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Seal the Deal When Customers Call

Jun 06, 2022

With over 25 years as a customer service trainer in call centers, Dan applies a simple three-step formula to his sales & service calls as a Notary. This establishes rapport, builds confidence, and creates more appointments. Plus, as a Distinguished Toastmaster, and founder of NotaryMasters, Dan provides a pathway to boosting confidence and improving presentation skills for mobile notaries and loan signing agents.

Guest Information:

Dan is a Notary from the Portland Oregon Area. He is very involved in Toastmasters and is currently chartering a brand new Toastmasters club specifically for the Notary Industry. He recently earned his Distinguished Toastmaster Award (DTM), and this new club, Notary Masters, should charter this spring.

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Episode Highlights:

14:28 Dan created a simple three-step framework to enhance conversation flow on his Notary service calls. This has resulted in more appointments and strong rapport.

37:34 Before you take on too many side hustles or additional streams of service and revenue, get really good at the service you are delivering… Nail it, Then Scale it.

43:46 The Toastmasters group for Notaries, NotaryMasters, can help increase confidence and presentation skills, helping you accomplish your main priorities as a Notary and business person- Expert delivery of your services and laying the foundation for a relationship that lasts beyond one single transaction.

--- Full Raw Transcription Below ---

Bill Soroka (00:23):
Hey, welcome back to another episode of the Sign And Thrive podcast for notaries. It's my pleasure to introduce my guest today, Mr. Dan Brewer. It's been such a pleasure getting to know, you meeting you in person a couple times now and then hosting you on today's show. Every time I think of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, I, I think of you and I look forward to our conversations,

Dan Brewer (01:28):

Bill Soroka (01:29):
So, thanks. Thanks for living in a beautiful place.

Dan Brewer (01:32):
Yeah, well, it wasn't my choice, but I'm, I'm glad we made it. So….

Bill Soroka (01:36):
Yeah, definitely. Dan, I've been looking forward to our conversation because I think you're a shining example of what this business can be when you bring with you your years of experience from careers before this. I know through our conversations, you've been in customer service with a major tech company for 25 years, and you've been able to translate some of that service that you used to train and teach in that industry into your notary business. So can you tell us a little bit about that?

Dan Brewer (02:11):
Well I really had two or three careers. I started out as a teacher. I was a, a communication student and journalism student at Portland State and I was a baseball player. When the baseball, when 22 happened and I was done with college, I wasn't going to be playing baseball, so I went to work actually at a newspaper for a while, not as a journalist, actually worked in a, in a kind of a, I guess you'd just call it a grunt job. I was working in, in the circulation department in the middle of the night. It allowed me to do some other things. And finally I had to find a real job, career kind of job. So I went into tech and I wasn't quite tech savvy, but it was right kind of the advent of PCs and windows and so forth.

Dan Brewer (02:56):
And so I started working at a high volume call center and then moved over to Yahoo eventually. Started as a tech, worked all the way up, but my teaching kind of came right back and I was pretty awesome at teaching, particularly the customer service stuff. So we had a project where some, and, and I know you worked in call centers before, Bill. The quality that the people bring to the calls will determine the price. I mean, you, they get, if they do better, they get paid better. So they, we needed to boost our quality and we had some of our clients had great quality and some of them had awful quality. So I was tasked with going through all the customer service material and coming up with a five hour course that I could teach everybody that brought the best of everything. And we ended up rolling that out worldwide, ultimately, worked in Oregon. We actually raised our call, our customer satisfaction 15% and it held at 10. So that's, that's, you know, hundreds of thousands-I wish I would've worked that one on a percentage rather than just raise. But the but the idea was that we, and, and I kind of developed a process that I was able to teach to everybody and okay, this kind of works and it's not rocket science, but it is an effort. So…

Bill Soroka (04:21):
Yeah. Well, let's talk about that for a minute, because I think if we were to translate that into our notary business, right? Like this, everything is kind of a simple business if we do it. I think there's so many of us who know what we should be doing, but we forget, or we just don't do it. These simple steps that would help our business either succeed or help the dynamic of a signing appointment shift or get more clients, have more conversation at networking groups. How does, how did you translate this call center experience to your notary business?

Dan Brewer (05:08):
Well, I didn't have to translate it because it was embedded and it became my passion in call centers. And you have to remember in 2013, I was laid off at Yahoo. They were practic. Most of the people that worked at Yahoo in 2013 were laid off in Yahoo. They cut their force at least by half. And in our Hillsborough location here, we lost about 80% of our people. And it wasn't, it wasn't anything it's, it's sometimes tech companies just have a run and then the run's over. It's like blockbuster. So I had the skills it already there. It's interesting too, Bill, when I get an order for a, let's say a loan from a exciting service and I see their instructions and I see, and they're all in big bold letters and they're all italicized and 14 point type and they say, please be on time.

Dan Brewer (05:59):
And they'll say please wear business attire. And I'm like, people aren't doing that. I mean, I mean, I'm like if you're going to be a representing somebody, I mean, isn't that what you do? So, so the, the professionalism and the customer service that you bring to it, and I always come think it always comes down to rapport. You can get, you can get away with a lot with just rapport and making people understand that you care about them be empathetic without being sympathetic. It's nice to be sympathetic, but stress is, stress is also important and you don't want to live through the problems of your customers. So yeah you back it off and be empathetic. And then just take a look at the, the guidelines. Then COVID, when COVID hit. And that's kind of, when I got going on in this business was when we kind of saw a customer service go to down the tubes and it's everywhere.

Dan Brewer (07:01):
It was, people were just grouchy and not really caring if they were providing service. And since we were so eager to get what we needed, we kind of sat and took it. And now we're getting back to the point where, okay, you know what, we're back. We need to, I want to start seeing some of that customer service that made you guys good in the first place. I think from my business perspective I need to always provide that because if I got good rapport with my signers then some of the smaller things aren't even seen. And because let, for example, let's get that package to FedEx by four o'clock, let's make that part happen for sure. So that way they're not going to be, they're not going to be waiting on funding, their refi, or whatever it was.

Bill Soroka (07:49):
Yeah. What do you think is the, well, let's rewind it just a little bit. How would you define in our world? How do you define good customer service?

Dan Brewer (08:01):
Well, I've never defined the good customer service. I it's like the Supreme court. I know it when I see it. Yeah.

Bill Soroka (08:07):
I, I love that quote.

Dan Brewer (08:09):
I know that, I know that the cus, some customers can't be pleased and, but we can really see who's listening for one thing. I know that we're in a multitasking society, but the less of that I see, I think if more attention to the customer is one on one customer. I always feel like we need to be listening, not just hearing our customers, but listening to them. It bothers me when I drive through, and I have an, I have a special needs sun. So we do a lot of drive through and you've, you've met my son and he's he's a pretty good kid. And he sometimes has to sit in the car while I'm doing signings, but we drive through a lot. And when I see somebody that's at the window taking my money, also taking an order, and there's a pretty good chance that order's not going to be right. And because they're not….

Bill Soroka (09:10):
They're not present. Right?

Dan Brewer (09:11):
They're not present. Correct. No. And so I feel that that's really a main, a main thing. And I know that we have to take sometimes take calls when we're on a signing and by setting some expectations, hey, look, if my phone vibrates, I'm just going to call them back. It's my business, but, and they're always fine with it because you communicate, you look at it and you are good with making sure you're communicating and you've got that rapport already. And I make sure I have that rapport with every signer. I have not had one that was a problem. I, I see them. I talk that first few minutes, just getting comfortable talking to them finding out, hey, you're getting a refi. It looks like you've got some work already started here. What are you? Oh yeah, yeah. We're getting this deck. It's going to look like this. Okay, great. So now I'm there buddy. And now we can sit down since, so I'm going to have you sit here. We're going to do this with two packages and here's how we're going to do it. And it just goes really smooth.

Bill Soroka (10:11):
Do you think that genuinely caring for your customer is critical to the level of service you bring?

Dan Brewer (10:18):
It's everything. I mean, it's, it's really everything. And I don't care if we're sitting down for an hour with the customer signing a refi. If I'm up at the hospital, doing a, the, what I call the holy trinity, the, the three, the three planning documents, advanced directive, POA, and last will, which I do a lot of those. Or if you are very simply, somebody's coming by and have you do an I and I, or if you're on a phone call for 10 seconds with somebody trying to just reroute their call with somebody else. You can see it in every aspect of, we have interactions. Remember too, the customer did not want you in their life. They had a problem on the other side of the world and you are either the solution or you're, you're going to, you're going to be a hurdle to them reaching that, whatever they're after. They're, they're at home Depot and they're trying to buy a plumbing supply.

Dan Brewer (11:13):
They didn't want, they didn't wake up and say, well, some of us did wake up. I think I'm going to go to Home Depot today. They have a, they have something they needed to buy and they want to go in there and get it done quickly so they can get out of there and do what they had planned to do. And the customer service person is just simply there to make sure that, that, that goes smoothly and does not become a hurdle for them to make it worse. So, so we're trying to be that conduit between them, the customers, where they were before they met you and where they were after they are done with your part of business. And then if you're grateful and my favorite phrase, it's in my, anybody's got an email from me they've seen it in my signature, glad to reciprocates. We build that rapport and you've talked about this before those $10 crappy signing sometimes come back to you in a form of a $200, big family planning session that you're doing at somebody's house. So you have to treat every one of those jobs, the same, cause it's potentially it's going to be the big job.

Bill Soroka (12:17):
Well, exactly. And I mean, I love what you're describing here. It's, it's the the two most important parts of this job that I talk about a lot is the first one is you have to be the expert, right? You have to deliver on the services you've been hired to perform. You got to know what you're doing. You got to be that conduit that you just described, right? They have a problem. You need to be able to solve that for them. But then it's bigger than that too. Right? We have to lay the foundation for a relationship that can last beyond this one single transaction so that they will we're, we're somebody they would want to call back. They enjoyed working with us. Not only did we solve the problem, but we had some personality we cared about them we asked the questions that built a relationship. I think that's extremely important in this job and it's that's oversight, but for you and I, and with your customer service background, there's probably common sense, right? But we know that common sense isn't always common practice. So I think there's opportunities both at the table and before, and that's what I want to talk to you about too real quick is your intake calls. How does your customer service experience help you get more appointments when you answer that phone?

Dan Brewer (13:33):
So I struggled with this until very recently. And I've talked about it with a lot of the experts. The cool thing is, Bill, about your network is that the people here are caring or they wouldn't be here. The ones that don't care, don't sign up for Sign And Thrive. They don't sign up for signing the signing system. They don't do anything. They get their commission and they kind of wing it. And if they're eager to be better, then they already care just by signing up for learning how to do the job better. I found you by going to the NNA who sent me to Laura, who sent me to YouTube to watch a TNT call on YouTube. And then that sent me to you. But the idea that the intake call, you can follow a formula that I've been following in call centers for a long, long time.

Dan Brewer (14:28):
And it's a three step formula. I'm going to talk about it. We're going to talk about Notary Masters in a little while. We're going to actually be talking about it in, in an upcoming Notary Masters presentation, but the, it's a three step process and it's, it's not difficult at all. The first, the first step is open ended questions. You're going to start by introducing yourself and you're going to let the customer take control of the call. It sounds crazy to say, wait a minute, I don't want the customer to be in control of the call. They'll just take it over. No, you're going to ask intelligent questions to get them, to get the answers you need. But you're not going to be giving them simple yes or no answers. You're going to let them, you're going to figure out what question, you don't, you can't necessarily work, you can kind of work from a script, but the questions are going to be determined, the second question's going to be determined by the answer to the first question.

Dan Brewer (15:22):
They're going to ask one question. You're going to ask the next one to make sure, first of all, you're going to, and even if you're not confident, you need to be, you need to appear confident when you're asking these questions- so, hey, look, this is going to be a refi. Are you the only signer on this loan? Or is there going to be a co-signer? Cause we're going to need the co-signer there as well. We're going to need their ID as well, or we're going to need copies. Oh yeah yeah it's not going to be, it's not going to be me, my wife's signing on it too, I'll make sure she's home. And so now the next question, I don't have to ask that question now, but now my next question's going to be whatever that is. And I picture a funnel and you're at the top of the funnel.

Dan Brewer (15:59):
And each question takes you down a little bit until you get down to the little, to the little round part where it goes, where the, the liquid goes down into wherever it's going. That little part there is the second part. After you've got all your second, you're open ended questions asked, then you're going to paraphrase and you're going to gain some agreement from them. Okay. So am I understanding this is correct? We're going to, you want me to come up to the hospital? We're going to be in room 714. I'm going to be meeting with your mother. We're going to be doing a power of attorney and an advanced directive. You're getting the advanced directive from your, from the hospital and you'll have the power of attorney. Where are you getting that power of attorney again from, oh, you're going to pick it up from E forms. That's a good site.

Dan Brewer (16:42):
I like that one too. Okay. So we're going to paraphrase, we're going to gain agreement and we're going to make sure that we're, we're going to repeat the problem as we know it back to them. And they may just say, yeah, you're right that's what we're going to do. That's exactly what we're going to do. Okay, great. We're good. So then the third step is closed ended questions. And that's just what I call seal the deal. We're going to go ahead and say, okay, great. Well, here's, what's going to happen is I will be meeting you in the lobby, right? We're going to meet in the lobby of the hospital, or am I going to meet you in the room? Okay. I'll meet you in the lobby. And now I take, at this point, I take control of the call because we now know what we're going to do. And we've probably established, hey, it's going to cost $70.

Dan Brewer (17:26):
I do take cards. However you want to do that. That's kind of something I set that expectation to. Cause I don't want to get there and say, oh, I thought the hospital's going to pay you. So make sure that's part of your, your piece. And then you just say, okay, I'm going to park here. And you kind of seal the deal, get through the details and say, I will see you there. By the way, you now have my phone number. That's a text number. You can text me or you can talk to me on the phone. I have yours as well. If either one of us has a problem, we'll be on the phone. Other than that, I will see you at 1:30 tomorrow. And we kind of close the call out. I, I also keep a little notebook with me and I'm taking notes this whole time. And by the way, I make sure I get enough details.

Dan Brewer (18:06):
And if I get no more details from this person I have enough information, I can put them in Notary Assist, I can put them in Palm I can put them in whatever tracking stuff I have. I have the information now that I need for, in case I, I always ask for an email address. They, they always wonder, why do you need email address for this? It's like, well, because I'm going to need it later. I kind of want to have it. I want to have it in advance. So I don't forget at the call, if they, by the way, can I get your email address? Cause then I, all I can do is write it my journal. And I never really like to look at my journals at that point. It's awkward. So…

Bill Soroka (18:40):
Dan, this is, this is great. These three steps I I'm relating to this so much because I have experience in leading sales teams at call centers as well. And this is, this is a familiar process and you know why it's familiar is because it works, right There's a reason that these things get taught.

Dan Brewer (19:02):
It works at everything. It works in every level. You could, it works at a singles bar. I mean, you sit there, you ask open ended questions. What's your sign, then you say, okay, well this are we, are we doing good? And then, well, we can't get into the closed ended questions here, but you kind of know where that might go. But it works. It really works as a troubleshooting strategy. All the troubleshooting I did and I'm, I'm doing some videos right now on, on Gmail kind of teaching people how to be power Gmail users. And I think that it's going to help me walk through that too, because, and we're not going to have questions or going to be videos. But I know what the questions are going to be. I know what people are after so,

Bill Soroka (19:47):
Well, this is really great. So what, this is refreshing to me too because one of the things I realized is, you know and this I'm actually going to be delivering a little bit of a training on this too, in upcoming books and in the top of my class. But the thing is we focus so much, you know, when you first become a notary public, it's a little overwhelming, right? There's so many new laws you have to learn. You have to learn the ins and outs, the etiquette, the processes, it's like learning a new language. And then, but there's still this piece like we, or we focused on Search Engine Optimization, but none, even if your phone starts ringing and dinging, if you don't answer that phone professionally, if you don't take gentle control of the call and guide the conversation a little bit then, and you don't, I love that you say seal the deal. If you don't seal the deal, if you don't set the appointment, it's all kind of for naught, you know, you all this training, but you can't close the deal. So I love that you are starting a conversation about this. I think that's really powerful. And I think that's what this community needs.

Dan Brewer (20:57):
Yeah. I mean, we, we learned this and I learned actually, it's interesting. I learned this from our sales trainer. I mean, I was always teaching. I just didn't know it had a, it had a structure. It was our sales trainer that actually taught it to me. And he told me a story about a, he worked in a car, a car sales environment. And there was a gentleman, apparently his name was Ron Reagan. And if you're in car sales he's apparently very well known and they would bring him in. They would call from around the country when you had a whole, whole lot of inventory and you need to get the old cars off the, off the lot, make room for it. They'd call him. And he got a huge commission for doing this, but he could move the cars. People were walking, they'd say, Hey, I'm looking for a car.

Dan Brewer (21:36):
He'd say, great. Can we come into my office? They'd go. Why are you? I thought we just kind of look around the lot. He said, well, let's find out what you're looking for. What's your, okay. Now picture your funnel. What do you want to use the car for? What color do you want? What features do you want? Pretty soon that funnel gets down to, okay. I got two cars that we can take a look at and you go to the two cars and what's what price you're looking at? And they go, you read my mind. These are perfect. That's because he did the work and he always makes a sale. And then he end up, okay, here. Here's how we're going to, are you going to finance it? Let, let's see if we can make that work. So it, he, it resonated with me. So I've been doing this all along. I didn't have a name for, I didn't have a, a process for it. So we've made it a part of our troubleshooting process. Cause it works troubleshooting too, when you troubleshooting a computer. So…

Bill Soroka (22:23):
Yeah, the, I can totally see where it would and he, and the reality is with our business, right? Mm-Hmm When that, when that phone rings, it's a sales call. I know no, the reason don't like to sell and I don't like to sell either, but when that phone rings, because they found my number on the internet, when they Googled Notary Near Me, that's a sales opportunity. That's an opportunity to build a relationship, build that rapport that you talk about and then seal the deal, right? Set the appointment.

Dan Brewer (22:52):
Open ended, paraphrase, close ended. It's works and works and works.

Bill Soroka (22:56):
It's a great framework. And I don't know, Dan, there's, this reminds me, Kim Flanigan over at Notary Ally. She developed a general notary work intake form that really helps guide this conversation. I love that it's so aligned with what you're talking about too. It just helps with some of the structure of the question. So if you guys are listening to this and you're doing specialty notary work, I think you might want to check out and it will kind of guide this conversation that Dan's talking about. You still have to bring your personality and your rapport into it. Ask those open ended questions. You still, the paraphrase part is so critical. I love that you do that too. And you still have to seal the deal. Guys. You still have to set the appointment. Dan, let's let's shift gears a little bit. Okay. Because one of the things that, one of the huge values that you have brought to the notary community was Notary Masters, which is the Toastmasters Group, right? Just for notaries. Yep. Tell why, why Toastmaster for notaries?

Dan Brewer (24:01):
Okay. So there's three incidents that took place. You have to remember. I, I joined Toastmasters I rejoined Toastmaster right soon as I got laid off, basically, cause I wanted, I didn't want to lose my skills and I knew it was going to give me opportunities to speak and to keep my skills sharp. I didn't know I was going to become a, I don't know, I don't know if Toastmaster Groupy is, is accurate because I haven't necessarily drunk all the Kool-Aid that Toastmaster sometimes offers. Right. But what I will say is that the program has worked for me. And if I take the best, just like anything, if you take the best of what it offers and, and what works for you and make the best of that, then you're going to improve everything else. And that's what I wanted to do. But I was visiting a club here nearby, I'm in Beaverton, Oregon And we have Columbia Sportswear and Nike headquarters are just within blocks of me here.

Dan Brewer (24:57):
And Columbia Sportswear had a presentation once. I visited their club and it was an open it's open to everybody. It's not a corporate club, but a lot of cus, Columbia employees are there. And a lady was delivering a speech that she was going to be delivering in a environment at a auditorium environment. Right. She was really nervous that she wanted an opportunity to deliver it in front of us so we give get feedback. She could practice it again. And it was a good thing. And I, I was one of her evaluators and it was fine. She did a great job. And I gave her a couple of pointers that might help her. And she was very grateful. The other evaluator for that speech was like, well, you know what? You used an awful lot of jargon.

Dan Brewer (25:37):
I didn't really understand that. You might want to take a minute and explain some of the stuff that's in that club or in that speech. And I'm kind of looking like, well, the people she's talking to are going to understand it and they don't, if you explain that stuff to them, they're going to think you're condescending and you're talking down to them. You don't think I know what that acronym means really. So I just, I didn't think much about it. I gave her feedback after the meeting, I walked up to her and said, you did a good job. I really think the jargon is appropriate for what your audience is. So I didn't mention that. I think I didn't understand it, but I didn't mention it. And she appreciated it. And I just kind of put it in my hip pocket and didn't think much more about it.

Dan Brewer (26:18):
Last year, I actually put a Toastmasters Club together here at Beaverton. A it started out as a live club. It actually was a requirement for my distinguished Toastmaster award to get a club started, but I wanted do anyway. Cause I needed a nighttime club. It was tough to do. And right in the middle of our biggest momentum COVID hits. Right? Mm-hmm so it made it worse. So with the help of a friend, we managed to get this club chartered last June. And I was pretty proud of the fact that we made it happen. And it did, it did get me that award I wanted to earn. It was the it's kind of the, I'm kind of proud of it. It's like the Eagle scout or the black belt or whatever. It's the highest level of Toastmaster. And it, it was hard to earn.

Dan Brewer (27:06):
And that's another story of how I got to that. But well then the third thing happened is at the same time, there was a club that was formed here called PR Masters. And what PR Masters was, is for the vice presidents of PR on all these clubs. And they were, they meet once a month in the evening and they shared PR tips for their clubs, how to get people to our clubs. How do we, it was the first time I was ever introduced to Canva. It was the first time I was introduced to a lot of tools that they're using. How do you integrate LinkedIn with Facebook? All PR they're using PR language and the, the, the triple light went off. Okay. I had these three incidents happen. What if we had a club for us that was like PR Masters, except for notaries where we're using notary examples and we're teaching us how to be better notaries. That the jargon is okay so the, the situation that we had at Columbia Sportswear is not repeated and we can charter this club ourselves as an online national club. I don't think there's another one. Just for our industry. There are two kinds of Toastmasters clubs, there's community clubs and corporate clubs. This one is really neither. Cause it's not a corporation that is supporting it, rather it is an industry. Yeah. I don't know if there's anything like that in Toastmasters. I know there's not anything like that for notaries. So I kind of wrote out a sketch on my little notebook I carry around everywhere. And even when you and I went to lunch, I carried it with me. And I, I kind of set the notebook out and I started figuring out, okay, how am I going to get people involved? So that was about the time you and I had scheduled a, one of our check-in calls on your, you know, 15 minute check in calls.

Dan Brewer (28:58):
And you said, Hey, let's meet about it. Well, turned out the luck was mine because you were on your way to the northwest that next month. And we managed to have lunch and we discussed what, how we could make that all happen. And we had planned a, after in August of last year demonstration meeting, we didn't do it till October, but we started out with, I think 94 people in our first demo meeting. I got the people here in district seven in Portland jazzed about it. So they've been offering me an awful lot of support on the back end. And then we were hoping to get to, we needed to have 20 members. I was hoping to get to that there, but we started to get a following because everybody was like, hey, it's kind of cool. And it it's scary.

Dan Brewer (29:46):
I have to tell you just like your first signing was. It's been almost two years, Bill, since I had my first signing in May when you talked me through a frantic phone call one time to get me to my first loan, it was scary. And when somebody's set up to be an evaluator for the first time, or they're going to run the time, be the timer for the first time. It's scary. But it's going to, if they overcome that, then they can overcome some of the hurdles that they have in their signings. I also, well, go ahead.

Bill Soroka (30:17):
Yeah, go ahead. What were you going to say?

Dan Brewer (30:18):
Well, no, you go ahead. Cause I'm going to change. I'm going to change topics here a little bit. Yeah.

Bill Soroka (30:23):
Well, so, and I love the the momentum that the Notary Master's group is, has received so far. And I know there's some big things coming, but Dan, the reality is I think a lot of the people listening have no idea what Toastmaster is. I think you and I take it for granted. It changed our lives so real quick, what's a 32nd definition of Toastmaster.

Dan Brewer (30:46):
Okay. Toastmaster in nonprofit organization, it's been around for about 80 years. It's created in Los Angeles by a dude that was a, he ran a rec center in LA and he started holding these, these speech classes for his kids. And the speech classes became so popular that they were, cause the kids were turning they were, it was turning them around. They were in a crappy part of town and it was giving him a reason not to hit the streets and not to be, do a lot of the stuff that kids will do when they're given, you know, not a lot of, or not, not much to do ,nothing to concern themselves with. So it was a, a kind of a call to action. And the business community found out about say, hey, this can help us too. And pretty soon he had clubs all around LA for businesses, for communities, for youth.

Dan Brewer (31:42):
And it became a club where basically where there are chapters around the world that focused on public speaking, leadership and presentation confidence. And the design is, there's a meeting periodically, we meet twice a month, where there are probably a dozen or 15 meeting roles. Everybody takes on a meeting role. And that's where the magic comes in. Really, because you take on a role and each week you might do a different role and you start to learn how the meetings work. You start to really look forward to them. It, some companies and some groups really embrace it. There's a company here. There's a, there's a very small garment company here in, in Beaverton, some people may have heard of called Nike. And Nike has, I've attended their clubs meetings and they call it the best hour of the week.

Dan Brewer (32:38):
Mm-Hmm . Now when working on a place like the Nike campus, where it's like Disneyland, a Disneyland without the, the people in the costumes and they say the best part of the week is coming to a Toastmasters meeting. It's pretty impressive. And they have a lot of fun at their meetings. And these are the people that are getting ready to move up in their companies. And they're using this as an opportunity to get better and stronger and have more confidence. And that's where I thought Notary Masters would come in is like, look, confidence is where most of us are struggling.

Bill Soroka (33:17):
Oh yeah. It's, it's huge. And Toastmasters for me was life changing in, in many different ways. I popped in and outta the Toastmaster several times throughout my career. But for the notary component of this, you know, when we think about what we do all day as loan, signing agents, we are presenting documents in an organized fashion to help keep the flow and establish confidence and rapport with our audience, whether it's one person or two per, two people. Right? So the skills I learned at Toastmasters helped me be a better notary, helped me boost confidence. It helped me present those documents in an organized fashion to come up with the, the scripts and the layout and the brief descriptions that I had come up with. It was instrumental in that. And then I love how you talk about the different roles too, because there's something that shifts with confidence when you have a designated role in a group, right? You don't have to fade into the background. And as an introvert, that really helped me, you know, I got designated the timekeeper or the Wizard of Ahs. I think the, they, I had to count the Ahs in one of the groups, the oosa and ahs and the ums. So I had a designated role and that helped me step into just participating in the group and connecting on a different level.

Dan Brewer (34:37):
I've never heard it called the Wizard of Ahs. We may have to change ours to that. I love, I love that we call it an ah counter, but I love the Wizard of Ahs. I think that's a, that's a cool, that's a cool name for it. Yeah. And, and knowing that these roles and they're at first, they're scary, just like your first signing is scary. Just like my first Ron [unclear] signing was scary. My first, and you said that if I got through that first signing, I'd be a pro at, after 10 signings and you were not wrong. I mean, I was now looking forward to my next signing, you know what, I'm not really happy that, right this week I'm looking at my week. I don't have a loan on the books. And I'm like, oh, I don't want to lose my skills. I'm, I'm kind of on a roll here.

Dan Brewer (35:20):
So but I do have Notary Masters on Thursday. So that would be a, that would be a lot of fun. So, but the, I was also spent, I'm kind, I'm kind of like you, I have always had side hustles and for 31 years I was a basketball official. And I actually did a speech about this recently, but the training and the evolution that I made to go from being just a dude on a basketball floor with a whistle, to being an, a true basketball official is not unlike the journey I'm taking as a notary. I'm not quite at the point where I'm working varsity games yet, but which to me is title direct for every signing in one signing a day. I think that's where I'm going to hopefully be. And I'm part time, cause I'm still a caregiver, but assigning a day from a title company, I think would be a really good goal.

Dan Brewer (36:16):
And I have to remember one more thing too. I, I'm looking for opportunities to, within my skillset to expand as you're encouraging us to do. And I know you've got people that are doing things like fingerprinting and other kinds of businesses like that. I think my next step is probably Apostille, but what I will tell you is I don't want to become Starbucks and that's forget about the coffee. Starbucks was really great at coffee. And then they learned how to put together movies and they put together CDs and they put together music at night. And next thing you know, the coffee's not that good and they're getting passed because they forgot about the coffee. I don't want to forget about how to do a good notarization, put together an error free package and get that done for the client. So I've got to be careful how fast I diversify. But I do believe that diversification is, is important at some point, because for one thing, I mean, we're in April, interest rates are two points up from where they were in February. Yeah. And we're not getting the refis anymore. We were getting that's for sure. So I have to be ready for another, I have to be ready for another….

Bill Soroka (37:27):

Dan Brewer (37:28):
Yeah. We have to be able to shift that paradigm. Thankfully, I'm getting a lot of G and Ws so that works. Yeah.

Bill Soroka (37:34):
Well, you may, you bring up a really great point and this is what I call nail it and scale it. You've got to apply yourself and focus on one area, nail it, figure it out, and then you can scale it. And scale it might mean you take that and bump it up a few notches or it might mean that you add another stream of revenue. Maybe you take on Apostille. Now that you're about to nail the loan signing component. Then you can add Apostille. Then you nail that and you scale it in a different way. Maybe you add a different line. And that is so critically important because in this field, you, even though I, I feel like because I love, I'm a multi potential-ite. I love to do various things. But you don't want to be too much of a jack of all trades and the master of none.

Bill Soroka (38:23):
We don't have to be the go-to expert in the entire country for everything that we do, but we have to be good, we have to be able to deliver the goods. So they, our customers have to be able to count on us to do the job, right especially when it comes to the work of a notary public. I mean, this work matters. It's a big deal. And you get, you get to see that so much. And I love how you called it. The holy trinity, the healthcare directives, the powers of attorneys in the last wills and testaments. And you're doing those at hospitals where you might not get a second chance, right? Those are people are, you're meeting them on one of their worst days, possibly.

Dan Brewer (39:04):
Well, and I've got to feel like those, those calls get me down. I come home after seeing what those families are going through. And I asked my wife, okay. We ha, every day, every time we have our stuff in shit in order, right, we have our, our documents are signed. Somebody knows where they're at. We know that they're there because I don't want to have to call some notary to have to come up to the hospital and say, we got to get this done. I feel, and I'm also really careful. I know you advocate a lot of thank you notes. I'm also careful sending thank you notes in those situations. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't I don't necessarily, if things are, depending on the circumstances, I don't necessarily, I'm, I'm going to be associated with a crappy day, not necessarily a good day. And I don't know if a thank you note is just a reminder of not a good time, but I also feel like I feel like that the rapport is there. And I feel if I did a good job and left on my card, they're going to call me in the future simply because I was professional and I had the empathy I needed.

Bill Soroka (40:15):
Yeah. Oh yeah. Well, I think that can go a long way too. And when it comes to thank you cards, also shift the dialogue about it. A handwritten note. It doesn't have to say thank you. It can say get well soon, or it can say anything that you want it to say. It doesn't have to be the thank you. Right? There's various ways. But here's the important thing is you always trust your gut on those things, Dan, if it doesn't feel like the right time to send a card, don't send a card, trust your gut on it. Right. Right. That's, what's so important.

Dan Brewer (40:42):
Well, and I think that actually sometimes rapport can be not doing something. Yeah. It's interesting. When I worked the basketball game and the coach came up after the game and said, you didn't make hard, you, you hardly made any calls in that game. You didn't blow your whistle. I said, well, I made lots of calls. Most of the calls I made were no calls, not making a call. Sometimes not doing something is as effective as doing something. I said, your kids were playing great. You don't need me to get in the way. I'm going to let them play the game. That's what they want to do. And sometimes the situation is, look, we've got to sign these documents. We got to get this done. And I said, great, what do you have? Let's do it. And let's go and do it professionally. I always give a salute and a, and a get, well, soon when I leave the room and it, it was, and this is one of those two Bill I got in at that hospital during COVID when, because I was able to do remotes at a time when nobody else was, had any way to do anything there.

Dan Brewer (41:45):
And now nobody's doing remotes anymore because they want me to come to the hospital. But I'm one of their, I'm one of their two biggest, no, I'm only two notaries on their list. So there, it was a, one of those situations, a $25 run turned into several trips to the hospital and lots of business up there. So…

Bill Soroka (42:05):
Yeah, constant referral source. Just by bringing value, you brought value to the marketplace and that's the key, right? We, I think we get compensated in direct proportion to the value we bring to the marketplace. You solved a problem before and they have not forgotten it. I love this Dan, excellent advice. Any closing remarks for fellow notaries that are listening to your story right now?

Dan Brewer (42:27):
Not much. I just, I'm really glad that I found this group and I found this industry. I often wish when I got laid off at Yahoo, I would've known about this industry. I had a contract with a local bank and they had me get a notary commission because they had a reason for me to do that. I was doing technical writing for them. And so I was doing free notarizations for friends and family until we got in, we got refi ourselves and the notary came up and signed the papers, and I was kind of walking through them and going, Hmm, I can do that. And so I found this community. I'm finding it's a good balance between this and my job as a caregiver and as a dad, which is a struggle sometimes. And it keeps me part-time, but it's been really good for me. And I'm really grateful to you and to Laura and to the great Carol Wray for what they pro, what you provided for us on TNT and just being a, introducing me now. I used to have the three of you. Now I have a bigger community, Notary Masters is going to help provide that, cause it's just the right size group for that. And I've got peers now throughout the industry, which is as you know, very invaluable.

Bill Soroka (43:45):

Dan Brewer (43:45):
And thank you.

Bill Soroka (43:45):
It really is. Well, I am so glad that you found us in the Sign And Thrive community. And I really appreciate that you went through the extraordinary effort to create Notary Masters, the Toastmasters group for notaries guys, if you're listening and you want to just dive in and check it out, it is free to pop in. Watch a session in action, go to and you can register. I don't even know if you have to register anymore. I think the Zoom links right in there for you, right?

Dan Brewer (44:13):
You, you go to the Zoom link and then you register. You, we, we do the registration in Zoom, so….

Bill Soroka (44:19):

Dan Brewer (44:19):
You go to the link and you register and then you just, you just get on so…

Bill Soroka (44:24):
Nice. All right, Dan. Well, thank you so much. I'll make sure that the links to your website and the links to is in the show notes. Thank you for being here today.

Dan Brewer (44:35):
Thank you very much, Bill. You guys have a great rest of your day.

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