Becky Sexson has earned numerous professional accolades since launching her real estate career five years ago — from being named Baird & Warner’s Rookie of the Year in her first year in business, to being named a Rising Star in Chicago Real Producers magazine, to being designated as a Top Producer in Chicago by the Chicago Association of REALTORS®.
But before transitioning from a career path in the not-for-profit space, “real estate was not really ever on my mind,” Becky says.
That all changed when she went through the process of buying a condo, which sparked her interest in the real estate. And, as she tells it, it was her now-husband who first made her believe that a career in real estate might be the perfect fit.
“He put a bug in my ear,” Becky explains. “He would say, ‘hey, I think you’d be great selling real estate. You’re really organized, a great networker, you’re really outgoing, you can build relationships and you’re good with numbers… Maybe it’s something that you might want to consider.’”
So Becky ended up getting her license and jumping into real estate, giving herself a year in which she would devote herself to building her business full-time, with the same level of dedication and planning she had used to structure and excel in her previous 9-to-5 jobs. It ended up being one of the best decisions she ever could have made, she says.
“I think the number one thing that all successful agents have in common is that they treat it like a career,” Becky explains. “A lot of the top agents in our office are here during the week. They’reworking on their business. It sounds very simple, but at the end of the day I think it’s all about consistency and hard work. I’m a firm believer that you get out what you put in.”
“The thing that’s so unique about real estate is that there are so many different avenues to be successful. What might work for one person might not work for another,” she continues. “Everyone hasa different personality, different clientele, a different strategy, and they all work! ”
“But at the end of the day, I think that that consistency and that hard work is what’s going to drive your success.”
After obtaining her license, Becky interviewed with multiple brokerages around Chicago. It was Baird & Warner’s long history as a family-owned company that drew her to the brokerage — particularly as someone who grew up carrying on the legacy of a beloved family-owned business herself.
“I grew up in the suburbs and my parents had a bakery, Jarosch Bakery, which is my maiden name. ” Becky says. “And something that really stuck out to me about Baird & Warner is that it is a family company. Because I knew what it was like carrying the name of a company growing up, I knew Steve Baird would invest and want to take care of his agents in the same way, because we are not only representing ourselves, but his last name as well.”
And it was the management team, collaborative culture, and focus on training that helped her feel right at home in the Lincoln Park office.
“Coming in not knowing anything about selling real estate, I wanted somewhere that would set you up for success and give you all the tools needed to be successful in this industry,” she says. “There’s a really strong education culture here, and Managing Broker David Bailey is always setting up different educational trainings and opportunities to learn more. I think that’s very important , because this business is always changing. You always have to be learning, you always have to be shifting how you do things.”
For Becky, that also means adopting forward-thinking approaches to client outreach, and building relationships that have helped her cultivate a sustainable, referral-based business.
“When I first got into real estate, I was consistently told that I had to make phone calls and I had to call everybody in my sphere and talk to them, and the thought of that stressed me out, to be honest. I’m not a phone person. I was stressed out for the first two years of real estate, just always thinking about how I need to call people,” Becky says. “I’ve found that, especially with people in their 20s or 30s, shooting a text, reacting to a story on Instagram or talking on social media is pretty similar to a phone call and a great way to start a conversation, sometimes even leading to real estate!. Starting a conversation that way, to me, is more authentic and real, not just a way to get business.”
On top of social media, most of Becky’s business comes from referrals. She is the President of a professional networking chapter of Business Network International, or BNI, a unique networking group in which only one person from every industry is allowed to be included per chapter, she explains. This allows professionals to build personal relationships, with the goal of passing out referrals and giving each other business. Becky also balances reaching new clients with “client appreciation events” focused on fostering relationships and maintaining connections with her past clients and her sphere.
And building those deeper relationships is one of the most rewarding aspects of her career in real estate, Becky says.
“You think you know what’s going on in all of your friends’ lives, or the people that you know, based on their social media. But at the end of the day, that’s only a sliver of their life.ith this job, you’re given the opportunity to connect & sometimes reconnect with past colleagues, former schoolmates and friends to assist them with an extremely exciting time in their life! Along the way, you build & strengthen friends and to me, that is something that’s really rewarding. I don’t know a lot of industries that really give you that opportunity,” she says.
Recently, Becky has been enjoying the simple things in life,, including enjoying Chicago’s restaurant scene with her husband, getting into the culture of Peloton, and spending time with her 20-month old daughter.
“It’s really refreshing to get to see life through her eyes and the things that excite her. It reminds you of the really small things in life that bring people joy,” she says.
She’s also been focused on celebrating the little victories in her own life.
“I think in this marketplace, finding a home for your buyer, submitting an offer in and winning is a huge feat in itself,” she says, laughing. “So some of my biggest success stories this past year have been finding off-market properties and going under contract before it goes live to the market..”
Curious about how the training, support, and services at Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park can help take your business to the next level? Get in touch today to get the conversation started.