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Business woman handshakingToday’s “Ask the Expert” column features Lance Malcolm, Chief Operating Officer with Contractor Connection.

Q: What are your top three tips for becoming an indispensable real estate agent?

A: Whatever you’re doing now, stop. Step back and evaluate how you’re making yourself the go-to expert for your clients. Do you have the needed answers and tips that help your clients love their home before—and even after—the sale? What can you do to make yourself their forever REALTOR®?

In the new age of instant everything, and the world at our fingertips, consumers have unconsciously taken their customer service expectations to heightened levels. They expect the best, they expect it fast and they expect it to be reliable. Are you delivering?

Stay indispensable by keeping yourself involved in the process from beginning to end. This includes the remodeling and repair process. Whether the property is being bought or sold, connecting your client to a trustworthy, qualified contractor delivers value above and beyond, positioning yourself as a valuable resource today and in the future. But you need to be confident that your referral will deliver timely, quality results and not end in regret. A simple introduction to a managed contractor network can be a game-changer. This once best-kept secret of the insurance industry is now available to consumers.

Insurance agencies often outsource their contractor program management for claims to a third party such as Contractor Connection, which offers an expanding network of 4,800 contractors in the United States and Canada. Only the best contractors are accepted after a lengthy and stringent application and credentialing process. Consumer access to the network is free and available 24/7, making it an invaluable tool for you and your client. By answering a few questions online, your client will be connected with the best professional for their project and one that backs their work with a three-year workmanship warranty. And later, after the project is complete, your expertise as a REALTOR® can help your clients realize the return on their investment, if they do decide to sell.

Become familiar with managed contractor networks and follow these tips to position yourself as an indispensable agent.

1. Be the go-to expert.
Your extensive knowledge of the real estate industry and resources available is critical. Be the tour guide for their home and for valuable, expert resources nearby that are proven, trustworthy and easy to use. Using managed contractor networks can help. No need to research who is best in the area and which contractor is highest rated or reviewed. In the case of Contractor Connection, they do the work for you. In just a few clicks, you get access to the expertise, knowledge and large scale of the network. Remember, your clients are looking for a better, faster and reliable referral.

2. Personalize their experience.
Providing customized solutions is key to client satisfaction. Use trusted sites and applications to deliver concierge-style services. Do you have a client needing modifications due to special needs or aging? Or one that wants to create a new interior/exterior to set their property apart from the rest? Online resources like Contractor Connection instantly find the best expert nearby out of a network of thousands specializing in home modifications and remodeling. Further, several mobile applications like MyContractor (Google Play and iTunes) allow your client to upload pictures of their project directly into the app for the contractor to review and provide comments.

3. Leverage technology.
An easy way to stay competitive is to use tech-savvy vendors. Contractor networks usually depend heavily on technology to ensure the most efficient processes and correct pricing. For example, the entire Contractor Connection network is required to use advanced estimating software to accelerate the process while ensuring that their estimates are fair and reasonable.

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