Over the years, I've been observing the ways in which agents tell the world about their credentials. Certain individuals have their degree title (e.g., B.A., M.B.A., Ph.D.) immediately after their name in signature lines of emails, professional letters, etc. Other folks include their Realtor®-related professional designations (such as GRI and CRS) on their business cards and professional marketing materials. One thing that I am curious about is whether a prospective client really might know what these real estate acronyms stand for.
More importantly, will they care? Will Mr. Seller from Escondido, for example, know a GRI from an CRS? And, is that important to him? As to whether the designations themselves (the actual letters on your business card) are important to the consumer, I’m willing to wager that the answer is no. How else can you explain so many agent complaints that sellers hired their cousin or their friend or their sister-in-law, when you so clearly have more experience and dedication? The truth is that the homebuyer or home seller most clearly wants value—what is in it for them. So, your unique value proposition is what the consumer is looking for when the relationship begins.
But what the designations bring to the table—additional education—is what's truly valuable.
Top Shelf Agents Have Real Estate Designations
Of the 1.1 million Realtors®, many are not continuously sharpening the saw. They are not up to date on the latest laws, policies, procedures, and technological advances impacting the industry. And, if you participate in the education that is required for these designations, you will have a huge edge and provide much more value to homebuyers and home sellers.
Top shelf agents have all sorts of alphabet soup (designations) after their name—but they may not brag about it. One of my all-time favorite comics comes from The Oatmeal (Matthew Inman). His comic “If you do this in email, I hate you” pokes fun of some email signature lines and speaks perfectly to the topic of designations.
Here's my question: Are these designations important? Or are there other ways that a real estate agent can convey to the public certain aspects of their professional profile that may come through in the acronym? Do I have to tell everyone about my college degrees? Or can I just demonstrate gracious professionalism, product and market knowledge in such a way that the client will feel that I am well-trained, educated, and trustworthy?
Personally, I am a Broker, a Realtor®, a B.A., and an M.A. But, perhaps the degree that my family has conferred upon me is the most important of all: I can also be huge a Pain in the A. ;-)