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Q&A: Thriving In A Down Real Estate Market

The housing market continues to struggle, but all is not bleak for Notary Signing Agents. Daniel Lewis, the NNA’s 2010 Notary of the Year and a Carmel, Indiana-based NSA, is having a record year. In a recent interview with theNotary Signing Agents & Small Business Section, Lewis shared some tips on how to grow your business, even amid a recession.

What have you done to grow your business?
I expanded. I used to be a regional NSA, just handling signings in Indiana. But I started a nationwide scheduling service for Notaries. I schedule Notaries for time share groups, insurance companies, title companies — anybody who needs a mobile Notary. We even arrange for Notaries to marry people in Florida.

Any Notary can do business inspections. A typical client could be someone who owns rental properties and needs to document the condition of a property before renting it. An impartial third party, such as a Notary, can do that.

Notaries have to be business people. You should always have a road map, a plan about what you want to do in six months or a year. Always think about what other products or services you can offer to existing clients.

Is networking with other Notaries important?
NSAs have to network with other Notaries in their area. I refer business to other Notaries. Others refer business to me. You should not consider other Notaries as your competition.

Do NSAs need to be flexible in their approach to their business?
Every business is like a baby. It’s constantly growing and encountering different needs. And every year it changes. You have to grow and change with it. You can’t treat it like it is always six months old. You have to keep up with what’s going on in the industry. You need to know what is permissible under your state laws to take advantage of any opportunities. And you have to continuously seek more education.

Client relationships are always important. How should NSAs develop them?
Communication is key. It should always be professional. You should send a completion report when an assignment is done. You should thank the client for the assignment. I come across so many Notaries who send unprofessional communications. People don’t always understand the power of email. If you put something abrasive or inappropriate in an email, it sends up a red flag. The same applies for all your business dealings. I recently had two clients ask for different Notaries because the one they had used before had an abrasive tone in front of customers.

NSAs should always remember that companies keep their own professional files about Notaries. I’ve known more than a few Notaries who talked themselves out of business.

Do you have any final advice?
Every Notary who wants to do this full time or improve their business has to go to the NNA’s annual Conference because the best minds in the business are there. You have to sharpen your skills. If you don’t, you’ll be out of business.

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