3 Reasons Realtors Must Stop Collecting Credentials

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Best Real Estate Writer, a Layton Media brand

Realtors are in a desperate uphill battle to rebuild their reputation and establish credibility for themselves as a necessary resource.

 

Especially newly licensed real estate agents who already tend to be vastly more insecure about their own worth as professionals.

 

And where there is fear…there is blood in the water for any tactical marketer.

 

It’s long overdue that the truth about real estate certifications is exposed and I am stepping up to the plate in this ball-busting article that will:

 

  1. Reveal the ONLY real estate certification that matters to buyers & sellers

 

  1. Explain the psychology behind the most successful marketing strategy on the planet and how its been used against you for years

 

  1. Shift your perspective on what your value

 

So if you’re ready to be open-minded and free yourself from the invisible chains you didn’t know were holding you back all this time, buckle up!

 

The Psychology Behind Why You Think You Need Certifications

 

Like I just said, vulnerable and insecure real estate agents desperate for credibility, authority, and well…income have created a gaping hole of opportunity for marketers.

 

Because you see, the single-most valuable human emotion that we prey on in marketing (and politics) is fear.

 

Scared people buy shit.

 

Really scared people buy A LOT of shit.

 

Terrified, cornered, and desperate people…take out five and six-figure loans to buy shit.

 

Just look at the millions of people that bought a home sight-unseen without an inspection over the last 18 months.

 

So, predictably the CE companies and real estate schools have swooped in to promote the idea that the more certifications or letters you have after your name, the more people will be willing to “get to know, like, and trust” you.

 

The argument for collecting certifications as a Realtor seems to hold water at first.

 

After all, who doesn’t respect a doctor with a million letters after their name right?

 

Better yet, as a newer agent or one without many deals under their belt, you logically argue that those certifications will give you the ability to convince your potential clients that you’re worthy of their business.

 

It will show them that you know what you’re doing and what you’re talking about.

 

It will show them how lucky they would be to work with you, right?

 

WRONG!

 

Let me explain to you how and why that train of thinking is not only wrong…it is toxic to your business.

 

3 Radical Reasons Why Real Estate Certifications Don’t Benefit Realtors

 

  1. Most everyday homebuyers and sellers have ZERO clue what those credential letters after your name actually mean.
  2. Because they don’t know the institution that certified you they don’t really hold the weight of credibility with buyers and sellers as you think or convince yourself they do.
  3. Most of the real estate certifications have nothing to do with your real estate niche or brand and therefore don’t add any value to the service you offer.

 

Right about now…everyone with a bunch of certifications is yelling at me with a list of logical reasons why I am wrong because admitting that we have wasted our time or money is never easy as humans or as business owners.

 

That’s okay friends…curse me out all you need to but I’m going to keep going with the truth about how you got here in the first place…

 

The companies marketing real estate certification courses started by preying on your most obvious weakness (your insecurity and the emotions it causes within you) and then used logic to help you argue to yourself why you needed them.

 

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This is why and how you buy most of the things that you do in your life.

 

Buying starts with fear and avoidance, progresses to hope, then closes with reasoning.

 

Read that again.

 

and again.

 

If you’re anything like most heavily certified Realtors you also used those courses as a way to avoid.

 

It was subconscious, but the truth is you were either afraid to go out and sell, afraid that you would screw up once you got a client, didn’t believe in what you had to offer, or simply prefer to “work” by learning.

 

You were avoiding the real work of a real estate agent.

 

This is why so many agents are attracted to the KW business model which is heavily predicated on classes and training.

 

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t continue to constantly learn and hone your craft and value as a professional. I’m just saying sitting in endless classes and collecting certifications isn’t the smart way to do it.

The #1 Real Estate Certification That Clients Want Realtors To Have

 

There is at least one exception to every rule and here is mine…

If there is a certification that compliments your real estate niche perfectly then go ahead and go for it!

 

For example, let’s say that your niche is downsizing seniors that need to move into a single-story home, nursing home, or similar arrangement. Getting the SRES certification not only makes sense it should be a requirement because of the highly specialized and sensitive nature of the clientele and transactions.

 

You see, certifications are meant to give you credibility as an expert and the more diverse your certifications in real estate are, the less you look like an expert in your chosen niche.

 

I’ll leave you with this one last caveat…

 

If you are like me and you can never seem to satisfy your thirst for knowledge about your business and your customers and you love to learn, take courses that will help you on topics like increasing traffic to your website, content marketing, copywriting, SEO, running ads, building sales funnels, etc.

 

At least when you walk away from those you will be able to draw a direct correlation between an immediate increase in production and the courses you’re taking.

The Bottom Line About Real Estate Certifications.

It is far better to have one niche-specific certification than 100 of them.

 

Comments (18)

Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor

Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor I am a retired Real Estate broker and I agree with and enjoyed your post. The most successful agents that worked for me were the ones that got off their ass's and went out and SOLD. You did leave me wondering when you said: "The #1 Real Estate Certification That Clients Want Realtors To Have"  and then there was crickets?????

Jul 19, 2021 01:09 PM
Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor

Thanks for the read and for taking time to comment! I actually do answer that part...


"There is at least one exception to every rule and here is mine…


If there is a certification that compliments your real estate niche perfectly then go ahead and go for it!


 


For example, let’s say that your niche is downsizing seniors that need to move into a single-story home, nursing home, or similar arrangement. Getting the SRES certification not only makes sense it should be a requirement because of the highly specialized and sensitive nature of the clientele and transactions.


 


You see, certifications are meant to give you credibility as an expert and the more diverse your certifications in real estate are, the less you look like an expert in your chosen niche."

Jul 20, 2021 05:59 AM
Caroline Gerardo
Sun West Mortgage Corporation - Newport Beach, CA
C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady nmls 324982

So many ads out there scream: "Buy my class, buy my book and be a zillionaire."  In the end I'm only as good as my last closed deal. Thank you for your post!

Jul 19, 2021 02:04 PM
Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor

That is absolutely correct!

Jul 20, 2021 06:00 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Sarah- for those of us who aren't agents, most of the letters behind an agent's name don't mean anything. And if the list gets too long, the reader's eyes gloss over. 

Jul 19, 2021 05:35 PM
Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor

YES!!!! Thanks for reading and giving the honest input! I love hearing from other types of professionals in the industry weigh in. Thanks so much! If you don't already I hope you will follow. I have a bunch of fresh content coming out ; )

Jul 20, 2021 06:01 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Getting certifications just for the letters is certainly foolish.  Focus on your business and your customer and take learning to help you do that better.

Jul 20, 2021 03:36 AM
Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor

Curious to get your opinion on the theory of doubling down on your strengths as a business owner versus constantly trying to make up for your weaknesses by developing your skills and knowledge in those areas?

Jul 20, 2021 06:02 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Jul 24, 2021 06:40 PM
Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor

🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰 Thank you so much! You are such a beloved follower and member of this community! We are all much better off for having you here. Thanks again for yet another feature it means more than you know!

Jul 26, 2021 03:00 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Sarah. The true professional has attended the one presentation that trumps all others, the school of hard knocks! Experience counts. Enjoy your day.

Jul 25, 2021 05:24 AM
Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor

Yes, Sir! There is a reason why the sharks in Shark Tank look for people that have endured a certain amount of adversity.

Jul 26, 2021 03:00 PM
Marte Cliff

There is no teacher like that school of hard knocks!

Jul 26, 2021 04:10 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Sarah - there are many reasons why people do all sorts of things.  What "works" for one doesn't necessarily "work" for all.  

Jul 25, 2021 05:43 AM
Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor

I can't argue with that. For example, we all learn in different ways.


 


One thing I always try to clarify about my positions is that I am always challenging you (my audience) to not just look for what works but for the best possible path out of all of the options. 


 


Thanks for the read and the comment!! 

Jul 26, 2021 03:02 PM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I totally agree, the niche credentials do mean something. Thanks for a well-written post. D

Jul 25, 2021 06:42 AM
Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor

Thank you for both reading and commenting. I don't know if you like the show Mad Men from AMC but if you do wait until you see the article I am about to drop 👀Be on the lookout!😉

Jul 26, 2021 03:05 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

The certifications I have collected along the way were more for education than for presentation, although a couple have gotten calls.

Jul 25, 2021 10:53 AM
Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor

That's fantastic! I am glad you weren't at 0% for your ROI. Thanks for reading and commenting! Have a great week : )

Jul 26, 2021 03:06 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor - Initials and letters mean absolutely nothing unless you have learned how to put them to use.  Certifications are for our own education.  Clients will make their decisions about you based on their interaction with you. 

Jul 25, 2021 11:02 AM
Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor

Preach Sheri! At the end of the day, if you have 3,000 letters after your name but don't know how to put people at ease or do the job, it won't matter for sh$^.


 


Thanks for reading and for your candid feedback! 

Jul 26, 2021 03:07 PM
Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

Sales people go out and sell because that's uppermost in their DNA, everyone else will do just about anything to put it off.  Not only with certifications, but with webinars, zoom meetings, and just about anything else that will put off them having to face what it takes to sell. 

Jul 25, 2021 02:03 PM
Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor

YEESSSSSS!!!!! 


This is why I designed all of my consulting and coaching to make the client self-sufficient ASAP. I even financially incentivized myself to make sure it was in my clients' best interest and mine to keep my programs as short as possible. 


It is a business model that has treated me very well!


 


So grateful for the read and for the fabulous 2cents😊

Jul 26, 2021 03:10 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Great post. Over the years I have received a lot of designations and certifications. Never have I expected my clients to be impressed. I did them for my own learning curve. I agree that most non-real estate people out there could care less about those alphabet letters. What matters is getting the job done and taking care of them.

Jul 25, 2021 08:03 PM
Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor

You hit the nail on the head! Thanks for the read and the thoughtful comment🥰Means a lot that you took the time out of your life!

Jul 26, 2021 03:12 PM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

I do not collect designations any longer & do not display them. I partially agree on the SRES but if you are overall good at your job why is working with seniors any different? Care more about seniors over others? Don't think it should work like that at all.

Treat all customers the same & fairly.

Jul 26, 2021 09:18 AM
Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor

I agree I was just trying to use them as an example. Sorry if I was unclear. I wholeheartedly believe that everyone deserves the highest attention to detail and advocacy in this EXTREMELY pivotal time in their lives. This is make or break here for most people. Thanks for the caring comment

Jul 26, 2021 03:14 PM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

Ha! I tried like hell to find somewhere to recycle my DOZENS of certifications and production awards acquired over decades, and finally just took off the name plates and tossed the hardware in the recycle bin  . . . the only thing at the end of the day that matters is CAN YOU BE TRUSTED by the people you serve. Nothing else matters.

No letters after my name matter. Just my name.

I am partial to 'Goddess' however . . . LOL

Jul 26, 2021 09:45 AM
Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor

Candice...I think I just fell in love with you a little bit Girl...or I should say Goddess😇


 


Thank you SO damn much for your entertaining comment. I can tell right away that you are talented at using illustration in your storytelling. Has anyone ever told you that before?!

Jul 26, 2021 03:16 PM
Candice A. Donofrio

Only the folks who paid me to do it for more than 2 decades. 

Jul 27, 2021 07:13 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Glad to have taken classes in the past to become an informed agent to better serve my clients. I did take the SRES course and knew the material already...I'm a old soul! There are people who collect things for show, though...

Jul 26, 2021 02:25 PM
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Sarah - Much wasted dollars and increased requests for more dollars for "placement" in the designations referral bins. Right on.

Jul 26, 2021 03:22 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

When I write bios for agents who want to include their certifications I ask them to spell out what each set of letters stands for AND to tell me how each certification benefits their clients.

My big problem with many of those certifications is that once the agents have them, they have to keep paying fees to claim them. Is the knowledge only in their heads if they pay an annual fee?

Jul 26, 2021 04:12 PM
Sarah Layton | Copywriter & Inman Star Contributor

I won't allow my clients to include them in their Bio unless they make sense like in the article's example. i think most of it gets forgotten to be honest with you.

Jul 26, 2021 05:28 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

I have so many certifications over the years, and it looks like alphabet soup if listed behind my name. The only certification I use now is BROKER

Jul 30, 2021 09:05 PM