The Cendant Real Estate Franchise Group today announced the launch of a new lead-management system that captures Internet leads from home buyers and sellers, matches the lead with a sales associate, and informs the associate about the lead via telephone.

The LeadRouter system was developed for the brokers within its Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Commercial, ERA and Sotheby’s International Realty brand networks. Cendant has a business methods patent pending with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the system.

LeadRouter matches the lead information with the most appropriate sales associate according to business rules established by the local broker/owner, Cendant announced. Converting data to voice, the LeadRouter product instantly informs the sales associates of the lead via a call to their cell phone. This enables sales associates to respond to consumers within minutes of receiving the online request.

“We believe our LeadRouter platform is head and shoulders above any lead management system available in the real estate industry today,” said Alex Perriello, president and CEO of the Cendant Real Estate Franchise Group. “Cendant’s investment in LeadRouter technology will help the brokers and agents in our brand networks increase their response time and effectiveness in managing homebuyer and seller leads.”

Many real estate brokerages in competitive markets have invested in lead-generation and lead-management technologies so that they can capture Internet-savvy home buyers and sellers.

The National Association of Realtors’ 2004 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers shows that the majority of home buyers and sellers who use an agent typically use the first agent with whom they have contact.

“Considering these statistics, we believe LeadRouter has the potential to increase our lead conversion rate, which should result in a larger number of transactions for the brokers and agents across our real estate brands,” Perriello said.

The Century 21, Coldwell Banker and ERA brands conducted a test with the LeadRouter system during an eight-month period with a total of 38 franchisee brokers, spanning more than 250 offices and 7,000 sales associates nationwide. Effective today, all of Cendant’s real estate brands are making the LeadRouter product available to their affiliated brokers who meet brand-specific eligibility criteria.

According to a recent Realtor.com study, about 50 percent of online inquiries from home buyers and sellers go unanswered after 48 hours. In contrast, the brokers in the LeadRouter pilot groups reported an overall agent response rate of 82 percent in the first 24 hours for Internet leads, with 52 percent of those responses to consumers occurring in less than one hour.

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In analyzing the origination sources of Internet leads for the brokers in the LeadRouter pilot, the Cendant real estate brand Web sites www.century21.com, www.coldwellbanker.com and www.era.com combined to rank as the leading overall source of online leads to the pilot brokers (at 27 percent). The brand sites were followed by the pilot brokers’ own company Web sites (at 23 percent) and Realtor.com (at 18 percent).

Cendant’s proprietary software system provides office managers and administrators with oversight tools for managing all customer leads as well as Internet leads from any Web site. It also creates daily, weekly and monthly reports along with an integrated system that enables brokers to track the source of all their business. Additionally, sales associates must follow up on customer inquiries in order for them to continue to be eligible to receive leads from the LeadRouter system.

Cendant Corp. is primarily a provider of travel and residential real estate services. With approximately 90,000 employees, New York City-based Cendant provides these services to businesses and consumers in more than 100 countries.

Its Real Estate Services Division consists of the Real Estate Franchise Group, representing approximately 13,500 residential and commercial franchised real estate offices and more than 286,000 sales associates affiliated with the Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Commercial, ERA and Sotheby’s International Realty brand names; Cendant Mobility, a global leader in corporate and government employee relocation with over 2,000 corporate clients; Cendant Mortgage, one of the nation’s largest retail mortgage originators; NRT Inc., the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage company, and Cendant Settlement Services Group, a title and closing services provider.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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