I believe the REALTOR® brand matters a lot. I believe ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is a well-deserved cliché. What is seen in print, especially if it is simple and concise, conveys credibility. If we don’t see something, read that something daily, and live it, it tends to get overlooked.
I understand the anguish REALTORS® feel for the lack of professional recognition vis-à-vis the public and even among themselves. I acknowledge that REALTORS® live by a regulatory code and an association code of conduct. I emphasize that REALTORS® display competent standards of business practices and that they deliver on required skills and expected ethical behaviour. However, these basic requirements of certification and licensure, which focus on pitfalls to avoid, are not enough to advance the image of professionalism. When some of these standards fall or are misused by some individuals, then the entire image of the profession tends to fall with them. In a society replete with professions, we require, for differentiation, standards of professional excellence that focus on the extraordinary.
REALTORS®, to be seen as professionals by the public and by their peers, must subscribe to aspirational attitudes and attributes that surpass basic competency. Professional REALTORS® must be exceptional. Their extraordinary performance must evolve from seeing, reading, and daily living of some simple and concise standards of professional excellence. What might these be?
I am not sure. Further discussion and research is warranted. But let me advance some persistent notions that keep coming to mind:
• A REALTOR® practises informed decision-making and provides wise counsel, not just information.
• A REALTOR® engages in self-directed, life-long learning, keeping pace with technology and the ever-growing levels of competency.
• A REALTOR® mentors new members, inspiring them to adopt best practices.
• A REALTOR® supports the efforts of his/her associations and is actively involved in the community.
What do you think of these possible standards? Are there others? Should they become the REALTOR® Brand?