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A few years ago, Harris Interactive, one of the world’s leading market research firms, conducted a consumer survey that real estate professionals would do well to seriously consider. The survey asked consumers to rate various occupations on the relative prestige that each occupation held for them. The results—particularly if you are a real estate agent or broker—are sobering.

Out of 23 occupations, real estate agents/brokers came in dead last. Firefighters, doctors and nurses held the most prestige, but even actors, bankers and members of congress were viewed as holding more prestige than real estate professionals! Unfortunately, given such results, one has to wonder how much confidence consumers have in real estate professionalism. Well, folks, it’s time for a change.

Unfortunately, this perception of real estate agents by the consumer is not something that can be changed overnight, but it is something that we can all begin working on now. And even though consumers do not place their lives in the hands of real estate agents the way they may with firefighters, doctors and nurses, that should not prevent us from acknowledging that the role of the real estate agent is also extremely important to society.

Am I suggesting that real estate agents deserve this perception? Unfortunately, in some cases, yes. But for the most part, I believe that real estate agents are some of the highest quality, most professional people I have ever met. So, why the bum rap? Certainly, maintaining the highest level of competence and professionalism in our industry is part of it, but I also think it has to do with effectively communicating the right message to the consumer.

I believe consumers deserve a great measure of transparency when it comes to identifying the most proficient real estate agents. Far too often, consumers believe all agents are the same and the inevitable result is that they settle for less. The Top 5 in Real Estate Network® was formed in response to this very need: To change the negative or indifferent perception that many consumers have regarding real estate agents. Top 5 dramatically differentiates and distances the “top” real estate agents from others who are not as skilled, professional or dedicated to their clients.

I am confident that consumers, especially in today’s more transparent, social media-driven marketplace, will embrace the opportunity to learn who the most proficient real estate professionals are. The Top 5 in Real Estate Network® provides an instantly recognizable brand and brand promise, enabling consumers to immediately identify those real estate agents who are among the most experienced, skilled and results-oriented in the marketplace. At a time when too many real estate agents are marginalized by the media and consumers alike, Top 5 elevates the professionalism of its members by allowing them to stand out.

I am proud to be called a REALTOR® and I am honored to be a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®. There has never been a more important time to consider the needs of consumers than right now. If you are a top agent in your community, I know that you, too, work hard to deliver the highest level of professionalism to your clients. Congratulations for honoring the real estate profession. I challenge you to make sure the consumers with which you interact know it.

Verl Workman is a speaker, coach, business consultant and president of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®. To hire Verl to speak, consult or work with your company, email or visit for more information.