Training for Notary Signing Agents – Part 1
There is a saying in the writing world: “If you can’t find the book you want to read, you must write it yourself.”
So, whenever I see people complain about the available training for notaries who want to move into the notary signing agent (NSA) business, my first thought is “Why aren’t they creating the training they want instead of complaining about what someone else has created?”
After all, if you can’t or won’t learn from the training that’s available, going on social media to complain about it is a very poor way to introduce yourself to potential clients and customers, especially if your biggest complaint was that you found it boring or that it put you to sleep.
Just consider that the signing assignments that this training is meant to prepare you for aren’t exciting like sky-diving or bungee-jumping. Being a notary signing agent is all about doing paperwork. If training to do the paperwork puts you to sleep, maybe doing the paperwork for a living is not right for you.
On the other hand, there appear to be NO outside reviews available of the training that is mentioned most often, so it is easy to see that people may be disappointed because they did not have a realistic set of expectations as to what they were buying.
So, please join me as I begin a series that takes a look at Training for Notary Signing Agents. This article is intended to be an overview. If things work out as I hope, you can expect to see more in-depth pieces in the days and weeks to come. Today, we will look at the NNA, N2P, and the LSS.
The National Notary Association (NNA) certification and background check is accepted by many lenders & title companies, including most of the largest firms, and many signing services require it from their NSAs.
This is because the NNA has been in existence for several decades; they partnered with the American Bar Association to write the first model notary law and several revisions to it; that model notary law has been accepted in whole or in part by the majority of the states; and the NNA has used their longevity & perceived expertise to develop relationships with major players in industry and government. So, the NNA brand carries value to many of those firms that we NSAs want to work with.
Getting training, certification, and a background check (your credentials) from the NNA is a marketing decision, as it makes your efforts to market to those firms far more effective.
The NNA used to provide a list of signing services & title companies, but stopped doing that a few years ago. Even so, you will find NNA certification and background checks listed as a requirement on the sign-up pages of many firms that show up as you do research for potential clients on 123notary, NotaryRotary, NotaryCafe, and other sites.
In addition to credentials, the NNA sells supplies, memberships, books, and their annual convention.
(Disclosure: I have been a member of the NNA off-and-on since 2001 or 2002.)
While Notary2Pro (N2P) has only been in existence since 2009, it has one focus: training notaries to be as successful as they can be. The certification and background check offered by N2P are accepted by a sizable list of the firms, and the list is in the graduates area on their site. (N2P does not sell a background check directly, but they do offer a link to a discounted one in their graduate’s area on their website. They do not sell supplies or the other stuff that the NNA sells.)
Currently, it seems thast more firms accept credentials from the NNA than from N2P. Of course, that could change — and the list in the N2P graduates area is screened by them to weed out those with known issues (such as whether they pay on a fair & prompt basis).
While getting credentials from the NNA appears to be mostly about marketing, N2P is reported by many notaries to be a far better educational experience — one that also offers a marketing advantage with that list of vetted firms.
(Disclosure: I took the TRID class and exam from N2P and am currently enrolled as a student with them.)
Recently, some notaries on Facebook have been bad-mouthing both the NNA and N2P and their classes. Some of these notaries are touting the Loan Signing System (LSS) by Mark Willis, who runs a signing service.
The LSS website mentions both six figure and seven figure incomes, which makes me wonder if he’s conflating / confusing what a signing service might make if they have a large enough pool of NSAs taking lowball fees with what an NSA can make if they follow his training. I don’t know any NSAs who make 100K per year gross (the minimum six figure income), let alone a million dollars per year (the lowest seven figure income). So, those income numbers are a huge red flag to me, warning that he may be selling false hopes.
You can look at the LSS website yourself and see how it compares to the offerings from the NNA and N2P.
My first question is: Who accepts the Loan Signing System course certificate?
The LSS are big self-promoters, with their ads popping up often online, but I have never heard anyone explain why they would spend money for certification if it’s not going to be accepted by firms you want to work with.
My second question is: Where’s the Return on Investment (ROI) for that expense (of taking the LSS training)?
One notary stated that they didn’t take the LSS class to help with marketing and their ROI was the education they received. This attitude struck me as evidence of a lack of knowledge of business basics. So, please bear with me as I address that.
I agree that education is a value, but that does not make it part of the Return on Investment of your business. Education is a form of personal skills enhancement, which is only a ROI if it makes money for your business.
Skills can lead to ROI if they help you improve your income or profit as a result of those skills, but they are not part of the value of the business. (They may be part of your personal value. Whether and how that translates into more income or profit for your business is not always clear or certain).
Many skills are not helpful in terms of ROI because the person holding them does not know how to (or fails to) market them as a benefit to customers or clients.
If the customer or client does not see the skill as a benefit to them, they are very unlikely to pay for it, because people only rarely pay for features — they pay for benefits.
If your enhanced skills don’t lead to more income or profit, the return on investment was nothing — and the investment was wasted.
Some skills are not helpful in terms of ROI because they simply don’t relate to what the business is about. Taking a class in customer service while you are an attorney or a legal secretary would be an example of this, as it does not relate to the day-to-day work of a law firm. A better option might be a membership in a professional organization that offers multiple ways to get trained in legal work.
So, my take on ROI is that it only counts if whatever you get out of your investment boosts your bottom line. Maybe you can’t offer a dollar-for-dollar, straight line connection between the investment and a better bottom line, but if you can’t draw at least a crooked, dotted line between that education and increased income or profit, the return on the investment you made in acquiring the education is not there.