NEW YORK–Alex Perriello, president and CEO of Cendant Real Estate Franchise Group, revealed some of the thinking and mechanics behind LeadRouter, the company’s recently acquired online lead tracking system.

“In 2002, we began to evaluate and looked at how we could respond to Internet leads better and more efficiently and to better track and respond to them, and also to see the sources of the leads,” Perriello said during a keynote address Monday at Real Estate Connect NYC.

During that process, Cendant discovered a company called LeadRouter. “It’s a very simple process but quite interesting when you look at the entire process,” he said.

LeadRouter takes an e-mail message from a consumer visiting Cendant’s Web site and converts that lead to voice, then calls the realty sales associate’s cell phone within 10 seconds of the lead being placed to alert them, Perriello explained.

“We determined that the cell was the lowest common denominator. Everyone has a cell phone,” he said.

The company is attempting to address the fact that 50 percent of the Internet leads that go to a real estate office and sales agent go unanswered, and the half that are answered are not called until 48 hours after they are received.

“What we liked most about LeadRouter is that they had a pending patent on the business process that we believed would really solve that problem for the long-term,” Perriello said. “What is very interesting is that the lead router software requires accountability. The broker has a screen in front of them showing in real time every lead that is coming into the company. If an agent doesn’t respond to a lead within 20 minutes, that lead can be rotated to the next agent.”

After a set time frame, the system has a way of alerting the broker if a lead has not been responded to, allowing the broker to personally step in if needed, he said.

“What we have done is build functionality into the software so that the broker can enter all of the leads from all sources – not just online but from newspapers, billboards, walk-ins, etc. So they now can see where their marketing dollars are being spent and track the response to those marketing dollars,” Perriello said.

“We asked 38 companies representing 250 offices and 7,000 sales associates,” he added. “The results of the pilot programs showed a 93 percent response rate by the agents, 82 percent response rate within 24 hours, 52 percent within an hour.”

The company had a phased in rollout and the response rate improved week by week.

Regarding the investment, Perriello said there are two components: the cost of training and the ongoing licensing fee to use the software. The licensing fee is based on the number of listings, starting at $750 per year and graduating up.

“But cost doesn’t seem to be an issue,” he said.

As for the 2005 real estate market, Perriello said the company is “cautiously upbeat.”

“There is some concern about the rains that have impacted California,” he said. “Hopefully, that will end shortly. We’re very upbeat about New York. It has made an amazing recovery since Sept. 11, 2001. And the market is very strong across the board.”


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