Growing Professionalism

September 1, 2000

One sign of professionalism in real estate is the designations we proudly carry after our name. As September is Designations Awareness Month, it’s a good time to focus on the ways you can advance your knowledge and business practice. A REALTOR® designation is a sign that you’ve accomplished this, and a sign of success.

In fact, our research shows that full-time sales associates who’ve obtained a designation earn 30 percent more per year than those without a designation. More and more members each year are taking advantage of the educational opportunities available to them. Just this past year, almost 5,000 members were awarded the Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI) designation. Specialty designations from NAR’s institutes, societies, and councils have grown, too.

If you haven’t yet obtained a designation, make the investment that will pay dividends for years to come.

Another sign of professionalism--in fact, a hallmark of any profession—is the adherence to a strict code of ethics by the members of a profession. The NAR Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice makes us different from all others who practice real estate. NAR has taken several major steps to help you grow your professionalism, and one of them is to make sure each and every member, veteran and rookie alike, is familiar with the Code; so beginning Jan. 1, 2001, ethics training is mandatory. The training will emphasize the Golden Rule, competency, fairness, high integrity, and adherence to the Code. New members must attend a two-and-one-half-hour orientation. Members must also take ethics training once in every four-year period.

Of course, a great deal of professionalism is in the eye of the beholder. NAR is growing your professional image in the homes of America through the public awareness campaign. Millions of viewers and listeners have seen and heard, and come to understand, the messages that stress the value you bring the consumer. The effect so far has been very positive. At the end of last year, 70 percent of those who had bought or sold a house in the past 12 months said their salesperson made the process easier. And 55 percent said the transaction was made easier because of their salesperson’s expertise.

Consumers and colleagues who deal with you see you as an example of your profession. When you show them that you’re the master of your job, that their interests are your highest regard, and that you abide by a strong Code, you earn their respect for your expertise and efficiency. And you can be called a true professional.

Dennis R. Cronk was 2000 president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

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