Can we call ourselves professionals?
By Lloyd R. Manning
In recent years, from many quarters, concerns have been expressed about the continuing decline in professionalism. This includes medical doctors, lawyers, accountants, other professions and certainly Realtors, assuming that we who transact in real estate as agents for sellers and buyers could be considered as a profession in the first place.
That we can legitimately call ourselves “a profession” is questionable, because many of the basic canons of a profession seem to be lacking. The public is very cynical about this. Some place Realtors in the same category as used car salesmen and politicians. In our industry there is less focus by some Realtors on the needs of clients and more on making that sale or getting that listing. It is suggested that many have forsaken their professional roots and regard their agency solely as a business, and professionalism is a lesser priority. This creates the need to inform the public more by deed than word that Realtors are indeed professionals. We must demonstrate by high standards of ethical behavior, service and conduct that we live up to the tenets of professionalism and the Codes of Ethics we so often hear preached.
Professionalism is best described as a relationship between a person who has a high level of expertise and discipline in a chosen field and who is a member of an organized group of like-minded individuals with the same expertise and discipline in the same field, and the relationship they have with their clientele. The building blocks of professionalism are being well educated in the chosen discipline, integrity, honor, leadership, independence, pride, collegiality and service, all balanced with commercialism.
This includes the relationship between a Realtor and a client and the unwritten contract between the Realtor and society. An essential attribute is the ability to provide sound advice, competent service and to quote the medical profession, “Do no harm.” Real professionalism involves a pride in one’s work, a commitment to quality, a dedication to the interests of the client and a sincere desire to help. Professional success is about attitudes and about character. These are demonstrated by energy, drive, initiative, commitment, involvement, enthusiasm and the ability to provide sound advice.
Professionalism does not mean wearing a suit, carrying a briefcase, driving a high-priced automobile or always having your cell phone at the ready, just in case. Nor is it having a collection of meaningless (to the public) designations and diplomas, which many associations and commercial diploma mills are far too anxious to hand out. It is not one, but a combination of qualities; not a skill but a blending and integration of a variety of skills and attributes.
We would love to hear from you, please let us know how our team is doing. Can we call ourselves professionals?