What Makes You Professional?
There is a lot of discussion about what makes people professional. We have the Code of Ethics to help us determine the standards that we need to apply to our real estate practices. But in a contact intensive business like ours, the manner in which you interact with others is often the matter of courtesy (or lack of courtesy) that establishes or diminishes your professional reputation.
Of course dealing with people politely and appropriately should be second nature for all of us in any situation but sadly that’s not always the case. Many times we aren’t sure what the appropriate thing is, and other times we just don’t realize that the impact of an action might be considered impolite by someone else. As a result of that Emily Post and Miss Manners made a bunch of money writing books about etiquette .
To try to address that need for the real estate professional, NAR, through the Professional Standards Committee developed “Pathways to Professionalism” a guide to professional conduct for real estate agents and brokers. Unlike the code, Pathways is more of an etiquette guide for REALTORS covering issues of professional courtesy. The document, readily available at REALTOR.org is broken down like the code into three sections, Respect for the Public, Respect for the Property, and finally Respect for Peers.
Respect for the Public
In the first section Respect for the Public agents are given guidance to how to respond to people in a courteous and professional manner. Agents are told what would be considered as appropriate when dealing with issues that arise during property showings. Pathways talks about how to react when a buyer doesn’t want to see a home that you scheduled an appointment for, or when you are simply delayed (quick clue – call the seller’s agent and explain the situation), and the need to be respectful of people’s cultural differences .
Respect for Property
In the section entitled Respect for the Property, the practical aspects of showing either an occupied or vacant property is discussed, from leaving lights on or turning them off to adjusting thermostats.
Respect for Peers
And in the third Section Respect for Peers, we talk about those things that annoy all of us- the need for agents to identify themselves when they contact other REALTORS, or the need to return phone calls promptly and courteously. It even talks about avoiding faxing or emailing tons of documents because they might be a burden on the recipient.
So Value Your Reputation!
Actually, the most important line in the document comes at the end – and is one of the things REALTORS need to remember wherever they are in the business. And its really something every good business people knows right away – so I though I would l finish the post by quoting it – “Real estate is a reputation business. What you do today may affect your reputation – and business – for years to come”