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April 20, 2017

Vague communication is unacceptable

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 7:16 am

If you are on the phone with someone and you answer their questions in a vague way, that will not make you popular.

1. How many loans have you signed?
Bad Answer: A lot
Wishy-Washy Answer: I’ve been doing this for years
Silly Answer: Oh Gosh
Involved Answer: Let’s see, five years doing oh, about twenty-three loans a month… hmm, about 1500 or so, I guess.
Good Answer: 1543

2. What are your hours of availability?
Bad Answer: I’m flexible
Wishy-Washy Answer: It depends or “Whenever”
Incomplete Answer: I’m available after work
Good Answer: I’m available 10am to 8pm Monday through Friday and from 11am to 6pm on the Weekends.

3. What types of loans do you know how to sign?
Bad Answer: All of them
Rambling Answer: I do Refinances and I did a line of credit yesterday, and I was going to do a Reverse Mortgage but they cancelled. Why do people cancel? And I think I might have done a Sellers, but I’m not really sure.
Good Answer: I have done Refinances, Purchases, Modifications, Reverse Mortgages, Structured Settlements and many other types of loans.

4. Could you describe yourself as a Notary?
Bad Answer: I’m professional, reliable and dependable.
Good Answer: I have been doing Notary work full time for a year. Before that I worked in an animal hospital with very frightened animals. I know how it feels to be in a strange place with strange people and sign strange paperwork. The humans had to sign medical power of attorneys for their pets.

5. What is your radius?
Good Answer: I travel fifty miles for my basic fees and charge $2 per mile radius extra for every additional mile.
Bad Answer: It depends on what you pay? Where is the signing?

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April 19, 2017

Our $7 sale on certification led to very few sales

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 7:09 am

Notaries complain all day long about how high prices are. Listings are expensive, courses are expensive, and if they’ve taken the NNA course, why should they pay more to take ours?

Well, we had a $7 certification sale and only 15 people made a purchase. It seems that no matter how inexpensive education is, people don’t want it. 123notary certification helps people get a lot more business from 123notary — in fact, more than double. So, why would you resist doing a little studying and paying a little bit to double your incoming calls from our directory?

For those of you who want a free loan signing course, our 30 point course on our blog is free and open to the public without passwords. So, enjoy it!

http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3442

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April 4, 2017

Treat them better than they deserve

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 9:17 pm

Do you get reviews easily? Some “lucky” people like Ken have no trouble getting results in the review department. Is he just lucky? He has gotten over 400 reviews. I removed some of the older ones so his count will be lower than that. The answer is that Ken is the master of offering superior Notary service. He simply offers people more than they feel they deserve, or at least more than any other Notary will give them. He shows up on time, well dressed, offers to do a little extra, answers all of their questions in a very professional way with as much competency as an Attorney too — Ken is a smart guy, don’t underestimate him.

To be honest, getting back to my Attorney reference, Ken is actually a lot brighter than many Attorneys who I have spoken to over the phone. Attorney Notaries (who I deal with) are not generally the cream of the crop otherwise they would not be messing around with Notary work when they could do $400 per hour work instead. Ken is as smart as the $400 per hour Attorneys in my experience, but works for a very reasonable price. But, I digress.

The point of this article is to find ways you can treat your client better than they deserve. The key here is to put yourself in the client’s shoes (flipflops if you live in California or Hawaii.) What would you want if you hired a Notary?

Being considerate over the phone – giving the client your full attention.
Reasonable prices with every aspect of the pricing spelled out ahead of time and no surprises.
Show up on time
Confirm the signing when you are on your way so nobody has to wonder
Convenient credit card billing, or perhaps Paypal or Square.
Professional Dress
Not rushing the clients
Explain what is legal and not in a Notary context, but don’t give legal advice outside of Notary law (which you are required to know by the way in case you forgot.)
Answering all of their questions (and laughing at all of their jokes.)
Offer them a coupon for their next Notary job
Give them a few business cards for their friends who they might refer you to

And last…
Don’t make fun of their photo on their ID
Don’t bring up guns or religion unless you are in a bad neighborhood, a church, or a church in a bad neighborhood.
And for God’s sake — don’t park in the driveway unless you were invited to. The driveway is for them to park, not you!

If you can think of any other way to treat signers better than they deserve, please comment on this blog or forever hold your peace.

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April 3, 2017

How do you create a seamless Notary experience?

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 7:10 am

These days, customer service is never that great. If you call your bank, you talk to a robot for a long time pressing three because your credit card has been turned off and then two because you did not pay your bill and then four because of some other reason. They are there to give you the run around and then put you on hold to talk to someone in India who you can’t even understand.

Most Notaries as a lot better than that. But, how many customers could claim that they had a seamless experience with your notary service? What are the components of a seamless experience?

1. The initial phone call
Good: You said, “Hi, this is Marcy” instead of “Hello.” You were polite, friendly and answered all of the questions the way they were asked without trying to boast.
Bad: You didn’t answer the phone the first time. The second time there was a baby screaming in the background. You answered saying, “Hello” instead of stating your name. You answered all of the questions in a round about way while rolling your eyes.

Also read: Answering questions the way they were asked:

Answering questions the way they were asked

2. Negotiating
Good: You asked for a reasonable rate — not too expensive and not too cheap, just right. You based your rate on time and distance and explained your rates fully including any potential extra charges.
Bad: You asked for too much money and complained about how there might be fax backs or other snags.

3. Confirming
You confirmed the signing an hour or two before you were due to let them know you were coming and to make sure they were going to be there.

4. Dress
You dress professionally. Business casual is fine: Formal shoes, long pants, tie optional, dress jacket a plus. Your hair should look good, your tattoo of skeletons should be hidden, and you should smell good.

5. Arriving
You arrive on time, park on the road (not the driveway) and announce yourself at the door? You find a nice place for you all to sit down and put the documents nicely on the table. You explain how the signing process is going to be managed and then you start signing.

6. Signing
You answer all questions about the documents that you are legally allowed to and refer all other questions to the Lender whose phone number is in your list of phone numbers which includes Title, The Lender, The Signing Company, etc. You don’t talk about politics, religion, or make inappropriate jokes or statements at the signing. You could also offer to answer any Notary questions or do an extra notarization at no cost just to be nice.

7. After
You confirm with the Lender or whomever hired you that the signing is done. You deliver the documents to a staffed Fedex or UPS station and drop them off as promptly as possible. If allowed, you might consider getting the signer’s email address so you can email them an invitation to write you a review.

A seamless experience means that it was good from start to finish with no problems, snags or headaches in the process. Most Notaries are not perfect. So, if you can provide the perfect service almost every time, you might get lots of reviews.

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March 27, 2017

So you’re, “certified”, certified by whom?

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 7:11 am

Many Notaries talk to me an proudly announce that they are “certified.” Or when I bring up our 123notary certification materials, I am immediately told that they don’t “need” my materials because they are already “certified.” There is no such thing as being “certified.” There are no government standards for who can be a certified signing agent. State governments can commission, recommission or decommission you, but not “certitify” you.

The NNA’s certification test is the most famous in the industry. However, NNA is an organization with its unique standards, training procedures, etc. Their methodology is NOT the same as other agencies and you need to specify that you are NNA certified if indeed you are NNA certified and not simply say, “certified.”

Those who pass the NNA’s certification test can only pass 123notary’s certification test 20% of the time based on historical averages. NNA has never decided to make its test harder because then their clients would fail miserably and they wouldn’t have hardly any “certified” members. I cannot say where to draw the line of how hard a test should be. However, if your test is too easy, it means a lot less to pass it.

123notary recognizes 123notary’s certification test. 123notary users (those who use our site to find Notaries) do not care if you are NNA certified. They will not give you more jobs if you are NNA certified. They want to see the little green 123notary certification icon because they understand the quality that it represents. They understand that 80% of Notaries who take my test fall on their face and injure their nose (and their pride.) If you advertise on our site and intend to continue doing so, it behooves you to pass our test no matter how difficult that endeavor might be.

The only other certification that is similar in quality standards to ours is Notary2Pro whose graduates are slightly better trained than ours simply because the owner over there specializes in training signing agents and puts more into it (not that we are slacking off.) On the other hand, Carmen at 123notary spends a lot of time mentoring people for free — talk about doing a good deed and getting good karma. Carmen spends so much effort helping people that I think a particular type of good karma should be named after her — Carmen Karma.

The bottom line is — if you advertise with 123notary, get certified by 123notary, otherwise your listing will not perform up to its full potential.

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March 26, 2017

Is it better to write off mileage or actual expenses?

Filed under: Business Tips — Tags: , — admin @ 9:50 pm

The Federal mileage deduction rate changes each year and is 54 cents a mile for tax year 2016. You can deduct your actual expenses such as gas, oil changes, tires, brakes, transmission and other repairs as a percentage of miles driven. Or you can deduct straight miles. If you own an economy car, you will get a better benefit from deducting using the standardized mileage rate which is in my case about triple what my actual expenses are since I drive a Toyota.

However, if you drive an inefficient car which has expensive parts, guzzles gas, and depreciates a lot every year, then consider both options.

As a Mobile Notary, you need to keep your mileage book updated every time you get in your car — what a pain. But, the deduction can wipe out perhaps 70% of your income leaving you owing hardly any tax! Additionally, you do not have to pay self-employment tax on Notary income (ask for the advice of an accountant and read the SE section of your tax book.) Unfortunately, there are no instructions for how to fill out the forms.

I was asked to fill out two schedule-C documents. One for the portion of my income that was notary income and the rest for mobile fee income which I did pay self-employment tax on.

This is complicated, no accountant will understand what to do, and the IRS will probably misguide you, so good luck and look forward to being audited. But, as a mobile notary, between the mileage deduction and no self-employment tax on notary income, you will owe less than half of what you would normally owe on the same income.

As a Notary, you can determine that in a signing of ten signatures — if your state allows $5 per signature you could arbitrarily decide that $50 of the income from the signing was for signatures and the rest for travel fee. In California with $15 per signature you could say that in many cases the whole signing was travel fees. Or just go through your notary journals at the end of the year and count up your various signatures and see how many there are. Do the math your way just as long as you do it correctly!

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March 20, 2017

Are those other things you’re doing worth $1000 per hour?

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 7:13 am

Passing the 123notary certification test can reasonably make you an additional $30,000 over the next 10 years. You might need a few hours to study and some wait time if you need to email me for a password to take the test when I’m busy. But, your total hours invested might be 30 hours maximum if you were the most thorough Notary in the history of Notary-Kind. So, you invest 30 hours and get $30,000 in delayed gratification. That is $1000 per hour.

$30,000 extra in a decade — it’s like winning the lottery!
If you get half a job extra per week because of that certification that is $50 extra per week, and $2500 extra per year which is $25,000 in ten years which is close to my figure. So, let’s assume that you get (.6) more jobs per week to round the number up to $30,000. I’m being reasonable, right?

But, I’m so busy?
I get this all the time. I can’t find time to do the certification test because I’m so busy. The problem is not that you are busy, but that you failed at mastering the art of organizing your time. If you have thirty tasks to do, but only have time for ten, you assign a priority to each task from one to thirty, and do the most time sensitive or critical task first, and then do the other critical tasks after, and neglect the tasks that are less critical.

Are those other tasks worth $1000 per hour?
Is doing your laundry worth $1000 per hour like studying for our certification test? Probably not. Is taking that Notary job for $75 with faxbacks going to get you ahead in the long run? That’s three hours out of your day right there. Is going to Kim’s birthday party all that? That all depends on what Kim is wearing! Is cleaning your house a priority? Be a slob until you pass that test. Your test should come first and everything else should come after. If it takes you a month to pass that test, put it on the front burner and make everything and everyone else wait until you pass that test.

Let the laundry stack up
My laundry stacks up when I’m working on a project. I do my laundry in a bucket to save myself the time of going downstairs to the public laundry machines which need to be watched. I focus on the priority at hand when I want to get something done. I find more efficient ways of doing all of the tasks that I do. You need to schedule some time and make sure that you get that certification test done. The minute you don’t make it a priority, you’ll forget about it until I call you months after the fact and you’ll say — oh yeah.

Get it done!
The fact is that many people get many extra jobs per week or per day as a result of passing that test, and many people pass the test with only three or four hours of study. The rewards might be up to $200,000 for a busy Notary in increased jobs over the next ten years. Many of you will be Notaries for twenty years. So, neglecting to pass my test is not only stupid, it’s insane. Buckle down and get it done!

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March 1, 2017

If Jeremy ran the Sec of State’s Notary Division (gasp)

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 7:41 am

If I ran the Secretary of State’s Notary division, things would be different… very different. How different? First of all, there are too many Notaries out there who don’t know what they are doing. Second of all, the Notaries that do know what they are doing (or think they do) deserve to get paid more. This is a serious profession that deserves respect. You are signing half million dollar loans on a regular basis and dealing with people’s financially sensitive information. This job requires a lot more attention than what most Notaries give.

Being a Notary is not a highly intellectual job. It requires being meticulous, careful, and an insistance on saying “no” when necessary. Basically, an anal-retentive attitude about law enforcement is the main requirement, not intelligence, although intelligence doesn’t hurt when it comes to passing tests.

So, here is what I would do differently and why.

1. There would be fewer Notaries

2. Notaries would have minimum fees in addition to maximum fees to make sure they got paid well. The first two signatures would be $15 a pop, and then $5 for each additional. There would also be a required waiting fee paid in cash up front if mobile service was given.

3. In addition to a comprehensive Notary course, Notaries would get hands on training with pretend Notary clients. Special attention would be given to filling in the additional information section in the journal. Extensive Oath wording training would be given too as most Notaries are not proficient in this ancient art. Additionally, only the top Notaries would be picked to get commissioned. There would be a weeding down process starting with the Notary test which would require 94% to pass and with hard questions.

4. There would be a course for detecting false ID’s. There are handbooks on the topic, but nobody has offered a course where you get hands on training. Most Notaries are not paying close attention to ID’s and a fake ID might blow right past them.

5. There would be fewer Notary laws than in places like California. Notary law should be as simple as possible so that there are less confusions.

6. After the Notary gets commissioned, there would be fake customers who would make requests of the Notary. If the Notary did not handle their requests in a legal way, they would be decommissioned! The Notary would not be informed that these customers were fake. Their job is to try to trick the Notary into committing fraud so the Notary could be weeded out.

7. The selection process for being a Notary would be as follows.
(a) Take the course
(b) Pass the exam
(c) Do several drills with fake customers.
(d) Pass the identification course.
(e) Only 40 Notaries per 100,000 residents in a particular county can be commissioned to guarantee top performing Notaries.
(f) After commissioning, if complaints about the Notary arise or they do something illegal with an imposter customer, then they could have their commission revoked if the offense was serious enough.

8. Notary forms would be more comprehensive with mandatory thumbprints, number of pages in the document, document date, document name, the capacities of the signers, etc.

9. ID would be valid for seven years from the issue date regardless of the expiration date on a Drivers License or twelve years for a passport.

10. Credible witness signings encourage name variation fraud. The witnesses do not know the signer that well in modern times (laws were created 200 years ago when people knew each other a whole lot better BTW) and can claim that the signer is Donald Duck. If credible witnesses are used, they must prove that they know the signer intimately like a family member, boyfriend, girlfriend, or long term friend. A neighbor who barely knows the signer would not be an acceptable witness. Additionally, thumbprints would be required for all CW signings.

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February 26, 2017

123notary will accept Notary2Pro Certification

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 9:58 pm

Email us if you are Notary2Pro certified. We respect their training program and will give you our certification if you forward us your paperwork from the Notary2Pro certification program.

123notary wants a higher percentage of our Notaries to have the certification icon. Unfortunately, we make them earn it which means most of them can’t because they fall on their face when they take our test.

Email
info@123notary.com
if you passed the Notary2Pro certification

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February 22, 2017

Notary study skills are poor. But, raising rates would attract better blood

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 7:27 am

The Notary industry needs new blood. But, people who are good at school normally have better options unless they want to slow down and enjoy a life with more freedom. The fact is that only 25% of our Notaries on board have passed our very easy certification test which only involves a few hours of study.

People who are Notaries today do not have the best study skills and do not realize how critical their tasks are. The Secretary of State Notary Divisions also don’t get it. To attract professional people, you need to offer higher rates, and perhaps higher minimum rates. You need to prevent sloppy people from getting into this industry to begin with. 123notary’s Elite Certified members are more studious as a bunch, but they represent only 2.5% of the total. California just raised its maximum rate for an Acknowledged signature to $15, but there is no minimum which makes it possible to get a Notary to work for peanuts as there are several hundred thousand others who can do the same job.

I am normally against the idea of minimum wage. But, there is so much exploitation and sloppy service in this business that I believe the solution is to put more money on the table and attract a better crowd. I can’t guarantee that paying more would attract more people. It might attract the worst quality Attorneys out there who can’t make a living doing Attorney work. Some of them answer Notary and signing questions so poorly that the average Non-Attorney notary could out-do them without even trying.

Maybe it would be better to have a minimum wage as an experiment to see if a higher quantity of more educated people would sign up, especially if the industry players decided to have higher standards. On the other hand, it might require fees of up to $300 per signing to attract motivated people rather than desperate people. I guess we’ll never find out!

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