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Make Smart Use of the Internet

Maureen Koertgen
Web Consultant
Bird View Technologies

Tips from the Experts
Featured on 
Carol Johnson
Maureen Koertgen

�You have to treat Internet leads with respect," says Maureen Koertgen, a Web consultant at Birdview Technologies in Chicago.  �Most companies still don�t have a system or processes for handling them.�  Koertgen, who joined recruiting expert Carol Johnson in a holiday idea exchange teleclass sponsored by , says that companies that successfully handle Internet leads usually use two methods.

One method is to nurture Web-based leads over time.  �The majority of Internet leads must be cultivated," says Koertgen.  �They need to be put into some kind of drip marketing or follow-up program.  Then those companies pass the hot leads -- the �I want to see this house on Saturday� leads -- to agents who are tech-savvy and will respond well to the Internet leads.�
Another method is to respond quickly to hot leads.  Many companies send a group of agents to Koertgen for training on quickly and effectively responding to such leads.  �As soon as a lead comes in, whether it�s Saturday at 5 p.m. or Monday at 8 a.m., they immediately get that lead into the hands of one of those agents,� she explains.  �But, those agents must have the ability to market or cultivate the long-term leads and respond to the hot leads.�
"It�s critical to effectively manage your Website and the leads it generates, or your company will lose valuable business and harm its reputation," says Johnson, President of the Recruiting Network based in Schaumburg, IL, which offers monthly teleclasses to help brokers make smart management decisions.  For instance, Johnson recently called the phone number prominently highlighted on a real estate company�s home page and found it was a wrong number.  When the company finally changed the number on its Web page -- after hearing about it three times -- the new number directed callers to leave a message on an information technology staffer�s voicemail.  �It was four hours before somebody called me back,� explains Johnson.  �Calls should go to an office or a human.  You see that kind of stuff all the time.�
"However your firm responds to Internet leads," Johnson says, "make sure you track the results."  �You�ve got to have accountability on how fast people respond and know their conversion ratios," she says.  �Then brokers can say, �You got 12 Internet leads and had no appointments and no conversions.  You�re going to need to go to Maureen�s class.��

Another way to make the best of the Internet, recommends Koertgen, is to optimize your Web site.  �It sounds complicated, and people think it�s a big mystery,� she says. �But there are simple things you can do to come up number one in search engines for different phrases.  Get a niche, create some key words, and pepper them throughout your Website.  Pick six towns and put them on each page of your Web site. Have those areas that you service on the home page.�

For example, you can state on your Website, �Search the Danada North subdivision,� says Koertgen. �Not only does it tell consumers that you�re a specialist or an expert in this area, but it tells Google if someone is looking for Danada North homes that Google should direct the lead to you because your Website already shows that you specialize in that area.�

Another Web-based tool brokers can use is the GoToMeeting Webinar service, recommends Alice Pryor of Metro Brokers GMAC in Atlanta.  The company uses the service to hold Internet-based meetings with potential recruits.  �You can have one person or 10, and you can customize how you talk because it�s truly interactive,� explains Pryor. �People see your screen, you hear them, and they hear you.�

The company holds online meetings with recruits through GoToMeeting twice a month.  �We�re finding that 50% of people who sign up come from our newspaper ad, and the other 50% come because they�ve learned about it from our Web site,� says Pryor.  �We�re getting really tech-savvy people who are either too busy to come in or are really not sure about the opportunity.�

"Another benefit of online recruiting meetings", says Johnson, "is that experienced agents may feel more comfortable participating because they don�t have to worry about being seen with you at Starbucks or over lunch."  "You can set it up with them one on one, or you can have an experienced agent exchange, and they can just be anonymous.�
Pryor agrees that remaining private can be a big draw.  �Sometimes they�re agents who want to be a little bit more anonymous while learning about our company.�
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