Agents who can handle clients’ concerns in a shifting market will continue generating business in tough times, Keller Williams and Reali trainers said at Inman Connect on Wednesday.

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The agents who practice answering clients’ most difficult questions about a market downturn are the ones who will continue generating business, a pair of real estate trainers said during a Connect session.

That practice is part of training brokerages can offer their agents to retain them and elevate them into top performers, Jennifer Elia and Meredith Maples said during a conversation this week about leveraging learning and development.

“Social learning should never take the place of formal learning — always keep your formal classroom classes going,” said Maples, a senior director of Keller Williams University. “The social learning aspects, those are the layers that bring the magic.”

Meredith Maples

Social learning can be as simple as one-on-one discussions over coffee, Maples said, such as conversations with agents about what’s happening in their personal or professional lives and brainstorming solutions. Or it could be virtual or in-person conversations or role-playing between multiple people at a brokerage.

“The key to social learning is connections, and giving space for those connections to be had,” Maples said.

Elia was Western training manager at Redfin and director of learning and development at Reali before founding a learning technology company called BryteLearn.

She stressed the importance of agents practicing realistic conversations that have become more difficult this year.

“The best thing you can do right now as an agent is to get the answers to those really hard questions, like is now a good time to buy or sell,” Elia said. “Find out the best answers and then practice. Take your recorder on your iPhone and give your answer … and practice over and over.

“The best agents are really good at answering the tough questions,” she added. “Those are the agents that do business during these tough times.”

Both trainers stressed the need for agents to have experience presenting to their peers in addition to standard training.

Jennifer Elia

“Give your agents an opportunity to get in front of the classroom and share their success stories, put them on panels, let them share what they’re doing actively, and give others an opportunity to ask questions,” Maples said. “That’s what creates really great conversations and opportunities for practice on a very, very local and relationship based level.”

This can be done virtually or in person, the two said, and brokerages should make sure they’re helping to build relationships and opportunities for feedback.

“The brokers that are doing that, those are the ones that are going to not only help their agents be successful but also breed a lot of loyalty,” Elia said.

Email Taylor Anderson

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