Brokers Need To See Silver Linings And Lead Through Down Times

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“You just have to be willing to look at it right,” ERA President Alex Vidal said on stage at ICNY on Tuesday.

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ERA Brand President Alex Vidal was deep into training to compete in an Ironman race at the end of April when he ran into problems with his ankle.

Nursing his tendonitis has prevented him from running while training, he said, yet that, too, has been a blessing: Whereas he previously didn’t have time to swim or lift weights, Vidal’s injury has given him the opening to pick up those activities while he heals his ankle.


Alex Vidal | ERA President

“Every challenge presents a silver lining,” he said. “You just have to be willing to look at it right.”

Brokers need to stay nimble, nurture their agents and foster a sense of energy and collaboration that existed before the COVID pandemic, a group of real estate experts said Tuesday during the opening day of Inman Connect New York.

“In our case, it’s making the extraordinary ordinary,” Vidal said. He noted how a few months ago, the thought of running more than a few miles in a session “seemed insane to me.”

“​​This weekend I biked for four hours on Saturday and ran 16.2 miles on Sunday,” Vidal said. “I started stacking those wins. What seemed extraordinary or crazy to me a couple of months ago now is par for the course.”

Vidal was among several real estate executives who spoke about persistent challenges facing the industry in 2024.

Stuart Siegel, chief strategy officer at Engel & Völkers, said real estate leaders need to lead their teams with “honesty and transparency.” 

“In a shifting market, in an uncertain market, we have to make certain decisions which are not always necessarily the most liked or welcome decisions down to the office or to the branch,” Siegel said. “It’s about a level of honesty, a level of transparency while you’re building this idea of empowerment.”


Stuart Siegel | Chief Strategy Officer of Engel & Völkers.

Siegel said brokers shouldn’t be “Pollyanna-ic” when the market isn’t great and should instead arm their agents with the best possible data to share with clients.

“Not everything is rainbows, unicorns and sunbursts,” Siegel said. “To create stickiness with your business, you have to be really credible. Credibility is: What is the market really doing? What are the stats really telling us? What’s the data really telling us, and where does that create opportunity?” 

Compass President Neda Navab said her company has been stressing the need to get together in person again to create a level of accountability and camaraderie. 

“We’ve had such a push to get our agents back in the office, to get to what we called pre-COVID energy,” Navab said, noting that Compass recently had an in-person event with 1,000 agents from around New York. “It felt like a family reunion. It felt like a Bar Mitzvah. It felt like pre-COVID energy.”

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