Judge the person, not their title

One of the biggest mistakes people make in evaluating others is presuming that because they have a title, or letters after their name that they are sane and competent.

If, for example, someone has an MBA you presume that person knows a lot about business.

Or, if someone is an MD, you presume that person knows a lot about health.

These are dangerous assumptions to make. Just because someone has a title does not mean they are competent. All it means is they’ve completed the requisite training to get a title.

A lot of people are intimidated by those with titles, conferring false authority on them. If you’ve ever been in a group of people and one of them identifies themself as a college professor, it is amazing to watch how the group suddenly responds. They automatically confer expertise on they, and try to use big words and professional phrases to impress they, even though they have no idea how competent they might be.

Understand this: people with titles can be just as sane or insane as anyone else. They engage in just as much bad or silly behavior as those without titles. For example, if you rent a mailing list of “male enhancement buyers” you will discover some of the guys on the list are medical doctors — and they’re repeat buyers!

They should know better, right? They should, but they’re just like every other guy who wants to believe such a product really works. If you turn on any science fiction-related show, you’ll see guys with impressive sounding titles (like “nuclear physicist) regularly interviewed, genuinely believing we’re being visited by little green men.

The point I want to make is this: don’t let your judgment about someone be swayed just because they have a title. Evaluate them based on results and behavior like you would anyone else. While there are plenty of bright, smart, sane men and women with titles, there are also plenty of them who are just plain cuckoo. Look past the title to the person, and you’ll make a much better decision about how they fit into your life.

My second point about titles is this ‘ don’t use them unless they help you gain business and convert leads.

For example, I see dozens of business cards every month from mortgage and real estate professionals from all over the U.S. and Canada. Many of these professionals have a letter designation behind their name. Now I do see far more real estate agents with letters following their names than mortgage people, but more and more mortgage people are following suit and adding a letters or titles behind their names.

In most cases, the letters are abbreviations for some educational course of instruction the individual has taken. In the case of real estate agents, the most common letter designation I’ve seen is G.R.I. ‘ Graduate Realtor Institute. And while I agree that anyone who takes the time, money and effort to complete the G.R.I. Course should be very proud of their accomplishment. I just don’t think it needs to be on their business card.

WHY?

Because the vast majority of the buying public does not have a clue what G.R.I. means.

Let’s face it ‘ millions of potential clients in this country think that being a real estate agent and being a Realtor is the same thing. Unfortunately, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has not done a particularly good job educating the public on the fact that one can be a licensed real estate agent or broker and not a Realtor. Most people outside the business and a surprising number within the business do not understand that “Realtor” means the person is a member of a national professional trade organization.

My point is, if the huge majority of people can’t distinguish a Realtor from a real estate sales person, what the hell are they going to think when they see G.R.I. behind an agent’s name? It is meaningless.

And quite frankly, I believe most agents know this and the only reason they put it on their card is to try to impress other agents in the business.

I’d much rather see someone put something on their card that delivers a compelling message that causes the person receiving the message to call them immediately. And putting your company name and title on your card ain’t gonna do that!