Of the many things that separate good Realtors® from GREAT ones, perhaps the most distinguishing factor is the air of authority that top Realtors® seem to emanate. This rings true for any top producer, regardless of industry. And, while being an authority in your own industry is key, truly successful individuals know how to find inspiration outside their chosen field and apply the broad brush strokes of knowledge to enhance their own business or area of specialty in new and exciting ways. In fact, venturing outside of your industry to learn new things can lend an uncommon perspective that clients and associates will find refreshing and confidence-inspiring.

Savvy Realtors® are always eager to learn!

Adam Witty, author of Authority Marketing, writes, “Authority creates credibility, which accelerates trust.” He further states that, if there is no trust, there is no sale! So, how does one go about up-leveling their authority? One easy, fun way is to take advantage of online educational resources. (In case you’re wondering, the use of “educational” and “fun” in the same sentence is not a typo; the way we learn has changed immensely in the last several years.) Gone are the days of spending hours in a stuffy classroom, probably half asleep. These days, you can learn on your own schedule, often while you’re on the way to an appointment or even while waiting in line for a latte! An incredible trove of easily-accessible information is all around us — much of which is FREE!

Here are four of the best online resources we’ve found for free learning.

1. Coursera

Coursera offers free courses covering a variety of topics in areas such as business, personal development, data science, and language learning, to name a few. With course offerings from some of the most prestigious higher learning institutions in the world, Coursera’s online classes include videos, projects, and discussion groups for a fully-interactive educational experience. Want to learn more about data with Johns Hopkins or classical music via Yale? You can do all that and more! Search for courses related to real estate and you’ll find about 100 topics that are sure to broaden your horizons. If you really enjoy the coursework, you can upgrade to a certificate or degree program to enhance your professional accomplishments.

Notable lessons:

Marketing in a Digital World by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Introduction to Negotiation: A Strategic Playbook for Becoming a Principled and Persuasive Negotiator by Yale University
Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity by University of California-Irvine

2. Google Primer

Have some time to kill between showings? Primer, a “Grow with Google Program,” is a fun, interactive app designed for busy entrepreneurs who want effective, actionable marketing ideas but who don’t have a lot of time. Primer offers bite-sized business and marketing lessons from industry experts around the world. Decide which skills you want to enhance, track the lessons you’ve learned, and eventually make your way through them all.

Notable lessons:

• Business Management
• Selling
• Digital Marketing

Download Primer for Apple or Android devices: https://www.yourprimer.com/

3. TED Talks

Although the renowned non-profit TED (which stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design) held its first conference in 1984, most people today are more familiar with TED Talks: short (fewer than 18 minutes, the time of a typical coffee break), poignant presentations by some of the world’s most innovative thinkers, given at the TED conference. While TED originally focused on innovations related to technology, entertainment, and design, TED Talks have expanded to a much wider scope. TED Talks presentation videos are available for free through TED.com, with topics that range from philosophy, to the economy, to mind-bending ideas about space travel, and artificial intelligence. The presentations are compelling, unique, and informative. Watch a video during your lunch break, and, in the afternoon, you’ll be THAT much more of an authority on whichever topic you chose to learn about.

Notable talks:

“How to make hard choices” by Ruth Chang
“The human insights missing in big data” by Tricia Wang
“Why great architecture should tell a story” by Ole Scheeren

4. Audiobooks

We recently shared 5 growth-hacking podcasts to inspire your business, and earlier this year, also compiled a list of must-reads for Realtors®. But, if your reading time is in short supply, yet you greatly want to delve deeply into a topic, consider going the audiobook route. Although individual audiobooks can be expensive, did you know that nearly every public library in the country offers audiobooks for free? It’s as simple as getting a library card and installing an app on your smart device. The Libby app works with most library cards, and you can even add multiple cards to your account to expand your selection. Just one more way to increase your “authority score!”

Notable audiobooks:

• Goals! How to Get Everything You Want Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible, by Brian Tracy
• The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth, by Fred Reichheld
• Rules for Renegades: How to Make More Money, Rock Your Career, and Revel in Your Individuality, by Christine Comaford-Lynch

If you want to stand out in the ever-changing world of real estate, it’s not enough to simply follow the market; you’ve got to lead the way by being an authority. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be arduous, painful, or expensive. Whether you’re learning how to better manage your time, implementing a new tool into your marketing strategy, or delving into the depths of human psychology, these free resources will help you become the authority whom clients and associates will trust and admire.