Top 10 Ways to Win Repeat Notary BusinessBrenda Stone
Today, we are going to discuss ten habits of notaries who perform like experts and gain repeat business. Notaries at any level of experience can do these things to project professionalism and become more desirable to hiring parties!
1. The busiest notaries answer all calls (except for known annoyance callers or undesirable hiring parties).
Currently, a huge problem that keeps notaries from working is not answering their phones. Many notaries won’t answer a call if they don’t recognize the number or if the number is blocked. It just takes a few seconds to determine if it is work or a spam call. Pick it up and see.
Not answering the phone sends a negative signal to hiring parties.
2. Once an assignment is confirmed with a notary, appreciation is garnered when the notary makes contact immediately with the borrower(s).
Most hiring parties want the borrower to be contacted as soon as possible. If that’s what your hiring party wants, keep them happy! Let them know that the appointment is confirmed. The hiring party gets frustrated when their phone is blowing up because the lender needs to know if the borrower has been contacted. The smoother you can make it for them, the more your phone will ring.
3. Notaries who read and follow all notary instructions in a loan signing package are more desirable for assignments.
Ink Color – Notaries who read all instructions in the loan package know, for instance, if the documents should be signed in blue or black ink.
Scan backs and Status Updates – Notaries will know if there are documents to be scanned back immediately or if a status should be updated through a certain procedure or at certain times.
Retrieve a Document, e.g., a Power of Attorney – Instructions may require the notary to pick up an original power of attorney, for example.
ID Copy – The notary may also receive instructions not to take a picture of the identification documentation with a smartphone if the borrower doesn’t have a copy to provide the notary at the appointment. The instructions may indicate that the hiring party prefers that the borrower return the ID copy by mail, fax, or email.
If the notary returns an image of the borrower’s ID by email or with the package that is obviously a smartphone photo that the notary has printed out, it is indicative that the notary did not read the instructions in the package.
Professionalism – After the signing appointment, the borrowers may receive a call to survey their experience with the notary.
You want to leave a good impression and ensure they like the way you handled their appointment. With that in mind, a good rule of thumb to follow for punctuality, manner of dress, smoking before appointments, and use of cologne or perfume is to emulate a bank or a title company employee and how you would want your experience to be at the bank or if you have business in a title company.
No matter what his or her experience level, a notary can be all of the following:
- three minutes early
In addition, I wanted to mention that the reason the topic of professionalism is included in the section on reading notary instructions is because a number of notaries have failed to take their duties seriously and haven’t conducted themselves with professionalism. As a result, hiring parties have unfortunately found it necessary to list expectations regarding this topic.
I remember the first time I saw this type of information in notary instructions in late 2005. The lecture on professionalism was accompanied by a big red stop sign and came from a title company in Florida. The second set of instructions I saw like this came from a national lender.
Annoying? It sure is! But look at it this way–you don’t need to be told this, so you are already ahead.
Invoicing – Make sure you follow any instructions on invoicing.
4. Notaries who get more work always print according to the hiring party’s requirements.
Correct Paper Size – A notary with experience knows not to shrink and print legal-sized documents on letter-sized paper, for instance.
Print Quality – Laser printing is always used—not inkjet printing. Nothing is cut off, crooked, unclear, or streaked.
5. The busiest signing agents always return documents in excellent condition, in a timely manner, and to the right shipping address.
Quality Assurance and Tracking – If scanning back some/all of the documents is required before dropping, this is always handled correctly. The notary provides tracking to the hiring party and drops the documents where a receipt can be generated showing the drop.
Timeliness – The documents are returned in a timely manner.
Order of Documents – The order of the documents when returned is the same as the order in which the documents were printed unless otherwise requested by the hiring party.
Condition and Appearance of Documents – The documents contain NO HIGHLIGHTING or X’s added by the notary. There are no sticky tabs left on the documents to be removed by the title company. They are shipped in packaging specified by the hiring party. If no requirements were conveyed to the notary about packaging, the documents are shipped in a manner so that the appearance and condition of the documents remain intact.
Contents (and Cashier’s Check) – ALL documents are returned. If a cashier’s check is required to be collected, it is returned clipped to the top of the stack of documents where it is visible immediately upon opening the package, or as per instructions from the hiring party.
6. The notary’s seal and signature are clear and present on ALL notarial certificates completed.
Crisp and Clear Seal – If a seal is smudged, it is re-applied clearly elsewhere on the certificate.
Signature – The notary’s signature is on every certificate.
Clear One-Inch Margins – The notary doesn’t stamp the seal, write, or sign in the one-inch margin around the certificate language.
7. Successful notary signing agents ensure that all documents are signed and initialed correctly, and they check two or three times before dropping off the documents to ensure nothing was missed.
Signing and Initialing – Generally speaking, a notary should never ask a borrower to sign or initial a document that does not indicate the document should be signed or initialed, unless, of course, if the notary is instructed by the hiring party to do so.
Special Situations – There may be information in the instructions about signing or initialing documents like invoices or bills that may be included in the package. (This is another great reason that notary instructions should be read carefully.)
Correct Initialing Procedure -If the borrower’s name is to be signed Mary Ann Smith, the borrower would customarily initial using M.A.S. (Three names means using three initials.) Contact the hiring party if you have any question at all.
8. Notaries who are favored by hiring parties handle loose notarial certificates correctly.
Please note that this doesn’t mean that a notary returns extra loose notarial certificates signed and sealed just because they were asked to! Adding a loose certificate applies if a document requires a certificate because one is missing or if the notary could not use the original certificate for a valid reason. In that case, the notary would include a corresponding certificate from his or her own supply of loose certificates.
Paper Size – If a loose notarial certificate must be attached to a document because of a missing or improper notarial certificate, the certificate language will be printed on a full sheet of letter-sized paper (not a half-sheet or smaller).
Font Style and Size – The font used in the notarial certificate will be a classic style like Arial, Times Roman, Calibri, or similar—not a whimsical or decorative style like Comic Sans or Script. The size of the font used in the certificate will always be at least 10 points.
Margins – There will be a one-inch margin around the outside of the page of the notary certificate; the notary’s seal or signature will not appear in the margin.
9. Notaries who win repeat business ensure that corrections to notarial certificates are made appropriately.
How to Make a Change – The standard procedure for changing pre-printed information on the notarial certificate is to strike out the wrong information with one straight line (preferably using a straight edge), writing in the correct information using neat, legible print, and initialing the change.
Wite-Out© or Similar Product – Using Wite-Out© or correction tape or blackening out words on a notary certificate is generally not acceptable.
10. Successful notaries fix their mistakes.
They do so quickly and without making excuses.
We look forward to your questions and comments.
If you have a topic you would like to be explored, let us know!