By: Tracey Hawkins, CEO of Safety and Security Source
Earn the CSSS designation to stand out from the crowd, increase your bottom line and form lasting relationships with clients.
As a former real estate agent and safety educator for over 22 years, Tracey Hawkins had to find a way to get agents excited about safety. Unfortunately, it often takes a tragedy to get agents to attend safety classes despite those classes being scheduled and encouraged by leadership. For whatever reason, agents would not show up, and this translated into an unwise investment on behalf of REALTOR® associations and boards.
Tracey had an "aha moment" nearly five years ago when she decided she needed to show agents how to make more money by taking safety seriously and integrating it into their businesses. She recalled a previous conversation with an association education director that told her agents will not attend classes unless they are learning how to make more money. Tracey’s challenge was to find a way for agents to learn safe work practices and to convert that knowledge into safe business techniques that would give them an edge.
So Tracey created a designation class where agents could complete two, three-hour CE classes to earn the Consumer Safety and Security Specialist (CSSS) designation. The goal was to add safety and value to consumer relationships. Taking this extra step would make the agent stand out from the crowd, increase their bottom line and form lasting relationships with clients.
Four ways the CSSS designation adds value to relationships:
During listing presentations, sellers are inundated with marketing presentations from agents that consistently promote the same things: we can put your house in the MLS, we will hold it open, we will create promotional flyers, etc. What was missing from this approach was safety.
Through the CSSS designation, agents learn to focus on the safety and security of the real estate process from the very first meeting. The agent utilizes a security checklist and walks through the house with the seller (this step is solely for safety reasons and not to look at the condition of the house for marketing). The agent will query the seller about lighting, locks, landscaping and getting financial documents, jewelry and valuables out of sight. These agents are determining security vulnerabilities and offering advice on eliminating them so that the seller has peace of mind when the house is on the market. Typically, the “average” agent hasn’t taken the time to show concern for their safety nor the safety and security of the seller's family and possessions. The security-focused agent stands out from the crowd.
Agents are not legally allowed to answer certain buyer questions about crime or safety in a neighborhood. This omission can be awkward when buyers are looking to agents for guidance in finding a safe home for their family.
When agents have a safety-first mindset, they can incorporate their safety training from the CSSS designation and become a resource for the buyer. The most important part is learning what crime prevention and resources are available to share.
Tracey encourages agents to lead their clients to the local police department’s crime prevention unit and/or website. Most agencies have Facebook pages or a place where a crime log is located. This encourages buyers to do the research on their own to determine what risks they are or are not willing to take in a neighborhood where a potential home may be.
FOR SALE BY OWNERS (FSBO)
The FSBO market is full of homeowners who don’t think they need a real estate agent. Imagine their dismay when they put their sign out and are immediately besieged by agents calling, offering to put their house in the MLS and hold it open. Granted, getting that listing is desirable for agents, but Tracey encourages interested listing agents to approach FSBOs sellers differently and offer to help them maneuver the process in a safer manner.
Agents should create a safety checklist specifically for FSBOs that contains tips and suggestions that these sellers probably never thought about. FSBOs are laser focused on making more money by saving a commission. They haven’t thought about the vulnerable position they are putting themselves and their families in by opening their homes to the public.
Finally, agents who invest in the CSSS designation can implement that training into their businesses and marketing. This knowledge will give consumers confidence that the agent is careful and values safety and security.
Consumer Safety and Security Specialist (CSSS) designation
SHOW THAT YOU WORK SAFELY AND CAN PROVIDE SAFETY AND SECURITY RESOURCES TO PROTECT YOUR CLIENTS!
When you complete six hours of real estate agent safety continuing education training, you are not only earning CE credits and learning how to work safely as an agent, but you will be qualified to help consumers make safe and secure choices when they work with you. LEARN MORE AT SAFETYANDSECURITYSOURCE.COM
Tracey Hawkins, a.k.a. "Tracey, the Safety Lady," is founder and CEO of Safety and Security Source. See her speak at XCHANGE '17 in September to learn more about adding safety to your business to make more money.