February 2013 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – 123notary.com Control Panel

February 28, 2013

Do you ramble? What do your clients think?

Filed under: Etiquette — Tags: — admin @ 12:25 am

I talk to customers all the time. Everybody has a different style of communication.

Some just don’t answer the phone at all. Others answer only to tell me that they can’t talk to me. Why bother answering at all if you refuse to talk. Some people spend more effort resisting talking to me than it would take to listen to the single sentence that I wanted to convey to them. Others talk, but spend a lot of time complaining about many types of things. Sometimes they complain about us, and other times they complain about signing companies. But, what about another category of communication — rambling?

When you ask certain people a simple question about themselves, they become spellbound and speechless.

Q. How many loans have you signed in your life?
A. Ummm… Hmmm. Let me keep you waiting for about 10 minutes while I think endlessly, and still come up blank.

Then there are the people who give a different answer than what you asked for.

Q. How many loans have you signed in your life?
A. Well, I’ve been a Real Estate broker for 30 years.

Q. Nobody on 123notary will hire you as a Real Estate broker, but they might hire you as a notary if you communicate your skill as a notary.
A. Well, since I’ve been a Real Estate broker, I know my loan documents well.

Then, there are the people who ramble and give you far more useless information than you want and go on and on.

Q. How many loans have you signed in your life?
A. Gee, I never thought about that before. Hmmm. Well, I signed one today, and I think two yesterday… Nope… It was one, because the other one got cancelled because the borrower had a cold. And let’s see. The week before that I think I signed three — or was it four? Hmm, I forgot. The week before that I was sick, so I didn’t do many notarizations.

Response: Sorry to interrupt, but the information you are giving me is completely useless. I am trying to fill in a box that has room for a number, not a long story. Once again, do you know how many loans you have signed in your life?

The key point here is to understand that if you ramble with clients, they are not going to want to use you for anything, even if you are a good notary. Imagine that you work for a busy signing company and have to talk to 100 notaries a day. The last thing you want is someone who screws up, as that would be a nightmare to clean up. The second worst thing is someone who talks endlessly without giving you any useful information. It is not only extremely annoying, but a waste of their time — and trust me when I claim that people at Title or Signing Companies don’t like to have their time wasted — not even a minute.

Sure, it’s nice to make small talk and polite conversation. You gain points for this because it is pleasant. Don’t over do it on the small talk either, because once again — people are under time pressure. But, don’t ramble on when you talk to business people — they don’t have time. The worst offenders are retired folks. Since THEY have very little to do, and a very open schedule, they often forget that the rest of the world has more to do than they can handle, and doesn’t have time or patience for rambling.

So, the moral of todays story is — don’t ramble if you want to have clients!


February 27, 2013

2013 analytics: which notaries are getting more business?

Carmen and I talked in depth about this issue about nine months ago. And yes, notaries should pay a lot more attention to analytics.

Some notaries are doing a lot better than other notaries on 123notary. But, what are the factors? Has anything changed in the last year since we talked about analytics the last time?

Notaries with excellent notes sections outperform notaries with mediocre notes in comparable positions by double or triple in most cases.

Basically, my new analysis was about notes sections. Notes are our main focus for 2013 by the way. I studied how to write a good notes section, and what makes a notes section good. Several years ago, I studied the difference between having a long notes section and a short one. But, this year the focus was on the QUALITY of the notes section irrespective of size.

I learned that notes sections can be good or bad based on how well they are written (obviously), how well organized they are, and how much relevant content they have. Many notes sections have many words, but not much information that would be interesting to the prospective client. Other notes sections have information that is mildly interesting at the top, while failing to mention compelling reasons why someone should hire them.

The results of my findings were that notaries with quality notes averaged considerably more clicks than those with a poorly written notes section. I categorized several dozen notes sections in various cities by assigning them a letter grade from A to F. The unfortunate part of this study, was that there were hardly any A’s to compare, even fewer B’s, and no F’s near the top of the list. How can I compare clicks from a listing at the top of the search results with a listing left vacuous at the bottom of the list. My other click comparisons were between listings at similar places in various search results. To sum it up, there were very few A’s, F’s were at the bottom of the page, and I was forced to compare C’s and D’s for the most part.

To clarify matters for the reader — an “A” notes section would be well organized, have interesting and informative content, and be well written. B notes might be well written, but have some organizational flaws, or leave out some critical information. C notes might be average, and not more than one or two paragraphs. D notes would be blatantly short and incomplete, while F notes might be completely vacant, or at least short and deeply flawed.

My incomplete results yielded some conclusions: Listings with:
> “A” quality notes got around 50% more clicks than listings with B quality notes.
> “A”quality notes get about double or triple the clicks that listings with C notes get
> “A” quality notes get perhaps quadruple or more clicks than listings with D or F notes get in comparable positions, but there is very little data to support this claim.
> “A” quality notes might get about 10 times the quantity of clicks that a D or F notes listing might get further down the list
> Listings with REVIEWS and poor notes systematically performed better than listings with great notes and no reviews.
> B quality notes did systematically better than C quality notes (around 50% better). C did better than D.
> There was little difference between notes that scored D and F in terms of click performance, although D was about 20% higher on average in clicks — compared to a much higher percentage between A’s and B’s, B’s and C’s, C’s and D’s.

The components that make your listing thrive consist of: Placement, Reviews, Notes, and Certification. Reviews is 30% of the formula, so if you don’t like the idea of asking for a review — please change your likes and dislikes. Notes account for 20% of the performance of your listing. Although not as important as placement or reviews, there is a huge difference between doing a super job and a terrible job in terms of click performance. The irony is that it takes only 20 minutes to write a brilliant notes section. But, the financial rewards can be in the thousands per month simply for investing that 20 minutes in your notes section. Is 20 minutes worth an extra $20,000 per year? That is $1000 per minute! What is your time worth?

Sally and I analyzed many notes sections from some of our best notaries. We were very disappointed that only about 1% of our notaries got an A on their notes section. No notary got an A on their notes thumbnail — which is the top 150 characters that shows up on the search results page (unless I wrote it for them). People decide whether to click on you or not depending on what you write in the first line of your notes — so take it seriously! Less than 1% of the notaries got a B. Most notaries got a C who were in a high or medium position. The notaries in the lower middle and the bottom got dismal scores on their notes.

Why is it that so few notaries ask for help with their notes when their notes affect their whole future? Are they suicidal?

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A few testimonials on 123notary

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The Technique — getting reviews!


February 26, 2013

What tasks can you do which are worth $1000 per minute?

Notaries complain bitterly if a job assigned to them will use slightly more of their toner or gas than some other job. They are relentlessly thinking about saving pennies or losing pennies. Others complain bitterly if their advertising rate goes up. The only question they ask is, “What did I pay last year?”. I ask, “Do you ask your gas station attendant what you paid for gas last week?” It doesn’t change anything, does it? The question you should ask is, “What is my investment worth, and what does it get me?” Notaries spend so much time whining about small quantities of money, while they are losing tens of thousands by not doing certain things which desperately need to get done.

Did you know that notaries with great notes sections get far more clicks and jobs than those with mediocre notes? How long does it take to write a nice notes section and what are the rewards? Most notaries say, “I just don’t have the time”, or “I’ll get around to it”. It takes 20 minutes to write an award winning notes section, and that notes section can win you $20,000 more per year in business. That translates into $1000 per minute.

Is your time worth $1000 per minute? Do you HAVE TIME for that minute? Or, are you too busy doing something more critical with that minute? Could you please inform me of what you are doing with that minute that is worth more than $1000? The notary job you accepted pays you $100 minus costs and takes you 2.5 hours. That translates to about $25 per hour after expenses. That is 40 cents per minute. Why not cancel the signing, and write a great notes section, and then you will have more offers for signings that probably pay even more than what you were offered. If I ask, “Do you want 40 cents or $1000”, most notaries will choose the 40 cents, because they are used to thinking about the moment, and not investing in their career!

What about asking for reviews? Do you not have time? How long does it take to ask for a review? 1 minute. But, having a handful of reviews can double your business. So, you make $60,000 instead of $30,000 per year. What is the cost involved? 30 minutes. But, non-consecutive minutes. Over the course of 30 weeks, you might have 30 clients who love you. You ask each one to write a review, and send them a link in an email. Out of 30 requests, you might get 5 reviews which will probably double your income. Your 30 minutes yielded you $30,000 extra in a year. Is your time worth $1000 per minute? Do you have something better to do in that minute? Early Christmas shopping? Getting that extra laundry detergent? A television show?

What about answering that phone call during an inconvenient time? Do you pick up and tell them that you can’t talk? Or, do you simply not answer? What if that person will give you $10,000 per year in business? That 10 minute call will yield you $10,000. Once again, it is $1000 per minute.

What about giving a courtesy call to all of your clients once a month. Each call might take 2 minutes, but might make the difference between being forgotten about when business is brisk at the end of the. That 2 minutes could yield you 5 extra signings worth $500. That translates to $250 per minute which is not as good as $1000 per minute — but, still, not bad!

Spending that extra minute in the right way can change your life — so, spend a minute thinking about what you can do with that special minute!

BTW — the five minutes you spent reading this blog entry could have been used to do business related tasks that could yield you $5000 over the course of one year. On the other hand, if you hadn’t read this article, then you wouldn’t know what those special tasks were that you could get such dramatic results from on a minute by minute basis.

(1) Most notaries dwell heavily on small increases in expenses, but completely ignore opportunities to make big bucks.
(2) Spending a few minutes writing a great notes section could yield you 1000’s in long term income.
(3) 3 ways to supersize your notary business that only take a few minutes per day!

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Comprehensive information about writing a great notes section

A comprehensive guide to getting great reviews

Erica’s mobile office story: Saving time on the road

Does Elite certification help you make money faster?


February 21, 2013

Notarizing for an adoption

Filed under: Drama & Tragedy — admin @ 9:16 am

Being a Notary not only helps people with their transactions, but we are also touched by many of our clients’ lives. My story is about the worst situation I have heard of, much less been a part of, caused by the recession.

I was called to act as a mobile notary for an adoption proceeding. The man told me it might take some time because the agency had to read the contract to him, section by section, to ensure he understood the ramification of the provisions in the adoption agreement. I just assumed he was adopting a child. When he asked me my price, I surprised myself with the low offer I gave him. WAY lower than I normally charge, and I didn’t know why.

When I arrived at the house, it was obvious that he was getting ready to move out and packed boxes were everywhere. He had two sons, one 11 and one 14. The client and I went into one of the empty rooms and he told me that he had moved here last year to work for a large corporation, then the recession hit and it was last one hired, first one fired. He picked up part time jobs but not enough to stay afloat. The house had been foreclosed and he was moving in with his mother, who was not in a strong financial situation either. That lead to his decision to adopt out one of his children because he could not afford them both. The younger son had some medical issues, and he could not afford his treatment, so he picked that child. He fortunately found an older lady on the East Coast with lots of time and money to spend on the child.

As we went through the provisions, I could hardly keep from tearing up. At the end of the contract, he was asked to write something that the agency will give to his son when he turns 18. He explained how much he loved the child–so much so that when he realized he couldn’t care for him, he found a wonderful home that could provide all the things that he could not; and his son was never to think he “gave him away” or didn’t love him. It was because he loved him so much he was making this, the ultimate sacrifice. By now I was crying, he was crying and the woman from the adoption agency was crying.

After the signing, he pulled out his wallet to pay me, and I said “I think you need that money more than I do.”

Michelle LaMontagne
Boise, Idaho


February 19, 2013

The notary who called me back to tell me she couldn’t talk

Filed under: Etiquette,Ninja Theme Articles — Tags: , — admin @ 12:06 am

Today I called a California notary public about her renewal.

She had an automated message when she called, and some bassoon music to listen to while I was on hold. It seems that whenever I call her, I always get bassoon music, but never get the notary. In any case, I waited for a very long time on hold, and then gave up.

Two minutes later I got a call from a different phone number from a different county in her state. I suspected that it might be her, since it was still a California number. But, the number was from San Francisco which is about 70 miles from where this notary lives — or where I think she lives.

The notary called and asked, “Can I call you back, I can’t talk now”.
I said, “You are calling me back right now”
the notary said, “Yes, but I am with an elderly signer signing critical documents, I can’t talk now”

I said, “If you can’t talk now, why are you calling me? Why not call me when you can talk?”
The notary said, “I can’t talk now, I have to go”.

I said, “Why not send me an email — when I am doing outgoing calls, I can not answer incoming calls simultaneously”.

The moral of the story is that many notaries make it like pulling teeth just to talk to them. If you want people to feel aggravated every time they contact you, my suggestion is that you should not answer your phone, and then call people back only to tell them that you can’t talk.

Maybe this California notary and signing agent needs a good receptionist. It is hard when you are in business and are overloaded, but still don’t have enough business to merit hiring someone new. I seem to always be in that position. I can relate! But, it is time for her to find someone else to answer the phone, so you get a warm furry human when you make a call to her number!

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Do you ramble? What do your clients think?


February 18, 2013

What does a notary charge in 2013?

What does a notary charge 2012?

Notary fees vary across state lines, and vary depending on what type of notary act you are having done. Acknowledgments and Jurats are by far the most common notary acts. Please see our find a notary page and then look up your state to find out the notary prices / notary charge or charges for common services. Prices published are 2012 notary prices.

Please keep in mind that notaries on www.123notary.com are normally mobile notaries (traveling notaries) and will want to charge a travel fee for coming to your office, home, hospital room, or jail cell. Travel fees vary person to person, but notary prices per signature or per notary act are set by your state in terms of maximum allowed fees. A notary may not charge more than the maximum state notary fee, otherwise they can get in trouble.

If you need a quote for what a notary charges, just ask particular notaries on our database.


Notarizing a child who was abducted…

Filed under: Drama & Tragedy,Popular on Twitter,Popular Overall — admin @ 8:54 am

My ex-wife abducted our daughter!
First I must say, I very much appreciate your input on this unfortunate matter. My ex-wife eventually returned to the U.S. after abducting my daughter to the Philippines. She was gone for a month, and I had not a clue she was even in the Philippines . Thank God no harm happened to her.

Finding the notary…
The Office Secretary of State did provide me with the notary’s work and home numbers who had notarized the travel permission paperwork. I contacted the notary at her home number, she no longer worked at the Citibank branch where the notarization took place. I explained to her what had occured , and she was very upset from the sound of her voice . She explained to me that she was at work, and instructed me to call her later that evening.

I found the notary, but she wouldn’t answer my calls!
I called her that evening, and she never answered. Called her the following day, and after. I left messages for her to call me, she never did. Do you think she is just being discreet on providing any information she may recall? Or from your experience, could she be involved?

Were wife & the notary in cahoots?
I’m trying to find out if my ex-wife knew the notary personally, and if the notary knew the circumstances of the passport application. If so, both of them could be in really big trouble, right? The Secretary of State Office is investigating the matter now . – Thanks …

(1) His ex-wife was in cahoots w/the notary who notarized permission to travel docs. #abduction
(2) My ex-wife abducted our daughter to the Philippines after having permission to travel forms notarized!
(3) We found the notary who assisted with the “abduction” paperwork, but she wouldn’t answer my calls!


February 17, 2013

Identification requirements for being notarized

Do you need to see a notary public sometime soon? Are you going to get some critical documents notarized? Don’t be afraid, this is easy! However, there are a few things that you must know.

(1) The notary public is required by law to check your identification. Certain types of identification are generally acceptable such as current driver’s licenses, state issued identification cards, passports,etc. As a general rule, if an identification is a current government issued photo-ID with a physical description, signature, and serial number, it should be good for a notary public to use. Make sure that your signature on the identification matches the one that you use on the document.

(2) Your name on the document must match the name on the identification. However, if your name on the document is shorter than the name on the identification, that is fine. If your ID says John J Smith, and on the document, you are named as John Smith, you are okay. If the name on the document is longer than the name in the identification, the notary public can not legally notarize that longer name variation.

(3) Some states require the notary public to thumbprint you for Deeds affecting real property and Powers of Attorney. It is painless (when I do it).

(4) The notary can not legally choose the type of notarization for you to get. Please have your decisions of whether to get an Oath, Acknowledgment, Jurat, or something else worked out before you see your notary.

(5) Most states require the document signer to sign the notary’s journal as well as signing the document. The notary should also record your identification information in their journal.

(6) Jurats require the signer to swear under oath. Please be cooperative about raising your right hand when you swear under oath.

(7) Mobile notaries charge a travel fee, and can charge waiting fees if you keep them waiting. Please be on time and respect their time and fees. 123notary.com specializes in mobile notaries.

(8) If the signer doesn’t have acceptable identification, please consult an attorney. Please be aware that inmates in jail do not have identification on their person other than their wristbands which is completely unacceptable as notary identification.

Good luck, and find a great notary public on 123notary.com!!!

(1) Your name on the document must match your name on the identification when notarized.
(2) Acceptable notary identification must be government issued, photo, serial #, exp. date, etc.
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Vampire Notaries: 24 hour service

It was a dark and rainy night.
A couple called a company called Vampire Notaries for a late night signing.

The company’s motto was:
“We are part vampire; We provide 24 hour service”

They were going to sign a simple affidavit. The couple thought the business name of the notary sounded romantic in an erie way. In any case, the vampire(s) showed up a the appointed time.

It was 2am on a rainy night. There was thunder; There was lightening. The couple was cozying up next to the fireplace sipping wine. Then, there was a slow, but emphatic knock on the door. Knock………… knock……….. knock………. Each knock was heavy and decisive, but not frighteningly loud. There was a four second pause between each knock.

Two seemingly normal men in their 30’s were at the door. They both had clean cut hair, and were clean shaven. Everything was normal about these two guys, or at least, so it seemed. The only distinguishing aspect of their appearance was their long black coats. But, it was raining, so perhaps they needed a long trenchcoat, right? Or, was this part of their usual attire?

The couple asked why there were two of them. The answer was, “We like to work in pairs”. The couple gave each other a weird look, and then they asked what was next. Vampire #1 asked to see their identification. The couple gladly handed their drivers licenses over. Vampire #1 stared at the picture of the lady, and said, “That’s a nice picture, you have nice rosy cheeks… you must have good circulation! Do you work out?” Next, Vampire #1 wanted to see the documents. The couple was instructed to sign the documents. Next, it was time for pawprints. Vampire #2 asked for a right thumbprint from the husband. At this point, the wife asked, “Aren’t you asking for a lot? The next thing you will ask for is a DNA sample, a retinal scan, or even a BLOOD SAMPLE.”.

At this point, Vampire #1 exclaimed,
“Funny you should mention that” — and gave a knowing glance to the the other vampire.

Then it was time for the wife’s thumbprint. The husband said to Vampire #2, “You really do spend a lot of time looking over my shoulders and breathing down my neck. Vampire #2 said, “They don’t call us Vampire Notaries for nothing!”. Finally, the wife noticed that Vampire #1 was doing 90% of the work. She asked why one Vampire did almost all of the work. Vampire #2 explained, “I prefer to watch!” — with a delighted look on his face.

After the notary work was all done, the couple paid the notaries. But, Vampire #2 said, “We are not done yet”. The wife asked, “What more could we possibly do?”. Vampire #2 walked over to his briefcase, and whipped out four dixie cups and announced, “It’s time for our midnight elixer!”. Vampire #1 brought a small bottle of sangria, he glanced at the couple’s Anderson Valley Syrah and said, “You are drinking the WRONG type of wine!”.

So, all four of them enjoyed a two ounce sip of Sangria (the Italian word for BLOOD) from their little chalices. After that, the vampires were about to part ways with this young couple. The lady said to the man, “They seemed nice, but that was a little strange”.

Right before the vampires walked out the front door, Vampire #1 whipped out a purple light. The couple saw what these guys looked like in the light, and their eyes turned a very disconcerting color, and their teeth turned color too, emphasizing their fangs.

“Oh my god”, screamed the wife.

“Fare well”, retorted the vampires… and left, with the door making a medium-loud clunk as it closed.

The next day, the couple woke up. Everything seemed normal. The husband brushed his teeth. The wife took her shower. They enjoyed a slow breakfast with all of the usual items. Then, it was time for a kiss before going to work. But, the wife noticed something.

“Fred, What are those strange marks on your neck?”

(1) The company’s motto was: “We are part vampire; We provide 24 hour service”
(2) 2 seemingly normal men in their 30’s were at the door. It was raining, so maybe they needed trenchcoats, right?
(3) Wife: “The next thing you will ask for is a blood sample.”
Vampire Notary: “Funny you should mention that.”
(4) Vampire Notary: “I like your ID picture. You have nice rosy cheeks, you must have good circulation, do you work out?”
(5) After the signing w/Vampire Notary, the 4 of them enjoyed a sip of Sangria (the Italian word for BLOOD)
(6) The day after the signing w/the Vampire Notaries the wife asked: “Fred, what are those strange marks on your neck?”
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February 16, 2013

Why Notaries Don’t Last

Filed under: Drama & Tragedy — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:59 pm

Why Notaries Don’t Last: DO Something

Some of our notaries invariably give up because they are tired–or get tired because they have given up–on themselves. They seem to feel that just being listed on a database–without really trying to say anything intriguing in the Notes section or give any details on why they should be hired over other notaries–is all they have to do. Then, they have a few companies who pay them too little, ask them to drive too far… or do not pay them at all.

One notary whose Notes section says virtually nothing reported he does not get any work– or does not get paid when he does take on work! He told me, “I have become a target for morons. Everyone who calls me wants me to do a job 100 miles away for next to nothing.” Well–if he takes the job–and continues taking jobs from a company that does not pay him–just who is the moron?

A top title company owner recently told me, “I like it when notaries tell right at the beginning of their Notes how many loans they have signed. Years as a notary does not tell me how many loans they have signed or anything about them.”

I understand that inexperienced notaries must start somewhere, and do not feel they have anything to say to promote themselves. But be pro-active and look at a few other listings to see what notaries say in their Notes sections. Don’t just sit there, waiting for the phone to ring. YES: companies DO read your Notes…particularly the opening lines, which become the thumbnail for the search results. The best companies will not hire a notary who has errors in the Notes, by the way. Also, if all you say at the beginning is “Hi, my name is Benny,” you are wasting good space. Open with your # of loans signed and follow with a description that will make me want to call you. Tell us about your technology, memberships, and degrees. Read on.

A few tips to avoid burnout or getting burned:
> Think about whatever there is in your experience and background that makes you detail-oriented, reliable, and punctual. Tell us THAT–instead of just listing adjectives. For example, if you have a degree or experience in accounting– Say! For example: “MA in Marketing, 10 years in accounting: I prepare every loan as if it were my own tax return.”
> Update your Notes and # of loans signed frequently. As you gain experience, take a look at your Notes. Add any degrees or info that would help someone choose you.
> Find a few companies to write positive reviews of your notary work. Companies trust notaries with a few reviews. If someone has hired you–let that company write a brief review, and use that review to get more work. Or maybe someone you did a routine notarization for will write a review. Right above your name on your notary page is the link to send someone to write a review. Reviews work: http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3902
> Get the 123 certification. Companies know our test is timed and focused, and you will get more calls if you are certified plus have good Notes…and a few reviews. This is just what the stats show about who gets work on 123notary. Those who get our certification move way ahead quickly. It’s just a fact.
> USE 123notary to the max: in the upper right corner of the home page, there is a link you can click on: signing company lists. Check out which ones have good reviews and PAY well…and market yourself to them after you have updated your Notes. You will be pleasantly surprised.
> If you are doing all these things–you will have much more confidence on the phone when someone calls you.

Take a few hours a week and try at least one of these strategies. Before you become bitter because no one calls you or pays you– take a look at what you can do to stand out.

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