chance on a kid with no Title Sales experience was a very low risk. The office in which I was assigned already had lots of clients and success. I honestly think back then, my main role was just to maintain all the business we had. When people can buy homes with 100% financing and no income/no asset loans, everyone was a potential buyer. Obviously, that wasn’t sustainable and the market headed south and with it the business.
Market Crash/Mergers/Buyouts-and Innovation
With 20 other sales reps, you would think that there was plenty of sharing of ideas and training among the team. Nope. No training and many of the sales reps wouldn’t offer advice or help. Either you made it or you didn’t. Keep in mind, I was still very green, even 18 months into the job. I was learning but again, I was shielded by an extremely hot real estate market. We had the business, and I was doing my job to help keep it coming in.
Then in late 2007, the market crashed and things changed. Our company (Capital Title) had been sold to Land America and the merging of three Land America companies happened. By merging, I mean we laid off excess people and closed offices in duplicate locations. As the market crashed Title Salespeople, escrow officers, loan officers and Realtors left the business or were let go. Every Friday, our company VP would come into our office and I would let out a “sigh of relief” when he passed my office and kept walking. That happened for a while till we were down to 12 sales reps merged from three companies.
Soon after Land America was sold to FNF (Fidelity National Financial) and we became Lawyers Title of Arizona. At this point my production was terrible! Every property was a short sale/REO and rates were 6.5%! It was a bloodbath. It was tough for a client to direct business. REO deals went to the Title Company had the REO bank account, short sales weren’t closing, there were no refinances, and nobody was buying equity sales. Why would you pay more when the next house was an REO at half price?
That is when we started to think about helping our clients with data mining programs to target distressed homeowners, and using something called Facebook to help Realtors market themselves. Some of us really gravitated to the social media movement…others didn’t.
Market Improvement and Starting to Get It
By 2009, after some helpful programs for home buyers and sellers by the Obama administration, and banks getting their acts together with short sales, things improved. My Title Company created a short sales division for our clients, we helped with graphic design and we were running with social media marketing. At this point, I had zero websites or video knowledge. I think I did around $750K in fees that year. In 2010 and 2011 we were back baby! Things were moving again and after being to Title hell and back, my ability to acquire new clients was on point. I was all over social media and thought about how I could create a niche for myself. In the beginning, I was protected by a strong market, then exposed by a bad one, and it wasn’t until five years into the business did I really hit my groove and felt truly comfortable. In 2010 and 2011 I finally hit my goal of closing over $1 Million in Title fees.
Major Influences and the Surprise
By 2012 I looked at myself as a top Title sales rep in Phoenix or the western region. I was starting to interact with another sales rep from a competitor who made fun of any Title Rep who would pitch postcards as part of a marketing plan to Realtors. He was all about websites, SEO, and video marketing. I wanted to hear his perspective, so I started reading up on his work and really following his advice, because much of what he said was correct. I realized the integrations he was talking about were the missing piece to completely having a silver sword in the battle of Title Sales. His name is Stephen Garner, and he is no longer in the business but now runs a successful video marketing company. You can check them out here. www.hubmediacompany.com
Back in March of 2010, I met a girl in Las Vegas (surprise!). This was not your typical meet though. She lived in Washington DC and we started to fly back and forth to see each other. It got serious and my future was up in the air. She wanted me to move to DC and I was scared of leaving my home for 11 yrs and the business I built. Of course, love wins out and in late May of 2012 I moved to the Washington DC area and started at Stewart Title.
DCTitleGuy and Growth!
Starting over sucks!! But…it was a great challenge. Taking another leap of faith, I had this website built two months before I moved, with no clear goal as to how I was going to leverage it or use it. I also started a YouTube channel to educate my clients and have another place for them to go to learn about my value. I have spent hours and hours reading and watching online content to keep learning to expand my reach and add more value to my clients.
It took me about 16 days to get in my first title order at Stewart Title, (2012) and after that it started to snowball. I worked hard meeting as many people as I could and setting appointments. No matter the time or location, I was there. I then started to create classes based on my prior knowledge of real estate marketing, and the new knowledge I was gaining through learning about WordPress websites and YouTube. Learning to teach classes was and continues to be a major platform. It allows me to speak in front of an “interested audience” and it really launched my business!
2016 was my best year in the Title business, 2017 was better than 2016, and this year (2018) I’m on track to have my best year ever. I’m not saying this to be boastful, but to show that being uncomfortable and doing things differently can be a good thing. Choosing the path less taken is fine too because there is less competition. Learning and constantly evolving and adding tons of value will allow you to shine in this business.
To Create Success in Title Sales…
To create success in Title Sales it takes hard work and it isn’t easy. In Part 1 of this blog, I talked about how I was ADHD as a kid, had trouble focusing in school, got average grades and thought at one point I would always be a pay check to pay check person. Building something big that was truly mine, didn’t enter my mind. Now, I’ve been asked to speak publicly, be on National podcasts, and get to talk to people like you who email, call, or fill out forms on this site asking questions or want guidance. It has truly been a fun ride, but if you are struggling in this business, know that even top producers in any industry at one time struggled either personally, professionally or both. Most successful people fail more times than they have succeeded.
What’s Next–The Future
Going forward I want to continue to grow this website and my client base at Stewart Title. I now manage three other Title Sales reps, and I want to see them grow and succeed as well. I keep telling them when I started that there was no “help” or “guidance” so leverage whatever knowledge you can take from our experiences and use it to build your business. Do I want to do Title sales forever? Who knows. I do like it a lot, I also enjoy meeting people and helping them in any way that I can. I like to make the joke that working in the social work field previously, got me ready to work in the real estate field. Some Realtors laugh at that, others not so much. I’m always open to opportunities and where the road may take me because the road less traveled should never be discounted.
I hope in these two latest blog posts, you got to learn more about me personally, my past before Title and how I got into the business. It can be difficult to create success in Title Sales or any other business where there is stiff competition, but there is always room at the very top. I hope to continue educating my audience so all of us can grow, no matter if you are a Realtor, Lender, or Title Sales professional.