Alphabet Soup


Just in case you were unaware, November was National Association of Realtors (NAR) Designation Awareness Month. Don’t worry. I missed it too. Which is too bad, really. It seems that there was a clearance sale going on.

Dear Real Estate Professional,

I just wanted to send you a friendly reminder that… Designation Awareness Month is quickly coming to an end. Please don’t miss this opportunity to save 20% off of our three top selling designations.

And just in case you are curious, the top sellers are AHS (Accredited Home-Staging Specialist), ASR (Accredited Seller Representative), and CNS (Certified Neighborhood Specialist). All three acronyms would typically cost me $700, but had I acted in November, I could have bagged the whole lot for $560. Dang. Of course, this does not reflect the costs I would have incurred reprinting my new, jumbo business cards to reflect my expanded credentials.

Am I the only one that thinks this is getting a little, uh, silly? Currently, for a price, my business card could look something like this, yet I still wouldn’t have exhausted my Continuing Education accredidation opportunities. 


This is problematic as it leaves a lot less room for my requisite high school graduation photo.

Now I could be wrong, but in ten years I have not once been rejected by a potential client for the absence of qualifying initials. “We really like you, Kris, but Dave is a LBOS (Lockbox Operating Specialist), a CSLHSA (Certified Split-Level Home Selling Agent), and a SCUBA (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus). We feel his enhanced credentials will improve our chances of getting top dollar!”

This is not so much about the many well-intended agents who spend their time and money acquiring these designations, but more about the companies attempting to capitalize on our thirst for a competitive advantage. If this is all stuff that makes us better agents, then I propose that we put a moratorium on the issuance of more curious letter strings and just include the material in the licensing courses. But, where’s the fun (and money) in that?

And where does it all end? I have decided to start a company which sells letters of the alphabet (except “i”, for which Steve Jobs currently holds the trademark license). This way, there is a clear end game. Upon completing the 25th course (which will be on sale in June), and crossing the finish line with the elusive “z” in your repertoire, you will be a fully-trained agent. Absent that “z” on your business card, consumers will immediately know that you are an incomplete loser.

You can mix up your letters any way you want. The more courses you buy, the more combinations you will have at your disposal. (Note: It is recommended that you jumble with caution, avoiding designations like PUTZ and SAP, although the former does in fact demonstrate that you are a professional who finishes what he starts). How many designations are possible? While “infinity” is currently the answer, my program will be self-limiting, involving something about a factorial.

As a bonus, my content will have real, practical application and fill a need. “S” may be “Synonyms – Other Words for Gorgeous and Upgraded,” “R” may deal with “Returning Your Phone Calls, Stoopid,” “W” might be titled “Websites – Get One,” and “T” is obvious (Two-Hole Punch Operation). Naturally, “E” will address “Emailing and Lawsuit Avoidance – Reply to All Means All.”

The real beauty is that while I will be able to provide a valuable service to the industry, I won’t have to charge all the much to turn a profit. In fact, with approximately 87 trillion current licensed agents in my subdivision alone, I see some serious money to be made. I plan on marketing with door hangers (“D”). So, to borrow a few lines from my Designation Awareness Month friends:

Any of these… courses expands your horizons and real estate knowledge…  Gain the skills your competitors lack and offer a value-added, more professional service.

To your success!


Kris Berg, BS (Blogging Specialist)

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