Like many licensed professionals, commercial real estate brokers need to complete ongoing education courses to continue practicing, or to keep their professional designations and affiliations (such as CCIM or NAIOP) active.
These courses can feel burdensome when you put them off until the last minute, but they don’t have to be just another necessary evil. With a few strategies in place, you can turn these requirements into a real advantage.
1. Start by schedule sessions based on interest.
It can be tempting to cram all your education sessions into a short period of time if you’ve put off this requirement until the bitter end. Once you’ve reached that point, there’s little you can do about it—so plan ahead.
As soon as your current requirements are fulfilled, do a little research for what’s next. Don’t lose momentum: map out the subjects that interest you and are likely to yield a good ROI. Then determine the dates, times and locations that work best for you. If you typically represent small business owners looking to expand their restaurant chains, don’t waste what could be useful session on foreign investment trends coming out of China…unless you plan to expand your horizons.
2. Maximize your conference attendance.
While it’s important to target subject matter that appeals to you, convenience is a big factor, as well. Whether you want more time to prospect, hang out with your kids or hit the golf course, your time is valuable. That’s why a conference is an ideal place to squeeze in a few sessions. Odds are, the subject of a particular conference is already relevant to your business or you wouldn’t have taken the time to attend. Maximize your conference investment by fulfilling a few requirements. You may even find these classes provide excellent networking opportunities!
3. Look to the future.
Continuing education courses shouldn’t tell you what you already know about commercial real estate or the current market. Rather, they should serve as a compass for where your business—and the market—is heading. Use them as such. What questions have you had about your market lately? What new technologies are you curious about? Which market reports have made you optimistic, or caused you some concern? Make sure you’re staying on the cutting edge of trends, economic forecasts and global issues that could affect your business by choosing sessions that can keep you better informed than your competitors—and your clients.
No one loves the idea of never-ending classroom attendance, but continuing education courses don’t need to be the equivalent of traffic school. Instead, make them work for you by adopting a positive, proactive attitude that will keep you ahead of the competition.