Modern Professionals

Bad reputation: How professionalism can help, or hurt, your brand – Chicago Agent magazine

When it comes to professionalism in residential real estate, Frances Simons, designated managing broker at Baird & Warner’s Lake Zurich office, doesn’t pull her punches.

“I think professionalism is something in our industry that could use a lot of work,” she told Chicago Agent magazine in a recent interview.

Having high standards and working in a collaborative, rather than antagonistic manner, is about more than just doing the right thing — it’s also about protecting your reputation and business, she said.

When Simons was picked to manage the Lake Zurich office after it was purchased from Century 21 in 2017, she launched an initiative to develop the culture at the brokerage. Simons aimed to ensure retention during the transition and also create a highly professional operation.

“I wanted to get to know each agent, their personality, their conduct; we don’t just hire anyone with a heartbeat and a license — we have a 165-year-old brand to protect,” she said. “There’s a number of different things we do when we bring new agents on board. The biggest thing is to model professionalism.”

Professional conduct elevates the role of the agent in the consumer’s mind, and that means not only better business but also repeat business. “I think that brokers, if they really place an intentional focus on their professionalism, can stand out and differentiate with the consumers; there’s a huge opportunity there,” she said.

On a day-to-day basis, that means working collaboratively with others in the industry in a way that represents the interest of