Q&A With Andy Tolbert, CEO of SaferAgent

Tell us a bit about SaferAgent.

SaferAgent trains real estate professionals how to protect themselves and their customers from everything from physical attacks to burglary and identity theft. Every time a Realtor attack makes the news, we get a flurry of training requests. Our mission is to train agents to AVOID and PREVENT these attacks from ever happening in the first place. Our training is simple, entertaining, and easy to implement and agents can start their new habits as soon as they leave class.

What gave you the idea for your business and how did it start?

While previewing a foreclosure home many years ago, I screamed as I came face to face with a squatter in a house. While that incident turned out ok, I realized that it could have just have easily ended badly. I made it MY quest to train in personal safety and self-defense and soon had others asking to learn what I knew. As I was already a real estate broker and instructor, it was a logical next step to share my real estate safety knowledge with other agents.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

While I love teaching and seeing the students “get it” in a class, and of course I love testimonials where I hear “Anytime I go into a house I hear your voice in my ear telling me what to do” the real satisfaction comes in something we can never prove or quantify. I believe I have LITERALLY already saved lives with the training I’ve shared, and luckily that’s not anything we can ever prove. HaHa, how many companies HOPE to never get a real testimonial for our training or our products!?!?

What are your keys to making yourself productive?

That’s something I struggle with every day. Other entrepreneurs look at all I do and say “do you ever sleep?” but sometimes I feel like the duck gliding across the lake… from what you can see he looks all graceful and smooth but underneath he’s paddling like hell!

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

We’ve been working on expanding SaferAgent to all 50 states and adding instructors to teach our material so we can get our training into as many real estate offices as possible. Every time I see a story in the news or I get tagged in something on Facebook my heart sinks and I wonder if we could have prevented it if only we had gotten to that state already for training. We’re also going to launch some online learning opportunities to help spread the safety message even sooner.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

Vet your partners carefully, but don’t think you can do everything yourself.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

Our “field” is kind of a small niche. But for others that want to get into coaching, training, or online learning I would say always be a great student and you’ll also be a great teacher.

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?

Right now there’s not a whole lot of time for fun, but my husband and I love to go on cruises, chill in front of TV to decompress, cuddle my 2 doggies, and squeeze in an action steel match here and there.

Name a few influential books you’ve read and/or websites you keep up with that you’d recommend to readers.

I don’t have time to read, but anytime I’ll be in the car more than about 15 minutes I’ve got an audiobook running. My recent favorite that I tell EVERYONE about is by Amanda Ripley and called “The Unthinkable: who survives when disaster strikes and why” and anything by Grant Cardone if you’re looking for some sales skills and get-it-done motivation slaps.