Meetings with new clients can be great, but keep in mind that they are strangers and you could be putting yourself at risk. Short of running expensive background checks, it is difficult to know whether or not a potential client could be a criminal, stalker, thief, or worse. Because of this, it’s necessary to make safe behaviors a habit. Here are some safety tips to help keep you aware, alert, and safe every time you meet new clients. Remember, YOU are more important than closing any deal!
Meet in person at the office first
Meet your potential clients in person at your office while other co-workers are present before you visit any property with them. Take the opportunity to learn more about them and collect personal information about them for your files.
Require full identification
Don’t be reluctant to ask for full identification. Let your new clients know that it’s company policy. Be upfront and tell them it’s a safety precaution and all information will be kept private. You can download a sample form to use at . Click on “Prospect Identification Form” under the Office Safety Forms heading. The form asks for a client’s car’s make and model and license number, contact information, and employer information, and also requests a photocopy of the driver’s license.
Introduce new clients to a coworker
When you meet prospects at your office, introduce them to at least one other person in the office. According to Safety Tips provided by the Washington Real Estate Safety Council, if you are dealing with a criminal, they won’t like it that others have seen them for identification purposes.
Keep in touch
Always make sure someone knows where you are going and when you will be back. Use a check-in/check-out board if you have one, and list your name, destination, customer name, date, and expected return time or use the REALTOR.org Agent Itinerary form. Leave a copy of the clients Prospect Identification Form and schedule a time for your office to call you to for a check-in.
Bring up the rear
When showing a home, always have your prospects walk in front of you. Don’t lead them, but rather, direct them from a position slightly behind them. You can gesture for them to go ahead of you and say, for example, “The master suite is in the back of the house.”
Don’t be too public
Giving out too much personal information can make you a target. Consider advertising without using your photograph, and always use your office phone and address on all ads and on printed and social marketing pieces.
Got cell service, everywhere?
When you’re showing in rural or remote areas, commercial property, or properties with thick walls, you may lose cell phone service. When in doubt, check in advance to be sure you have cell service in the area in which you are showing the property.
Pick up some self-defense skills
Many health clubs, martial arts studios, and community colleges offer some type of self-defense class. Ask your peers, friends, or family members about courses they would recommend if they’ve taken self-defense classes.