E-PRO Classes and Social Media Training

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Services for Real Estate Pros with 123 Social Media

I decided to clip this article and repost it here since it deals with something the ActiveRain community is constantly debating, reviewing, and conversing about. My original post is at SocialMediaSystems.com E-PRO Classes and Social Media Training

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As a professional, my original interactive marketing experience started out in the recruiting industry working for the largest interactive ad agency in the world at the time- TMP Worldwide. As I progressed through corporate life and learned my lessons, one of the critical items always found lacking in numerous large businesses was up-to-date training.

Training however, is critical at all points of development. We cannot fail to realize that. In an industry I am very familiar with (the real estate industry), the National Associate of Realtors has a program it endorses called E-Pro.

From their description "The e-PRO Certification Course is an educational program unlike any other professional certification or designation course available, comprehensive and Interactive. It is sponsored by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and is specifically designed to help real estate professionals thrive in the competitive world of online real estate. In addition, the e-PRO Certification Course is geared to ensure continued success in online real estate after the course has been completed and certification earned, by online participation in the e-PRO Community and the e-PRO Referral Network."

I found a mixed review of the program, ranging from harsh critiques to glowing testimonials. Like all certification programs in a big organization there are all sides to consider.

One quote I found online by the Jim Cronin at the Real Estate Tomato "The e-Pro class is so far removed from what it takes to be competitive in the internet marketplace, that 'graduates' deserve nothing but a tinfoil badge for their efforts."

While programs like E-Pro may not be the cutting edge of the internet marketing art, professionals of all backgrounds and experience levels need to be brought up-to-speed about online technology. As a marketing savvy friend to many start-ups in the Northwest, it is my belief that everyone has a place in the realm of social media and it is our responsibility to assist and nurture everyone into an understanding of the benefits they may be missing.

Unlike Cronin, who goes on to say things like "If you are having to drag you agents into the 21st century with a class like E-Pro you are not only wasting their time, but it's too late to help someone who needs a 'beginner's guide' to grasping the internet. Let the dinosaurs sleep."

~I ask myself, perhaps we can take the dinosaurs out of the past and leverage the incredible strength they have?

In the real estate realm, I am on the younger side of the audience. I understand the technology on a fundamental level, I "get it" and I even wake up in the middle of the night thinking about fantastic new ways of changing the industry. Yet I do not have the thousands of relationships that a 25 year veteran of an industry has... I do not have the experience of seeing true depressions in a market... I do not have the knowledge of a great number of things.

That is were the partnership of strengths becomes greatest.
I do not need to take the assets of those who have gone before me, I merely need to help them understand the new community they interact with. I need to focus on what I do best, to strive for a way to help everyone become something better than we are as individuals. I need to accept that I am best at what I do, and for everything else there is someone I must turn to.

This is the very nature of social media: of collaboration and community. Perhaps the military figured it out before everyone else did: it is the idea that no one should be left behind. There are no dinosaurs in my world, merely some of us who may be weak in one area, and stronger than Goliath in another.

Perhaps, when no one is looking and my youthful insight fails me... I will fail.

I should be grateful enough that one of those dinosaurs that were left behind by other people repays me and picks me up.

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Rainmaker
387,816
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

I agree with you on this post Barry. We are stronger when we leverage our strengths rather than focus on our weaknesses.  Experience does matter...but so does knowledge of the latest technologies.  Experience and wisdom takes time to develop and is of incredible Value.  Understanding and respecting these realities can enable truly powerful strategic relationships to develop...if both parties are willing to humble themselves just a tad.

Nov 21, 2007 09:03 AM #1
Rainer
32,869
Dan Gobis
Re/Max Newport Realty Corp. - Racine, WI

Barry, I like your perspective on the need to give consideration to experience blending with marketing technologies of today. Jim Cronin's background as a Senior Internet Marketing Consultant has certainly enabled him to excel in his relatively new venture as a Real Estate Blog Guru, but his short sighted comment on the ePro course and the "tin badge" designation upon completion of the course gives some insight to his 'better than thou ego'. I have been a Real Estate Broker for 25 years, that doesn't make my children experts in Real Estate.

I see social networking, and training the experienced real estate professionals in the marketing techniques and technologies of the 21st century, as necessary in transitioning the Industry into the future, which is tomorrow. I am only 2 months old in the blogging world, I like it and see great benefit in it. The benefit I see is a bit different than some, I could care less, at this point, about lead generation, I'm busy enough, don't get me wrong, I'm always happy to see a new lead. I really enjoy the discussion, and have huge concern about the people business of Real Estate transforming into an online, impersonal, industry. It is inevitable that at some point the personal aspect of the transaction will be minimized. I believe we are at least a generation away from the majority of transactions being impersonal.

Blending the experienced brokers with the technologically advanced marketing consultant will benefit the consumer. Supposedly that's what this business is about.

 

 

 

 

Nov 21, 2007 11:26 AM #2
Rainer
27,556
Barry Hurd
123 Social Media - Seattle, WA

Lola- for one, I am glad that I am not a real estate professional. Since I deal with industries outside of the real estate industry, I am always amazed by how humble some individuals are, while other individuals find themselves atop pedestals made of glass. 

Dan- I agree with you entirely. With 25 years in the business, you've seen real estate transactions that I can only dream of, including everything from "it's too good to be true" to the "Cold day in hell" scenario. That experience has probably given you an eye for details in the transaction process that I would be baffled by.  It  is good to hear you are moving into blogging and getting your feet wet, as I'm sure in the next ten years we'll only see more changes in the industry.  

 

Nov 21, 2007 01:34 PM #3
Rainer
151,275
Israel Rothman - upLog.org
SocialMediaSystems.com - Boerne, TX

Correct, Barry, e-pro is Realtor jargon for Turkey - gobble gobble gobble a whole industry based on feeding on it's own!  Empty bricks and mortor buldings full of empty desks!  what a mess this industry is in!

 You cannot compete withme, not if you are an E-pro, not ever in my specialty, not and sell real estate too!  Shall I be my own realtor, lawer, dentist?

Certainly not.  E-pro would do better to provide up-to-date information and rankings of the qualityof search marketing and internet advertising vendors - that would actually be of service to the realtors.

But that will not happen, for all the usual reasons!

Nov 23, 2007 11:13 AM #4
Rainmaker
4,431,983
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel
Interesting post. I wanted to get Epro certification, but decided not to do so because of yearly dues. I already pay for SRES,ABR and CRS.
Nov 23, 2007 11:12 PM #5
Rainmaker
69,608
Bill Blair
Coldwell Banker Realty - Covington, GA
Covington Georgia Realtor Covington Living Homes
Barry... I am e-Pro certified... paid my money, took the course, and earned and use the certification.  However, I gotta say, I was very disappointed in the course.  I think it's probably fine for real Internet beginners - and there are still a lot of them out there in real estate - but still not worth the money.  I take real estate training courses, not for the certification initials, but to learn how to be better at what I do.  Heck... the majority of the "general home-buying and selling public" doesn't know and e-Pro from a GRI from an RSVP anyway.  As it turns out, what I was looking for when I took the e-Pro course a couple of years ago is what I've learned in the last few months through reading and digging and the helpful folks here in the Rain. 
Dec 12, 2007 07:05 AM #6
Rainer
1,451
Tom Ellingson
Edina Realty - Eagan, MN
First time on a blog. A bit overwhelmed with information coming from all directions on blogging and social networking. 29 yrs in the real estate business and question if I want to stay in much longer with yet another layer of technology. I  think Israel Rothman maybe on the right  track with E Pro helping us sort out the vendors and keeping us on the front line of sales.
Dec 12, 2007 11:55 AM #7
Rainer
151,275
Israel Rothman - upLog.org
SocialMediaSystems.com - Boerne, TX
Let us help you, Tom, we can get you the leads without the need for anyone or anything alse: your experience in sales and people skills are worth everything: priceless if you have leads.  I can get you leads.
Dec 12, 2007 12:16 PM #8
Rainer
25,682
Barbara Adams
Boise, ID
An experienced agent, means a great experience!

As a person with 25 years' background of computer science, electrician journeyman and later as a telephone and communications (radar, sonar,radio) technician, A+ Certified and owning a computer when the Prodigy was in DOS format and the only email game around (on my TRS-80), I have been designing my own websites since 1994! I am now in my 6th year of real estate.... I find it quite difficult to operate as a tech-savvy agent amongst the more "experienced" agents (READ "Older, more mature and in the trenches longer, more sales under their belts, but certainly NOT tech savvy in any sense of the word)..what I find difficult are mainly two things, my desire to help other people (in doing this, I used to really help the older agents out and work with them and help them to learn all the computer skills they asked to learn, I later placed THEM in front of me in things like website, search engines, and other media by helping them, I have hurt myself!!) I am speaking about things like helping them learn how to turn on a computer, to learning their own passwords on email to uploading a photo from their camera... I mean, I considered going thru the E-PRO classes just to say I had some sort of Realtor designation, but I figured the money was to go down the drain as far as really learning anything I didn't already know...tech-wise.

Anyhow, the second most difficult thing I am encoutering is HOW DO I set MYSELF apart and impart to the general public in ADVERTISING...in words and text and catchy phrases. I WILL REALLY advertise your home ALL OVER THE INTERNET, I do my own digital photography with my Canon Rebel and my Kodak wide angle digital, I do videos, podcasts, I create AND WRITE THE html, upload and host and write articles for 4 of my own websites, I design my own flyers to suit the home and the clients, I supply traffic counts, hits, featured homes on realtor.com etc etc etc MY DOWNFALL is I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO TELL PEOPLE THIS IN MY ADS! It kills me when one of the more experienced agents will state, ("Oh yes, you will be on the internet!" When in fact, all they will do is have an admin person enter the listing in the mls and that is what they mean by "the internet")

If you have any input, please send it along to me.......thanks in advance! I need help! I have technical knowledge without wisdom!

Feb 24, 2008 04:36 PM #9
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Rainer
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Barry Hurd

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