ABR, CRS, GRI, CRB, CIPS, MRE, CSP, AHWD, CNE, MRE, SRS, CCIM, e-PRO, SRES, PMN, CLHMS. What’s up with the alphabet soup some people have behind their names? Are we merely egomaniacs trying to out-do the guy in the office next door? Designations are far more to a REALTOR’s career than just letters. The quest to obtain the almighty designation has numerous benefits:
- Knowledge! This is perhaps the most important and most advantageous – personal growth. Every class can provide you with at least just one tidbit, that one piece of advice or wisdom that will impact your life on a daily basis. When you’re attending a class, bring along a notepad to make a list of these points you don’t want to forget. The Real Estate Commission requires us to take 24 hours of continuing education during every three-year renewal period, but that should not be your sole motivation for taking classes. When you stop learning, you stop growing. Therefore, your business stops growing. Regardless if you’re in your first month, or your 20th year, we all need to improve. Always. Continuously.
- An edge over the competition. Having some credentials behind your name can increase your business….IF you educate your clients and market appropriately. Don’t be shy when it comes to showing off your achievements to your buyers and sellers. Include your accomplishments in your seller and buyer presentations and explain how it benefits them. By achieving that designation and attending those classes, you are better equipped, you are more knowledgeable, you are more skilled. You will represent and service that seller or buyer better because of your extended training. Because of your dedication to learning, you can gain more sellers and buyers, service them more efficiently, and enjoy more closings.
- Credibility amongst peers. While there may be those who smirk at the alphabet soup and think they can do it without the letters behind their name, there are far more who appreciate and respect the journey of improvement. When I have a referral to send out, I don’t even consider a fellow Realtor unless they have some designations. Designations indicate a higher level of involvement and commitment to the industry and his or her career, as well as a more knowledgeable individual.
- Networking with fellow members. Many of the designations actually involve membership to a council, which includes networking events and opportunities. Some of them, such as CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), even have their own annual conventions. I receive monthly emails from the councils to which I belong containing invaluable information pertaining to current trends, market conditions and upcoming changes in the industry.
- Higher income. If nothing else thus far has caught your attention, this one should! As I mentioned above, designations will increase your referral income. When you prepare your business plan and goals for the next year, a portion of you income goal should be based on referrals. How will you achieve that goal? Market to your fellow designees. When you have a designation, you are part of a family…a loyal family. Referrals are kept within the family.
For a complete explanation and list of available designations, please visit www.REALTOR.org, the National Association of Realtor’s website. I encourage you to pursue a designation that matches your personal and career goals. There is literally a designation for every area of interest and niche, so improve yourself, increase your volume and benefit your clients by achieving the designation that best suits you.
Feed your wallet, but best of all, you’ll feed your mind.