By Kelle Clarke
Last week, we posed a scenario, The Case of Healthy Signing Agent Competition, about an overbooked Notary who was asked by a loyal client for a referral for another reputable Notary. The question was: Do you recommend your client to another Notary, or do you keep quiet in hopes that you won’t lose business to your local competition?
While there isn’t really a “right” or “wrong” answer, nor specific state law to guide your actions here, your decision in this scenario will likely reveal your professional philosophy, and may have a lot to say about how you conduct business. While it may seem counter-intuitive to pass work to your “competitor,” clients tend to appreciate service providers who help them solve problems. Therefore, if you are unable to take on a signing, it’s in your — and your client’s — best interest to refer them to a Notary in your area whom you trust to perform the notarization with your same level of accuracy and attention.
“I am always bouncing work to other Notaries,” says Virginia Notary and NNA 2013 Notary of the Year Nominee John Kenneth Cole, who only refers Notaries with whom he has developed a strong professional relationship. “I aim to always surround myself with peers who share my same values and work at my same level.”
A majority of the NNA Facebook community who responded to this scenario shared Cole’s philosophy:
“Refer it out,” said Alaska Notary Leti Morales Arevalos. “It is about working as a team and providing a service to the customer.”
David Kinney and Debbie Rutt share a “what goes around comes around” philosophy, and Catherine James went so far as to recruit her husband to become a Notary, so she would always have someone trustworthy she could recommend.
Texas Notary Kerman Dee Hammond suggested following up with the client to make sure the signing went smoothly and to remind them to think of you for future signings.
If you live in an area where Notaries don’t traditionally work together, consider reaching out and building the Notary community so that you can work as a team to draw and refer new business. Chances are, the Notaries to whom you refer business will return the favor.
Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.
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