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Real estate ethicist

What it means to be a 'professional'

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Editor's note: This is the first of an occasional article series on ethics in the real estate business. The writer will tackle timely issues and take ethics questions from readers at opinion@inman.com. What Does It Mean to be a Professional? The other day a car salesman boasted to me that he was a consummate "professional," and that he always did his job in a "professional" manner. I asked him how he knew that this was so, and he engaged in a long-winded conversation about satisfied customers, pleasing the manager, and being able to sleep at night. I listened carefully and wondered how he was so certain that he was meeting "professional" standards. He was in a hurry so I didn't bother to explain to him that there really is a technical, traditional definition of "professional" status, which includes three criteria: 1) specialized knowledge; 2) group identification and membership; and 3) agreed-upon education and training, including ethics training, certification by examination and cont...