Putting Lipstick on a Pig
After writing a post on www.AgentGenius.com , I had several conversations, by Twitter, Facebook and Skype regarding the concept of "Consultant." Lots of folks that I talk to, I respect very much, but also disagree with. Most often I found that those using the term, were doing so to distance themselves from the public opinion of a "REALTOR®" or a "Salesperson". Either way, it’s deceptive to a degree. When you are trying to be perceived as something other than what you are – is it honest?
Death of a Salesmen?
In most cases, individuals are licensed as a Real Estate Salesperson. That’s what you are. Perhaps you’re a "Broker" but at the heart of the issue, you are selling your knowledge, you access to information, your skill set, etc… Agents may feel like that’s not what you do, but essentially you are "selling" homes, land, pad sites and so on. Why not start by trying to prove that your not the stereotype that is connected to being a salesperson, instead of calling yourself something else? If agents started acting like "trusted advisers" than maybe those titles could be more reputable.
It’s More Than Just Semantics
My actual foundation for the argument against using so many different titles, is that "Agency" is difficult enough for most practitioners and consumers to understand. The concept of being an Agent for the Principal is that we would act "as if walking in the Principal’s shoes". That is to say, that an agent should advise a client, as if the agent was the client. I will only suggest my client act in a way, that I myself would act in that situation and with my current level of knowledge.
Client, Customer, Principal, Dual Agent, Designated Agent and on and on – these titles have to mean something. So, until such time as "Consultant" is defined by some governing body, you aren’t one – no matter what you call yourself. To me, referring to yourself as a Consultant, makes me think you are a limited services representative and that you are only giving advice to your client and not acting on their behalf. I also think that it could be easily used against you in a courtroom as some point.
I am still sorting through my complete thoughts on this, and at one point I did use the term consultant. However, I am currently thinking that agents should stick to what they are licensed to call themselves.