IWD – celebrating our top women – Rachel Berry

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Why real estate and how did you start in the industry?
At the time, I was working in marketing and my husband and I had sacrificed our social lives to renovate houses – we ended up doing about half a dozen properties to try and get ahead while all our friends were overseas in London. I became obsessed with going to open homes even when I wasn’t looking. I really loved it.

My youngest was about to start school and I thought I would give it a try. I have always been a real people pleaser and just love helping people. When I started, I’d get caught redecorating people’s houses, moving furniture around, loaning them stuff from my own house and then not even get the listing.

It was tough! But my shoulders are much wider now and the odd time that happens to me, I just reflect and think maybe we weren’t the right fit to work together anyway and maybe it’s for the best. After all, I’d hate to tarnish my 10/10 customer satisfaction rating! I still do all those things; my of type personality can’t help but have it all perfect and I am lucky as 99 per cent of people really do appreciate it.

How does your usual day look?
I get up as the sun comes up and go for a walk or run, answer a few emails, get the kids off to school. Then, at 09.00, we have a quick team meeting – normally virtually – on current listings, upcoming, our pipeline, then it’s off to appraisals, doing call backs to buyers, problem solving with the team, and meetings with vendors.

Our team is very structured and very streamlined. Everyone has their lane, and it works so, so well. I spend a lot of time on the phone and with people so it’s just as well I am an extrovert! Around 17.30 I pick the kids up from their after-school sports and then its normally back to work after dinner, it’s a great time to focus and get a lot done.

Just like anyone at the top of their industry, they will tell you it is hard work, and real estate is no different but when you love it, it really doesn’t feel like work.

What do you enjoy most about being with Ray White? What makes real estate different?
I spoke to all the real estate brands before moving to Ray White and the reason I moved three and a half years ago, was not only a gut feel on trusting the business owner I was going to work with, but also the fact that it was obvious that Ray White excels with providing the latest in technology, premium branding and most importantly, it has an exceptional high-performance auction culture, with amazing auctioneers and training.

I’ve discovered there is great leadership and energy within Ray White, and as a business its business leadership is proven within the industry. I find the culture even between offices to be very collaborative, in particular the office I work from, is amazing. In the three and a half years of working in Ray White, I have managed to grow my business ten times from what I was doing before being part of the (happy) yellow brand!

Tell me about a unique success story?
I have worked tirelessly over the past few years to not only grow my business but to be recognised in a leadership role within the business. I’m now an equity partner in the office I work in, but what’s important with this is that you can’t be invited into to it solely based on your sales performance, you have to demonstrate leadership by actively helping and encouraging others.

It was a really big deal to be invited into the leadership team, as real estate can be so much more than selling houses when you get to see others grow and achieve. I regularly hear from female peers in the industry who are not fortunate enough to work in such a trusting and supportive environment and who are really struggling.

From a sales perspective, last year we had severely distressed owners who needed to sell their properties as their lives had been affected by COVID. It was incredibly rewarding to achieve phenomenal results for them which gave them freedom and flexibility. I have noticed especially over the past two years that I am consistently working with very likeminded clients which not only energises me, but I truly believe it influences great outcomes for them.

What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you first started out?
I wish I had invested in getting a team up and running earlier. Just like any business, you can’t grow without capacity.

Where do you see yourself in the next 12 months? What are your goals?
Work-life balance, be happy, retain and recruit good people, keep focused on client service. I have proven year-on-year exponential growth has come when those things work in harmony.

Are there any other Ray White women who inspire you and why?
I’m lucky enough in my office to work with some pretty amazing women. You don’t have to be a business owner or Elite salesperson to have the admiration and respect of those around you, these women demonstrate a relentless work ethic, willingness to learn and grow, have a positive attitude and energy, are compassionate, confident, and lead by example.

They are in the top of their field in what they do – Clarissa Searle, Hannah Kelly, Mairead Cornille, Tegan Stent, I feel very lucky to work with you all! To be fair, I work with some pretty amazing guys too, we all know they can be painful and annoying, but when things go pear shaped a male perspective can be pretty darn useful (but just don’t tell them I said that).

What advice would you give to women starting out in the industry?
I believe real estate is an industry where there are more successful women than men! Our innate empathy, attention to detail and a willingness to grow and learn makes it a perfect career for outgoing, genuine, smart women. I met a young ex-Air New Zealand hostess working in retail. She was so exceptional, and I couldn’t get her out of my mind thinking she was wasted in what she was doing.

It weighed on my mind and it took me six months to call her and tell her I thought she would have a bright future in real estate. She’s currently doing her papers, and I have no doubt she will be a superstar. Watch this space – I’m so excited to see where she goes.