A Grain of Salt

A grain of salt

Pass the salt, please....

Is salt essential to us?  Of course it is.


Salt helps maintain the fluid in our blood cells and is used to transmit information in our nerves and muscles. It is also used in the uptake of certain nutrients from our small intestines. The body cannot make salt and so we must add it to our daily intake via food or drink.  Just the right amount of salt can even enhance the taste of our favorite foods.

Add too much salt though, and the tasteful experience is ruined.  Excessive salt over time will prove very unhealthy, even lethal.

‘Asking for the business’ is much like salt.

Oh, we provide a smorgasboard of products and services to our customers; we have websites and widgets, classes and schwag, even computer programs and ‘brainstorming’ sessions… and we either assume – or just hope – that people will ‘get’ that we want their business.  So, in this simple act of false humility, we ‘skip adding any salt’.  Consequently, our customers eat to their content, say thank you, and leave.

You’ve got to give ’em the salt.

It’s imperative to your life – your business life – that you provide salt.  And, in the same manner as with food, you can’t dump it on your customer’s plate with every chance encounter.  Just like with any meal, that will quickly turn your customer’s stomach; and done long enough, it will prove lethal to your business encounters.

So, the magic lies in just the proper amounts.  Please don’t misunderstand; you should WANT to help your customers improve their lives.  That’s a great thing!  You should go into every endeavor with a servant’s heart; that will serve you well your entire career.  But never asking for salt will prove unhealthy – even detrimental – to your business livelihood.

Would you pass the salt, please?

Published in: on January 10, 2012 at 11:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Where's the next one coming?

Being a title rep, I spend a lot of time analyzing the activities that I perform every day. I’m always looking for a way to work smarter, quicker and more effective. While doing this, I was thinking about the process of what I do – title insurance sales – and began to really focus in on the conversion aspect. That’s the point where a prospective customer is ready, willing and able to become a current customer. Seems pretty simple, right? But then I began to take a look at the bigger picture, and realized how easy it is for a title rep to be focused on the wrong things, or even too focused on just one aspect of his or her duties.
We’ve got a lot of balls in the air, all trying to attract and convert that prospective client to become our client. Sometimes, we can focus too much on those processes, and miss the opportunity to complete a ready conversion. Does that sound too technical? Okay, let me break it down.
Do you remember the game Whack-A-Mole?
Sure you do. It can still be found in the kiddie section of your local Chuck E. Cheeses or Dave & Buster’s. You watch as a small child grips the foam hammer, and shrieks as the little smiling chipmunk-like creatures pop up from their respective holes on a large table board. As soon as that mole pops up, WHAM! The child smacks it on the head with the foam hammer, and the game registers it as a ‘win’, or ‘good hit’. As the game continues, the moles pop up randomly, and then more quickly, until the child just begins to frantically whack holes, hoping to nail a rodent just as he’s about to come out of his hole. Of course, the child soon learns that if she can do two things – patiently wait while staying focused – she will whack more moles, and register a better score.
I see some basic similarities in how not only title reps, but sales professionals in general, could learn a thing or two from our friend, the Whack-A-Mole.
Our efforts in lead-generation, marketing, branding and -quite honestly, reputation – are the fuel and power behind our sales success. That’s what gets our customers to pop out of their holes. However, all too often, we can get too focused by thinking we know which hole our customer is going to pop out of. So, we hover over it, ready to give him a whack. But in doing so, we take our eyes off of the rest of the playing board. Other customers from unsuspecting places pop up, ready to be whacked with convincing customer service and detail, only to retract back into their hole before you can strike in time.
My point is, be ready to whack, but stay focused on the whole board. You don’t know for sure when or where the mole’s going to pop up. But when they do, you’ve got to be looking for it, and you’ve got to react quick.
Happy whacking!

Published in: on November 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

How Helpful Is YOUR Title Company?

"Please press 'enter' for help....."

How helpful is YOUR title company?
Although Realtors and lenders don’t talk about it much, it’s the reason that we title companies exist – to insure the homeownership of consumers from potential and actual erroneous liens and judgments against title to their real property.
I get the occasional call from real estate professionals that say they believe their client has a claim against a particular title company. The problem is they aren’t sure how they submit a claim. Well, here’s a guideline that should help get you pointed in the right direction.
1. Submit the claim, in writing, to the claims department. Simply state the details of the transaction, including the property address and your client’s name, and why they feel a claim is in order. If you call any branch of that title company (or the only branch, depending on the size of the title company), they should have a directory and protocol to advise you of the name, address and department of the authorized recipient for the claim. If they don’t, simply ask for the name and address of the manager for their title department.
This must be a written request, and perhaps sent certified if it involves a title company with which you’re not familiar. (Hate to say it, but experience time and again with my clients over unknown title companies has required me to suggest this caveat).
This SHOULD be all that’s necessary to prompt communication from the title company to you/your client over the proposed claim. From there, you and your client will have the details of the proposed claim, and the title company should work expeditiously towards an amiable settlement for your client. However, sometimes that’s just not the case. If this is you, then please read on.
2. If you don’t receive any communication from the title company in question after the first letter (say, 2 weeks maximum), send another certified letter, and this time request the authorized recipient’s email address. Perhaps the person did not receive the first letter, and an email will serve as a ‘heads-up’ that you’re making a second attempt to contact someone who can resolve your client’s claim issue, promptly.

3. If after having done both letters, you have no response (say, another two weeks), you may want to seek help from the regulatory agency for the title company in question – the state of Colorado Division of Insurance. Nobody likes to get someone else in trouble. But after two certified attempts and an email to get any response, the title company in question isn’t leaving you with many choices. Your next step is to contact the Division of Insurance, explain your complaint, and provide proof of your attempts to make a claim. Without question, they will work as an advocate to help you and your client get an answer to your claim request.
As always, there are exceptions to every situation. My intent is to educate the real estate professional on obtaining assistance for their client in a more timely fashion, thus relieving stress and apprehension in the homeownership world.

Published in: on July 6, 2011 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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