Updated: Jul 4, 2018
From our Real Estate Agent Learning (REAL) Program
With recent violent attacks on real estate agents being displayed in the news media, we felt it was important to highlight steps that can be taken to stay safe.
As every good real estate agent knows, marketing is an essential part of the business. Whether you run a social media campaign, hand out business cards, or mail your flyers, you have to put yourself out there in order to get clients. When it comes to marketing yourself, the more, the better... Except when the people getting their hands on your information have bad motives. So how can you protect yourself?
When preparing your marketing material, remember that you cannot control who gains access to it. Just as you have no doubt "crafted" your marketing to reflect who you are to potential clients, take some precautions to shape the image you convey to criminals. Some predators have been found in possession of real estate literature with potential victims circled. What do you want a criminal to see when they look at you?
Criminals tend to select victims that appear to offer little resistance. Using a photo that displays a confident, self-assured smile is a good start. Not only does this make you appear less vulnerable, it has the added bonus of being a quality that many legitimate people are looking for in selecting an agent.
REMEMBER: A Predator Knows It Only Takes One Phone Call To Meet You
You also want to be cautious about using photos that could be interpreted by miscreants as provocative or seductive. Therefore suggestive photos should be avoided. These could include; full-body pics, low-cut blouses or short skirts, and over-the-shoulder type photos. While you may not have any intentions to seduce with your pictures, predators often think differently.
You will also want to carefully select any accessories that appear in your marketing photos. It is generally a good idea to avoid displaying large diamond rings or other expensive jewelry. Be cautious about showing any types of items that have large street value and are easily removed from an unwitting or defenseless agent.
When creating your marketing materials, it is important to take precautions in how you present yourself to those that may try to trick you into meeting them in an isolated location. It is equally important that you do not let them know where they can find you alone. Never provide your home address. It is generally best to use the office address. You should also avoid using your home phone number. Instead, use a cell phone or office phone in marketing materials. In line with this, you also want to be selective in posting material on social media that could identify your home location.
Once you have reviewed your marketing material, it is time to meet the client. Join us tomorrow for a discussion on steps you can take to protect yourself during these encounters.