By Jesse Loader

There are few industries that covet personal accolades as much as the real estate industry. We have all seen the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts from fellow Realtors thanking their clients for putting their trust in them, so they were No. 7 in the office this month. Does any of that matter? Do those awards actually translate into future business? Or are they simply a well-worded humble brag?

I’m all for celebrating personal success. In fact, I think we underrate the power of taking a moment to feel content with all the hard work we’ve been putting in. There is something to be said about living in the moment and at least being temporarily satisfied and content with our day-to-day grind.



To be successful in anything, it’s a constant battle between striving for more and feeling content in our lives. After all, what is it all for, if we never stop to enjoy it?

My question is more about the specific examples we constantly see in our social feeds. I am guilty of this practice too. For many years I would post those same messages, thanking my clients for making me No. X this month or for reaching X award level within my franchise. The story I told myself was that someone out there on the fence about selling their home, or at the beginning of their home-buying process, would see that post and trust me enough to at least make an inquiry.

I can’t say it never worked. It’s one of those intangible measurements similar to a bus bench or billboard. However, my opinion is that there are only two people (or groups of people) that care about those posts. You…and other Realtors.

Does it really have an effect on the general public? Or is it an announcement to others in your industry that you’ve “made it”?

I’ve asked my brokerage to exclude me from any top-producing agent lists (except for team accomplishments, because that’s not about me, it’s about the team and some team members may share a different opinion). I feel that offering an extremely high level of service, producing valuable content to your community and sticking to your lead-generating activities produces a far higher yield of new business flowing in than any award that signifies money earned ever will.

My other issue with those awards is that they are based on gross commission income, which is a poor measurement of success as a Realtor. As we all know, it’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how much money you keep!

There are no awards for the most positive Google reviews, client retention or number of repeat clients closed in the last 12 months…it’s all about money.

Listen, I get it…a little friendly competition can be a great motivator for you to reach new levels. But my point is when we share this with the public in an attempt to gain more business, it always seems a bit disingenuous. A glowing review, a photo of the gift your client bought you, or discussing how you helped a long-time client out of a jam goes a lot further in establishing you as the real estate expert in the eyes of your social sphere.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Awards are great, however the buying and selling (homes) public question the cost of these gala events, the destination travel all over the world, and the blogs and videos on social media that speak of “I am making too much money from you”. I personally would not hire the agent who constantly posts the look at my success or the latest award gala destination. It is in poor taste. Gone are the days that custom tailored suit and a nice watch was a discreet way of showing the board room you made it. A sales person once gave me a business card that featured a photoshopped image proudly standing beside a Mercedes SL500. It went directly into the trash.

  2. Great article. I ‘retired’ from a highly respected and regarding profession prior to getting into real estate. Never once would you ever advertise your earnings in an attempt to gain the public’s trust or respect…doing it in real estate seems like a massive waste of time and actually has the adverse effect on this profession. When was the last time you heard “My real estate agent worked SO hard and he/she deserves all that money”. No ONE likes a bragger. My advice to really improve your/our public image and confidence in the profession, say less do more and humbly (and private) celebrate your success.
    Just my ‘2 cents’, no pun intended.

    • John Varley and Melissa H: Your sentiments exactly mirror what most everyone—other than too many of those who live and work within the real estate sales bubble—thinks.

      The photoshopped card that John tossed into the trash (indicating the poor taste of it all) and Melissa’s assertion that “No one likes a bragger” and “…say less do more…” are reflective of ‘professional’ Realtors’ attitudes against publicly displaying in-house money-grabbing awards.

      A publicly acclaimed award for voluntary public service is more in line with what a professional ought to aspire to. Once achieved, display it in the privacy of one’s home and let it be a reminder of what it feels like to do something good—on one’s free time—for others less fortunate. Do that and one will be a survivor and earn a decent living within the rat-race world of real estate sales.

      What one thinks of one’s self (provided that one possess a functioning conscience) is more important than being concerned with what others might think of one’s self. Being a loner in this business just might be indicative of being a stand-up personality that defies the sales culture’s insidious attempts to water down one’s barriers against doing what pays the most vs doing what is right.

  3. Great article Jesse! I agree with your perspective. I’ve always thought it is bizarre the way the real estate industry feels it needs to give awards and make them public when they are based are monies earned. What other industry does that??

  4. I have always looked at awards that same way. That is not to say that it isn’t fun to get dressed up and party with good people once or twice a year. But now that the awards ceremonies in my franchise have moved to a time of year when I absolutely cannot be there, my life is certainly not less full. And I have also learned that there can be a downside to advertising your awards. Some clients will look at this as sign that you have deep pockets and thus don’t need to ask for higher commission levels. And I have yet to see any public member care that I made 100% or Platinum.

  5. I work for a non-franchise small Boutique brokerage. The awards that franchise brokerages give out always make me laugh because when you actually know the dollar value that you had to achieve to get an award, it can be quite misleading. It depends on the financial level you reach, whether you consider that dollar level “a success”. I agree that it is far more important to have great testimonials than being able to say you are in the Chairmanship Club. I think those awards satisfy the Realtors ego more than they impress a potential client.

  6. Insider awards can be (likely are) worthless in the public’s communal mind.

    How many insider awards did Terry Paranych ‘earn’ before he was finally pulled up short by the insider authorities for the unethical activities—not to mention any possibly illegal activities not discovered—that he engaged in whilst building up those high, award-winning sales numbers?

    Insider awards (often awarded for simply surviving, in reality) are designed to make almost ‘all’ commissioned salespeople ‘unhappy’ with their current rate of production, thus driving them to work harder to sell more. The next plateau is always much higher up on the sales ladder. The brokerage’s cost of a plaque or a golden goose trophy pales in comparison to the extra commissions extracted from the serfs-in-the-field whom are constantly bombarded with messages from on-high that today’s achievement is not enough. That is the cultural foundation of the commissioned sales game after all. The pursuit of dollars too often trumps the pursuit of excellence in its own right.

    Professionals don’t need to be lauded from without. Professionals know who they are, and they don’t give a damn about what others might think of them within the commissioned sales culture. It is the newbies, the amateurs, the borderline gamblers, the short-cutters, the crooks and the generally all ’round know-nothing low-lifers (who do not belong in the business in the first place) who place undeserved value on insider awards.

    Hey Jim! Are you giving out awards for commentators on this site? I need to be motivated to write more stuff, to get to the next level, to be mobbed by your readers to build up my self-esteem. It’s already pretty high, but it could be higher! I’m so mixed up. Maybe I’m really just a loser…BUT…a foot-long golden pen with a flaming plume on top would fit the bill. I really need to feel better about myself. Help me out Jim; I haven’t received any awards lately. Life’s really a bitch :-)

    • Great article. How about suggesting real estate board members ask the board to reconsider board awards such as the Medallion Club. The public doesn’t care and award standings are a temptation, especially within teams, to take credit where none is due. Ozzie Jurock once said “In the end it’s all about becoming a human being, not a human doing.”

      • Ozzie Jurock: indeed a human being; a human doing being. A genuine person, always a gentleman. RLP was never quite the same for awhile, after he returned from the Pacific Rim. A mind way far ahead of his time. My goodness, we’re talking the mid-1980’s. Thirty years ago. Fond memories.

        Carolyne L 🍁

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