John Lyons is known as one of Chicago’s most trusted real estate agents. As a broker, he is passionate about always continuing to learn and find new ways to improve his business and provide a better experience for his clients. And for John, the support he gets from Baird & Warner Lincoln Park helps him to do all that and more.
John got started in real estate after losing a corporate sales job, which forced him to think differently about his career options.
“That failure made me realize what I didn’t like, and pushed me towards entrepreneurship,” John says. “I was just burnt out and tired, and I realized I didn’t want to work for anybody anymore, particularly a middle manager.”
John explored different career options before deciding on real estate. He already owned two properties and had experience and skills that could transfer over easily, allowing him to bring value to the marketplace.
Starting out, John says, he joined “the first brokerage he went to.”
After selling $3.1 million in his first 6 months in business, John started to take a look at his profit and loss numbers for the year to determine where he was spending the most money.
“What I learned was: Holy smokes, I just paid these people a whole lot of money,” John says. “So I asked my managing broker at the time for insight. The long story short is that I didn’t get a transparent answer from him.”
At this point, John had the numbers to prove what he was capable of doing in a short period of time. So he interviewed at more brokerages to find out what is typical.
“I wanted to make sure I did due diligence before I invested a lot of time in a company,” John says. “Baird & Warner was the most transparent. It seemed almost black and white coming from my previous experience, and it just made sense to me: The way they conducted business, the way they paid their agents, the way they trained agents. So I said that’s where I’m going.”
For John, his time at Baird & Warner has empowered him to focus on a career that he finds truly fulfilling — and grow his real estate business, year over year.
“One of my favorite things about a career in real estate is having a direct and positive impact on someone’s life by helping them through the process,” John says. “If you do your job correctly, people will never forget you.”
And John has the results to show for it. Over the last three years, John has outsold each record year prior “by double digits” — even as the Chicago real estate market’s closed sales have declined year over year in the same period. Currently, he says, he is on pace to outsell 2019 by more than 60% and break $20 million in business. At the same time, John has continued to find new opportunities to bring clients into his pipeline.
“When I started in the business in 2013, nearly 100% of my business came from online leads,” he explains. “In 2020, more than 60% of my business comes from referrals.”
For John, connecting with new people is all in a day’s work.
“I think the name of the game is how many people can you meet and talk to about how you can help them. That’s really what it comes down to,” John says. “People try to overcomplicate it, but it’s all about getting in front of people and being able to convey your value proposition to them so that they want to work with you”
For John, being able to have support at the office level is one of the factors he credits with being able to grow his business.
“The most valuable thing an agent can have with a brokerage, I believe, is the relationship with the managing broker,” he says. “It’s not just the company, it really is the managing broker, and being able to talk with him or her when there is a problem that you need to solve.”
“There are a lot of pitfalls in real estate, and there are a lot of things that you can make a mistake that can be a major detriment to you,” he says. “And if you have the wherewithal to know your limitations and know when to ask for help from somebody that can help you, like our managing broker David Bailey, that can be extremely valuable.”
Having someone you trust to go to for training, guidance, and perspective is particularly important for newer brokers, John says.
“For anybody who’s starting in real estate, you want to have a managing broker who’s going to be able to train you and give you resources that will get you up to speed,” he explains. “It’s all about mitigating the gap of what you don’t know as quickly as possible.”
“The only way for you to be able to provide value to the marketplace is for you to know something that your clients don’t, and that’s going to be valuable to them. The knowledge base that Baird & Warner and the Lincoln Park office provide is very valuable,” he continues. “There are a lot of opportunities for you to learn. Anybody starting in the industry, you want to be a learning machine… Whatever brokerage gives you the tools that allow you to do that is the one you should choose.”
“Ultimately, what agents do is solve problems, John says. “And there’s a lot of problems that you’re not going to understand on your own, especially when you’re just starting out. What are the pitfalls of a certain decision? What are the repercussions of doing this or doing that? You can’t learn that in a book. You can’t read about that in a blog post or a video. It’s got to be a conversation you have with somebody you can trust, and David is one of those people.”
When not busy with real estate, John is an avid runner who has completed the Chicago Marathon five times. He plans to run it again in 2021 to benefit Lurie Children’s Hospital.
Ready to find the brokerage that will be right for your growing real estate business? Want to learn more about our Lincoln Park office? Let’s connect!