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The most successful real estate agents in the future will be the ones who provide the most benefit to their clients. The ones who are experts in all things real estate. The ones who can answer, with confidence, just about any question a client might ask and become a trusted advisor and valuable resource in the process.

Here’s the problem, though: For most of us, it’s impossible to know everything and to have answers ready for every single question that might be asked. This is where your personal connections and your vendor list come into play.

If you want to become a real “influencer” in your market, buyers and sellers must consider you the local expert. Even if you don’t have the ability to give all the right answers or to provide the appropriate guidance yourself, you need to be able to find the answer—or provide another resource that can.

Here are five things you must do to become your market’s most influential agent:

1. Tell people you’re a market expert. Tell everyone you know that you want to be a resource for them, and offer your services whenever possible. This extends beyond simply helping them buy or sell a house. You should offer to help with property tax questions, mortgage information, home inspection questions, estate or probate questions, and more.

2. Happily find the answers. It’s easier to tell everyone that you’re a market expert than to actually be one. It takes time to do the research or to find a vendor or other resource to answer every single question someone asks. You’ll very likely want to quit searching before finding answers, but don’t ever stop, because once you find the answer to a question the first time, you’ll be able to answer the same question with confidence every time in the future.

3. Follow up. Make sure you follow up with the person who asked the question and provide a clear and concise answer. Additionally, follow up a few weeks later to see if the information you provided was helpful, and to see if they need anything else.

4. Create a vendor/resource list. Keep accurate and up-to-date records of the vendors and other resources you rely on to help you answer questions. This will allow you to easily reach out again when the need arises next. Make a habit of adding to your list every time you meet someone who can help you in the future.

5. Read, listen and watch. Keeping up with current trends in real estate requires an investment of time. Read all trade publications, listen to informative podcasts and watch instructional videos. And really pay attention. Think about how you can use whatever information you’re learning to help your clients and position yourself as an even more valuable resource in your market.

I’m happy to share a sample of the spreadsheet we use to keep up with vendors and other people we rely on as resources. Email me at Cleve@GoGaddis.com if you’d like a copy.

Once you have a copy of the spreadsheet, you’ll have to commit to updating it regularly (at least once a month). Stick with this plan for a year or so, and you’ll become the most influential agent in your market, and everyone will rely on you for answers to their most important real estate questions. As more people rely on you as their go-to resource, they’ll also turn to you whenever it’s time to buy or sell a home, so you better prepare to close more sales.

Cleve Gaddis is a master coach with Workman Success Systems and a team leader in Atlanta. He learned sales the hard way, selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door, and now puts those skills to use in helping his team close $60 million annually. He loves to share his systems and strategies to help others succeed. He hosts the Call Cleve Atlanta Real Estate Show heard weekly on NewsTalk 1160 WCFO. Contact him at Cleve@GoGaddis.com. For more information, please visit www.workmansuccesssystems.com.