As real estate agents and REALTORS® there are a variety of designations and accreditations that can be earned to further advance both knowledge and professional expertise. Many question if there are actually any benefits to investing the time and money in the extra education.
Plain and simple: Yes, it is worth it! There isn't a whole bunch of fanfare involved in attending and graduating from the classes. It is more or less a cumulative effect of exposure to vast amounts of information, great ideas that are shared and helpful hints from other veterans of the industry. Sometimes it is simply a jump-start, a kick in the pants to re-energize and motivate. Sometimes is just one thing; that "one thing" that the student decides to implement in their business practices and it "works" to better their career.
How to make designations and accreditations work:
- Network with other students in your class. Take your classes in a different locale to network with students and ask for referrals. Do you get a lot of buyers from Anytown, USA? Take your next class there and take networking materials - business cards, branded paper pads or a relocation brochure about your area of expertise. Ask your CPA if you can write off that trip, too.
- Get more bang for the buck. Take a designation class and add up those hours. (if applicable) Use them as continuing education for your license renewal.
- Take advantage of registering and enhancing your profile on the official site of your designation. The annual dues usually offer the designee a directory listing with the organization. Take advantage of the free publicity. Always put a picture on your profile in the directory listing. SRES Seniors Real Estate Specialsist, CRS Council of Residential Specialists, REBAC Real Estate Buyer Agency Council - ABR Designation, Fl.Living.net or your state REALTOR® website, CNHS Certified New Home Specialist, ePro
- Free publicity. Send out a press release when you earn that designation. The local newspapers usually have a "business news" section and publish announcements and appointments. There are also online press release services available; both free and with minimal charges. You can also Blog your announcement.
- Your local Board of REALTORS® may actually present you with the certificate of completion at a board meeting. Be there in person to accept the award. A room full of people will be able to put a face with the name.
- Refer within your designations and expect referrals from within your designation. Many designees refer to other designees. When a CRS is looking for someone to help their Aunt in Florida sell her condo, they often go to the CRS directory.
- You've earned those designations, so use them. Get them on your website, your business cards, fax coversheet and email signature. The show you're "in" the business and they can often spark conversation when someone asks what they stand for and what you did to earn them.
- Professional Relocation companies. The fact that you've taken the time to attend classes and earn those designations shows drive and dedication to the profession. When relocation companies are looking for an agent to refer to, they take notice when an agent is designated.
- Use them to niche market. Do you work in 55+ active adult communities? Get that SRES designation and become the neighborhood expert. Get that logo on the marketing materials for that property. Do you work with developers and builders? Get that CNHS and become the "new home expert" in your city.
Keep this in mind: The flood gates don't open with a roaring stream of customers when you earn a designation. There is, however, a long term steady drip of leads, prospects and referrals that will enhance your current business plan. The key to any successful career or business is to have enough "lines in the water". Now go out there, get that designation and throw another line in the water.
Read Also: Alphabet Soup: the ABCs of Designations