It is official: I am earning my ABR before 2012 is over. Getting a designation has been on my to-do list for the past few years and this year I’m giving myself an ultimatum: Do it. Now is the right time for many of us in the real estate industry to take the step of earning designations. Designations are more than adding a few letters to a business card; they speak to a commitment we should proudly make.
The recent license law change reflects a growing trend: we expect more from licensed agents, here in Illinois. From legislators to consumers, even other agents expect more from one other.
As the number of agents has fallen off over the past few years, the best ones are left standing. This is a good thing. We need good agents who are easier to work with and allow us all to serve our clients that much better. We, in turn, also need to be at the top of our games.
Market shifts have consumers re-evaluating what they value in a REALTOR®. Flashy Web pages and glossy postcards don’t have the same pull as agents who clearly know their market and can expertly navigate a deal.
We ask our clients to commit to us; we send them ‘items of value’ and helpful seasonal reminders, and ask for their continued business and for referrals. Is it enough to maintain contact in these simple ways, or do we have a greater responsibility to additionally grow our own mastery of our profession? Our industry continues to change and we, as professionals, need to continue growing with it.
I am working for a designation not because I expect its three letters to act as a multiplier for my annual income, but because it means I am moving forward. Whether taking designation courses reinforces what I know, reiterates what I have forgotten or sheds light on something new, it has value and is time well spent.
Despite license law changes, there is still no section of the licensing exam that tests agents on their negotiating savvy. That skill, which we all need, is left to experience and sometimes chance. By earning a designation, I am doing myself a service and better equipping myself to advocate for my clients.
We all need to do more, to be better REALTORS®. Earning designations demonstrates a commitment to our industry, our personal businesses and the clients we serve.
Will you make this year your year, too?
Rebecca Thomson, Broker at Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, is also President Elect for the Women’s Council of Realtors-Chicago Chapter