As my tenth anniversary with Chicago Title approaches (January 13th), I struggled with the right approach to take in my rebuttal to Justin McHood’s 7 Reasons I Hate Sales Reps From Title Companies.
10 years with the same title company is no small feat. The temptation of offers from other companies is great, the housing collapse led to major staff reductions, and avoiding jail time for assault on yet another less than honest loan officer, all make it difficult to reach this milestone. Of course I jest on the last point, no assault has ever occurred, but if one could be tried for their thoughts, I would need a very good lawyer.
As for my rebuttal, do I go on the offensive against mortgage professionals, or defend the honor of my title company brethren?
I decided on a little of the first and more of the latter.
First, let me point out, as Justin did in his post, I too like many of the mortgage professionals I have met over the years, Justin included.
They work hard to get their clients into homes, and at times put up with very difficult conditions. But as Justin has pointed out in a previous post, lenders do not have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients. They need to make a profit for their company. This has lead to some uncomfortable moments for me with buyers at the closing table, with the lender nowhere in sight. But really, this is fodder for another post at another time…
I have to object to Justin’s thesis statement that title rep’s job is essentially to lie to me.
I argue a title rep’s job is to establish relationships and encourage agents and lenders to use their company. A rep does not need to lie to accomplish this goal. In my opinion, selling a widget is much easier. In traditional sales, a rep can feature and benefit an item, compare costs, and even demonstrate their product.
Title sales reps promote a service (escrow) to a sales professional that may not need the service for an undetermined amount of time. It’s a very difficult job. I’d like to look at Justin’s list item by item. In bold, you will find Justin’s 7 reasons. In italics after each is my response:
1. When it comes to getting the work done, they don’t actually do anything. A few of them know how to do the actual work that it takes to get a file done and can pinch-hit when needed, but the vast majority of them don’t.
Many title reps do not know how to chain title or prepare a HUD-1, but why do they need to? They are not hired to perform escrow tasks, but to develop relationships and encourage agents and lenders to use their company. How many in sales can “pinch-hit” back at the factory or in the shop? Not many… Sales and service in most companies are separate jobs.
2. They will tell you that they have the best escrow officers around. And the truth is that they might — but even if they have completely horrible escrow officers, they will tell you that they are wonderful up front.
Response – Completely horrible escrow officers? In this market? After all the staff reductions? I’m going to stick with wonderful, and some not quite as wonderful. To be honest, it is one of the toughest parts of the job for a title company sales rep. Promote, sell, and promise on the service someone else is going to provide. Any takers for that gig?
3. When you send them your first deal and the escrow officer does something completely crazy to foul it up somehow, they are in your office saying that they are going to immediately switch you to another escrow officer who is “much better”. Remember – the escrow officer who just hosed up your deal was sold to you as “wonderful” just three weeks ago.
No sales rep can get the personality mix right every time. What Justin calls a completely crazy foul up may just be a clash of personalities. Fortunately for most sales reps, they have a second choice. Sounds to me like a sales rep doing their best to meet the escrow needs of the client…
4. They are all skinnier than me.
OK, you are correct on this point.
5. They name drop. I have rarely talked to a title rep who doesn’t ask me if I know <insert the big producer Real Estate agent of the month> or casually mention that they can bring me business by introducing me to the <insert another big producer Real Estate agent of the month> who hates their current loan officer.
Seems to me to be reaching for something that is not really there. Justin is coming from a lender point of view, so it is possible a sales rep may offer to introduce a lender to a top producing agent. If a sales rep can refer a lender to a real estate agent and vice versa, aren’t they adding something of value?
6. They spend zero time educating me about the title and escrow process. The truth is, I bet many of them don’t know very much anyway – so fine by me if they skip it.
Response – I can’t think of anyone who cares less about the title and escrow process than the typical loan officer. Plus, title company sales reps are consistently hosting classes on title and escrow for agents and lenders throughput the valley. Enough said.
7. They don’t have any good marketing ideas – but they don’t know that. They are always pitching me a bad new idea to get clients.
Not true of all sales reps. In fact, I would wager most do have good ideas for most lenders. I know a bit about Justin though, and he is an “outside the box” thinker. I’m pretty sure there are not many sales reps in any field that could provide a “good idea” to an “idea man” like Justin. So yes, it’s entirely possible Justin has met a title sales rep that met all 7 of his criteria. More likely is the scenario that he has met many different sales reps and over time he has encountered the things he describes in his post. Is it fair though, to paint all title reps with the same broad brush? I don’t think so. Just as it’s also not fair to think that all lenders are only concerned with maximizing their commission on each loan.
As with most things in life, we have to be responsible for the choices we make. In the case of a title sales rep, choose the one that meets your needs, and doesn’t fit Justin’s 7 reasons…