A Higher Bar to Professionalism

NAR President Steve Brown highlights three ways to raise the bar in the real estate industry.

March 19, 2014

Wherever I go, the question I’m most frequently asked is, “How do we raise professionalism in our industry?” This is the way I see it: 

  1. We raise the bar of professionalism by aspiring to a higher degree of excellence everywhere, holistically improving all parts of the industry and organized real estate. Each REALTOR® association—local, state, and national—must provide its members with every program and service their membership entitles them to. Sometimes in assessing an association’s work, a criteria of “minimum standards” is set forward as a guideline to judge performance. But what REALTOR® goes on a listing call and tells potential clients, “I am here to guarantee you minimum service”? Every one of our associations must provide all of the services REALTORS® need so they can be more effective and professional in their business. Likewise for REALTORS®, they must constantly seek to raise the bar to please their customers.
  2. Training is most effectively conducted at the company level. The broker-owner or manager of every company must take responsibility for training sales associates to be professionals, not only with clients but also with their colleagues. Too often, that second part is overlooked in discussions of professionalism. While REALTORS® must provide top-notch service to their clients, it is just as important to be cooperative and courteous with fellow professionals. Cooperation and courtesy are foundations of our REALTOR® ethos. This must be taught by the brokerages to which our members belong.
  3. REALTORS® themselves must take responsibility for seeking advanced training. Every NAR member has the opportunity to learn and network with professional and successful practitioners in whatever field of real estate they wish to specialize in through NAR-affiliated designation and certification programs, including ABR, CCIM, SIOR, CRS, CRB, CPM, and NAR’s green, to name a few. Of course, those who want to go deeper in their specialized fields can pursue a Master of Real Estate degree and other professional development courses at REALTOR® University.

Designations, certifications, and the MRE give you more than just letters following your name. They show your colleagues and your clients that you’re dedicated to your profession. You can read more in this issue about how the education programs of NAR’s eight affiliated organizations are providing tangible business benefits to members.

I spent the first 25 years of a successful career with no designations, believing my two graduate degrees were enough advanced education. But I have become an even more effective real estate professional by completing four designations over the past 10 years. There is no secret to raising the professional bar of our industry. Getting started is as easy as 1-2-3. 

The time is now. Let’s do it.