Stranger Danger - Real Estate Referrals are strangers too
As real estate agents we put our lives at risk everyday. Many times we don't even realize we are putting ourselves at risk or our life in danger but with REALTOR® Safety Awareness month coming to an end and the tragic story of Beverly Carter, it's a brutal reminder that we have to be more careful and aware of our safety and the risks we take to sell a home.
Some of the news feeds and Facebook posts I read regarding Beverly Carter said she was meeting with a referral which made me think about referrals are strangers too. We all love real estate referrals but are we letting our guard down when a referral contacts us? How do we know a referral is a real referral? With so many social media websites, it's easy for a predator to make a connection between and someone on your friend's list or twitter follower and use their name as the referrer when contacting you. The next time I receive a referral, I'm going to contact the referrer immediately to thank them for the referral. Assuming the referrer will know exactly the referral I'm thanking them for but if not and even if they do, just because someone knows someone - do they really know them? Sure it can be a family member or close friend of the referrer but it can also be someone they met in passing at the bank or grocery store and they casually mentioned your name to.
This week I'm going to take time and contact my sphere of influence, friends, family, old clients, current clients, etc. and let them know how much I love and appreciate referrals and explain to them my concern for safety and let them know that upon receiving contact from a referral I'm going to immediately send them an email, phone call or text message thanking them for the referral and to contact me immediately if they did not refer this person to me. I'm also going to make sure my guard isn't down just because we have a mutual friend or contact. Predators are skilled at fooling people.
We spend our entire childhood with adults drilling stranger danger into our heads and then we instill the same fear into our children and family. NEVER talk to strangers, NEVER get into cars with strangers, NEVER open the door and let a stranger inside, etc., etc., etc. At some point we became real estate agents and we meet strangers at vacant properties, literally invite strangers into open houses and drive strangers around in our cars. Do we sometimes put stranger danger aside and risk our lives to sell a home? Do we put our guard down when someone mentions a mutual friend or contact? I'm positive that many do. I know I do!!
We have to remember our safety first. I think I we tend to put our guard down if I we think the "stranger" is a referral or is safe because I we have a mutual friend. Predators are skilled in fooling people. We need to remember selling a home is NEVER more important than our safety - no matter who or where that buyer came from! Never let your guard down!! Stranger Danger - referrals are strangers too!!
My heart and deepest sympathy goes to the family, friends, co-workers and community of Beverly Carter.