In recent weeks I have read many blog posts about realtors worried about their own safety while showing houses to clients and it got me thinking.
We often go into homes without knowing our clients well or what their personal situations are like. I have been in certain situations which made me both very uncomfortable and eager to leave. I wrote a post about one of those situations where during the course of a consultation, our male client proceeded to get quite drunk and follow us around making inappropriate comments both in regards to our appearance as well as making hostile comments about his wife and pets. This culminated in him basically asking my partner out – in front of his wife – at the end of the consult.
Just last week I did a consult on my own and had to meet with two men – both were my clients whom I had talked with over the phone but I had no idea they were both over 6 feet tall and very muscular. Yes they were nice but they might not have been and as a single female I felt quite vulnerable. I kept my cell phone in my hand the whole time – just because it made me feel safer.
So here are some of the tips I can think of – and I would welcome more – for stagers going out to visit client’s homes.
1) Do your homework and ask qualifying questions on the phone. Ask for as much information as you can and get a sense of the situation. This way if you get any negative vibes you can make arrangements to either meet the clients with someone else (my partner in this situation) or to meet up for coffee before continuing onto their home.
2) Ensure the people in your life know your schedule and are aware of when you should be done. Check in with them when you have completed a meeting or staging appointment so that they know all is well.
3) Google your clients. I know people don’t want to hear this but information is king when it comes to meeting clients on their turf.
4) Keep your cellphone with you throughout meetings, or at least have it accessible. This way if something goes awry you have options.
5) When your instincts tell you a situation is ‘off’, make your excuses and leave. Be as honest as you need to be but remove yourself from the situation.
6) For meetings with clients which you just aren’t sure of, take someone else with you. My partner and I do this often with clients where there is either a large renovation involved or when we have gotten certain ‘vibes’ from our inital conversations with clients.
I don’t like to be ‘doom and gloom’ girl but safety is vital when your business is essentially service based, planning for possibilities is never wrong.
I hope you’ll read my suggestions and also give me some of yours as well!