Marcus & Millichap’s Hessam Nadji: “Slow Down and Ask the Right Questions”

To conclude our “leading in Tough Times” series, here are parts 3 and 4 of a four-part conversation between Hessam Nadji, CEO of Marcus & Millichap, and Daniel Ceniceros, founder and CEO of Connect Media. In parts 1 and 2, Nadji discussed leadership lessons he has learned, and how he leads at Marcus & Millichap.  

In Part 3, Nadji discusses the advice he would give to a client at the present time. “Probably the most important value we can create for our clients right now is not to give them a generic answer or try to give them a generic piece of advice or approach them in a generic sense that looks good,” he says.  

The answer is in “trying to understand each client’s situation,” says Nadji. “What is it that is an obstacle for them, what is it that is a problem for them, and what is it that may be an opportunity for them?” He adds, “More than ever, it is so important to slow down and ask the right questions” of the client. 

Nadji also discusses the leadership mistake he would like to do over if given the chance. It occurred early in his career at Grubb & Ellis. As head of technology at Grubb, a role which gave him a front-row seat on market conditions, “I wasn’t vocal enough when I saw the company make mistakes, when the company was counting on a recovery in the market right around the corner.” Which, in the 1990-91 recession, wasn’t going to happen. The full video appears below.

In Part 4, which appears below, Nadji discusses what advice he would give to somebody in the current environment. “In a downturn, you don’t buy into the negativity,” he says. “You don’t buy into the notion that this will stay the way it is for a long period of time.”  

At the same time, he believes in cultivating client relationships during downturns. “It’s these kinds of markets that create bonds.” 

Marcus & Millichap is beginning the fall with two timely webcasts. Click here for on-demand replays of “Positioning for Opportunity in Today’s Multifamily Market,” with insights from both in-house experts and institutional owners. On Sept. 26, Hessam Nadji will host a conversation with Lloyd Blankfein, former chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, with CRE industry leaders joining the conversation. Click here to register.


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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).