professional standards

Idea #1 – How to Take Credit for the Industry’s Service Quality Every real estate association I have the pleasure of working with is struggling with how to re-invent themselves. Everybody knows it’s a problem at some level, but yet there has been no fundamental change in the focus, governance or scope of associations in several years. Are we just going to sit by and watch the association business go away?  Should it go away?  Has the value of an association run its course? My fundamental belief is that Associations CAN and DO play an important role in the industry, but there needs to be more tangible evidence of the important roles that boards play. Here is the first of several ideas that I will be publishing to identify specific ways Associations can find ways to become more relevant to their members Promote Customer Satisfaction Levels When I ask the question how strong are you on professional standards in your market, I ALWAYS get the response “we’re really good at it”. Then when I ask how many people have suspended from your organization for nefarious or other code of ethics violations I usually hear none or maybe one over the past 10 years. Then when I ask a third question how many of you today are working with people that you believe violate the code of ethics just about every hand in the room goes up. There is definitely a discrepancy between perception and reality. So how can we change this circular logic and protectionism behavior? Here’s one way to start: I’m sure that many of you have heard of the J.D. Powers survey. Here is their role according to their website: “J.D. Power captures the opinions and perceptions of millions of consumers annually. Our data and insights are used by companies worldwide to improve quality, satisfaction, and business performance, while our ratings aid consumers in making more informed purchase decisions. “ So what if we tried this approach in our industry?  An association could deliver a valuable service to every one of its members if it tracked the satisfaction levels of every transaction and then rolled it up into one satisfaction number.  Then it could put teeth behind a REALTOR® ad campaign.  Just like J.D. Powers, the association could use an objective, third party brand that measured satisfaction. Then the local association could confidently claim “Your local REALTORS® deliver […]

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We have had the pleasure of facilitating several strategic plans in the past few months with many of the nation’s leading Associations.  We have seen an important theme emerge in many of these discussions – Professional Standards. While most organizations feel as though they are doing a good job of maintaining current expectations for professional standards, some weaknesses have been revealed. When asked, most organizations will readily admit that there are agents and brokers that are NOT upholding the Code of Ethics and standards of conduct to the level that most members are. Even though boards regularly admit that there are those among them that are not doing the right thing for their clients, most associations have NEVER or rarely dismiss a REALTOR® from duty. We say we live up to the Code of Ethics, but in reality there is a small percentage of REALTORS® in every community that are sullying the name of the entire REALTOR®. The sad part is that sometimes their tactics go unnoticed by their clients. Consumers do not clearly understand the real estate transaction and can be fooled into thinking they are following the proper course. Agents are the only ones that sometimes truly know if there is a problem and yet, as an industry we do not address the “problem-children”. How can we expect to create a strong trusting relationship with the public when we knowingly allow those with a lack of integrity to continue to operate? Isn’t it time for us to think about stepping up the game for professional standards? Here are a few suggestions to consider: 1.  Anonymous Reporting of Complaints Agents are reticent to report their fellow practitioners. They are afraid of negative repercussions for their own business. They tell us that if I report unethical behaviors, other agents may target me unfairly. In most cases they remain silent. What if the industry adopted a “crime hotline” like Police Departments have to anonymously report a crime? How about creating a Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Division that allow parents to report questionable behavior at a preschool anonymously?  Both of these cases are handling delicate issues that would likely not be reported without the promise of anonymity. The cases could be referred to an investigative group that could look into the legitimacy of the claims without involving the original person that reported the problem. 2.  Client Performance Transparency Doesn’t […]

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