Notary: the Art of the Decline – To new Notary Jobs
In a prior rant, I rambled on about declining to perform illegal activities; they definitely deserve and should always receive an unqualified NO. Here I will focus my oft grammatically incorrect scribbles at the decline. Nobody can accept every assignment offered, nor should they attempt to.
Why decline? The reasons are legion. For whatever reason, you do not want to accept the task that is being presented by the caller. Your key objective here should be to leave a pleasant and competent impression. Perhaps that 40$ lowballer will remember the great impression you gave and call you for a more realistic assignment at a later date. Your objective should not be to “get rid of the caller as soon as possible”. Each call is an opportunity to market your abilities.
It takes a lot less time to give some procedural advice over the phone than to do the job. Take a few minutes with the caller and showcase your knowledge. That works better with individuals than signing services. Perhaps your decline can morph into a postponement to a later date. As a minimum you should steer the caller to finding someone available. It’s not apparent to you, my reader; but that exact situation just happened to me. The caller needed a Will notarized, and unfortunately it needed to be done very soon. I do not qualify as the signature of the testator, the person who the will is for; must be notarized. In NY State, by a person who is both a Notary & Attorney. Having had similar calls in the past, I was able to direct the caller to a solution.
Sometimes the issues are much more complex. There are many ways to process the various documents that cross my path. Giving procedural, not legal advice is, to me; a proper form of public service. As notaries we understand our state laws and procedures. Sharing, to a caller some information on “what options you have that I am familiar with” does no harm. Of course some “trade secrets” are reserved for me to utilize. Giving “some” help is better than none.
Perhaps you have virtually no time at all to spend with the caller. It takes but a moment to tell them about http://123notary.com and perhaps Notary Rotary and Notary Café. Take a moment more to suggest the caller search using the zip code where the notary will be going. Often the caller thinks / assumes you are a walk in facility; and that is what they are seeking. I tell those callers that notaries are “sometimes” found at banks, pharmacies and law offices. No matter how little time you can allocate to the caller; you are always able to give some useful information. That will “mark” you as being helpful and caring; possibly the one to call for the next need.
No, I did not read “The Art of the Deal” by you know who; perhaps I should. But, I don’t think my notary function requires much deal making. Nor does it require declining many job requests. Some, yes; but not many. Thus “The Art of the Decline” will not be published by me. It all boils down to just being helpful. Make it clear you cannot accept the job, specifically say it’s not a money issue; you have “other” reasons for not being available. You really don’t need to give an exact reason; I simply say that I am “not available”.
Pay as much attention to your projected image with declines as you do with accepts. Think of it as contact with a potential future client. Perhaps a referral to a known to be competent “rival” is in order – and such arrangements often become bidirectional, a mutual advantage.
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