Real Estate Designations, PART II
Earlier, we discussed one of the ways to increase your skills AND improve your bottom line: real estate designations. As promised, we now bring you Part II: how you can use designations to attract clients.
The primary reason for seeking a real estate designation is to expand your knowledge and skills in a specialty area. But what good is that enhanced knowledge if your clients don’t know about it? How can you get the word out?
The obvious way to use designations is to add the designation logo to your website or marketing materials, and add the designation initials to your name. But that can often confuse potential customers, who probably don’t know what all those initials mean. So how can a designation help you reach more clients?
First, you may be able to use the certifying organization to help advertise your expertise. Many organizations maintain a list of the agents who have earned that designation. For example, if a prospective industrial tenant is looking for a real estate agent who has special training and experience working with industrial properties, he may end up at the website of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors. This organization boasts a large worldwide membership, and its website features a geographically specific directory that allows a website visitor to search for agents who specialize in office and industrial real estate. The ‘education’ and ‘membership’ tabs on the site list the specific requirements for obtaining the SIOR’s various designations; a prospective client can browse these requirements to find out just what kind of experience and training an agent with a SIOR designation can bring to the table.
The right designation can even steer potential clients your way before they begin to look for an agent. The websites of many organizations feature recommendations for products, how-to tips, and other information for a given specialty. These sites often link to lists of professionals in a given geographical area. Imagine, for example, a prospective buyer who is looking for a home with extensive green living features. As a starting point, that buyer may check the websites of organizations devoted to green building, such as the U.S. Green Building Council. With a few clicks, the buyer can view the Green Home Guide, where she will find FAQs, product recommendations, and local directory listings of service providers (such as architects and real estate agents) who hold one or more green designations. To be listed on the site, a service provider must submit an application that demonstrates that they meet certain requirements concerning their 'green home credentials.' This assures potential clients that each listed service provider is a qualified specialist in green housing.
As we mentioned in Part I, all designation programs are not created equal, and some can be quite costly in terms of time, initial cash outlay and, in some cases, recurring membership dues. The important thing to remember, as with most career decisions, is to do your research beforehand. Identify the type of client you want to attract, and then thoroughly check out the programs that show the most promise.
Remember, Rockwell Institute is always happy to answer your questions about real estate education.