Okay, so it's been absolutely AGES since I've participated in any contests here on AR. But because I have a longstanding love & respect for Debe Maxwell, CRS, and the fact that I've been an NAR member for the past 20 years, I thought I would chime in.
If nothing else, the recent 'Logo-Gate' revealed a serious disconnect between NAR leadership and what appears to be the majority (or at least, rather vocal) rank & file within our association.
It's obvious, to the most casual of observers, that our illustrious associations are made up of several differing segments:
- Those who actively participate and volunteer in their local and State associations, or, on the National level. These folks typically hold our associations in high regard, and can articulate the value that they offer.
- Those who have never or rarely volunteered or participated in any association activities, aside from an occasional luncheon or continuing education opportunity. These folks are typically the ones who seem to complain the most, and expect NAR to protect them from competition, and or to violate fair trade on their behalf.
Those who are blissfully indifferent, and are more concerned and focused on building their business than to care about such things. These folks just don't care. They willingly pay their dues each year, and see it as a cost of doing business.
So that leads me to the question, what would I do if I were the CEO of NAR?
Before I answer that question, let me say that I am excited that Bob Goldberg is currently at the helm. I was there in Chicago at the NAR Leadership Summit last year when they introduced him as the new CEO. Bob is a very smart, personable guy. He genuinely cares about people, and garners the trust and respect of those who work at the mother-ship headquarters. He's got a massive job ahead of him, turning the ship around to a more productive, beneficial course, but I believe we need to afford him the time to do so.
If I were CEO of NAR, I would immediately cease expending any additional money or resources towards technology, whether investment, development, or existing products & services. NAR is a trade association. Creating, driving, and delivering tech is not their forte, strength, or mission. It's clear that their past ventures and involvements have met with disaster or limited success. Trying to achieve national support and adoption for various tech or products is next to impossible, so why pay out money that comes from everyone, when only a portion of membership actually use and benefit from them?
I would focus my energies on those things that reflect the core mission of NAR, helping its members be more profitable and successful. Start with ways to create tangible benefit and savings to our members. Negotiate better discounts with primary vendors across the Country for products and services that the majority of our members utilize. With 1.3 million members, we should be getting some really significant discounts.
I would strive to do a much better job helping consumers understand the difference and value of using a REALTOR® in the purchase or sale of their homes, versus just a licensee or sales associate. I would do a better job of creating messaging and commercial spots that better resonate with homeowners and prospective homeowners.
And, if NAR is going to expend a significant amount of time and money educating the general public on why choosing a REALTOR® is in their best interests, we all collectively better make damn sure we deliver on demonstrating and providing that value/difference.
When we become a member of NAR, we take an oath to abide by the Code of Ethics. While we have measures and processes in place to address those who have chosen to violate that oath, many times, for whatever reasons, their actions go unchecked. I would work to make the process of reporting and penalizing violators easier and more robust. I would make it a priority to better educate the rank & file members on how the process works, and how it benefits them all.
I would work to raise the bar of entry into our association, so that the level of differentiation is more significant, pronounced, and meaningful. I would create more valued educational opportunities that helps agents and brokers run their businesses more efficiently, and more profitably.
NAR has such an amazing, storied history and tradition. We need to get back to the core reasons/purpose for our existence, and focus on that.
Okay, so I'll jump off my soapbox, and return you to your normal programming!