The feminine touch

“I see a very big disconnect in our industry where agents are moving from one transaction to the other. In fact, a lot of us call them deals, which is not, a wonderful term to use, whereas the consumer is really looking to start the next phase of their lives.” – Sherry Chris

Topic – More female leaders

Mentor – Sherry Chris and Sherrie Storor


Kevin:   And now he’s Sherrie Storor from Inman Connect in New York, as she speaks to Sherry Chris from Better Homes and Gardens.

Sherrie:   Absolutely. So demoted to have you here today, but you’ve also been a speaker on stage twice, I believe, here at the Inman Conference. Correct?

Sherry:   I have, and so it’s a pleasure to sit down with my Australian namesake.

Sherrie:   I love that, the two Sherrys.

Sherry:   The two Sherrys are talking.

Sherrie:   Everyone thinks it’s hilarious. So, on the stage, what did you really cover today? Give us some of what you really bought to the audience here at the conference.

Sherry:   Well, I had a very interesting experience on stage, because I was paired up with a man who’s been blind from birth.

Sherrie:   Wow.

Sherry:   And so, what we were talking about was that real estate is often just visual, and there’s so much more to our other senses than just looking at photography, which really should be the starting point of beautiful videos. And then as real estate professionals, we should take things to a deeper level with the consumer.

Sherrie:   Oh, that’s so beautiful and so powerful, isn’t it? Because you’re-

Sherry:   It was.

Sherrie:   … you’re exactly right. We do kind of forget about those things. But real estate, it’s such a personal and such an emotional journey when you’re buying and selling, and sometimes we forget about that and we just see it very transactional. And I know that’s something that’s very important to you. So can you elaborate on that a little bit?

Sherry:   Absolutely. And so, for me, I see a very big disconnect in our industry where agents are moving from one transaction to the other. In fact, a lot of us call them deals, which is not, a wonderful term to use, whereas the consumer is really looking to start the next phase of their lives. They’re dreaming about the next phase of their lives, they’re thinking about lifestyle, they’re thinking about community, and they’re not thinking about a transaction. And so, what we try, and train our agents to do and urge agencies to create a deeper relationship with the consumer, find out what’s inside their head, and exceed their expectations by taking them through a journey. And the end of that journey is of course, the beginning of the next journey, but the end of that journey is moving in to a new beautiful home with their family and just having a wonderful life.

Sherrie:   Yeah, a next chapter in their life, so to say.

Sherry:   Exactly.

Sherrie:   So we’re very lucky that we get to be a part of that, and I think that’s what the Better Homes and Gardens brand is all about. It’s actually about life, not just a transaction, isn’t it?

Sherry:   So it really is, and that’s one of the reasons why we were so excited to launch the Better Homes and Gardens brand 10 years ago now.

Sherrie:   Wow.

Sherry:   I know, time has flown by quickly, but it’s a wonderful lifestyle brand, and it really helps people visualise, and live and feel what their lives are all about.

Sherrie:   Yeah. It’s interesting, because as you say, a lot has happened in 10 years, but of course, the company I hear, is expanding and we saw you in Australia last year. You were brought on over and I know that the brand has been growing there and watch out 2019, because I believe the takeover is actually here. So, what is the global picture for Better Homes and Gardens?

Sherry:   Well, we are licenced in many countries to actually sell franchises, but we do have a strategic plan. We have a couple of countries that we’re working on, we’re negotiating with wonderful people right now, I can’t tell you-

Sherrie:   I love that, you can’t tell us?

Sherry:   I can’t tell you. I think that hopefully there’ll be some announcements soon. But Australia, I couldn’t be more excited about, and I just love everything that my colleagues in Australia are doing with the brand. Their advertising and social media is just so on brand, and now, agents and brokers will start joining and it’s going to be a huge kickoff.

Sherrie:   We look forward to seeing that. I think one of the big parts of Better Homes and Gardens is it’s very female orientated, whether it be internally within the brand and the recruitment of people working for the company or externally. So tell us a little bit about this.

Sherry:   Well, it’s interesting. We look at the magazine, about 75% of the readership are women, but 25% are men. And so, it is a magazine that appeals to many, many people. When we look at the real estate industry here in the United States, I think that 63% of real estate agents are female.

Sherrie:   Wow, 63% of agents in the states are females?

Sherry:   Correct. And so, there’s a great appeal to the brand. But one of the early worries that I had Sherrie, when I was building up the value proposition to launch Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate here, is that men wouldn’t be interested in it, but the opposite was true. Because you know what we find is that, there’s one family member that has more of a say in moving and that’s quite often in a family, the woman.

Sherrie:   Yeah. So she’s power broker so to say?

Sherry:   She is. And I hand out Better Homes and Gardens cook books a lot, and I hand just as many books out to men.

Sherrie:   Well, I think that’s important because we do need to really represent both genders, but I just know that that’s something that’s been very important. And speaking of which, and women in the workforce and in the industry, I mean, particularly, around the world really, we don’t have a lot of female leaders, I suppose. What do you think we can really be doing to encourage more women into more management positions within the industry?

Sherry:   I get asked this question a lot, and my answer first and foremost is, you have to believe in yourself, and if you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything. I’m sure you know this Sherrie, because you’ve achieved great success yourself. And so with women, you need to wake up every morning and say, I can do this. Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter what it is, but exceed your own expectations and exceed your own goals. And so, that is the first step and then everything else will unfold.

Sherrie:   Yeah. Well, I think that that’s super important. Step one, believe in yourself. But I also think too, we need more role models in this industry, and one of the things that we love so much, and particularly when you came out to Australia was, and while we embraced you so greatly, it was because we just love having more female role models. And so, I think actually taking inspiration and seeing that other women have done such remarkable things and are celebrated for their skillset, is super, super important. So, thank you.

Sherry:   Oh, it’s my pleasure. I was really overwhelmed being in Australia and the warm reception that I received there. I want to say thank you to you, because you were a part of that. But if I could talk about women for just another moment, and it’s really interesting because the California Association of Realtors just launched a programme for women, it’s called Woman UP.

Sherrie:   We’ve actually had Deborah Trappen in on the show this morning.

Sherry:   Perfect, so she was talking about it.

Sherrie:   Yes.

Sherry:   Now, this is the second time. As we’re sitting here talking, I’m thinking it would be wonderful to take Woman UP to Australia as well.

Sherrie:   Well, this may now is happening, and as you know, I’m such a big part of that in Australia, because I feel that there’s actually time now to celebrate women for their skillset and to create more voices, whether you be young or old, whether you’re in property management, whether you’re in management, whether you’re a sales agent, whether you’re in support, there is room for all of us. And I think we need to celebrate and have different role models in all those different positions in the industry, but this Woman UP concept, which is about whether you’re male or female, let’s talk about being collaborative and supportive of everybody in this business and make sure there’s enough voices. Correct?

Sherry:   Absolutely. And so, it really is about collaboration, and I look at everyone as human beings and I get energy from both genders. It’s wonderful to be in this great real estate industry and to really be helping people move on to the next phase of their lives, and also to be at a conference like this, Inman Connect, it’s my 21st year here-

Sherrie:   It’s your 21st? Wow.

Sherry:   Yes, yes.

Sherrie:   That’s very impressive.

Sherry:   … and I learn something each and every time that I can take back and incorporate into what we do at Better Homes and Gardens to improve our network.

Sherrie:   What’s been the big takeaway for you from the conference so far?

Sherry:   Less technology, but more innovative thinking. And so, we have to use their brains more. One of the things I always think about when it comes to technology is, technology creates efficiencies for us, it helps us be more efficient, time management, all of that type of thing. But we need to use our brains and think differently when we’re working with colleagues and working with the end consumer as well.

Sherrie:   I think that’s really important, and I think probably for me, one of the biggest takeaways is that yes, technology is there to help us, but it’s then that heart to heart connection that’s established by us still connecting and still establishing those relationships. So let’s embrace the technology, but let’s make sure that what makes this so personal is actually still there, and that we’re still really embracing that. Correct?

Sherry:   Exactly.

Sherrie:   I have some rapid fire questions and look, I follow you on social media and one of the things that I love so much about following you is that I hear your personality on social media, and quite often we have different people who post on our behalves, but when we know that we’re getting a post there, we’re seeing you, and I think that’s really, really powerful. So, talking of which, we’re at a tech conference, let’s make these rapid fire questions all about social and all about tech. So, tell me structure or chaos?

Sherry:   I am a structure person.

Sherrie:   Structure person?

Sherry:   Yes.

Sherrie:   Wonderful. What’s your favourite Instagram filter?

Sherry:   My favourite Instagram filter, I just use the no filter.

Sherrie:   I love it. It’s interesting, people often say to me, “Sherrie, we’re just going to Photoshop this, and Photoshop that.” I’m like, “No, I actually want to be real and raw and authentic-

Sherry:   Want to be real and raw.

Sherrie:   Yes.

Sherry:   I’ve tried some of them and they don’t look natural. I’m just a straight on Instagram girl.

Sherrie:   Love it. What do you swipe up on? Is there something that captures your interest when you’re scrolling through social media?

Sherry:   Well, if we want to stay on the Instagram theme, I love fashion and design and architecture, and so, those are my go to hashtags when I’m sitting in an airport or I have a few minutes just to look at some of that stuff. There’s a few crazy sites that I shouldn’t tell you about on camera. There’s one site that I will tell you. I know that everyone’s going to want to go and see it now, but it’s called Passenger Shaming, and I fly a lot. I fly over 200,000 miles a year. So this site, it actually was started by some flight attendants and they put all the crazy pictures of being silly and often stupid things that people do on a plane. So there you go.

Sherrie:   It’s very entertaining.

Sherry:   It’s somewhat entertaining.

Sherrie:   Fantastic. What’s your favourite time wasting app? It sounds like we’ve got a favourite site, but what’s your favourite time wasting app?

Sherry:   My favourite time wasting app, oh boy.

Sherrie:   To zone out.

Sherry:   Yeah. I’m going to go back to social again, and Facebook, Twitter and Insta, or as the millennials now say, “I’m gramming it.”

Sherrie:   The Gramme, yeah.

Sherry:   I actually Gramme, so I’ll see you on the Gramme. What I like to do on those sites is really keep in touch with my network, both personal and professional. So that’s my time waster where I can absolutely get lost in there and searching for things and connecting with people. One of the things that is probably somewhat unique is that I do all my own posting-

Sherrie:   You do.

Sherry:   … and all my own writing, and that to me, makes a big difference because it’s me. For a period of time, I did outsource it and I really didn’t like the result, because it wasn’t authentic.

Sherrie:   Yeah. I think that’s why people love you so much, because they actually see the real you, they feel connected to you for that particular reason. I think that’s one thing we’re told constantly in real estate, is to embrace social media, however, they outsource it. So it’s just meaningless. You may as well not do it, because it’s actually more damaging to your brand than including.

Sherry:   It really is damaging to your brand.

Sherrie:   Yes. So tell me, Apple or Windows?

Sherry:   Apple.

Sherrie:   Apple? And what’s the one tech gadget that totally rocked your life that changed your life?

Sherry:   My one tech gadget is my iPad, and here’s the reason, is that I have everything on it. So, I can text from it, I have all of my magazines through an app called Texture. So there’s an app that I couldn’t live without, a couple of hundred magazines I love to read when I’m in an airport on a plane, and my newspapers, starting with the New York Post every morning, which tells the true story of New York. And so, that’s my first read in the morning.

Sherrie:   I love that, white lists for travelling.

Sherry:   What’s the last thing that you googled?

Sherrie:   Oh my gosh, jeez. Actually, I’m going to tell you what the last thing that I googled was. I was sitting in a session, and somebody was talking about time blocking. So I’m thinking, “Okay, well, don’t we all do that?” So I googled it to see if I was missing something and I wasn’t.

Sherry:   You’re on it. Your favourite Emoji?

Sherrie:   Oh, my favourite Emoji.

Sherry:   The green or the pink heart.

Sherrie:   Very nice. And your guilty follow, who’s somebody outside the industry that you follow that intrigues you?

Sherry:   I can’t say the word on … There’s a site that is called F blank, blank, blank, Jerry. So it’s actually somewhat of an advertising site, but it’s also satire.

Sherrie:   It’s very funny.

Sherry:   You know it, right?

Sherrie:   I do.

Sherry:   I don’t want to use that word, not that I don’t use it several times a day. So it’s a site that really when you have nothing to do, you can go scroll out and roll your eyes and it’s hilarious, right?

Sherrie:   Well, you heard it straight from Sherry Chris that you want to jump on it and follow F Jerry on Instagram. So Sherry, thank you so much for joining us today and for giving some of your time.

Kevin:   And remember, you can see the full interview that Sherrie had there with Sherry Chris, it’s available now at Tomorrow, I’m going to catch up with Nigel Jeffries from Trade Me in New Zealand. He was there as well. See You tomorrow morning.

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