by Jon Voket
At Coldwell Banker Upchurch Realty in Atlanta, Ga., the level of passion and enthusiasm that broker Charles 'Charlie' Upchurch, III and agent Joey Tucker have for the Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI) designation is nothing short of contagious.
In fact, both Upchurch and Tucker sing in perfect harmony when it comes to their confidence in the prestigious, nationally recognized designation.
A GRI graduate himself, Upchurch is such a big believer in the advanced professional development program that he's committed to signing new agents up for the course on his own dime, with the understanding that they'll flip that coin back sometime after they earn their GRI.
Having gotten into the real estate business in 1985, Upchurch decided to begin working toward his GRI in 1988, noting that even his very first class was phenomenal. "My next class was about five years later, and I took my last class and got my GRI designation four years ago," says Upchurch. Through it all, whether his attendance was sequenced months or years apart, Upchurch says that he learned something to add to his skillset—or grow his business—in each and every class.
For Tucker, who served as Dean of Georgia's GRI in 2013 before earning his region's REALTOR® of the Year award the following year, the GRI served as an avenue for post-licensing requirements—and then some.
"My GRI took me further than everything I learned getting my license," says Tucker. "It helped put my training in perspective and grow my business. Had I not gone through GRI training, I wouldn't have the education that helped me create a successful business plan."
Not only is the designation instrumental in setting real estate professionals up for success as the industry continues to evolve, the course is a breath of fresh air when it comes to staying up-to-date with the constantly changing market. "The trainers are exceptional and they are very selective about who they get to teach their classes," Upchurch adds "They keep their material fresh and up-to-date, which is one more reason that I encourage all my agents to earn the designation."
"We work really hard to evolve the program to try and stay up-to-date in regard to everything REALTORS® need," says Tucker, recalling the year he spent as Dean of Georgia's GRI.
While Tucker believes the GRI designation is most beneficial for REALTORS®, the courses offered on subjects, such as becoming an expert on trust accounts, could also be beneficial for brokers. In addition, the market courses may be good for office staff.
"The year I was Dean, Charlie provided support by offering the program to new agents who then reimbursed him as they became more successful with the company," says Tucker. "Today, we're seeing excited, more energized REALTORS® after they graduate. I can't stress enough how the GRI designation helps develop and hone skills that were introduced during an agent's initial real estate training."
Just about every member of Upchurch's team who has gone through the GRI training says they're glad they did.
"The course teaches you everything you need to know to sell real estate and be successful," concludes Upchurch. "It provides the foundation for standing out in the real estate industry."
For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor/gri.
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.