In this interview, you will hear David and Alec talk about communication and podcasting.
As you listen to this important and timely interview, you will gain insights as to why internal company podcasting is gigantically important, as well as how important it is to be focused on who your audience is. With podcasting, we are driving influence and creating connection; we will help you understand the ripple effect that you’re having. He really feels that part of leadership is being in the trenches and continuing to learn and staying relevant and coaching alongside people, and learning alongside people. Sometimes to him, coaching is just doing something with somebody that you might not know yourself because it’s just being in the trenches. There’s no secret paywall; let’s just all get better together and have some fun!
To read more about this episode, click here!!
SPECIAL EPISODE: Communication, The Keys to Success With Alec Hanson
Alec, it‘s so good to have you back on the show. I am thrilled and honored. We both are podcasters. I want to talk about communication and podcasting. You have perfected the art. Your ability to communicate, phrasing, and cadence all go into communicating effectively our message. That’s where we want to go. How does that sound?
Let’s talk about your journey. You got into podcasting when and why. Talk a little bit about the early days of that compared and contrasted to where it’s at now.
My journey I hope is similar to some people, which was in 2018 and 2019, I was watching the trends of ourselves as consumers or this evolution of what we would do to live our lives. A lot of it has to do with these smartphones, screen time, and social media. I was noticing that as consumers, we were becoming what I would call an internet-first society. Instead of talking to friends for referrals, we would do that second. We would go on the internet. We would go to Yelp and social media. We ask questions and gather information.
For my local people and market mortgage pros, that shift was causing them to be left behind or further down the sales cycle of interacting with customers where they were looking for information. As a leader, one of the best ways that I get inspired is I watch people do cool stuff and then go, “I can do that too.” I jumped into social media and did a crazy experiment where I did 100 videos in 100 days. I committed to posting one video a day. It was directionally crazy. Lots of different thoughts were coming out of it. I was not very centered on my message but I was committed to showing up and playing the game.
Eventually, that evolved into the podcast. David, you’re a huge inspiration for me from a podcasting perspective but it’s undeniable that this medium of podcasting is growing in popularity every single second. It’s amazing. People are consuming it at voracious appetites. I was like, “What a cool place to have a voice in the things that I care about and the things that I’m coaching and leading others to. What a cool opportunity to figure out that space and lean into it.” I started interviewing people and driving great conversations. It became something that I fell in love with over time. That’s the quick and dirty journey into the game. I’m in my third season. It has been a blast.
Let’s go back to the point you’re making because you watched a trend start developing. I was at the MBA annual conference in San Diego. Malcolm Gladwell, one of my favorite authors, was there speaking. He made an interesting point. There’s a Q&A interview more than him just giving a presentation. It was very comfortable and relaxed. The interviewer asked, “Malcolm, you’ve launched a podcast. You’re an author. Why?“ It was a great question.
If you ever took up his podcast, it is crazy. He charges $4.95 a month to listen to it. He has a million subscribers. $4.95 times one million is $4.95 million income per month. That’s pretty awesome. It’s a great way to go. He said, “It all started with this. I used to ride the train when I started my career in Washington, DC. I rode the subway in and rode the subway home. What was the standard operating procedure? Sit on the subway, open up a newspaper, and read it. That’s it.“
In New York, it’s the same thing. He then moved to New York and rode the subway home. Everyone had their newspapers up. They were all reading. Their eyes were on print. He said, “I noticed a trend. All of a sudden, the papers aren’t up but the earbuds are in. They’re listening to something.“ He started going, “Something is changing right before my eyes. I need to start asking people.” He started asking poeople, ‘What are you listening to?‘” “I‘m listening to a podcast. I‘m listening to a book through Audible.“
All of a sudden, the auditory world woke up, and he woke up. He says, “If I need to remain relevant, I need to start doing a podcast.” He has been very successful at it. He has 30 people in his production company that produces his one podcast. He’s helping now others do it. That’s where I want to go. I‘m waking up people to the fact of the power of a podcast. That’s where I want to go with this. I‘ve got another client starting an internal podcast. The fastest-growing area is intercompany podcasts. In other words, a podcast designed just for a company. Talk about it.
We’re craving authenticity. We have been so marketed to as a society over and over again with this narrative, an angle, and an agenda. All of a sudden, you get people on a podcast having real conversations that aren’t super polished. They don’t speak for a living. They’re not out there as talking heads on a radio station, but they share their viewpoint. To your point, internal company podcasting is gigantically important.
We did a roadshow for Loan Depot. We went to three markets, brought all our team in, and had a road show. We had some senior executives and me. They walked out going, “I didn’t know that all that stuff was going on.” All of us are shaking our heads going, “How do we get better at communicating?” All of the things that are happening in an internal podcast in my opinion give it authenticity and create that connection. It’s a medium that you have to take advantage of.
You hit on a couple of points. It’s the authenticity that comes through not necessarily being polished.
Overproduced kills it. It’s fine having a jingle and a catchy thing. I love all that stuff but we’re thirsty for real people having real conversations.
Before I got on with you, I was listening to a YouTube video about essentialism. The guy was creating this whiteboard drawing about the book Essentialism. The book is all about focusing on the right things. What are your real priorities? What’s the important thing? What’s the number one thing or the top three things that you want to be focused on?
For example, he says, “I used to want to have my face and do an intro and outro to these videos. I found out that people don’t care. I‘m getting way more listens by just getting in and saying, ‘This is so-and-so. I‘m doing a review of this book.‘” He goes right into it. You have to go back and listen to who he is but because he didn’t sell himself and didn’t do any of that, you want to go back and find out. He did it with excellence. Alec, I want to talk a little bit about that journey. You started going through it. What are some of the lessons you’ve learned on that journey?
One of the most important lessons that I coach and that I find to be very important is to be focused insanely and intensely on who your audience is and what you want to deliver to them. I find podcasters get into the realm of talking about themselves. They’re all over the place. One time their audience is loan consultants. The next time, it’s realtors. Who are you speaking to? I call it staying in your lane but it’s understanding what value and message you’re trying to bring somebody. Make sure that every time you do a podcast or an interviewee or what guests you’re going to bring on, you go back to that core and say, “Are we doing what we set out to do when we started this thing?” That’s incredibly important.
It’s getting back to your why. What is your purpose? You added the other thing, which is the audience. Who is your audience? Let’s talk about your audience. You have a very large audience. It’s got great followership. Talk a little bit about that and how have you had to at the time make course corrections to stay relevant to the audience you wanted to reach. Who is that audience?
When I started the Modern Lending podcast, I was very clear with myself. If anyone was going to listen to it, I wanted it to be mortgage professionals. That was my audience. I wanted them to walk away with something in there that would be valuable to them and their career at that moment. Every time, I look at what guests to bring on. I look at the next season I want to do and the theme. I want an originator to listen to this and be like, “I took something from this. It helped me in my career and my path.” For that being a specific angle or target, it defines who I’m going to bring on as guests. It defines the content I’m going to deliver. It defines the conversations that we’re going to have in that medium because it’s all about delivering that value to that audience member.
That’s so good. One of the things that you and I both have is energy. A lot of people say, “I don’t have the energy. I don’t have the personality to bring that out.” In some cases, I would have to say, “I agree with you. You probably don’t so find someone who does.” How important it is to have and bring energy?
I have thoughts on this. On one side, I’m biased because of how I do things. Energy is important. Being able to engage an audience with audio who’s listening and riding on a train somewhere is important. There’s a skillset there, but I want to layer on top of that a very clear viewpoint that I hold dear to my heart, which is I feel like there are audiences for everybody. Let me explain what I mean by that.
Let’s take two personality types. You got Alec Hanson. He’s a charismatic, loud, aggressive, and crazy guy. He’s not detail-oriented, salesy and spazzy. On the other side, you got an engineer-minded person who is thoughtful and intentional, thinks before they’re going to speak, and isn’t trying to catch up to their mouth. You’ve got those two different types, which are totally different people.
I can tell you even in my career as a salesperson that the engineer-minded person is a little turned off by the Alec crazy guy. It doesn’t connect the same way. If you’re sitting over here and going, “I’m not super charismatic. I am thoughtful. I am more engineer-brained. I am more detail-oriented,” there are millions of people like that who would love to listen to somebody who is being thoughtful and intentional with their language. It’s a different cadence. People are attracted to that too. I’m hesitant to say that being energetic is important and energy is important. There’s an audience for everybody but I do think that you have to lean into that regardless. Engaging an audience is different from having energy.Engaging an audience is different than having energy. Click To Tweet
It’s so important. We could expand it but before we go there, let’s talk about personalities. Hippocrates came up with the idea of the four personality types. I love this guy. I love what he studied. He’s also known as the father of medicine. The Hippocratic Oath all comes out of Hippocrates. He started by saying, “There’s a sanguine personality that’s a cheerleader.” You and I fit in that group. We’re high–energy. Go, go, go. We use a lot of words and great “energy“ that comes with talking too fast. We could talk about that.
Do you remember that podcast I did with you? I was so excited to bring stories about the pod that you did on stories. I was so charged up. It looked like I had a double espresso and popped down two red bulls before it. You’ve listened to me, guys. I sounded like a rabid dog on there. We bring that yet you bring up a point because the personality you’re talking about is the phlegmatic engineer type. They’re the counting type. I have this as a real issue when I work in my coaching and consulting. I have to make significant adjustments to speak to that type.
That’s because you’re recognizing who the audience is. My whole point is I feel like there’s an audience for everybody. We need to get out of our way a little bit and stop pretending that we are what matters because we’re not. The audience cares what happens to them. They care about what feedback they’re receiving. They care about the growth they’re experiencing during the podcast. They do not care about the host.
That’s so important. It isn’t about us. It is about delivering a product. That’s why I launched this. It was not to get my name. The byproduct is you do get well–known out there.
Byproducts are great. Your audience will disappear overnight when it’s all about you. They get bored. They don’t want that narrative. They smell it. It’s inauthentic. It’s back to the sales crap. They will leave.
That’s so good. Some would say, “You’re a salesman, Dave. You’re a salesman, Alec. You can adjust your personality because you have to be successful in sales.” When you’re dealing with a phlegmatic, a choleric, a melancholic or a sanguine, you can adjust. There is a certain point of that, but it is authenticity. Talk about different podcasts or people that you’ve coached. I would love to know more about your coaching business. We will talk about that in just a bit so we get that out to people. Talk about how you help people discover who they are and their authentic selves. What do you do?
To your point earlier, it comes down to why you are doing a thing. It’s easy for us because we’re in sales and we lead salespeople. Their objective is to build relationships, connections, influence, brand and reputation to have an opportunity to serve more people. Whether you are an engineer-minded brain or a crazy-person brain, if your why is, “I want to serve people,” then now we have someplace to go from. Now we have a conversation where we can start putting ourselves away and start coming forward with the message, the education, and the entertainment to inspire people. Now we have a place to move forward from.
Many people are figuring out, “Should I do a podcast?” Why would you do a podcast? If it’s internal to a company, you’re talking about culture creation, communication, sharing data, and creating connections with the organization. All that stuff is incredibly important. There’s your why. There’s your go-from. If you’re in sales, then your go-from is to make connections with the people that you may have never talked to before to have more opportunities to sell. You have to find your why and then build from there.
You also raised a great point earlier when you’re talking about how perfection is the enemy of getting something done. We want to do something. We recognize that but we’re not at that level yet. The most important thing, and I know you agree with this, is you need to start. You talked about doing 100 videos in one month.
I put a video out every day for 100 days.
Talk about what happened. How did you feel about the first one compared to the second one? Talk about your growth as a communicator.
I was talking to a loan officer who was like, “I want to do long-form educational YouTube videos. I want to educate people. I want to do 45-minute educational videos on YouTube. I can cut out pieces and share those. I’m going to start in January.” I said, “You’re going to start tomorrow.” Your point is perfection, “My YouTube channel is not set up. I don’t have the right stuff yet.” There are all these excuses for why they’re not starting. The reality is nothing is more important than starting now.
You learn so much through the process. First of all, let’s go back in time to an earlier point. They don’t care. We’re so caught up. We care so much and our audience does not care. You have to get over yourself, jump into the pool, and learn how to swim. Of those 100 videos, some were garbage. At least, I thought they were. I remember waking up one morning, going for a run, grabbing a coffee, and getting ready to post my video because I didn’t film that video every single day.
I filmed them in blocks of six. I had them for the week ready to go. I had a rack of t-shirts over here. I would change my t-shirt and film the next video. I had an Excel doc that had all my topics on it. I add some direction. I wasn’t winging it. I remember posting this video. I’m looking at it, having my coffee, and going, “This is trash. What was I thinking when I made this video? I don’t like this at all.”
I said I was going to do it. I made the video and posted the video. Later in the afternoon, I got a message from somebody internal to Loan Depot, a teammate in technology, not even in sales. He’s a tech guy who says, “I saw your video. I needed to hear that. Thank you so much for putting this message out.” I thought it was trash. I was like, “I’m embarrassed by this,” yet it touched somebody in a different way. We have to get over ourselves a little bit. We don’t know the effect we’re having.
Here’s how I liken this stuff. When I was an originator, I would pop by real estate offices and open houses and broker previews in 2003 with my Nokia brick phone. I would pop in, meet the agent, say hi, and introduce myself. I didn’t get a deal. They didn’t say, “Thank God you walked in. I have a prequal for you.” What happened over the 7th meeting, the 10th meeting, and the 17th meeting is I built trust in the community where all of a sudden, out of the blue on a weekend, they called me with a referral and said “Can you help me get a prequal done?” With videos, podcasting, and all these things that we’re doing to drive influence and create connections, you don’t understand the ripple effect this is having. I did not know I was impacting that one person in IT that day in a meaningful way.
That’s such a good point. Especially for those of us who want to pursue perfection, there’s nothing wrong with pursuing perfection or excellence. If that’s what it’s all about, that’s fine. Don’t let it stop you from getting in motion. That’s the most important thing. When you and I recorded that last session, I listened to it. My wife goes, “What did you have in your coffee that morning? You were on fire.” I called you and said, “Did your editors speed that up?“ I don’t sound like a professional communicator or a podcaster on that thing. I was so excited. I’ve heard from several people who said, “You were fired up. I love some of the stories.” That’s what it’s about. How do we get past ourselves? How did you do that? There’s a coaching moment. Tell the people. How do they get past themselves?
There are only two ways I know of. The first way, no one wants to hear because it’s the old school. You have to put the reps in. You have to practice and get on video. To some of my leaders, I’m like, “Every single call with your team needs to be a Zoom where you’re on camera. Even if your people aren’t on camera, you’re practicing looking here instead of looking down here at the people. You’re practicing the skills of this medium, which matter.” You have to put the reps in.
The last piece, I don’t know how to get people to understand. They hear it and nod their heads but they still don’t do what they know they should do. We put so much judgment on ourselves. “I don’t like how I look and how I sound. I’ve gained some weight. I don’t like my hairline.” I don’t have any of that shit. I’m so mad at people. I don’t know if it’s because we were all bullied as kids or because society puts all this crap on us or whatever the reason is. We judge ourselves so intensely. We have no grace for ourselves. I have to keep reminding people, “It’s not about you.”We judge ourselves so intensely. We have no grace for ourselves. Sometimes, it's not about you. Click To Tweet
That’s so important. I told someone, “If you’re thinking like that, you’re robbing me. I don’t know if there’s not a message in you that I need, and because you’re so wrapped up in yourself, I am being robbed of hearing something that you have to give.” Get past yourself and get moving.
It’s the same thing. I’ll sit down with loan officers, especially with the ones that were here pre-crisis. They’re here pre-crisis. I’ll ask the question, “Do you know people that were financially devastated from the mortgage crisis and the meltdown, families that are still financially recovering ten years later whatever it is from this devastation?” They go, “Absolutely.” That’s how important you are, your messages, your wisdom and your education. That’s how important it is that you get over yourself and share the knowledge you’ve accumulated. On the other side of that, there’s a massive pain for people. You’ve got to get out there and help people.
People say, “I don’t have anything relevant.” That is such a lie. Speak to that.
This is the easiest way to talk through that. Let’s pretend that you have a first-time homebuyer in front of you. What are the top ten things they need to be aware of before they buy their first home? Immediately, a loan officer starts spitting out FICO score requirements, down payment assistance, and debt-to-income ratio. Should they get a gift? What’s the difference between appraisal and inspection? How do you pick a realtor? What is the APR? What are the closing costs?
I’m like, “Stop. You listed off thirteen things in seven seconds that are crucially important for somebody to know before they buy their first home.” The content is not the problem. I can whiteboard with any loan officer and come up with over 55 things in 30 seconds. I go, “How many weeks are in a year? There are 52. You have one video a week. Are you ready to go?”
You then get to repeat stuff. Just because you did one video on how much down payment is needed doesn’t mean you impacted your entire social community. They probably didn’t even see your video. They probably scrolled right past you. You get to go back and hit that again, but you have to tap into your why. Why am I making these videos? Why do I care? Why would somebody care? Is this helping anybody or not? Is this all about me?
This is the other toxic thing on podcasts and social. Somehow we forgot that we’re humans. On social, we want to talk and brag about ourselves and post our reviews. We talk about how good we are and share a success story where we saved the day. That narrative puts everyone to sleep. If we’re at a networking event, and I met you for the first time, I’m like, “I’ve seen your podcast. Let me tell you about my latest Yelp review. It was incredible. Let me read it to you real quick. Do you have a minute?” We would never do that. On social media, we lose it. That’s what we do.
That’s a good point. There’s something else going on there. Another blockage that they need to get passed is, “There are so many other videos out there where they’re already covering those points. They’re covering them so much better than I would.” I’ve got to answer that but I want to hear what your answer is, and then I’ll follow up.
It’s a boring excuse. You don’t value your contribution to your customers, which is a mistake. You should value what you bring to the table. If you don’t think you bring anything to the mortgage industry, quit and do something else where you think you bring value.
It’s such a good point. There are a couple of things you brought up earlier about the perfection side. There are other people doing it but here’s the most important part. If you don’t, they’re going to find that other video. They’re more apt to do business with that other loan officer. If you want to be in it, you’ve got to have your face and voice out there. Here’s another one that I learned that’s really important. I was riding in an old car, a ‘57 Chevy. A friend of mine restored it. He has a radio there. We were turning those dials in. It’s that old AM. I‘ve had an epiphany. You find the station you want to listen to by the frequency on that dial. We all speak with a different cadence, level of energy, and personality type.
Alec, you and I have similar personalities but we have different frequencies. We speak in different ways. It’s so important to understand that each of us has a way. They ran an experiment one time where they had an audience out there. They had ten people on the stage with varying personality types and some varying off of it. They broke them into groups and had each one of them read the same thing. They had people come forward and practice it, “Who did you relate to?“
It’s the same words.
It’s because there’s something about the frequency that came out of that person and the style that they added to it that drew a certain group of people in the audience to them. I use that as an example. You’re going to draw an audience. I‘m going to draw an audience. It goes back to this. Be authentic. I love your authenticity. Talk about your journey to authenticity. I always love the stories. I‘m sure you stumbled along the way trying to be somebody else.
On podcasting, there’s a tendency to put on a personality or a character, “This is what I’m expected to be, so I do this.” All that stuff is going to eventually fail because if you’re not yourself, at some point, everyone is going to figure out that you’re faking it. You’re a fraud because you’re not who you say you are in real life. It doesn’t work. Plus, it will start feeling like tremendous work. You can’t sustain it because it weighs on you.
My whole point is once people realize that the things that we all love uniquely that make us who we are as humans are what connect us to other people with similar likes and dislikes. When you embrace those things, you attract the same audience almost when you’re trying to be a chameleon and be someone for everybody, no one cares. If you start to explain that you love lifting weights in a garage, you play Dungeons & Dragons, you collect comic books, or you love movies from the ’50s, it doesn’t matter. When you start to let that part of you out, that’s what real human connection is.
You can get out there and do 100 videos explaining mortgage process stuff. If you sit there and read that like a robot with none of your humanity showing, there’s not going to be the deeper connection opportunity points of you wearing a funny t-shirt of your favorite anime show because that’s what you’re into. We need to love ourselves a little bit better, and then at the same time, hold in the same hand that other people don’t care that much. You don’t have to be afraid of letting out some of the stuff that makes you tick and play in that lane.
That’s so good. For those that have trouble with that, listen to Brené Brown. She has some of the best talks on shame and what a limiting factor it is in most of our lives. We are ashamed of the way we look and our voices. We’re not used to it. Get past it and get doing something. To get wrapped up, I want to expose our audience to you and your coaching business. The younger me would love to have met the now Alec that sits before me and that’s on this show with me. Talk about your coaching business. Who do you coach? What are your objectives in your coaching?
It’s an extension of my leadership as my business. The predominant people I coach are the people that are inside Loan Depot that work with me. We host Modern Lending masterminds every month. We did one on podcasting and how to start a podcast. We have done one on how to get on videos and how to set up a camera. It sounds basic but people are like, “How do I set this up to show up in certain ways?” I feel that part of leadership is being in the trenches, continuing to learn, staying relevant, coaching alongside people, and learning alongside people.
To me, coaching is doing something with somebody that you might not know yourself because it’s being in the trenches. I love public speaking. I love getting a chance to talk at industry events and other companies. I love getting a chance to support local mortgage professionals because those are my people. I believe in abundance. I get hit up all the time by somebody, “Can I get 30 minutes of your time? I don’t work at Loan Depot but can I rap about this?” I was like, “Absolutely. We can talk.”
There’s an abundance out there. We have plenty of things to share. Maybe one day we will work together or maybe not. It doesn’t matter. I feel like you have to pour into the world and the good stuff comes back. That’s how I position myself in the industry. I’m very open. I share everything that I’m doing all the time. I don’t hold back secrets. There’s no secret paywall. It’s like, “Let’s all get better together and have some fun.” That’s how this is all developed.
You’re doing an amazing job. I love your heart. I love the wisdom that comes out of you. It’s very clear that it’s not about you, yet there’s so much that comes through you. That is such a blessing to so many. Alec, I thank you so much for taking some time to be with me. It has been an absolute delight and joy. I love your energy. I love who you are. I also like your encouragement to those that don’t have a personality like yours or mine who you’re encouraging to get active and start communicating.
David, thank you for having this conversation. I love it.
How could people reach you? What’s the best way to connect with you?
I joke all the time. Google. If you’re reading this and you’re a sales professional and I can’t find you, call you and DM you from 3 different platforms in 6 different ways with 1 Google search, we got some work to do. Let’s go. Let’s get after it.
You do have a website.
AlecHanson.com or any of the other social platforms, you will find me. Let’s hang out. I’m happy to be part of a narrative in transforming what’s going on with our loan officers out in the street.
We have to have you back to talk about what is going on with loan officers on the street. That will be another topic. That’s our next topic when we get back here because the sensor is a real changing transition that’s happening. The basic principles remain the same but how we do it is changing.
I always describe it as the core of our business hasn’t changed but the place we play it is changing.
That’s such a good point. It’s that book Who Moved My Cheese? We will leave it at that because we have to get you back on. We will be doing that soon. Alec, thanks so much. I appreciate you.
I appreciate it. Take care.
About Alec Hanson
Alec Hanson is a contemporary leader within the Mortgage Industry. Constantly striving to improve, he began his career in origination in 2004 funding over $85M and was named Rookie of the Year by Scotsman’s Guide. Every subsequent year, Hanson landed on Scotsman’s Top 200 Originator list finishing his best year at $185M. From there, Hanson began coaching and growing a successful branch network in Orange County with his peak year in 2010 funding over $1B at the branch level.
Hanson has received Housing Wire’s Rising Star award both in 2017 and 2019 and currently serves as Senior Vice President of Production for loanDepot for the Pacific Southwest Division, overseeing approximately $4B in annual production. A dynamic coach and thought leader, Hanson believes in leading and coaching within the trenches of the mortgage business.
He is the author of loanDepot’s Modern Lending Playbook: a strategic and tactical tool designed to equip, train, and evolve the traditional mortgage professional’s skill sets into the modern era. Alec is also the author of “Bypassed: A Modern Guide for Local Mortgage Pros Left Behind by the Digital Customer,” which details a systemic approach to help Mortgage Professionals succeed in the digital world. Alec is married to his beautiful wife of 16 years, Erica, and is the proud dad of Phoenix (10 years old) and Scarlett (7 years old). He can be found on IG rocking the #dadlife hashtag most nights and weekends.