Buying Legitimacy

Every morning, seven days a week, 365 days a year, I write a daily contemplation to all at COMPASS. I thought I would share this one that has resonated well with everyone.
The Internet-driven world has allowed many to fabricate an (often false) image of who they are. Aside from selfies with filters and photo-shop, it is relatively easy to create an image of yourself online that is vastly different to reality. ‘Reality’ TV is in itself an oxymoron. In real estate land this has been especially prevalent and in many areas substantially abused. We see ‘building specialists’ attached to buildings where that agent’s level of specialization is questionable at best. We have heard the term ‘top broker’ used almost as excessively as the word ‘luxury’. Brokers make claims about how much they have sold and how they rank to great extremes: repeating these falsehoods often enough becomes fact in the minds of many and then lo and behold a few years later that broker has BECOME what they claimed (falsely)before.
Trickery, dishonesty and exaggeration are as old as time. Now the internet has made it much easier to deceive with greater credibility. There is certainly nothing wrong with playing up the good and suppressing the bad. When I started in real estate I would be asked how long I had been in the business and my answer was always: “Too long!” That tongue-in-cheek response could easily have been phrased differently and given a gross distortion of the truth. My response, while somewhat misleading, was obviously injected with humor. These days the level of inaccuracies, distortions and pure falsehoods is alarming. I guess when you are surrounded by a media that perpetuates this type of false bragging, it is inevitable that it would filter into the real estate industry, an industry not especially known for pure honesty.
I still believe the best price to pay for legitimacy is hard work and experience. However, in this digital age I do see huge opportunities that never existed before to be able to communicate who you are and what you do to a very wide audience….relatively cheaply. Taking advantage of this marketing magic is important: abusing it may deliver success but be careful of the price. Yes, there are enough people who will buy the distortions and consider them fact, but equally I still believe there exists a large number of people who are smart and sophisticated who won’t be fooled. Excessive embellishment has consequences and can tarnish your brand….and the brand of those around you.
At Compass we have had to pass on bringing in several agents who desperately wanted to join the company who are impressive producers: unfortunately, their reputation in the industry was such that we knew by bringing them in to the company we would stand to tarnish the reputation of the entire organization, and worse……we knew that ultimately these agents had the potential to detract other great agents from joining us. Quality consistency has to be just that: the rotten-apple-in-the-basket theory is reality and too many people and organizations will do anything and take in anyone simply for the sake of a dollar. 
There is room in this legitimacy-buying world for an organization, professionals and individuals to live by a higher standard.