Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from New Homes Solutions! I am Kimberly Mackey. Today I would like to thank all of you for making 2018 so fantastic for us. It has been a year of abundant blessings, growth, and lessons learned. We are sincerely looking forward to a terrific 2019.
Today, although a rather somber topic, I would like to talk about some important safety information for anyone who works in this business. There is nothing more important than your personal safety, and our builder companies owe it to all who represent them to take every reasonable precaution to ensure that their teams in the field are safe from predatory or violent acts.
Sadly, a couple of weeks ago we lost a new home sales professional in a model center in Maryland due to what is now believed to be a random act of violence and a robbery gone wrong. At times like these, we can all reflect on what sorts of precautionary measures we can put into place.
When I was in new home sales, in a model center in a master planned, and well-populated community I was robbed. Fortunately, in my case, they didn’t want to hurt me, they only wanted the raw cookie dough that was delivered a few moments prior. However, I can tell you it is a frightening experience when 5-6 large men (a drywall crew from a competing builder), 2 of them carrying machetes, come into your model center and you are the only one there. After some confusion about what they actually wanted, I certainly gave them all the frozen cookie dough. It was about $300 worth. After they left, I was quite shaken and grateful that it was only cookie dough they were after. It could easily have been something more.
Just this past week, while working with a new client, we had two incidents in model centers with “creepers” that served as a reminder of how vital safety precautions can and should be in our model centers. This is especially true when the model centers are in remote locations, but don’t let that be your only guide. Crazy things happen in crowded places as well. In fact, so much so that our society has almost become immune to the shock value it should cause. The suggestions below are not expensive ones, and yet they could save a life. Please discuss this with your teams and put measures into place.
The list below is not meant to be all-inclusive. I advise you to check with security professionals in your area for specific recommendations for each of your unique situations. And sales professionals, don’t wait on your management team to bring this up. You should bring it up with them. Feel free to share this article or video as a conversation starter.
Here are some thoughts on some precautions for you to take now to help keep your team safe:
- Enroll your team in a Self-defense course, or better yet bring one in and have the whole team (not just the sales team) participate. Your local real estate board will probably have recommendations. I encourage you to utilize someone who is familiar with the unique challenges of our business.
- Make sure your alarms are monitored and that you have the latest in smart home technology in every model center. You should have cameras with sound, key fobs with emergency alert buttons on them, and chimes on all entrances and windows. Look for keypads that allow for two-way communication with the monitoring center so if someone is in distress and cannot speak the monitoring service can still dispatch authorities or even scare off an intruder. Additionally, be sure the technology you are using is wireless so the landline or cable line can’t be cut.
- Establish some codes between superintendents and sales professionals, such as “Model 911” texts. Sometimes there is just a feeling that something isn’t right and you might not want/need to call 911, but it would still be good to have another person there. There are several apps listed below that allow an individual to choose who to alert in case of emergency before dispatching to authorities. These would be terrific tools for both the sales professional and the field superintendent to utilize to protect one another.
- Make sure your model is well lit. Good outside lighting can deter a lot of bad situations. Also, consider adjusting your model hours for daylight savings times. It is very difficult to view a home, and completely unsafe to show a home under construction after dark anyway.
- Staff appropriately. Where it makes sense to put two sales representatives or 1 senior sales representative and one junior or an assistant, do that. If it doesn’t make sense to have multiple salespeople, perhaps an out of the box solution, for instance, think about having someone from the office who could work remotely during parts of the day in the model centers. You can get creative to ensure you have additional people in remote locations without having to add staff. There is safety in numbers.
And to all the individual on-site sales professionals or general real estate agents out there where having the builder provide these sorts of safety and security measures isn’t an option, there are still many things you can do to ensure your safety. There are many personal safety apps and devices out there, like Life 360, Home Snap Pro (for REALTORS®), Lifeline Response, ORA (jewelry/sportswear looking wearable safety devices), and Mace Alert 911, etc. Please see below for some links to websites and recommendations.
Kimberly Mackey is the founder of New Homes Solutions, and has the reputation as someone with real-world SOLUTIONS in a competitive and rapidly changing sales environment–SOLUTIONS like “50 Sales per Year before Any Walk-in Traffic”. She is a keynote speaker and published author of many Sales and Leadership articles with 20 years of experience as an executive in the residential home building and real estate industry. She has a proven track record working with Builders and Developers of all sizes –from the local/regional companies to the publicly traded nationals. She also works with Brokers from across the country and is the architect and director of the highly successful Preferred Builder Partnership with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group where she works with 32 builders, 22 offices and over 650 agents.
For more information, or to book Kimberly for your next event, visit www.NewHomesSolutions.com, or visit Mackey at LinkedIn,www.linkedin.com/in/kimberlymackey; Twitter,www.twitter.com/KimberlyDMackey; and Facebook,www.facebook.com/NewHomesSolutions or on YouTube, www.youtube.com/c/NewHomesSolutions