Weichert Internet Strategy Provides Winning Formula for Sales Associates in Today's On-Demand World

July 16, 2008 // Franchising.com // MORRIS PLAINS, N.J. – Whether it's grabbing a bite to eat, shopping at a department store or even picking up clothes at the drycleaners, one constant holds true: people today want quick, personal and high-quality service. When it comes to real estate, Weichert, Realtors® has the solution to help sales associates meet this need for immediate results.

As part of Weichert's Internet strategy, the company invests millions of dollars in marketing each year to give its sales associates an advantage over the competitive marketplace. A large portion of this money finances the purchase of more than a million real estate-related search terms to make weichert.com appear as a primary search result on top search engines such as Google and Yahoo!, driving a wealth of traffic to the listings found on the company's Web site. In 2007, weichert.com had over 35 million visitors.

Additionally, through Weichert's strategic partnership with many of the most popular real estate sites, associates can find their listings on Realtors.com, Homes.com, Nytimes.com and numerous other national and regional online newspapers.

"Weichert's on-line presence brings a tremendous advantage to our sales associates," said Mike Montsko, president of Weichert Lead Network. "The Internet continues to play an increasingly important role in real estate and it is our goal to efficiently utilize the Web to drive as much traffic as possible to the property listings of our associates."

While driving traffic to weichert.com is important, the true key to Weichert's success is delivering immediate and personal service to visitors once they get there. Weichert connects customers directly to company sales associates through the Weichert Lead Network, a state-of-the-art customer contact system. Homebuyers browsing weichert.com can call 1-800-USA-SOLD where a Contact Center employee will connect them in real time with a local Weichert sales associate. While some real estate companies use an automated system to track and respond to listing inquires, the Weichert Lead Network ensures that every prospective client receives instant personal service and never has to leave a voicemail.

Supported by state-of-the-art technology, the Contact Center's service professionals ask a short series of questions to ensure that they are passing serious and qualified leads to Weichert sales associates. The service professional then initiates a "warm transfer" directly to the cell phone of a Weichert sales associate who is a neighborhood specialist in the appropriate geographic area. The local sales associate can then answer any questions and arrange an appointment to show the home in person. If the buyer has a special need, such as preferring a Spanish-speaking sales associate or one who is a condominium or luxury-home specialist, the contact center's service professionals will strive to make that match.

Weichert.com browsers can also elect to request information on listings via email. A 'Contact Me' button is prominently displayed on all property Web sites and brings potential buyers to an easy-to-fill-out web form. Once the form is submitted, a Contact Center employee will respond to the inquiry within minutes –often while the potential buyer is still on the Web site- rather than hours that is often typical with other real estate companies.

Despite the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) report in which 92 percent of buyers listed a quick initial response to home inquiries as a high priority, only Weichert has developed this unique process that responds to leads personally in such a short time frame.

"Weichert sales associates benefit from the fact that numerous customers are finding our services to be extremely valuable," added Montsko. "As of June, our year-to-date lead flow has increased by nearly 10 percent and our closings are up as well."

Weichert has nearly 18,000 sales associates in more than 500 company-owned and franchised sales offices in key markets throughout the U.S. A family of full-service real estate and financial services companies, Weichert helps customers buy and sell both residential and commercial real estate, and streamlines the delivery of mortgages and home and title insurance. For more information, Weichert's customer service center can be reached at 1-800-USA-SOLD or at Weichert's Web site, www.weichert.com. Each Weichert franchised office is independently owned and operated.

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