Learning curves can be steep or gradual. Yet, once we attain a certain level or achieve a certain goal, it is important to raise the bar again and focus on the next higher level. When I am in a doctor's office, the first thing I do is look at the diplomas and certifications hanging on the walls. Seeing the framed diplomas with gold seals validates my selection of this particular physician and affirms my faith in his or her competency. My younger brother, a family physician, is in the process of preparing for a full-day of board exams, a requirement that he must fulfill regularly to keep his medical license up-to-date. This built-in check and balance system benefits his patients by ensuring that my brother has mastered the most current diagnostic techniques, medications, and procedures.
Likewise, in this highly competitive, ever-changing real estate field, I believe that it is very important to obtain as many professional designations and certifications as possible. I believe that customers, clients and the public at-large, tend to value the effort made by a professional to go beyond the minimum requirements. In the age of expanded web presence and media brand advertising, it is difficult to differentiate one REALTOR® from another. Even though prospective clients may not be familiar with the "alphabet soup" of designations that professional real estate agents can acquire, they most likely get the impression that these letters mean something important. It is our job to explain the added value inherent in the designations and certifications that we earn. More importantly, by adhering stringently to the code of ethics and accepting the accompanying responsibilities inherent in each designation or certification, REALTORS® and other real estate professionals create lasting positive impressions.
I am seriously considering working towards my GRI, Graduate, REALTOR® Institute, designation. After researching GRI designation on the NAR web site, I learned that it covers the following four professional topics:
- Sales Process: Business development, sales & marketing, customer & client services and cultural diversity
- Legal & Regulatory: Fair housing, brokerage relationships, contracts and environmental issues
- Technology: Communications, general technology and real estate business technology
- Professional Standards: NAR Code of Ethics & Standards, Arbitration and Mediation
The GRI sounds like an intensive program, for it includes 90 hours' instruction by real estate professionals at the local, state and national levels. Yet, the concept of achieving a higher standard of professional development and acquiring the tools and resources to become a more effective REALTOR®, seems like a "no-brainer!" Since the real estate profession is performance-based, it makes sense to sharpen and enhance the skills associated with selling, technology, law, and ethics.
I would like to hear from those colleagues who have earned the GRI designation. What benefits have you gleaned from the GRI? How has this designation helped you to become more successful? What recommendations would you make about the elective and required courses in the GRI program?
Thanks for sharing!