e-Pro is a Tinfoil Badge
Go ahead, spend the $359 dollars with Internet Crusade and NAR. Then, you get to tell everyone that you are an e-Pro! Congratulations! Now you know how to use email, what a 'connected consumer' is and you might have some handy stats from 2001 to throw around. The e-Pro class is so far removed from what it takes to be competitive in the internet marketplace, that 'graduates' deserve nothing but a tinfoil badge for their efforts.
Here's what they promise:
Upon completion of this Section, the e-PRO Candidate will be able to:
1. Identify the skills required for success in the New Real Estate Industry
2. List the key characteristics of the new real estate professional
3. Recognize the fundamental demands and expectations of the Connected Consumer
4. List the key components of the technology investment and what will be required to compete in the New Real Estate Industry
5. Actively participate in Listserv discussions
Let's look at these one at a time:
1. After browsing though the syllabus of the course I found that the e-Pro Candidate will learn how to use email, choose a browser that works for them, be encouraged to set up a website, purchase products from their partners, and learn about what the 'connected consumer' demands.
Are you kidding me? If you are having to drag you agents into the 21st century with a class like e-Pro you are not only wasting their time, but it's too late to help someone who needs a 'beginner's guide' to grasping the internet. Let the dinosaurs sleep. They have their spheres and past clients and they work off referrals. This will trickle in the business they need until they expire - don't waste their time and money. A graduate of e-Pro is no more prepared to succeed as an online Realtor than a 175lb, leather helmeted running back from the 50's is prepared to receive the crushing blow of a 300lb, heavily armored, protein machine, defensive tackle of today.
Here are some actual quotes from their testimonials - I'm not kidding:
"I am one of the few to have my own web site with my own domain."
"Email IS going to be the major portion of my contact with customers from now on."
Wow, I'm sold! Sign me up.
2. The characteristic of the new real estate professional... for some reason they seem to have left out Blogging, SEO, IDX, Link Popularity, Landing Pages, Drip Marketing... need I continue?
3. One sentence that they could have included that would have prepared their 'graduates' for the fundamental demands of the connected consumer (they are trying to refer to the internet user, or should I say: the population of the USA): Online leads will take anywhere from 6 to 18 months to incubate. Prepare yourself. Instead they help you understand that "Consumers are looking for convenience, quality, and solid information to help them make a decision."
4. I didn't find what their outline of the components of the technology investment were, but here are mine: After you pay for the laptop, software, Treo, GPS, website, blog, and IDX, don't forget to commit at least 40% of your marketing spend to attracting leads through pay-per-click, SEO, drip marketing, consulting, lead providers etc.
Don't waste your time collecting this nifty technology designation; no one cares. And, if they really knew what you were learning to become an e-Pro, and were looking to work with someone qualified to master using the Internet as a marketing tool, I'd expect that they would want to work with someone else.
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