Navigating the complexities of our industry is indeed challenging, and it humbles me when independent agents confide in our team, sharing their concerns and ideas. One recurring issue you’ve brought to light centers around identity verification and the inherent risks involved in this key element of the transaction. I am delighted to announce that Alliant National has collaborated with Finigree, a leader in financial and payment technology solutions, and developed a robust identity verification system – SecureMyTransaction.
SecureMyTransaction is designed to equip you with the information you need about both buyers and sellers to advance your transactions with confidence. The technology applies a multi-factor identity verification process that cross-checks mobile device ownership and location, credit bureau information, bank account validation and ownership, payoff and proceeds verification, knowledge-based authentication, FinCEN and OFAC searches, along with Alliant National Underwriting Alerts.
With verified identity information at your fingertips, you’re empowered to protect against seller impersonation fraud, vacant property fraud, and deed and document forgeries. Scams like these can have profound consequences, including financial loss, reputational harm and regulatory sanctions. SecureMyTransaction is thoughtfully designed to help you mitigate these risks.
This solution – which is initially being offered exclusively to Alliant National agents nationwide – will be unveiled tomorrow at our annual Florida Seminar in Orlando. For those attending, we look forward to presenting this new tool to you and hearing your initial thoughts.
For those who will not be with us in Orlando, I hope you will take the opportunity to learn more about this solution built specifically for independent title professionals like you. You can visit SecureMyTransaction.com for details, or reach out to Alliant National’s Bob Grohol (BGrohol@AlliantNational.com, 440.228.0826) to schedule a demo.
As you familiarize yourself with this new tool, whether at the seminar or from afar, I invite you to share your thoughts and feedback. We have developed this system with you in mind, and your insights are invaluable to us. Please feel free to reach out to me, to Bob, or to any member of your Alliant National team.
Giving back to your community not only feels good, but it can also pay dividends.
Philanthropy and community giving have long been a part of business, harkening all the way back to the 19th century in some cases. Many businesses participate in programs like these simply because they are the right thing to do. But sponsoring a cause, or especially an event, can also be a great way to market your company’s offerings and even capture new business. Let’s explore best practices for how you can achieve those goals.
It can be tempting to think that sponsoring a local event is as simple as merely writing a check. There is a lot more to it, however, if you want to gain tangible benefits. Begin like you would with any other strategic initiative by determining your goals and objectives. Then, research different events that are seeking sponsors and where there is an overlap with your company’s identity and priorities, including your:
- Brand identity
- Target audience
Once you have selected an event you want to sponsor, the real work begins. At this point, you will want to conduct due diligence regarding your sponsorship’s terms and conditions. Be sure to assess the following details:
- Duration of sponsorship – You will want to establish a start and stop date for your sponsorship.
- Intellectual property – It is always wise to stipulate who will own any intellectual property or “IP” created for the sponsored event. IP can encompass many different things, including designs, logos and slogans.
- Brand reputation – Closely related to intellectual property is brand reputation, namely how your brand will be positioned and utilized before, during and after the event. Scrutinize the details to guarantee that your brand receives the right return on investment.
- Promotional obligations – When heading into an event sponsorship, you need to fully understand your promotional obligations. The event’s organizer must clarify what is expected of their sponsors in writing well before the event takes place.
- Liability and indemnification – Take the necessary time to double check if you will have any potential legal liability for your participation in the event.
During the event
Once the big day arrives, you can put your feet up and simply enjoy the event, right? Not so fast. The work of leveraging a sponsorship to promote your agency’s brand changes once the event begins, but it doesn’t end.
There are a few things to do during this period to get the most out of the experience. The first step is simple. Just get social. Liaise with event attendees. Capture content of the happenings to utilize on your social media channels in the days and weeks ahead. Discuss your business and its value propositions with key constituencies and exchange contact information. Whatever you do, just don’t rest on your laurels.
Finally, stay vigilant about how your brand is being presented and perceived throughout the event’s duration. If you have a booth or table and are not manning it directly, periodically check in for quality control purposes and to guarantee that visitors are getting their questions answered and their needs met.
After the event
Even after the event is over, the work is not yet finished. The post-event period is a critical moment where several activities must take place. In the days following the event, it’s important to move quickly to follow up on any leads generated through your sponsorship. Engage in post-event marketing by promoting your agency’s sponsorship through your owned channels or even by pitching a story to the media. You can also solicit feedback from your team and start laying the groundwork for future sponsorships.
Finally, take time to analyze the ROI. Take stock of leads generated and converted and examine your website metrics for any upticks in web traffic. Also, don’t forget to review your social media analytics for any boosts in engagement numbers.
Ask any event planner and you will quickly learn that putting on a good event is a big job. The same goes for sponsorships. Encompassing far more than simply doling out a little money, promoting your agency and amplifying your brand requires time and effort. There are no shortcuts, but when done correctly and thoughtfully, the results can be rewarding for your community and your business.
Keep an eye on this data to gain a competitive advantage.
For businesses today, customer relationship management (CRM) systems play a central role in collecting, organizing and leveraging information. Simply having a CRM system though is no guarantee of success. It’s only when we’re familiar with key CRM analytics that we can utilize these systems to their full potential.
For those who are unfamiliar with CRMs, trying to extract valuable insights can sometimes feel like wading through alphabet soup. CACs. NPSs. CLTVs. These are all common metrics that businesses use every day to drive productivity and profitability. But let’s face it, they aren’t the most comprehensible of figures – especially when lacking appropriate context. Never fear though. We will break them down one at a time.
Top CRM metrics
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): First up is customer acquisition cost, which relates to the associated costs with bringing on new business. CAC is essential information for any business for a host of reasons. Without it, making accurate and objective assessments about your sales and marketing efforts is much more difficult. And optimizing your strategies? Next to impossible!
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV): Another must-have metric is customer lifetime value or CLTV, which is important for long-term planning and determining the potential profitability of your customer base. By gaining this deep knowledge, you can better focus on customer retention.
- Conversion Rate: Unsurprisingly, being aware of the conversion rate of your sales and marketing activities is very important. Referring to the percentage of leads or prospects that you convert into paying customers, conversion rates allow you to better understand your overall ROI. Use this figure to optimize your sales processes, bolster your leads’ experience and ultimately make more sales.
- Customer Churn Rate: Just as important as understanding how many customers you are gaining over time is discovering the exact opposite. “Customer churn rate” is the metric that provides this information, reflecting the percentage of your client base that stops doing business with you over a given amount of time. When your churn rate is low, that means something is going right in how you are delivering your services. When it is high, you need to delve into what might be going wrong and ask some hard questions as to why.
- Length of Sales Cycle: The next metric we want to cover is “length of sales cycle,” which tracks the time from when you create a prospect in your system and when you close new business. A business needs to have visibility into this process to know when to engage with a partner and when they can afford to leave them alone. As any marketing expert will tell you, the way a prospect responds to a piece of content will depend heavily on where they are in the sales cycle. Sending a conversion asset when a prospect is in the awareness stage, for instance, is one of the last things you want to do. Monitoring the length of the sales cycle can help you avoid this problem.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): Net promoter score is another way to understand how your customers are feeling about you in the long term. Collecting and tracking this data through a survey can provide you with incredible insight into whether your customers would recommend your agency to others. Since word of mouth is one of the most compelling ways that people find services to trust and do business with, the value of learning your NPS speaks for itself.
Relationships make the business world go-round
Strong customer relationships are a cornerstone of long-term business sustainability. By utilizing your CRM’s metrics to their fullest, you can gain a much deeper understanding of your agency’s costs and ROI, while finding tangible ways to improve your marketing and sales and deepen your customer base’s loyalty. In a competitive business environment like ours, these are advantages you just can’t pass up.
Take the next step. Learn how to select a CRM system that will compliment your business.
At a time when our industry is under threat from ID fraud, First International Title’s swift and decisive action in uncovering and halting two vacant property scams is an important example of care and diligence.
Sharon Garrison and Jenny Rodgers, both of whom work in the Florida-based company’s Port St. Lucie office, were recently recognized and rewarded through Alliant National’s “crime watch” program. The program offers $1,000 to an agency employee who prevents a fraudulent transaction that would have been written on Alliant National.
Clear warning signs
Like many transactions involving ID fraud, the malicious activities encountered and thwarted by Garrison and Rodgers had clear warning signs.
The properties in question were two vacant lots located in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The first was originally set to close back in March of 2023, but according to Garrison, the title processor at First International in charge of this transaction, red flags quickly emerged when she compared the name on the property deed with that on the seller’s driver’s license and found that the first name was misspelled.
There were similar warning signs with the second property, which was being processed by Rodgers. She was immediately on her guard when her property’s listing agent informed her that the seller needed to close ASAP due to her son needing surgery. It was also highly suspect that the seller’s passport and driver’s license had the same photo.
Due diligence in action
After noticing these discrepancies, both processors began delving deeper into their respective transactions. Garrison attempted to call the seller and listing agent, but she received no answer even after leaving multiple voicemails.
Rodgers also conducted her due diligence. She first reached out to the title company who worked on the property previously, only to be informed they couldn’t close the file because they had suspected fraud.
Having taken these steps, each processor then sent out Property Owner Notification letters, which are intended to trigger a response from owners. Phone number and IP verifications were also performed, which cast further suspicion. Garrison’s seller, for example, showed an IP address located in Miami, despite having claimed to live in New Milford, New Jersey. Rodgers’ IP verification revealed a similar discrepancy, with an IP address for Miami turning up when the seller claimed to be in New York.
Other actions included a rigorous comparison of handwriting via mortgage signatures and other forms of identification, assessing passport photos and conducting passport number searches. Rodgers also called the fraudster directly. She asked them to provide their date of birth so she could compare it to her records. Unsurprisingly, the fraudster provided incorrect data, and when Rodgers asked them to repeat it, they hung up.
A responsibility not taken lightly
The experiences of Garrison and Rodgers illustrate several things about the title insurance and real estates fields, specifically the importance of fraud prevention efforts.
Stopping fraud, according to Rodgers, is key to obtaining “cost savings for all parties.” But like any worthwhile goal, their respective odysseys show that beating back fraudsters requires a great deal of time and effort, not to mention passion and acute attention to detail. What’s more, it necessitates title offices having strong anti-fraud processes in place, which allows agents to objectively verify important information and stop scam transactions from going forward.
“First International Title,” said Rodgers, “has implemented Property Owners Notification letters, which we mail or FedEx to the owner based on the address on the property tax bill. This letter is a fraud prevention tool. It indicates that we have received a real estate transaction request on the property and asks the owner to call us immediately to verify this transaction is correct and if we should proceed with the sale.”
Of course, availing yourself of these resources and putting in the necessary effort becomes much easier when there is an emotional payoff at the end of the journey. As Garrison explained, while she “felt bad for the other party that was really excited about the purchase,” it was gratifying to help them not “lose the property and money.” Rodgers echoed these sentiments: “I felt a great sense of satisfaction knowing that I was able to help the person going through this awful event. She was very grateful we were able to stop these crooks.”
Alliant National’s essential role
As a title underwriter, Alliant National seeks opportunities to support and incentivize its agents’ anti-fraud efforts. Garrison said working with Alliant National teaches those in the industry “what to look for and saves all involved from experiencing loss in terms of money and property.”
By forging strong partnerships, Alliant National and its agents can push back on real estate fraud. And when that happens, everyone wins. Learn more about Alliant National’s crime watch program
In the fiercely competitive realm of title insurance, where underwriters often prioritize their own interests, one exceptional individual stands out for her unwavering dedication to putting Agents First: Donna Slomins, SVP, Senior Agency Manager at Alliant National. With more than four decades of experience and an unparalleled commitment to serving agents, Donna has played a pivotal role in building Alliant National’s Florida operations from the ground up. Her remarkable contributions have left an indelible mark on both the company and the agents she serves.
Donna’s remarkable journey in the title insurance field began long before joining Alliant National. With previous experience working for large underwriters, she was determined to find an organization that genuinely prioritized the well-being of its agents. Thirteen years ago, Donna’s quest led her to Alliant National, where she saw a rare chance to live her passion. As Donna simply puts it: “I chose to work for Alliant National because they allowed me to do what’s in the best interest of our agents.”
Donna’s unwavering dedication to the success of agents has been the driving force behind the company’s remarkable success in the Florida market. However, establishing trust among agents who had never heard of the company was no easy feat during Alliant National’s early days in the state.
“All my agents trusted me enough to sign with Alliant when we were just getting started and no one knew who Alliant was,” Donna remembers. “I was able to overcome the challenge and I succeeded growing the business in Florida based on their trust and loyalty.”
Debra Coffie, Florida Region Manager, was also among those tasked with building Alliant National’s Florida operations in the early days, and she remembers Donna’s contributions.
“Donna Slomins’ dedication to putting Agents First is truly exceptional. She was the first Agency Manager in Florida, covering the whole state in the beginning, and was part of the driving force behind our success in growing the Florida Region,” Debra says. “Donna has built deep trust and loyalty among our agents. Her personal connections with agents, her tireless efforts, and her ability to relate well to their challenges make her an invaluable asset to Alliant National.”
Today, Donna’s commitment to putting Agents First still requires a level of personal dedication that goes beyond the ordinary.
“Every day I strive to solve difficult problems and make life easier for our agents. Without them we have nothing,” Donna says, adding that she forges deep connections with her agents, spending time with them outside the office and connecting on multiple levels. To Donna, her agents are not just clients; they are friends and extended family. She understands their challenges and is driven to find solutions that make their jobs easier.
“I have worked or managed almost every aspect of our business, so I can relate well to my agents and their challenges,” Donna noted. “I work tirelessly to make them a priority, no matter the need.”
In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, agents encounter many challenges, particularly in navigating complex technologies. Debra notes that Donna sees each challenge as an opportunity.
“Donna leads by example and embraces challenges as opportunities for improvement, making a positive impact in the lives of her agents. She is a fierce advocate for the agent and partners with them to find a solution for each challenge.”
Donna’s deep experience and exceptional instincts have helped Alliant National in other ways. She shares a powerful moment when her intuition guided her to uncover and prevent a major defalcation.
“Something was keeping me up at night even when everything looked good on paper, I put everything on the line and would not give up,” Donna said. “In the end my gut was right.”
Donna’s achievements at Alliant National have been instrumental in driving the company’s success in Florida and beyond. However, it is the profound impact she has on the lives of her agents that truly fuels Donna’s passion for her job.
“Every day is an opportunity to be better and to make my agents better.” Donna affirms. “Whatever the challenge is, I am up for it and will give it my all.”
Donna Slomins is the epitome of an Agents First advocate, leading by example and making a positive impact in the lives of her agents. Her dedication, intuition, and unwavering commitment have propelled Alliant National to new heights, while ensuring that agents receive the support and care they deserve. Donna’s personal journey and extraordinary contributions serve as an inspiration to all who strive to prioritize the needs of agents above all else.