14 November 2019
For some agents across New South Wales, Wednesday was just an ordinary day. For others who attended REINSW’s seventh annual Industry Summit, Wednesday marked a crucial moment in the Pathway to Professionalism (P2P) movement.
This year's Industry Summit was a little different to most.
Attendees pushed the boundaries with open, honest conversation and even, some heated debate. People were willing to stand up and advocate for what they believe is the best step forward in the P2P movement.
Many held conflicting opinions, thoughts and methods. However, the entire cohort was united in its thinking, that the industry needs to change.
Throughout the day, common themes emerged. One of the most talked about, was the negative perception of real estate agents and how to change it. The conversation was supported by the release of a Governance Institute of Australia report, which found real estate is rated the third most unethical profession in Australia, behind state and federal politics.
As Associate Professor Hera Antoniades pointed out on the day, real estate agents will never be classed as professionals in the minds of consumers, unless they can win their trust and respect.
Numerous panel members had their own ideas on how this could be done. For Braden Walters, it is the ability to say no and turn down listings, arguing taking on too much prevents effective communication.
For Piers Van Hamburg, it’s about placing behaviors over money. To expect your employees to operate to the highest standards, regardless of how much they’re bringing to the business financially.
As the day continued, attendees were asked to put their heads together and workshop 10 considerations. The aim: to move away from the talk and start creating tangible plans for change.
Some of the suggestions included:
“We’ve come to a time in the industry that unless we lift our game, unless we actually bring in meaningful standards that are applicable to consumers, we’re just going to be left behind … we’ve got the momentum, we’ve got the interest in the industry to do it, so now is the time to act.”
John Cunningham, Cunninghams
“It’s a really exciting time. As agents we’ve got a lot to offer the community and the individuals within it. We can have a great impact on people's lives if we do act in a professional way. Professional standards are essential for our industry to provide better value to our customers in the future.”
Peter Matthews, Realtair
“I’m a passionate real estate agent, I’m very proud to be a real estate agent but I know while I may be a professional, we’re not a profession and we’re not regarded as a profession. For me the pathway to professionalism is really helping differentiate those agents that want to set themselves apart, to give clients, customers, sellers, landlords, tenants, buyers, the whole lot, absolutely exemplary advice and help them differentiate who to trust in this industry.”
Veronica Morgan, Good Deeds Property Buyers
“Shifting consumer sentiment is only going to happen when we can demonstrate that our focus is completely on the consumers and what their needs are. Once we start to act that way, consumers will see us that way and perception will naturally change.”
Leanne Pilkington, REINSW President
“Through the Pathway to Professionalism, we can stand forward to the consumer and say ‘I’m a professional’ and this is what it means and the benefits to you is you get to deal with someone who has knowledge, skill, who can navigate you through the transaction and you can take confidence in that.”
Ewan Morton, Morton
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