Protect Your Team – Security in the Sales Office
Recently an Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter vanished while showing a house to a prospective customer.
New home sales agents go alone with complete strangers into empty, often secluded homes on a regular basis. This puts them in a situation that makes them highly potential targets for all types of brutal crimes – robbery, kidnapping, rape, and even murder. It is imperative that salespeople and builders take precautions to increase safety and security in the precarious environment in which they work.
We at the International New Home Sales Specialists have talked to builders across the U.S. who have implemented safety procedures in their sales offices, and we’ve gathered ideas about what you can do to ensure the well-being of your salespeople. Here are some of the better ideas we’ve found:
- Have a high-quality alarm system installed, and know its features. Arm salespeople with panic buttons that they can carry with them and use in an emergency. Have a panic button installed at the receptionist desk, as well, and have the alarm and panic buttons all connect to local law enforcement. This is the single most important thing you can do, because it ensures that, if a salesperson gets into a bad situation, he or she has a way to call for help, and a good chance of getting out of trouble.
- Use new technologies like Guardly that empowers its users by providing one-touch access to their safety network. Simply launching Guardly on a smartphone will instantly identify a user’s location and alert family, friends, campus security (at schools that have joined its Safe Campus Program) and 9-1-1 that they are having an emergency. Check out the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cZRkvrMQv4&feature=youtu.be
- Contact the local police department. Request that they keep an eye on the property. Offer to give them free coffee if you have it in the sales office. This gives them a reason to stop by from time to time. Seeing that the police come by on a regular basis will be a major deterrent to someone who may be planning to commit a crime in your community
- Call your police department and request that they conduct a self-defense training course for your salespeople. Many police departments will provide this service for free
- Make sure that the sales office, the models, and, if possible, the streets are well-lit
- Be sure that there are always at least two cars in the parking lot when anyone is in the sales office. This will make it less obvious when a salesperson is alone in the office, making him or her a less likely target. Try to make sure that the “other” car isn’t always the same one, because that could make it apparent to someone who is watching the activity in your community that the car is a decoy. The cars can belong to members of the construction crew, people who live in the community or salespeople who might be able to set up a carpool rotation
- Look at your sales office and models from a distance. Go across the street and evaluate how they might look from the eyes of a criminal. Do the windows appear sturdy? Are there shrubs covering them? Is there adequate lighting near all windows and exits, and in parking lots and driveways? If your sales center or models look like places where someone could commit a crime and go undetected, your community is a much more likely target
- Set up the lighting so that, when the last salesperson leaves the office, he or she doesn’t have to walk around the community turning off lights. Connect all the lighting to a main circuit so the last person just has to flip one or two switches on the way out of the office
- Carry Pepper Spray on your key chain.
We believe that safety is all-important and should be of utmost concern to all salespeople and builders. In the interest of the well-being of everyone in the home building industry, we are seeking your safety and security ideas. If you’ve implemented something that we haven’t mentioned in this article, please tell us.