REALTORS® have been targeted more and more frequently over the past ten years. With September being REALTOR® Safety Month, Donny Allen joins Monica on the show today to talk about safety on the job — best practices to keep yourself and your clients safe. Monica and Donny discuss effective ways to help REALTORS® live in confidence, not in fear.
Donny grew up on large farms and ranches and had to learn to defend himself from the different animals and also gained a heightened mindset of awareness. When he got started in real estate, he found he had a passion for teaching REALTOR® safety.
When you think about safety, it’s not just physical safety; it’s our reputation’s safety and financial safety. Situational awareness is key to the real estate business now more than ever. Some vulnerable situations are meeting clients at unfamiliar properties, sitting in an open house alone, and even issues like cybersecurity.
Donny shares safety tips for meeting strangers or new clients. If you don’t know the client, try to meet them at the office first, rather than meeting them at the property. If you’re able, take someone to go along with you. Also, be conscious of what time you are meeting new clients, and arrive early to get a lay of the property. Monica talks about the protocol she uses for herself when meeting clients. It is important to have some sort of consistent system or policy so all potential clients are treated fairly. If you run an office or a brokerage, it is important to have an office policy as well. There also needs to be training around agent safety so everyone is aware and follows the same policy.
Donny and Monica talk about the public reaction to some of these safety precautions. For the majority, these safety measures are met with positive response because it protects not only the REALTOR® but also the client.
In any situation, it’s important to approach your decision based on your training and experience. Donny shares some statistics on the self-defense weapons REALTORS® carry. If you don’t think you can use a weapon for defense, don’t carry it. Regardless of what philosophy you adopt in your own business, make sure you have a plan for getting out of potentially dangerous situations, and practice that plan so you can execute it should you ever need to.
Donny shares some of the statistics on how many agents have experienced safety concerns, whether a physical attack or cyber attack. Thirty-three percent of all REALTORS® have felt uncomfortable in a situation. Monica shares her own experience with this.
There are some safety apps you can download to your phone to help keep you safe. It will come down to what is best for you, but some apps Donny recommends are CentraLock, SupraBox. Many smartphones also have an emergency SOS feature. A battery-operated noisemaker that you keep on your person can also be very effective. While these apps and devices are valuable, don’t put all of your comfort in an app. Make sure you have some sort of backup.
Donny’s parting thought for agents is to have a plan and practice different scenarios. Take a self-defense class, and always be willing to ask for help or take a buddy. The most important thing is to trust your instincts and increase your situational awareness.
“I believe that with good planning, people are aware and prepared and they don’t need to live in fear.” — Monica
“That’s exactly what I want to point out. I want to bring your awareness to not only what you’re doing, but what they’re [the client] doing as well.” — Donny
“We’ve talked a lot about weapons, but I would always say getting away from the situation is best.” — Donny
About Donny Allen
Donny Allen is a Broker/Owner and Agent with Keller Williams Realty of Southwest Missouri located in Joplin, MO. Donny began his real estate career as a salesperson with Century 21 Associated Ltd in 1996. Donny holds the ABR®, CIPS, CL, CLHMS, CRB, CRS, GRI, MGRI, MRE, PMN, and SRS designations in addition to the AHWD, e-PRO®, PSA, and SFR® certifications. He has been teaching, training, mentoring, and coaching agents for more than 24 years. Donny is a graduate of the 2006 Missouri REALTORS® Leadership Academy and the 2017 NAR Leadership Academy and he was inducted into the NAR RPAC Hall of Fame in 2017 and the REBAC Hall of Fame in 2019.
Donny is a hard-working REALTOR® who lives to help and serve at a high level in his chosen profession. What you may not know is that Donny has a passion to serve and protect his REALTOR® family and others by educating and training them in the areas of safety and security. Donny is an approved NAR Safety Instructor. The Center for Specialized REALTOR® Education allows approved instructors to present Real Estate Safety Matters, a course designed to educate and expand upon some key safety concerns, tips, and best practices.