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January 8, 2018

Calling during a hurricane

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 8:43 am

One of my customers was so upset that I was so rude to call him during a hurricane. I call people in fifty different states each with different times zones and weather. How am I supposed to keep track of exactly where and when there is a hurricane. And if the hurricane is so bad, why answer the phone in the first place.

What I think is that people just don’t want to be bothered by me period. I am annoying, I always want them to login, take a quiz, or prove they know what they are doing. My requests are necessary for me to be able to list them. But, others see it as a pure nuissance. So, what can I do?

I just don’t get why he is so upset. If you don’t want to talk, then say you are busy. This person wrote me a long email about how it is impolite to call someone during a hurricane. Maybe he should have a welcome message, saying, “Sorry, but we are having a hurricane — press one to continue and probably be called rude, or hang up now.”

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December 25, 2017

123notary’s certifications will get you more business than before

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 11:01 am

A certification is only as valuable as the knowledge it represents. In the past, I thought our certified members were great and did not need to be tested. Then, things changed and I found I was wrong. I had to remove certifications from many people’s listings. So, now there are fewer 123notary certified members. However, the ones that have the icon have a higher level of knowledge than before. Therefore, having our certification icon will get you a bigger advantage now than ever before.

All you have to do is actually know how to be a Notary, know your loan documents, and know how to handle situations. Being 123notary certified is pathetically easy. I am shocked how many people cannot pass our test. It is easy. Most people would rather fail in their career than study a few hours. Studying is not that hard, and this is much easier than studying for a real license. So, what is the problem.

In the old days, 123notary certificaiton would get you roughly 2.5x more business. Now, that I am cleaned up my cert icon and where I put it, it will logically get more than that. I would estimate it would get people 4x more business. However, I need to wait a few months before I get formal readings. In any case this is huge. You would be a fool not to have our icon. The studying involved is only a few hours. It won’t kill you.

Additionally, the Elite icon is being scrutinized. It is not so easy to get, but you can do it if you put your mind to it. Ask us how to get the elite icon. And if you don’t believe me then ask Santa (if he’s real.)

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December 18, 2017

Answering the call and then not wanting to talk. Reasoning.

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 10:55 am

Many Notaries answer when I call them and then tell me that they do not have time to talk. Many are so rude that immediately upon answering they tell me — I’m at a party, I’m in a signing, I can’t talk. Why answer if you can’t talk.

The common excuse is that they thought it was the Lender or someone else. How insulting. That means you want to talk, but you just don’t want to talk to me.

As I’ve said before, if you are free enough to talk, have the consideration to give the other person 90 seconds or more before you tell them that you are in the middle of something. If you are in the middle of a signing, you won’t get your next job if you don’t answer your phone or if you refuse to talk.

Talk Schedule
At a signing — offer 90 seconds of talk before you tell the other person you are at a signing if it is a business call.
At a party — offer several minutes before you cut the other person off
At dinner — if you refuse to talk when you are eating, you might lose a lot of work. We are not French or Spaniards here who have long interrupted dinners and a semblance of quality of life. We are Americans damn it! We live for work! If you want to have a pleasant life, save up and live in Greece where their debt situation is out of control. It is because they spend too much time enjoying life and not enough time balancing their budget!

Personally, I do not call people that often. But, when I do, if you refuse to talk, that means I have to track you down and call you up to five times just to ask you a simple question. Making me run around just to ask you two or three questions is insane and unbusinesslike. Please consider my end of the bargain. I have thousands of people to call and any unnecessary avoidance just makes my life a lot more difficult and unpleasant.

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December 12, 2017

The Notary Profession is a Profession — act like it is!

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 3:52 am

Carmen and I are tired of Notaries treating the Notary profession as if it is a quick way to make some cash on the side — Make a few extra bucks — five bucks here, ten bucks there. This is a very bad way to look at the profession. First of all, there is liability in this profession. You can get sued even if you don’t do anything wrong. People are doing big deals that are being Notarized. If something goes wrong, they can sue you for a few thousand dollars. If the Lender did something fraudulent, you might get wrongfully sued too. If you put your package in a drop box that doesn’t get picked up and the borrower loses their lock — guess what could happen? You get the idea.

The root of the problem lies with the states who mostly have low requirements or no requirements for being a Notary. If you are 18 or over, not a felon and are breathing, you can be a Notary. Being a notary is a profession that safeguards the transactions of multi-million dollar estates. Any lack of integrity or caution on the part of the Notary can lead to disaster.

Imagine that you Notarize John Hancock only to find out he was a different John Hancock and syphened a million dollars of equity from someone’s estate. You might end up in court as a witness, accomplice, or get sued for negligence. You have no idea what you are playing with in this profession. You have to be careful what you put your stamp on. You might step on a mine.

Many Notaries also think that becuase their state has minimal requirements, that it is not necessary to go above and beyond your state minimum Notarial behavior — this is wrong. If you don’t keep a journal, don’t use an embosser and don’t thumbprint, you can get in huge trouble.

Think of state requirements like you think of speed limits. If the law says you can go 100 on the highway as was the case in Montana in the past and perhaps present, that doesn’t mean you are safe doing so. There could be deadly accidents. Just because you slow down to 95, you think you are being prudent, but are you really? You are still going faster than is safe. You can blame the state, but you are responsible for your own behavior.

Most professions have licensing tests that you have to take every year or two. Some professions make you take a test of 200 questions to make sure you understand all of the regulations and standards in your industry. The Notary profession has NNA tests that are taken every year or two. California has an exam you take every four years. But, people complain when I want to ask a few questions. People try to convince me that they know it all and don’t need to be tested because of all of the years they have been in business. These are the same people who score 20% on my quizzes.

Once again, the Notary profession is a profession — treat it like one. You should be quizzed every year on all the sites you are on. Since the states do not test your competency, I am forced to. It is a huge waste of my time and really frustrating dealing with all these resistent and incompetent people who think they are so smart.

If you really are so smart, just answer the questions, get an A, and then get on with your day. It would take two minutes to test people if they just knew the answers. The problem is that they resist, and then have to think about everything I ask, and then want to argue, and I need to teach them things and a simple quiz can take fifteen minutes that should take two minutes if I were dealing with professionals. How upsetting and what a waste ot my time.

To be a professional you need to do more than study. You need to master the art of being a Notary. You need to know everything and skip the snow job of trying to convince others you know everything when you don’t. The con jobs are getting very old. I have heard it all too many times. I really don’t even want to list such people. 123notary is a directory for professionals, not posers. At least that is the word young people use these days. When I was growing up we didn’t use that king of language, we said fakers.

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December 11, 2017

Following directions — what’s the big deal?

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 3:53 am

Many Notaries think that other people’s directions don’t matter. The other people are just being anal. There is no intrinsic reason for all these nitpicky rules, right? Not true. Many brokers use our site and lose big when Notaries refuse to follow directions. A broker can lose $3000 to $5000 just because a Notary does not follow directions. However, when I give quizzes, experienced Notaries do not follow directions roughly half the time. How can people survive in this industry without getting complaints when they just don’t do what they have been asked? Maybe they are just lucky. Maybe they have avoided situations where there are consequences.

Part of following directions is communication. Most Notaries do not answer questions the way they were phrased. It is a sign of poor mental discipline and can also lead to problems down the line.

When I ask how many loans have you signed, the answer is normally in years, not loans. When I ask how many journal entries, the answer is often an incomplete answer where I have to do the math or a lecture about how their state doesn’t require a journal. When I ask my famous question about the green pen, the answer is always to second guess the instructions by calling when the instructions specifically said not to call.

In real life, there are no green pens, there are no brokers who don’t want you to call them, and there is no guy named Chad who never answers his phone. These problems only exist in Jeremyland. However, in real life, there are guys named Dave who fire you for not following directions and other guys named Jeff who offer you less because you carry on like an idiot who can’t answer simple questions.

If you want to get paid well, you have to discipline yourself. You need to know your notary procedures and documents inside out. You need to communicate perfectly, not ramble, not argue, etc. You need to be on time, dress well, and get documents back on time. You need basic judgement and communication skills too. Most Notaries have none of these skills and just spend a lot of time complaining. It is getting a bit old. You don’t get ahead by complaining and being resistent, but so many Notaries act this way.

The moral of the story is to place a bigger emphasis on following directions. Your reputation could be ruined because you did not follow directions even once. Bad reviews stay on your listing for three years — no exceptions unless they are blatantly fraudulent. You might also cost someone $5000 because you did not follow directions or did not get back to them. Their directions might mean nothing to you, but they mean something to the person paying you.

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November 23, 2017

A pleasant surprise

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 3:48 am

For the last few months I have been testing everyone on the site. Yes, it is very painstaking work and thankless. People complain, are rude, and evasive. I hate it. However, the quality of the site has been getting better as a result.

Once in a while I get a pleasant surprise. Someone will actually appreciate my hard work and tell me that what I am doing actually is useful and has a value. Others will surprise me by getting 100% on my quiz which makes me very happy. So, it’s not all depressing and heartbreaking. There are pleasant surprises.

On a sadder note, some of our best Notaries who we held as experts have lost their mojo and scored horribly on our quiz. Old age, disease, mental deterioration and other causes can lead to Notaries not doing well. It is so sad. But, what can I do?

It is unfortunate that it is a surprise when someone does well on my quiz. That should be the norm, not an abnormality. Oh well. Maybe in a few years, we will train everyone to be experts and then we will have an army of top notch Notaries. We’ll see.

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November 6, 2017

10 rules for negotiating Notary fees

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 10:29 am

Many Notaries complain about how little they get paid. And then I complain about how little they know. The two tend to go together and the pay is not going to go up before the knowledge does. However, there are negotiating techniques that can help.

1. Let them name their price first
In a bargaining game, it is better to let the other person bid first. You can always raise your ask price if they don’t offer enough. But, if they offer far too much, you would never get it if you asked first and asked too low.

2. Start with a high ask price
If you ask for $125, you can always go down on your price, especially if the job is close or fast. You can ask how many pages, fax backs, and notarizations are in the package. If it is quick, then give them a quick price.

3. Never whine
If you whine about the condition of the industry or how low the fee was, people will think you are a low life. Professionals don’t whine. Professionals operate! So, if you are offered $60, ask for $85 and see what happens.

4. Decline the low-ball offers
If you spend all day working for peanuts, then when the good jobs come, you won’t have time. Decline bad offers so you are free for good offers.

5. Answer your phone
If you only offer when you are not in a signing and not driving or cooking or thinking, you will miss 80% of your calls. How can you negotiate a good fee if you don’t take the call in the first place?

6. Act professional
Try to impress them without trying to impress them. Most Notaries try to do a snow job and brag about how great they are. Seasoned operators don’t do this. Smart professionals will engage you in an intelligent conversation about the job, the industry and the state of the union. Ask them questions about the job, where it is, who it is for, what type of loan it is, and about their career and industry working in title or escrow. But, whatever you do, don’t talk about your zero percent error rate and how reliable and experienced you are — nobody can verify your claims and nobody wants to hear it.

7. Never say hello
Unless you work for an aloe vera companies, don’t answer the phone saying “aloe?” Answer stating your company name and personal name. It sounds professional. If you have screaming kids in the background that sounds horribly unprofessional. Have a quiet place to answer the phone and if you are in a noisy place, try to go to a quieter place and apologize about the noise. Just because you don’t mind noise doesn’t mean the title company enjoys barking dog and screaming three year old.

8. Talk about real life
Sometimes I talk to Notaries who tell the Title company that you can call me to clean up the mess after you hire one of those $50 signers. Over half my work is clean up work. That sounds real to title companies unlike all the nonsense about how experienced and knowledgeable you are which just sounds like fluff. Tell real stories about how you handled complicated situations that others might have goofed. Mention that split signing where you did some complicated manouver on the Acknowledgment certificate and how you went out to sign the wife at 3am because she could only see you at that time due to her busy schedule as a nurse. This is impressive and much better than fluff.

9. Negotiate timing
You can offer a better rate if they get you late after rush hour. They might prefer to just offer you more and get the job booked.

10. Double book and get a bad review
Yes, you’ll get bad reviews from this, but double booking makes sense. People cancel jobs all the time when they hire you, so why can’t you cancel a few jobs. If you book jobs tightly, the other person will cancel 20% of the time — at least. So, if you book a job for $60 and someone else offers you $150, you can ditch the first job and take the other. You will probably get a bad review that will last for three years, but you will have $90 extra in your pocket. It’s a dirty technique. Not recommended, but food for thought and great blog material.

11. Never let them see you sweat.
Appearing calm and collected are the way to go. If you seem flustered, that is bad. Oops, that was eleven rules and I promised ten. Okay, disregard point eleven and just use antiperspirant.

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October 25, 2017

Does 123notary have the authority to quiz people?

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 1:05 am

In the old days, I had to quiz people by phone but got tired of it because people were so slow and didn’t know their stuff. Then, I invested in technology to test people, but so many people failed, or cheated on the test, that the results were not practical. Now, I am back to testing people by phone. Since most people won’t volunteer to be tested, I call them up and ask questions. Most people comply although the quality of their answers is horrible. But, people have questioned my authority. Here are some common complaints that I get normally from people who get 20% or less on my test and have anger issues.

1. Who do you think you are to ask me questions?
My response: If you are listed on my site I have the right to ask questions. If you don’t like it, ask me to remove your listing and I will.

2. Do you think you are the NNA?
My response: The NNA is a nationwide Notary organization. So are we. They do not call people and ask questions, but do remote testing for people who want to be tested as a Notary or Signing Agent. We at 123notary also have Signing Agent certifications, so we are similar to the NNA in many ways. We do many of the same things they do except that they sell supplies and we don’t.

3. You are not a state licensing agency.
My response: The states do such a bad job commissioning completely unqualified, incompetent people that I have to take over where the states left off which is educating people and testing them. I am not authorized by any state to teach Notary issues, however nobody who is qualified will lift a finger for me so I have to do the work myself and it is tedious. I am a web site licensing agency. I offer the license to be listed on my website and I will take it away from you if you can’t function as a Notary Public.

4. We are paying customers, therefor you don’t have the right to ask us anything.
My response: Your last payment was in 2014 which was three years ago. You now have a free listing. But, even if you were up to date in your payments, I have a reputation with the people who use our site. If everytime you went to 123notary you got horrible Notaries who ruined your loans and cost you thousands of dollars, you would avoid my site. If every time you used 123notary you got angry jerks who were rude to you, you would only use NotaryRotary or some other site. I have to have competent and polite Notaries on my site or people will stop coming. That means I have the necessity to ask you questions to verify your competence. And if I learn that you are not competent as a Notary Public, I should probably remove you although I remove very few people for incompetence.

However, I was auditing the people who passed my online test. Many cheated by memorizing the answers or having someone test for them. So, the only way to keep you certified is to ask a few questions by phone to make sure your phone score is consistent with your online score. If you got 90% online and a 60% phone score that is close enough, but what if you get a 20% phone score? If I give my certification to people who cheated, then the certification loses its meaning and becomes worthless. All I ask is that you passed legitimately and I do not want to test you every year like the NNA. They have their way and I have mine.

Just because you are paying me $99 per year doesn’t give you the right to ruin my reputation with users. And just as you pay to go to a restaurant you have to behave properly or they can throw you out. When you pay for an air ticket you sit down when the captain tells you to even though you are the one paying. When you pay to go to school you follow their rules. It is the same on 123notary. All we ask is that you maintain your listing and behave politely on the unusual occassion when I will ask you a few questions. I also request that you know how to be a competent Notary.

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August 29, 2017

123notary Silver Certification (coming soon)

Filed under: Marketing Articles — Tags: — admin @ 11:48 pm

123notary has tried various certifications over the years. We tried the basic, and elite. However, the basic one was good for life. The problem with that is that I could not check up on people. So, many Notaries had the basic that it would be too hard to check up on people anyway. Additionally, many cheated on the online test by having others do the test for them while many also memorized the answers rather than learning the concepts. The elite test was far too advanced for 98% of our Notaries, so that was not an idea that revolutionized the site either. So, my new idea is to have a silver or gray certification for serious Notaries.

In the old days, the emphasis was on knowing the documents. We quizzed people on documents, the Right to Cancel, initialing, and handling issues at signings. However, we have been finding that the biggest problems with signing work these days has more to do with not being a good Notary rather than not being a good signing agent. Not getting documents back on time and being rude or not following directions are also serious problems. So, it seems that knowing the documents is the least important thing these days, especially as Lenders are doing such a much better job explaining the documents to the borrowers themselves. So, now the emphasis is on being a good Notary.

123NOTARY SILVER CERTIFICATION will differ in its branding from the Green or basic certification and Elite in various ways.

1. The book will be online in the blog and free.
2. The test will be by phone and 24 or more questions. Questions will be on mandatory topics and will not come from a pool of general questions. There might be a pool for each specific topic of question such as multiple questions for Jurats where I would only ask one particular Jurat question at a test.
3. A 90% test average will be necessary to pass and in a limited time period for questions that range from easy, medium and a few hard ones.
4. Questions will be based on:
(a) Notary Work (Acknowledgments, Jurats, Oaths, Affirmations, Journals, Identification, Prohibited Acts, Seals, etc.)
(b) Power of Attorney (technical terms, signing procedures, etc.)
(c) Loan Documents and signing procedures
(d) Handling situations and following directions.

5. The silver certification will also consider having a proper attitude, and communicating well. If you ask me to repeat half of what I say, you cannot qualify for silver.

6. The silver certification will be good for four years with mandatory pop quiz questions by phone every year to ensure that you answer your phone, still have a good attitude, and haven’t forgotten everything you are supposed to know.

7. The silver course will come with tutoring from Jeremy and Carmen to ensure that the students learn the materials well enough to pass our tough test.

123NOTARY GREEN CERTIFICATION was based on:
1. A take home ecourse or physical course.
2. Online testing
3. 15 questions that are random.
4. 86% pass rate on relatively easy questions.
5. No recertification necessary although I do ask pop quiz questions from time to time to make sure you did not cheat.

123NOTARY ELITE CERTIFICATION was based on:
1. A physical take home book.
2. An over the phone test on only the most sophisticated aspects of loan signing. Elite is not such much practical as it was for the most elite caliber of Notaries.

PROBLEMS
The problem with our Green certification is that after the fact during pop quizzes we only require a 60% knowledge rate on the basic questions, although over the phone we ask harder questions so we are not comparing apples to apples. Too many people forget what they knew or cheated on the test. The other problem is that many Notaries are getting very old and senile. Some have Alzeimers or dimentia while others have had strokes or serious health problems that affect their thinking, level of motivation and attitude. We need a certification where we have less of a quantity of certified notaries, but keep track of them regularly and require high standards.

BENEFITS
123notary will network with signing companies and get them to endorse our silver certification. We will train their notaries for them as a reward for referring people to us. Since our silver standard will be highly manicured and well maintained, it will be to the advantage of signing companies to use these Notaries. We predict that we will only be able to get about 400 silver Notaries, but that they will be hand trained and be the best Notaries on the market.

RULES
My rules for using silver certified Notaries will be as follows. If you officially endorse the silver standard, you must pay $100 minimum per signing to silver certified Notaries and pay within 15 days. Otherwise you will get in trouble and 123notary would have to reject your endorsement. If 15 days is too hard to enforce, I might have to extend the policy to 30 days. I’m not sure how this is going to work as we have never tried anything like this before.

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July 31, 2017

When a Title company lies to you

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 10:46 am

In real life, people lie. It is unethical, and should be avoided. After all, your actions determine the type of world you live in. Every time you perform an action, you should ask yourself, if everybody did what I am going to do, would that be the type of world I want to live in?

But, what types of lies do Title companies tell you? You would be surprised.

One Notary had an incident where she was told she forgot to put a stamp on a particular acknowledgment for a document. After checking her records for that particular loan, it turned out there was no document by that name in the package — she had been lied to! (gasp)

Another Notary was told that they did not need to have the borrowers sign the 1003 Universal Loan Application. There are multiple places to sign. After the fact that Notary got in trouble for not having it signed. If you get unusual instructions that don’t seem right, better get them in writing, or perhaps just rely on your instincts (if you have instincts — what am I a cat?)

One Notary keeps a copy of all the documents in a package on a flash drive to prove if a document wasn’t really in a particular package.

Once an Escrow officer with bubbly handwriting forged my signature and made a photocopy of my seal. I explained to the investigating officer that I don’t make bubbles to dot my i’s, and that it must have been done by a 19 year old girl in his office who goofed on something and had to get something notarized fast!

I heard that once a Title company claimed that a copy of the ID was not included in the package. Keep in mind that multiple hands touch loan documents at title companies, and it is possible for one of those hands to misplace a document in the shuffle.

Lost cashier’s checks? I always attach these to a piece of paper and put it in the front of the package so they won’t get lost. But, title companies still lose $10,000 checks. You just can’t just Mortgage professionals. Half of them are a bunch of dummies! And they normally fail my test too after they convince me how smart they are!

The truth is that you might be asked to go out free of charge to redo the document that you “missed.” What a corrupt way to con a Notary. I missed two seals in 4000 signings in my signing career. So, I might not believe them if they claimed I missed something. I triple checked my work. Only when there was a confusion on a day I was tired and running around like a chicken with its head cut off — that is the only time I might have made a mistake of some sort.

And by the way — it is illegal to send a loose Acknowledgment in the mail if it is stamped. It needs to be stapled to the document it is associated with.

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