Let’s talk about designations for Realtors. One of the things that a lot of agents run out to get is a shiny set of letters after their name. They think it will instantly convey expertise in a certain area and result in an immediate increase in their business. In their defense, the issuers of those shiny letters are quick to market how much more money their designees make compared to Realtors that have no shiny letters. How could you possibly argue with that kind of logic? You need those shiny letters!
If we’re going to get all technical about things, my professional signature is Chance Brown ABR, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, SFR, SRS, TRLP. Want to know how much direct business that has gotten me over the years? You guessed it. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Do I make more money than the average Realtor? Yes, I do. So, how can it be that these shiny letters haven’t gotten me one bit of extra business, but I still make more than the average Realtor just like the grantors of the shiny letters said I would?
People who would take the time to go improve their professional education and earn a designation are the kind of people who take their real estate career seriously and would make more money than the average Realtor whether or not they had the designation.
That being said, let’s get more in-depth on why you should or shouldn’t get designations, how to use them to grow your business, and how to use them to make you a better Realtor.
Why You Should/Shouldn’t Get a Designation
It wouldn’t really be fair to say that you shouldn’t get a designation if you’re only getting it because you think it will result in more money. Of course that’s the hope. If it wasn’t, you could just study up on the subject and not worry about the shiny letters. If you think, however, that just sticking those shiny letters at the end of your name on your business card is going to start some flow of cash in your direction, you are sorely mistaken. So, if the only reason for getting that designation is money, it is probably not worth the time, effort, and expense.
Why should you get that designation then? Get the designation because you want the education. Get it because you want to be better. In most cases, the education and knowledge doesn’t end with the granting of the shiny letters. Most designation granting organizations provide ongoing education, newsletters, and webinars with their designees. Get the designation because you want to be surrounded by the best at whatever that designation conveys. Iron sharpens iron.
If your motivation to get a designation is to better serve your clients by being an expert in your chosen profession, then you are on the right track.
How to Use Your Designation to Grow Your Business
Once you have the shiny letters after your name and now that you know that the armored truck isn’t going to just back up to your front door, how can you use the designation to build your business? First of all, you need to promote what you do when it matters. For example, if you have the Accredited Buyer’s Representative designation and you’re working with a Buyer, tell them about it. Tell them how it makes you special. Let it build value in who you are as an agent and then use it to continue to build your referral business because your client thinks you’re an expert. That’s why you got the expert designation, right?
Also, other designees are a great referral source for business. Many of the designations have very close-knit groups, local chapters, and other ways for the designees around the country to connect and refer. Make sure that you take advantage of ALL the benefits that your shiny letters bestow upon you.
How to Use Your Designation to Make You a Better Agent
The ongoing education that your new set of shiny letters offers you is the best gift of all. Take advantage of it. Keep learning and improving. Get involved with your local chapter, if there is one. If not, look to create one. Like I said before, iron sharpens iron. Being around other agents (not being a secret agent) that have shared interests, experiences and business knowledge makes you, and them, better. If you aren’t taking advantage of those opportunities, I would argue that you are wasting your designation.
Designations can be great, but they are not a piggy bank waiting to be raided. Use the designations to their full extent and get the most gain you can from them. Use them to continue to grow your expertise and education. Like a CRM, or your database, or a postcard, a designation is another tool in your toolbox for success.