Do You Own Your Block?

March 22, 2018

The industry is constantly besieged by headlines about the digitization of the mortgage transaction, blockchain and artificial intelligence. Despite ongoing efforts to make transactions more efficient and digitize processes, there’s still the need for human connections and interactions. While new technologies and homebuyer demands are shifting customer needs, title and settlement companies can still own their own block.

During the opening Ideas Festival at the 2018 ALTA SPRINGBOARD in Atlanta, Bill Svoboda offered three tips to help companies succeed and ensure they are delivering a customer experience worth talking about.

Take Off Your Cape

Svoboda, co-founder of CloseSimple, said the first step to remain relevant with your customers is to take off your cape and help your customers put on theirs.

“When they wake up in the morning, they’re thinking about how they’re going to win the day. Not you,” he said. “You need to help them win their own story.”

This starts by listening and having face-to-face conversations. And the conversations should be personal and more than just business and making a sale. As an example, he explained how financial investors are good at this approach. Instead of simply explaining to a client how their money will be invested, financial experts will ask questions to learn about the client’s needs.

“Once you find out what someone wants to do and where they want to go, the path is easy,” Svoboda said. “Listen more and have a human conversation. Ask them about their story and where they’d like to go in life.”

Make Their Butt Look Good

The next step is to help make your customers look good. To highlight this, Svoboda shared a personal story. Several years ago, he tried on a pair of Tom Ford Chelsea Gianni’s that cost more than $1,000. While the shoes fit perfectly, he decided they were too expensive. A few months later, he changed his mind and wanted to buy the boots. Unfortunately, when he called, the salesperson told him they were a popular style and were sold out. The conversation didn’t end. The salesperson questioned Svoboda’s decision to pass on the initial opportunity: “Why didn’t you buy those boots when you were in here? When the time is right for Tom Ford, the time is probably not right for you. The next time you try on a pair of Tom Fords and you like them, you should buy them.”

To drive home the point, he shared a Tom Ford quote: “Marketing is used for hollow products that cannot speak for themselves.”

He added that marketing doesn’t matter if you don’t give the clients an experience they’ll never forget.

“It’s not about making pants. It’s about making pants that make your butt look good,” Svoboda said.

Own Your Block

To wrap up, Svoboda encouraged attendees to “own their block.” This means title companies want to make sure they’re satisfying customers in their current county or market before expanding and thinking about scale.

Svoboda shared a slide featuring the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen and Prince. He asked the crowd where each was from. Of course, everyone knew, because the articles made music that represented their city or country.

“They didn’t make music for any of us. They made music for the people in their area,” he said.

To help title agencies own their block, Svoboda said it’s important to make it simple for customers to reach and interact with your company. There’s a reason why hit songs are high on repetition and low on word usage.

“If someone mentions title insurance, are you the first title company they think about in your town,” he said. “You need to own the handshake in front of you before worrying about the ones you don’t know. If you do these things, you’ll stay relevant and own your block because a good party advertises itself.”

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or