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RISMEDIA, August 16, 2010—With the array of products, technologies and systems out there, are you getting maximum benefit from your Internet marketing and personnel investment? Today, many brokerages invest not only in their own Web blog or social media sites, but also in locations such as, Zillow, Trulia, Craigslist, etc., with the expectation to feed new sales opportunities into their brokerage. That sounds great, however, studies show that on average only about 1% of these sales opportunities, aka “leads,” end up closing.

“Why is that?” should you ask.

In most cases, I’ll sum it up in two words: leadership, and accountability.

This is not intended to offend any marketing directors out there, however, I think most marketing directors will agree the most important part of a successful Internet marketing crusade is to have complete support and oversight of your company leadership, starting with your CEO, to enforce accountability across the enterprise.

That said, if you were able to increase conversion by just one percentage point, that could double the amount of the sales from the Internet leads.

The key to leadership and accountability is really two-fold.

I recommend that every CEO be intimately knowledgeable as to the parts and pieces the company uses in order to handle their most precious pipeline of new potential business. Now, many brokers will tell you that their number one priority is recruiting quality agents, and that may be true. But I’m sure most will not complain about more closings, better retention, increased productivity and higher capture rate of house services.

Many brokerages use technology whereby all their leads come into a machine that automatically distributes the leads to agents. It’s great if somebody has invented technology to make the lead go from one system to another quickly. However, what’s missing in the mechanics of this lead handling is some fundamental, scientific, forensic investigational information about the consumer that you are actually attempting to work with from the Internet.

So, let’s analyze, for just a moment, what an Internet lead really is. Because a lead really represents an opportunity, that is a relationship, it should be treated as someone whom we should get to know. But if we match that lead up with the wrong person, then this becomes the first big mistake that brokerages make.

The second, and most important, element of conversion success is the management accountability at the brokerage office level. That’s right — the sales manager needs to become an accountability partner for the agents they manage. The challenge with the technology listed above is that it only measures the inbound leads. Both agents and sales managers don’t typically monitor the ongoing activity of the consumer outside of the manually entered information.

This is why many agents say the lead was a “dud” because they did not close within 30 days. After that, the agent loses interest; yet at the same time, our studies are showing that most Internet leads are closing in the six to 18-month timeframe.

I have so much more to say about this topic, but space is limited.

As CEO of 1parkplace, Inc., Steve Hundley’s passion is to lead the development of the most cutting-edge social media and real estate marketing technology solutions for America’s top Realtors and brokers. Hundley recently formed the 1parkplace University where he has hosted exclusive training events with industry leaders like Tom Ferry, Steve Rodgers and Allan Dalton. For more information, please visit