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Demand_DatabaseOf the 17 million would-be buyers in the market, short of 6 million will transact this year. How’s that for a statistic? “This large share of pent-up demand, which, I would argue, is huge—and represented by the fact that the number one reason people told us that they were buying a home last year is that they were tired of their current home—it’s only going to get bigger,” explained® Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke in RISMedia’s recent Broker Best Practices Webinar, “One Database, 1,000 Prospects, Unlimited Opportunities.” The webinar, sponsored by Top Producer® and moderated by Verl Workman of Workman Success Systems, delved into the database-driven practices that propel business in today’s market.

“The most critical challenge [brokers] face is understanding that you have a big range of prospects,” said Smoke, “some of which are these more short-term focused, serious buyers, but then a whole collection of what you can argue are more casually beginning their search and might be two years or further out in that process.

“This big funnel and long journey is not going to change any time soon,” Smoke added, speaking to the various life stages encountered by buyers. “Inventory is only going to get tighter.”

To come out ahead in a market weighed down by low supply, it’s crucial for brokers and their agents to build—and work—their databases.

“We’re focusing on following up with people who are in our database,” said Kevin Markarian, broker associate of San Francisco-based Marker Real Estate. “Knowing that there’s only 6 million out of 17 million that will actually do a transaction this year, it’s really important to have long-term systems in place to be able to deliver and convert business.”

For Markarian, who uses Top Producer to manage a database of 13,000, that long-term system begins at first contact. Leads receive a text message instantly through FiveStreet, followed by a pre-screening phone call, all within a span of five minutes.

“I use the word ‘committed’—‘Are you committed to an agent?’ or, ‘You’re not committed to an agent, right?’ I find that using that word works incredibly well,” Markarian said. “Others say, ‘Are you working with an agent?’ Everyone’s working with an agent, but nobody wants to be committed to anything. It gives us an opportunity to meet with them.”

“Speed really matters today,” added Keith Hockin, senior broker consultant with Top Producer. “Ultimately, when you look at conversion, it always starts at the beginning. If you don’t make a first impression, you don’t have an opportunity to convert them.”

From there, Markarian focuses on consistent follow-ups for 30 days. Leads that are not prepared to act in that period—of which there will be many, if the statistic above bears out—are assigned to an email campaign and receive phone calls every 30 days thereafter.

“You need to have some structure,” said Markarian. “It can be an arbitrary number of times [to follow up]…it’s just a matter of staying in front of them.”

By following this system to the letter, Markarian is rest assured his business will thrive in any type of market.

“Those millions of early-stream prospects will likely turn into customers who can keep your business growing for a long time into the future,” Smoke pointed out. “And the funny thing about that is, those early-stage [leads] in your funnel today are likely going to be the ones who say they’ve known you and have trusted you for some time.”

Missed last month’s webinar? Tune in to “Home Buying in the 21st Century: How Rocket Mortgage Can Help You and Your Clients” here.

To view more webinars from RISMedia, visit our YouTube playlist

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for top real estate tips and trends.