As professional educators on violence prevention and personal protection within the real estate industry, we have been told of situations when a Realtor has been contacted by a predator – someone they feel may intend to do them harm. The normal course of action when this happens is to report their experience to their board. A Realtor Alert is drafted and delivered through the board to its members. The response from the board will usually provide a general explanation of the encounter, without too many specifics. After all, we need to be concerned about this individual’s privacy!
A general recommendation is made to the members to not take further calls or to have any other contact with the individual, and these alerts are often ended with “be safe out there” – all acceptable and solid advice. But do we as an industry really understand the mindset, motivation and extent that some of these individuals will go to obtain what they desire?
Let us introduce you to the “process predator”. During our training sessions we state that awareness, avoidance and education are essential components in the real estate professional’s safety plan. It’s imperative that we know how to identify threats and assess their risk against us, especially when dealing with these dangerous personalities.
This type of predator has the ability to ignore the humanity of those they have harmed. They believe physical violence is their first and only resource.
They can be charming, friendly and nice. They use facial expressions as a mask of deception against their victims in order to gain trust and allow them to close space on their unsuspecting mark.
This individual targets real estate agents for the sake of the hunt. In their minds they are the top of the food chain; they are the wolves who stalk the flock.
The process predator needs and enjoys privacy for what they intend to do. They will attempt luring the victim to a place that provides them with the concealment they seek.
Some, but not all, will enjoy meeting or having encounters with their victim before their true introduction. Open houses and property viewings are often used for this and in some cases will become the place where the hunter chooses to take off his mask.
The predator learns from his mistakes and failures when he contacts the agent. He doesn’t normally act on a whim because he sees something he likes; the predator needs to plan his meeting and his introduction. The phone and mail are tools used to talk to his victims, sometimes to scare or frighten them, often learning and adapting from the responses and rejections he receives from targets. He will use these negatives as education to become more successful at his art until he eventually hooks a victim and gets them to meet him.
He may be a rapist, a murderer, the one who believes he has the right to have your body or take your life. He lures, then attacks with a highspeed surprise strike that will shock and stun the victim’s response and defence. He is not an individual who will steal a purse from the front of a real estate office or take a jewelry box while visiting an open house, or physically beat the male Realtor for money – he is much more dangerous than that.
Regardless of where his true introduction takes place and the friendly mask is removed – a basement, open house, office or on a private viewing, if you meet this individual, understand that trying to de-escalate his encounter with words can be highly dangerous and is likely to be unsuccessful. If you start to plead for your safety and beg release with this predator, it will only increase the rage and violence of the attack. They have made the decision in advance of your meeting to have your body or take your life.
Your communication skills with this individual must only be a non-verbal form of education. This communication needs to be delivered in the only manner the process predator understands. We firmly believe that if you meet him, you must fight, not talk. You must make the decision, “I am going home.” You must act fast and you must be the storm!
He may block your access from leaving a room or push or pull you into a bathroom by your hair. Worse yet, he may hook you into going (or physically take you) to another location of his choice. You must fight with everything you have.
We know through client experience that during a violent attack, you may find it easier to give up and provide this predator with the thing he desires most, you. You must keep fighting.
We ask you this, if the fight becomes too much and it seems easier to let go than to live, who will you keep fighting for if not for yourself? Is not seeing your child again the trigger you need to keep going? Is it your partner or spouse that will bring you to that animalistic level of survival to keep fighting and not stop? Make that decision now, here today, while you are reading this article. Who will you keep fighting for?
What are you prepared to do and will you do everything it takes to make sure you go home? Think about that question and answer it. Then you’ll be imprinted with a survival mentality.