NAR’s e-PRO® Certification Teaches Data Security, Protects Agent Reputation
Education is critical to developing a long-lasting real estate career. As the market shifts, a successful real estate professional will need to do the same to best meet their clients’ needs, uphold their reputation, and keep their competition from surpassing them.
“Consumers tend to view real estate professionals in a monolithic manner, assuming that all real estate professionals do the same thing,” says Bill Lublin, e-PRO® instructor, and CEO of CENTURY 21 Advantage Gold and the Social Media Marketing Institute. “As anyone familiar with the business recognizes, the truth is almost the exact opposite.”
As more and more of the real estate process moves online, agents who want to serve their clients need to learn how to protect their data. Real estate professionals interested in learning the latest technology tools and gaining further in-depth market knowledge can do so by earning their e-PRO® certification with the National Association of REALTORS®. The newly revised course, available live in the classroom, shows real estate professionals how to leverage digital marketing theory and technologies in their day-to-day marketing efforts, all while protecting client information. The course offers real estate professionals a solid foundation and clear path for creating a digital marketing plan and data privacy plan geared toward today’s tech-savvy clientele.
“Today’s consumer lives in an instant gratification society,” says Amy Smythe Harris, an e-PRO® certification holder and broker/owner of Urban Provision REALTORS® in Houston, Texas. “The question is, as an agent, are you delivering that service to your client?”
Smythe Harris has been working in real estate for 27 years. She chose to go through the e-PRO® certification program to become more efficient with today’s technology best practices, and believes that the program can help agents evaluate their technological strengths and weaknesses.
“Today’s consumers are almost obsessed with technology, online search, smart homes and social marketing,” echoes Lublin, “and they want to work with agents that show familiarity with these things. As an agent, it’s important for you to be able to meet—and rise above—these expectations.”
Lublin stresses that real estate professionals who complete the e-PRO® course gain in-depth knowledge as to what an effective digital marketing program looks like, and how to articulate that program to the consumer. Essentially, according to Lublin, “it enables agents to be more effective, more efficient, and, hopefully, more profitable.”
According to Lublin, “the new e-PRO® course provides the student with relevant technology to use in their business, but adds a second day of live, relevant material to help students avoid data breaches.”
“In real estate, what we trade on is reputation,” says Terry Watson, an e-PRO® instructor. “An agent’s reputation is their capital.”
As more moving parts of the real estate transaction migrate online, so does customer data, resulting in an increased risk of losing that information to a data breach. New e-PRO® certificate holders not only understand the importance of data privacy and the laws in place, but also how to implement best practices as outlined by the Federal Trade Commission in their business.
“A REALTOR® is a gateway to a large financial transaction,” says Watson. “Real estate agents can be targets because they have access to so many accounts, and so much financial info. If a hacker gets into your email, it could be devastating to your client’s financial well-being, and, ultimately, your business.”
Kenny Young, a graduate of the new e-PRO® course’s live sessions, initially signed up for the course to better serve his tech-savvy clients, and soon learned how much he could do to protect their privacy. “There is a constant concern of keeping my data, as well as my customers’ data, private,” says Young. “This course helps you develop a strategy to do so and to implement a plan in case of a security breach.”
Young says the course helped him create a complete technology strategy and identify his weak spots. “Now that I have established a blueprint around my technology needs, I can move forward and make necessary adjustments as needed. Instead of being reactive in the future, I am now able to be proactive,” he explains.
Proactivity is critical for protecting your data. “Kill the monster while it’s small,” says Watson. “This course is a master asset in terms of prevention. We tell agents and consumers how to protect themselves from being harmed.”
By taking the e-PRO® course, real estate professionals are protecting their business and reputation. The newly revised coursework will be available online in fall 2018.
For more information, please visit www.epronar.com.
Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s Senior Content Editor. Email her at email@example.com.
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