Alex Vidal, President, ERA Real Estate
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

ERA president: To ‘accomplish really big things,’ you need a plan 

Alex Vidal, who took the helm at ERA last June, thinks about real estate like he thinks about his athletic endeavors — you have to work through the challenges.

May 12, 2024
5 minutes

Key points:

  • To be successful in a race — or in real estate — you need to have a plan and a coach, Vidal said.
  • You’ll face obstacles along the way, he acknowledged, but you a choice to either pivot or “go for it.”
  • For franchise leaders, growth and renewals boil down to one thing, he said: “Make sure your agents are raving fans.”

Alex Vidal believes overcoming obstacles in real estate is much like competing in an Ironman: With so much outside of your control, concentrate on the things you can influence.

While running the last two miles of an Ironman triathlon in April — a race involving a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run — Vidal was "seeing stars" and knew "there was nothing left in the tank." But he forged ahead and finished well within his personal goal.

It was his focus on the journey and not the outcome, he said, that made the experience worthwhile. "Whether you're selling real estate, phone service or a pen, it's just a widget. My widget was the Ironman," said Vidal, president of ERA Real Estate.

Stick to a plan, and focus on what you can control

ERA President Alex Vidal displays his finisher medal after completing an Ironman Triathlon.
ERA President Alex Vidal after completing an Ironman Triathlon. (ERA Real Estate)

He credits his success to working with a coach who helped him turn his goal into a reality. "If you want to accomplish really big things in life, you need to have a plan and a coach," Vidal said. "I literally woke up knowing what I had to do every day and stuck to it. We had a successful race, when so much can go wrong."

While he avoided any major calamities, he did sustain injuries. In January, tendonitis in his ankle prevented him from running — his favorite activity and strength — for a month. As a result, he concentrated on biking and his weakness: swimming. "I focused on what I could control in the meantime and I had a spectacular swim," he said. And six days before the race, he tweaked his back and needed support from a physical therapist.

"You'll encounter obstacles along the way of achieving anything great," Vidal said. "You have a choice. You can either pivot or learn how to dance in the rain and go for it. I couldn't control getting injured but I could control how I reacted to it."

The same applies to working in real estate: "You can control the efforts you make day in and day out to not only survive but thrive in the business."

Working toward success, together

One thing Vidal could control was his mindset. He believed in himself and found a coach who believed in him too. Equally important, he had friends and colleagues cheering him on before and during the race.

In his first 11 months as president of ERA, he is thrilled to be that person for the brokerage's agents.

"Our brokerage network truly comes from a place of abundance," said Vidal, who replaced industry icon Sherry Chris last June. "They don't look at what they do to be successful and keep it to themselves. They want a bigger platform to share with peers."

The biggest example is NEXT Gen, ERA's broker-only conference where a host company "opens the hood" of their business and "shares all," from accounting to marketing and everything in between, Vidal said. They seek feedback from the group, with the goal of working together to help each other win.

Be a coach — and a cheerleader

Dedicated to lifting up agents, Vidal has already visited 53 ERA franchises around the country, with plans to visit 26 more before the end of the year.

While many agents are wondering how they'll be affected by the NAR settlement, Vidal said it's a reminder that every change feels new, but the process of going through change is not new. He's excited to help coach agents on how to offer tremendous value to consumers — and continue to be compensated for it.

In line with that mission, on May 6, he launched a free, national coaching program, in conjunction with Gino Caropreso, ERA's vice president of learning. Already, about 206 offices and more than 2,400 agents have registered.

"We give them homework," Vidal said. "It's like training for the Ironman — they don't have to think about what they need to do." The training includes "accountability meetings" to ensure agents are following up on each week's action items.

"In the past, I put 20,000 agents through this program," Vidal said of his work at other brokerages. "If you do what we ask, you're going to win."

Vidal also hosts virtual, national sales rallies each month featuring guest speakers to help motivate brokers and agents. "Franchise sales and renewals all boil down to one thing: Make sure your agents are raving fans," Vidal said.

"If our affiliated agents are raving fans, the rest takes care of itself."

Advocacy beyond ERA

The first Hispanic president of a national real estate brand, Vidal is also proud to be on the board of National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP). The work has special meaning to him: His parents fled Cuba to escape communism in the early 1960s and settled in Miami.

"A lot of their wealth came from homeownership," said Vidal.

"I witnessed what homeownership can do for Hispanic families. With a homeownership rate of almost 49.5%, Hispanics are driving the largest household formation in the country. We need advocacy groups like NAHREP to help it continue to grow."

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