We Sent this Survey to 5,000+ Title Professionals ... the Results Were Shocking
The past couple of years have brought a lot of change to the title and escrow industry. It’s been remarkable to see how this industry has adjusted as we find new and creative ways to solve complex problems.Amidst all of this change, we recently sent a survey to over 5,000 industry professionals asking a simple question; “What is the biggest challenge you face in the title & escrow industry?”
The respondents could select from the following answers (or fill in their own answer):
- “There is too much to get done with not enough time"
- “It’s difficult for my team to use the same process”
- “I want to better stand out against my competition”
Since 2021 was such a crazy year for everyone in this industry with record volume, our assumption was that the overwhelming answer would be “There is too much to get done with not enough time.”
We were surprised by the actual results, and we were right… well, kind of.
The results are in (drumroll please):
The results showed a split between two answers that we did not expect.
44% of those who responded selected “There is too much to get done with not enough time" , indicating that their current workload was the biggest problem.
Clearly this is an issue in this industry for many reasons that we do not need to elaborate on in this post, but 33% of the respondents said that differentiating themselves from the competition was their biggest focus right now.
The remaining respondents were split between having everyone on their team following the same internal processes, working better with vendor partners, or other things related to process / change management.
What does this mean for you?
You need to differentiate yourself from the competition.
In 2022, if you are in the title and escrow industry, you just made it through one of the craziest seasons in recent history. Feeling stretched, overwhelmed, overworked & ready for a break, are common things we hear.
We were however shocked that only 44% of respondents indicated this as their biggest pain point because if we had done the same survey in February of 2021, the results may have been upwards of 90% indicating feeling this way, but today, interest rates are rising, and much like we saw pre-Covid, a fight for the transaction is beginning to dominate the conversation in real estate.
Last week I got an email from Inman news about a real estate brokerage that laid off nearly 33% of its staff in one day. This could be a leading indicator for the title industry, that as interest rates are on the rise, mixed with a serious shortage of inventory, that the number of closings will go down drastically.
Gone are the days of the discount closing company. Cheaper is not always better and there is simply no way that discounting your services will be a winning differentiator in this new market. Those title companies that relied on discounted services have folded during Covid as their businesses could not support the volume with the right level of service demanded from consumers, real estate agents, and even their staff which started to demand higher wages.
2022 is ushering in a season of differentiation that this industry has never seen.
How can you differentiate?
It may seem logical to market that your title company “closes on time and accurately,” how long your company has been around, how many locations you have, or that you offer a digital closing experience. Most of these reasons don’t actually set you apart from your competition.
In 2022 real estate agents and consumers simply do not hear this type of marketing, in fact, I call that type of marketing “legacy marketing,” because if anyone has been in the real estate industry for any amount of time, they’ve heard that type of marketing over and over.
So what will get you a new deal and differentiate your title company from the next?
You can click the link above to watch a webinar we recently did on this topic (based on the survey results), but as a quick "top level" answer, one thing you can do is to stop talking about what every other title company is talking about.
Talk about what you are doing that truly makes your company unique.
Here are 5 things you could do to change the conversation in order to stand out:
- Move from discussing how your title company closes on time and accurately, to how you communicate during the transaction so that your buyers, sellers, or real estate agents feel “in control” of the closing processes and “in the loop.”
We had one client that did this and walked away with about 20 deals/month from a real estate broker that previously did not close any deals with her company. She did the same thing with a large builder and walked away with 85 deals!
- Utilizing your social media to highlight deals you have been a part of (i.e. showing the listing with the closing dollar amount - not just the buyer holding your sign on closing day). This helps associate your title company with a dollar amount, subliminally showing that your title company closes large dollar amount deals.
- Branding your title company’s existing services, moving it from a commodity to a product that is marketable and remarkable.
To illustrate, which would you prefer: a black sports car, or a black Lamborghini? Branding helps win the attention and recognition of one thing over another … and it moves one thing from simply a commodity to a product worth talking about.
Here are 2 examples for title:
#1- You already have attorneys on staff that provide legal advice and help with complicated closings. Brand your attorney's availability as the “XYZ Title, Legal Open Door Policy,” showing your clients that you have attorneys on staff and that your closing team has easy access to them for questions.
#2 - If Dominos Pizza can create the pizza tracker timeline, or Jimmy John’s can utilize an online order tracking system, why shouldn’t your title company communicate with a similar process?
A visual timeline increases consumer confidence in your title company and helps your clients understand the process they are in. With CloseSimple, you can automatically send these updates via text message or email (from your current title production software), and in some cases, these proactive updates can reduce the number of incoming questions by 75%
- Film videos where you drive through neighborhoods, while discussing the property and what it would be like to move to that neighborhood. In this real estate market where knowledge is the most important currency, you become the “trusted” title company in the area as consumers and realtors start seeing your name with the city on social media and Google searches.
- Creating a podcast or video channel where you interview real estate agents, architects, financial advisors, mortgage professionals, business owners, and city leaders.
This creates amazing content to associate your brand with people in your area who others will know and recognize. Also, by including real estate agents and mortgage professionals, it pulls you into their network as they will probably share those interviews on social media. This is good for interacting with the current real estate agents and mortgage professionals that you do business with, as well as creating an opportunity for you to reach out to new ones that have not done business with you. It is important not to get into the weeds of how Title works, but be more interested in what they do, and how they provide a customer experience that is remarkable.
If you create a piece of content that they want to market because it looks good for them, you will also win.
With over 75% of survey respondents indicating either efficiency or marketing as their biggest pain point, we wonder where you stand on the issue? Do you see your title company more focused on efficiency or differentiation in the second half of 2022?
For 2022, it’s time to start focusing on marketing your company. You’ll want to get ahead of the curve and signing more deals than your competitors. The good news, is that if you do this right, not only will you stand out, you’ll also become more efficient, so you can also close those additional files in the same amount of time!
Or get in touch and we can help you get there.