The ABC’s of earning your GRI in Illinois

GRICalling all Illinois REALTORS® who are interested in making themselves better at what they do! As a member of the Board of Governors for the Illinois GRI program I am here to tell you the real reasons earning your GRI (Graduate of the REALTOR® Institute) designation is worth the time, effort and money.  I’ll cover the normal talking points but also give you my #1 reason I truly believe GRI are the three best letters you can have after your name being in this business.  Let’s begin:

  1. The GRI program is 90 hours of curriculum covering almost every aspect of the residential real estate industry.  It teaches you not only about real estate but HOW TO DO IT!  Big difference.  As a Governor for the program I can tell you that the people volunteering their time to make this the best designation are always coming up with new material and up to date material in this ever changing market.  Classes on short sales have been introduced to compliment timeless classes such as marketing and listing presentations.  All in all once you receive your GRI you will be wanting more….and you can have it if you choose to attend the GRI Grad Program we offer.
  2. 90 hours of class work sounds pretty boring….sounds like I’ll be sleeping through half of it.  That is what I thought when I earned my GRI in 2002 & 2003.  All I can say is IT’S NOT!  The only way to keep people’s attention for that length of time is to get the best instructors from across the nation.  It’s one of those things where if I described it then justice would not be done.  Let me put it to you this way:  after a GRI session is complete we always take surveys and pretty much every year one of the most popular instructors is a gentlemen by the name of Chris Bird.  What does Chris teach?  TAXES!!  I mean c’mon.  If we have found somebody that can make a few hours of taxes interesting then you can only imagine how our other instructors are with material we’re all actually interested in.
  3. This, I would argue, is the #1 reason to attend the GRI program.  THE NETWORKING!! Above I told you a few (of many) reasons I feel getting your GRI is worth the time and effort but what about the money??  The money you make by attending GRI will pay for the cost of GRI.  What do I mean?  I mean if you actually attend the program mentally and not just physically there is a great opportunity to add/supplement your existing business.  I mean if you go outside your comfort zone and have lunch with someone you have never met or if you actually mingle and NETWORK with people from outside your area then GRI WILL MAKE YOU MONEY!!

The concept is simple.  If you just be yourself and talk to people and they actually wind up liking you then they will send you business when they can.  Also the best reason I can give on traveling to GRI no matter how far away it is.  If you live in Naperville and GRI is in Bloomington then GO TO BLOOMINGTON!  Stay the week, network and in the long run you will increase your referral business.  It’s that simple and yet one of the hardest things for some of us.  When it comes to doing well in real estate it is not who you know but how many people you know and making sure they know what you do for a living.

So, how did I do?  I could keep going but I feel like I’ve gotten my point across.  If you are looking for a way to keep up with your business and you are seriously considering a real estate designation to attach to your name I would urge you to strongly consider GRI.  It’s a designation I have worn with great pride over the past several years and at this point the only one I have.  If you have any questions feel free to get in touch as we are all here to help.  Best of luck!!

How do we deal with Generation X/Y?

Before we begin I think I should tell you up front that I am one of them. I am at the tail end of Generation X.  While I was graduating from college the first of the Generation Y people were off to school on their way to global domination.  I tell you this so you know who is giving you advice.  I often wish I was just a few years younger because when it comes to technology I know how to use it but I don’t necessarily understand how it works.  That might be the best way to separate X from Y if we had to but to keep things simple we can lump X and Y together.  I’ve thought long and hard about what to tell you when it comes to Gen X/Y.  I thought if I gave a few tips on how we operate maybe that would help.  Problem is I could keep writing and writing and by the time I’m finished there will be some new development that I can write about.  So to keep things simple just know these two things (and this applies to agents, buyers and sellers of this generation):

First, DON’T BE AFRAID OF US. Yes, we may understand technology a little faster than you.  Yes, we may want to convey something in 140 characters or less.  Yes, we are spoiled with the speed of technology and expect things NOW!  However, when it comes down to it while we may be different in approach we all want the same results.  So keep that in mind that we are all interested in communicating and working together.

Without going too deep and getting too boring the only other thing I would add on top of not being afraid is to BE OPEN TO NEW IDEAS AND WAYS OF DOING THINGS. When it comes to technology I think that REALTORS®, in general, are ahead of the curve.  We were some of the first professionals to get individual websites or come up with creative ways to market ourselves.  One thing a Generation X/Y’er is not afraid of is to try something new, especially if it makes life easier and faster.

Interested in acting like a Gen X/Y agent for a month? Then try these three things over the next 30 days and see how you like them:

  1. Text an agent for feedback or to schedule an appointment or something real estate related.  I might need to backtrack here…..step one might be getting a text plan is you don’t already have one.  The only thing I WOULD NOT DO AND WILL NEVER DO is negotiate via text.  I hope that is just assumed but you never know.
  2. Open up a Facebook account and use it!  This is not a fad and it is not going away.  Think of it as your online Chamber of Commerce or Rotary club.  Create an account, find old friends and colleagues and communicate.  This is a great example of a tool I’m hearing some agents gripe about but it aint going anywhere.  If that isn’t too painful you should try these other social media sites: and
  3. Talk to the agents in your office that are Gen X/Y and get their thoughts on the market and the direction they see the industry heading.  You might be surprised at what you find out (if they put their cell phone down long enough).

Let me know if there are any specific questions on the subject.  We would be happy to make the Generation X/Y an ongoing discussion with more articles to come on more specific ideas.