Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Am Not A "Schmo!"

With most products and services today, consumers have an ever increasing selection of choices when it comes to placing their business with someone. Real estate is certainly no different. With a multitude of real estate business models to choose from for both selling and buying a property(s), ranging from multinational franchises to companies that assist "for sale by owners," competition for your business is intense and that's great as competition is a good thing.
With over 30 years of progressive business positions behind me both in Canada and the U.S., I have learned a great deal about what it takes to lead and build a successful business. The one prerequisite however that stands out in my mind more than anything is the need for the utmost in integrity in all your business activities. As previously stated, competition is a very good thing for consumers. Not only does it provide consumers with a variety of pricing alternatives to choose from when making a purchase, it fosters an environment where companies strive to continually develop new products and or services or to re-design existing ones all in the name of capturing their fair share of the market. In all cases, it is ultimately this type of competitive market positioning that creates a win-win for consumers.
In an effort to capture business, some companies find it necessary to berate or belittle their competition. Doing so seldon benefits the party making the defamatory statements and it certainly shows a lack of respect to a fellow competitior hence a lacking in the detractor's own integrity. The unfortunate fact here is that these tactics can result in detracting from the image of the entire industry or profession where such initiatives are employed.
A relative new entrant on to the real estate scene which specializes in assisting home owners sell their own properties seems to feel the need to employ such tactics. Their radio and online media refers to traditional REALTORS® as "some Joe Schmo agent."
I for one resent being referred to as "Joe Schmo." I am a trained real estate professional. My credentials include that of being a "Broker" and "Market Value Appraiser" (MVA) Residential. These credentials must not only be earned through rigorous education and exams, they must be maintained on a 2 year renewal cycle via taking continuous education courses all of which assist me in providing to my clients the best service possible. Further, as professional REALTORS® our day-to-day activities are governed by the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act which is provincial law. These requirements would hardly suggest that REALTORS® should be referred to as "Schmos."
The real estate profession has come a long way in increasing both consumer awareness and confidence. Still, public surveys place REALTORS® well down the list of professions in terms of trustworthiness and professionalism. Companies in the business of selling such a valuable commodity as homes would do well to revise their marketing efforts eliminating the use of terms such as "Joe Schmo." A home represents most consumer's greatest asset. As such, this is no place to use such derogatory vocabulary when dealing with the sale of such a significant consumer owned asset. The reality is, slighting a fellow competitor only serves to lessen the image of all all parties engaged in the great profession we call real estate.


Marilou said...

Rick, no one is calling you a “Joe Schmo” but this type of bias remark could make you appear to be one. You'd need to live under a rock not to have noticed that both the NAR (National Association of Realtors) and CREA (Canadian Real Estate Association) has been taking pot shots at professional private sale marketing companies such as for many years (actually since 2004) beginning with their "By Owner not This Owner" campaigns on TV and Print. Every year since then, both organizations have chosen to continue with these types of negative ads that portray anyone wanting to sell privately as idiots. C’mon Rick “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”. Many people are able to sell without an agent – that’s just the FACTS. People from all over the world do it all the time.

Rick Crouch said...

I agree that many people are capable of selling their own home should they elect to and I certainly have nothing against any company that assists them with doing so. After all I did say that competition is a good thing. Organzied real estate does have a code of ethics that amongst other requirements prohibits unprofessional conduct both with fellow members as well as towards other professionals outside the real estate industry. All I ask that is we are treated with equal respect. Yes CREA has attempted to make a case with their ad campaign however they focused on promoting the value a REALTOR® brings to the real estate transaction versus derogatory name calling. That is where I believe the fundamental aspect of professionalism begins and ends.

Ken said...
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