We've been talking about what you can do right to get ahead in the industry and progress digitally but let's take a step back and talk about the mistakes made in the past. Join Neel Dhingra, a master content strategist and Me as we discuss our past mistakes so that you can learn from what we did wrong so that you won't do the same
In this snippet of the Modern Lending Podcast...
- Do not chase the short term dollar
- Managing a person really isn't dependent on their production.
- Solution oriented should be transparent, over-communicating will save you.
- Personal relationship should not remove you from your duty as a manager.
[Alec] What's up everybody. I hope your Thursday is amazing. Welcome to another live episode of the Modern Lending Podcast. We're having technical difficulties but that's what happens when you're live. You just kinda, kinda roll with it. So I hope you enjoy. This time I'm joined by a buddy of mine in the industry, a content master, somebody who I look up to a lot. Who's obviously killing it in personal production as well. We're running a big team, but we decided we would talk about the worst mistakes we've ever made in our mortgage careers. One of the things I attribute to my success is the ability to learn from other people's mistakes and not make them myself. But of course, I made a crap load. So without further ado, let's bring on Neel and talk about the worst mistakes we've ever made. What's up, dude.
[Neel] What is going on, man.
[Alec] We had to pivot from computer to phone and all this stuff. 'Cause you never know when technology man.
[Neel] Yeah, dude. We had to make it work. So hopefully this, hopefully everybody can hear me and see me, but yeah, I have a whole setup sort of like and for some reason it wouldn't connect. So we just, I threw it out and we're on the phone.
[Alec] Yeah, dude. But that's okay because we're gonna talk about the worst things that's ever happened when in our careers,
[Alec] This is not one of those things. This is probably just a minor inconvenience so[Neel]
[Neel] Exactly dude.
[Alec] Neel, for those guys who don't know Neel you're missing out on like one of the content leaders of the mortgage industry. You know, this, guy's putting out incredible messages, inspirational stuff, tactics. I saw that this morning you're giving away a road wireless podcast, a wireless thing, which I love these little things. That's a pre[Neel]
[Neel] Yeah, yeah. Those are awesome, dude. I've been using those in content for the last year and that has been the most reliable mic. And the quality as you can probably attest to is amazing.
[Alec] It's amazing, it's amazing. And so if you gonna follow Neel on his Instagram and the second handle, you get a chance to win one of those really cool. But Neel, you know, we talk so often and a lot of the times, you know, in our content strategy we're super optimistic sharing tips and tricks tactics. You know, we're kind of showing the glowy side of our business and then our energy to kinda help people, social media can always be filled with lots of negativity. The news is terrible, you know so, and I appreciate that about you and what you do but I thought that would be a fun conversation to just kind of go back at our careers and mortgage and take a look at some of the mistakes that we made in origination, from the little stuff to the mega stuff. And hopefully, you know, give people a chance to hear it laugh with us. And then, you know, at the same time maybe save somebody from making the same mistake.
[Neel] Yeah, yeah, because I did a post about this recently. I said the shortcut to success is simply listening to others who have already done what you're trying do.
[Neel] Right, and you know, so many times we're trying to figure things out and somebody's doing it already. They've already found success. Just replicate it, put your own spin on it or ask for help. Like I've been amazed at like how helpful people are how willing people are to collaborate. If you're someone that executes, that there's a bunch of people that ask questions and never do shit. And then there're those you know, then eventually get known to be one of these people who always talks and doesn't do. And so, you know, I have tons of, I've had so many calls with people and they continually ask questions. And eventually I get to the point where I'm like, dude, just do it. Just try something at this point. Because if I see you like executing and I'm sure you feel the same way. Like if you see your team execute, dude you'll bend over backwards to help them because they're trying. But the guys who just keep talking and never do, those are the ones that you get like, you kinda get like, come on man we gotta get started there. So yeah, I think it's just a matter of like you know, trying to get people to do what, just to try any of the 12 or 20 ideas that they have in their head. Just try one of them.
[Alec] So for everybody watching and if you want to put in a comment or a bet here on who's going to have the most biggest mistake. I have a bet with Neel. We'll see who comes out on top on this one. So just to frame it up a little bit so Neel you're actively producing, running a mega branch. What do you want pace to fund this year?
[Neel] Dude, I don't even know. It's bad because I don't even look at my numbers. I'm just shocked when I see them every month but I guess we're at, what would it be if we're doing 30 million a month?
[Alec] That's enough, that's fine. 30 million a month on a production. It's kind of, you know what your average loan balance about 'cause you're in a Reno?
[Neel] Yeah, it's a, so our last month, our average loan size was 380.
[Alec] There you go. And so we were chatting before the episode started you know, my last year originating. So I originated from 2003 effectively through 2008 and that was kinda my journey. And so I have plenty of mistakes I made in the origination side. And then when I got into leadership, plenty of mistakes there. So let me kick off with the first one kind of a low, like a low hanging fruit, and we'll see if you can top me.
[Alec] So in my first year originating and so I'm, I'm very insecure. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm trying to figure it out. You know, I have some knowledge I'm dangerous but you know, I don't have any relationship at all. And I saw a buddy of mine, oh actually well let me frame this up. I saw a guy who was in the city next door in real estate. And I went to college with this guy. In fact we played on the UC Berkeley volleyball team together. So like I knew him right, like we'd probably gone to practices before. Like I spent probably two years playing with this guy. And so the problem was that in college you know, his focus was not necessarily on volleyball. It was kind of on, you know, we need it and so, Berkeley it's fine, no judgment, but he was in real estate now. So I call him up and I get voicemail and I'm like, "Dude, like you're in real estate I'm in mortgage. Like let's get together and get a lunch. It'd be great to hang. I haven't seen you since college," hang the phone up, turn to my buddy and I go, "I cannot believe this guy. I, of course this guy's in real estate, in college this guy was the biggest stoner of all time. So of course he's selling real estate. What a joke." And then all of a sudden I hear through the speaker, if you're satisfied with your voice message you know, please hang up. If you'd like to erase and rerecord, press three. I panic, I freak out and I hang it up. And I sent the message.
[Neel] Yeah, that is crazy. And why didn't you hit the power button so you can erase the message.
[Alec] Full panic, full panic.
[Neel] Oh my God.
[Alec] Sent it, he never called me back. I didn't know if I should call him again. Like I just moved on.
[Neel] Dude I've heard about it all time. I hear people reply all and you know, you're talking crap about what's on the email. I've seen some disasters. Luckily for me, I mean, I would, if I had one of those, I would beat you 'cause , I've had one off in my email before by mistake. But not, I think that one of the rookie mistakes is like you know, it's funny at the same time, it's really like just something that everyone needs to get over. You get so emotional in this business like, you know, so much is on the line with the deadlines and people, the referral partners are on you. And there's movers and there's escrow deadlines, and there's these deadlines and it's all on your shoulders. And when something goes wrong it's like, I really feel like it's like, you got dumped. Your body's response is like, you literally got dumped in a ice cold water fight flight response. And that's why people lose it. And a lot of these in real estate and mortgages because you get these, I don't know, you just get like worked up and then go off on somebody. But I started and I hadn't, I've never done. I've never sent somebody an email and then regretted it. But what I've done is I just had, typing it out and not sending, you know what I mean. Because like you type something now like if somebody really let you down, like I'll type it out and then not send it and then come back to it, like with your palm down, you know what I mean.
[Alec] Yeah, yeah. And by the way[Neel]
[Neel] It's just a[Neel]
[Alec] I'm getting a little bit of the like robot cliquiness on the Wi[Neel]Fi. So just a heads up, but I know we're powering through. So you've never sent an embarrassing email. You've never done a reply to all. You've been, you've dodged that your whole career?
[Neel] Yeah, I don't know if it's some luck but I've had some near misses like, Oh crap and not done it. So I sort of do if I had sent, but as a mistake that I think a lot of people make is just getting caught up in historic term panic and then sending off something that you're gonna regret
[Alec] What's up Arturo. Yeah, no doubt man. So you're following the old, like write the email and then delete it, get the emotion out and then don't send it.
[Neel] Yeah I would just, just send it and then you'll find you didn't have to do it. You know what I mean.
[Neel] So I think, yeah, but one of the mistakes I made in the beginning what was probably versus, you know what I mean?
[Alec] Yeah, you've shared this before so, you know, what did you learn? What were you doing and what was the mistake?
[Neel] So I think in the beginning you feel like you need to like oversell yourself. So I would go into a meeting and do it. If I recorded these meetings I had with referral partners like I won't be able to watch them back because they were so bad. Like you know what I mean, like it's worse than like your videos. It's more like, because it's just so embarrassing. 'Cause you keep talking about like, Oh I do this, we do this, and we do that. Like a yes man, you say we can do all of these things. You're just trying like impress because you're so desperate for them to the thumbs up, you know? And then to send you that first referral but you're actually, it's working against you, right.
[Alec] It's terrible. I watched, I got lucky cause I was too insecure to actually like talk through that kind of stuff and like actually pitch myself in the beginning. So I didn't just like say hi and like ask them how their day was and like run away from like broker previews. But I literally watched a title rep walk into a real estate open house. I'm sitting there talking to the agent and then I said goodbye. And I was gonna go see the rest of the house and I heard the title rep from the other room, literally like corner the agent and be like, "Why aren't you sending me business?" And I was like, Oh my God, that's so uncomfortable. Like how I'm like, can you just picture the agent being like "Cause I don't like you," like, what do you say? Like it's such the wrong approach.
[Neel] Yeah, it's so awkward, right. And just making that awkwardness is like why they would never use you ever again, you know what I mean. Like, or even consider using you. And I think people are putting, you know, just that used car salesman kind of attitude or scripting, or whatever that is. It's just the other party feels so awkward. So I think I had plenty of meetings like that and I wish I could redo all of them because like, dude it's just embarrassing, you know. But the point is, I think you'd probably have to go through those to get to the good ones, same thing with content. So I guess it just comes with it. But yeah, I think a major mistake I made was not being confident in what I had to offer, you know what I mean. So there's many things I had to offer, but because I didn't have the confidence I was overselling and then it comes across wrong.
[Alec] So speaking of not having the confidence so I have a story when I was young, I decided that I was going to be a sales manager and try to grow a team. And so I went, and I'm personally producing I was funding, you know, 8 to 10 million a month and I'm running around trying to hire loan officers. And at 24, you know, who wants to, who's going to work for you? You know you're like, I was like a year in the business. So I found some loan officers and I convinced them to come like try to work around me in my little satellite office. And I had just one loan officer who was just this huge talent but couldn't execute and just kept failing and not. And all of a sudden this guy came to me and said, "I need money." And I was so personally attached to this guy that I was like, "Okay, I'll try to help you. Like, what do you need?" And he's like "I need five grand," and gave me this whole sad story. And you know, I'm like, "Sure dude I'll lend you money." Gave him five grand. And he left the country the next week. Like not a joke, like actually left the country.
[Alec] And from then on, I realized that, that wasn't a good move.
[Neel] That's crazy. Have you had, what have you had as far as like mistakes you've made with regards to like hiring and firing and things like that. 'Cause I think we've all had those kinds of mistakes, right?
[Alec] Oh, massive ones. I mean, so when I started trying to become a leader whatever that means, and that's kind of like a perpetual journey forever. You know, man we chase top producers, right. Like you chase top producers. Yeah, like I wanna notch the belt. I wanna get a victory. I wanna hire this guy or this girl. And you go after these top producers and you can blow up your entire office with a terrible culture fit. And so, you know, and you, you get all, you get kinda your eyes get all big. It's almost like chasing that top realtor too. Like you get all like, Oh my God, that top realtor like that, the number one person. And like in my experience, the number one realtor in a lot of markets is always just a train wreck. And like they're competent and they do a lot of business, but they'll blow your whole career up. Like they'll blow up your business, your office. And the same thing happened with me several times is just you know, a wrong culture fit. I get excited. 'Cause I'm like, I see the numbers. I'm like, I'm gonna land this whale. I'm gonna hire this guy or girl. And then a year to two years later, it's like just ending violently because it just wasn't a good fit. And I'm like, man, what could I also have done in those, that year to two years. If I just had gone a different direction. So I get kinda[Neel]
[Neel] The middle producer is like the best one. I have the same, I think we've gone after the same mistakes. You look at that list of production list and you're going after the top referral partners, the top guys and those guys, aren't your best referral partners. I have relationships with some of those people and they're great. But to be honest, the ones that do the most, we do the most business with are in that middle pocket. You know, they're just steady, consistent. And they refer you because you have a real trust there and a real value that you guys provide each other. You're true partners, like to say, like I'm an extension of that guy sales team and vice versa. So like I think what a lot of LOS don't get is that, what we say and what we do, can really impact a buyer's decision. So it's not just a vendor like, "Hey man, can you use me things like that." Start on home warranties. I mean, don't be just low stuck just another vendor. Because we're talking to these clients in the very beginning and what we can say, like what we do, how we attach mantle opportunity to this whole transaction. Like that's huge impact to whether somebody even moves forward. And I think like once your referral partner gets that that you're true partner on their sales team, now it's just a totally different type of relationship. And some guys get that. And I noticed the guys who are big producers they don't care. They're like, "Dude, I'm so big. I'm crushing it. I don't need help. I just need someone to close the deal. And if you don't close it, then you're out." You know, that's the kind of relationship.
[Alec] I mean, I think the biggest mistake I made and had to learn through, and I know everyone else did in there, that has become successful through origination, was just finding the right partners, right. Like not being greedy not being like, you know, I track the top 100. That was my, when I started as a newbie I was like, here's the top 100. And I was hunting all the top 100 agents. Well that wasn't smart. They're not necessarily the best cultural fit for me. You know, they do a lots of production, but you know I probably spin my wheel a lot with a lot of those people. And then, you know, abusive agents who just take you for granted like you're talking about who just want to beat you up and cause you so much stress and pressure. And you are like, and you take it on, because you're like, I want the money. I want the business. And that's a huge mistake that everyone I think learns through as they kind of hopefully mature through it. But I still know some really great loan officers that are stuck in that space. And I'm like, you've been a loan officer for 15 years. Stop, stop the cycle on your life.
[Neel] I have that. This is a mistake I made for years. And probably people like you said, 10 year veterans they'll make this mistake. It's chasing short term dollars over longterm benefits. So I think it's like you're always looking for the next deal. You're always looking at, you know, things transactionally and less about the relationships. So I think like at some point something changes then you're like okay, I'm gonna switch from transactional to relationship. When you have a relationship driven business. Now it's totally different. Stop looking for your next one deal. You're looking for your next hundred deals. Looking for a relationship that's gonna produce that. And so I think chasing short term dollars is the number one vulnerability of all the loan officers including myself but, you know, just until recently.
[Alec] So I got another really good one. And I think you probably have several of these too that you've probably learned for but in packaging loans or even in managing people, you know sometimes there's a problem that's gonna happen. Like you see the problem on the loan. You're like, Oh crap. Like this is a problem. And instead of going and addressing it with the customer and the realtor being like this is a problem I'm working on solutions. Some people, especially myself I tended to go tryna' find solutions first. And that's fast if you can be really fast at finding solutions, but if it's taking a long time and all of a sudden the customer and the realtor, and everyone thinks everything's going great. And it's not there's a big problem and you're trying to solve it and not, you haven't alerted everybody. It's just, that to me is a major rookie mistake. And if you're dealing with personnel and like somebody is acting up or they're out of culture or they're beaten up underwriters, and you're just kinda like not addressing it fast you're letting it cook like that, that caused me undue stress and problems in my career. It's just like, when there's a problem just tell everybody there's a problem. And then come at it from a solutions oriented position. But I don't know. I mean, that was a big learning curve for me was like trying to solve stuff without telling people, "Hey, this is actually gonna be a problem."
[Neel] Yeah, under[Neel]communicating. So Dick, if you over[Neel]communicate in this business it helps everything with staff, with our full partners with borrowers, like everything it works with. So I just try to, I used to do the same thing of just hope something doesn't get, you know it doesn't come up and then inevitably it does come up. Then you get, you know, you get hosed at the very end. So that is a rookie mistake. And it goes all the way through veterans. Now, you're just hoping.
[Alec] Of course it's like, that thing with like a low appraisal. A low appraisal comes in and you don't tell anybody 'cause you're trying to fix it or renegotiate it. And like, everyone's like, "Was the appraisal back?" And now you're like, you're kind of lying. And like, you're, you're just like stop. Like just immediately, like it's low. Yeah, maybe they're mad at you or the realtor blames you for some reason that the appraisal came in low or but like, you gotta tell people what's going on.
[Neel] I respect you more if you shoot straight. So I have relationships with people and if I, if you call them Alec and you're like, "Hey dude why do you like working with Neel?" "He shoots me straight." That's it. It's all it is, like just somebody's like, okay you've written an escrow for 25 days in a market where appraisals are taking 30. Okay, we're not gonna, I'ma tell you that on day one. You know what I mean. Like depending on the situation, yeah. I'm gonna try and rush it. I'm gonna do the best I can. But I just want to let you know right upfront that this may not work because of the environment. And I don't wanna mislead anybody. So I don't want people scheduling movers and installation of this and that. And then I'm gonna be the guy that lets everybody down at the end. So I need to tell you this right now. And they will say, "Thank you for telling me." Like, it's not, they're not gonna rip your head off.
[Alec] By the way, If anybody watching has a great horror story of a mistake, share it. 'Cause I'd love to hear you. Don't name names, don't name names. But like just if you have, 'cause like here's where my head went and you know, like I had a situation where we're under a lot of pressure right now, specifically like this happened like last week. There's just a lotta loans and I wish we knew that every loan officer was going to put in six loans instead of their normal two. But like we didn't know. And this is now in a position where a lot of companies are impacted. We're hiring the world. We're trying to get ahead of the, you know, the whole curve. And I had a loan officer who had an upset customer. And so she was like, I have to hit docs on this refi and like, well we're prioritizing purchases right now. And, and we'll get to the refi but maybe just give him an extension give him a credit, you know tell him I'll call him and say, we're sorry but like they're still living in their home. And we got somebody's moving van, we got to get this done. And all of a sudden, what I found out was she was like she sent me the text chain with this upset customer to kinda show me how upset the customer was. And I scrolled down and the loan officer had committed to docs to the customer, right. Like, so like the pressure from the customer, cause this loan officer to tell them docs will be out next week. Which is not reality. They just bent to the pressure. And now they're trying to you know, shove it through the system because they committed to something that isn't happening.
[Neel] Yeah, so this is trying to please everyone. This is the, you can add that to the top list of loan officer fails, trying to please everyone. By trying to please everyone you're not. Because you're, people know you then as someone who's unreliable. Because your word is your bond, right. That's your reputation. That's our brand. Our personal brand is our reputation. I mean, if nobody understands personal branding it just means reputation, right. So trying to please someone and over promising that's gotta be a T[Neel]shirt or something a sign on a wall and there's over promising. It's like the number one fail. Every loan officer across the NGO over promising.
[Alec] We've all done it, I've done it. I've made mistakes. I wanted that realtor, I just said, "Oh yeah, I could do it." And like, I know knowing I couldn't do it. I had to go like, we've all done this mistake. And it's a killer, it's a killer.
[Neel] Well, they're, some people are pushing very hard. So I totally get it. I feel that pressure. They call you and they're like, "Can you do this?" And you say, "No, that's not gonna work." "Well, can you do it anyway?" They do, they just said no.
[Alec] Yeah, or they start threatening you or they start, you know, they like well, they call your boss and they call the CEO. And they're just, it's hard. It's hard to lead through it with transparency.
[Neel] Yeah, so yeah, over promising and under delivering, that's a huge one. I think another one is talking, not listening. So you're telling your staff to do this, this, this, and they're not doing it. Well, what's the problem. Maybe there's a system problem. Maybe there's something that's making their jobs more difficult and not looking for the real solution. So you're looking at the flare up like the end of the line problem, but you're not going back to the root issue, which is like, "Hey, when we put the loans in, there's this thing that's not being done. And it's causing this huge delay throughout the whole process this huge headache on this person." Now this person's losing it at the end but we could have fixed this thing in the beginning. You know, So I think like just every I don't know what the saying is but they're putting like gum and, or like, look we're not plugging holes in this business all the time. You know what I mean, like, it's not like we're not fixing the leak the main fucking leak that's way down the road. We're just plugging the holes at the end here.
[Alec] Totally, okay, so here's a good one from management and leadership that I experienced in, let's do what you got here, but I had a like aha moment. So this goes back into 2010. And so I was at Bank of America because Countrywide was acquired, the crisis went down, the world had ended, but in 2010, you know my branch that year did a $1 billion a $1,000,000,050. So[Neel]
[Alec] Every percent of refi, it felt a lot like, like this we weren't in the two's but it was like, there was literally falling from the sky. And I had built my entire career up to then on the purchase market. All on realtors, all on builders all on like what I was been taught as sustainable business. 'Cause refis come and go, and this is the bread and butter. And so at some point I was so dissatisfied with the company that I was gonna make a transition to a non[Neel]bank, that was more purchase[Neel]centric that could close loans on time. And the team who I just, I had a tight connection with these people. Like several of them just absolutely broke my heart because they came with me, but then they went back. And I was like, what, we were so tight. And I, what happened? And I learned one of the biggest life lessons of my career which was, you know, I became super resentful. I'm like, you left the team, you left me. I thought I was your leader, all this stuff. And what I learned was everyone's on different journeys. And we might be on the same journey for a period of time together, but some point, you know, for some of these guys, like they wanted to make that refi money. They wanted to make that refi money and going out, getting purchased was brutal. You know, and there's refis at the bank. There's falling from the sky and they wanted to make that money. And I was like, I was judging them for not having longterm perspective. I was resentful for leaving the team. And then I had to realize we're just not on the same journey anymore. And, you know, go with God, like go do you. But it was a major life lesson for me because it really emotionally affected me. Until I realized that in life, we're not always on the same journey forever with the people around us. It might be for a period of time. It might be for our whole life. It might be for five years. But at some point, if somebody decides they wanna go on a different journey and you wanna stay true to yours, I got a lotta freedom from kinda going through that experience. It hurt me a lot, but I learned a lot from it.
[Neel] Yeah, I had that same thing where, you know, the guys, we started with and the girls we started with then, you know we worked for a company. That company was and kind of, we kind of assumed we're all gonna go together. And then you find out, you know, a month or two later that this person's going somewhere else. And he didn't tell you, or this person's going here. She's starting her own thing. And you hold like, dude, I held those like that resentment for that kind of like angry at that person for like it almost felt like abandoned, you know what I mean?
[Alec] Yeah of course.
[Neel] Like, and then you're like being ultra competitive with that person, like to get them. There's no point it's stupid but I've, I have people like, to this day, I know in the, in the business and I'm like, "Hey, what do you think of so and so. Hey, she's crushing it, he's crushing it. Dude, I hate that guy man. We used to work together and he bailed on me." I'm like, "What do you mean? Dude that was a decade ago bro, what are you talking about?" Like they're still holding onto it, you know what I mean?
[Alec] Yeah, and that is a, it's a cancer, right. You gotta like cut that out. 'Cause it's gonna hold you back. It held me back from like letting go. And so it was a tough experience, you know. But the other mistake I made in leadership was I had a really close employee who had worked for me for like almost a decade. And you know, we're buddies. 'Cause as you worked together for a long time you know, the personal commingles, you know you just kinda start to build relationship. And I promoted him to a branch manager position when I had a manager retire. And I'm like you're ready for this. You're the man for this. Like, do you want this? And, he said yes. And then he took the job and I kinda took my eye off him. I was like, cause he's like, he's a stud he's a total stud. Now he's got this dude. And all of a sudden, a few years later he resigns and I'm like, what? Like what are you talking about? Like how, and what happened was I just wasn't connecting with him and asking him "Are you okay?" "Do you like this?" He was doing a great job. I'm like, "Are you happy?" And turns out he wasn't happy. He didn't like it. He didn't like leading loan officers that he had inherited. He didn't like the job. He felt like they were all whiny and pain in the butt and all that stuff. And I was off doing growing branches, doing other stuff. And I never took the time to come back and be like, "Dude are you good?" Because you're presenting as good. So I don't see any smoke. I don't see any fire. And all the time underneath the surface is dissatisfaction, you know. And he left and it broke my heart again. And I realized shit, like that's on me. Like I coulda' helped him, find another opportunity. I coulda' done lots of different things but I just didn't even on a deep, personal level to be like, are you happy in the role you're in? Even though you're presenting happy, are you really happy? And, and[Neel]
[Neel] That's right, yeah what you just said, like, I don't know, it just clicked with me. This is what we, everybody needs to right now in this business. If you did not know, we're making jokes and there's a lot of fun with learning from mistakes, but this is super important right now. Like our people, our ops people, are our biggest asset today. Like you just, if anything you have to know right now that your team and your people are the most important because you can't do this. You can't be a one man show, you can't do any of this stuff on your own and how you can get stuff done is through a great team and great people. So I forgot you just reminded me like, I need ask every single person on my team. Hey dude like, are you okay? Is everything like, what's going on? You know, and you just get so caught up in the, you know, work, work, work, work work. And are you, how many times are you asking them? And I think like that could be the difference for somebody, you know maybe they, they feel like we're just using an abusing them. And really we do care about them. We just don't say it, you know enough.
[Alec] Yeah, I mean, you're saying it, but we get, Jason what's up dude?. We get stuck on our own stuff. We're so focused by nature as a species for like self preservation. Like, so we just, we go internal a ton and you're right. Like that's a mistake. We need to go external and check in with people. And it was when I learned and I'm still, I still struggle with it. 'Cause all of a sudden I'll be like "Oh my God, I haven't talked to that person in like two weeks, are they okay? Should I call them?" Crap, happens to me[Neel]
[Neel] Just sending, sending a quick message. I thought this the other day on Instagram DM from another, from a colleague who's not even in our company. And he sees all the stuff I'm doing and he's sending a voice memo. And then he said, "Hey dude, love your stuff. I see you're crushing it. I just wanna check it with you, dude. How are you managing all this stuff? Are you okay?"
[Alec] That's cool.
[Neel] And I was like, "Dude, actually, yeah," You know I posted the highlight reel but behind this like front, there's a lot of shit going on. You know what I mean, like it's a struggle. Like, you know, managing people, complaints, all these people are coming to you with all their problems. And then you have your personal life family, kids, you know, pandemic, school issues. Like there's a lot going on right now. And just someone saying that they care is super important, especially right now.
[Neel] By the way that reminds me of like, what you are trying to live by that I'm still not doing a great job on which is, everybody who's gonna get a text, or a voicemail, or an email from you is gonna receive that in this mental head space they're in. So if their dog just died and you just sent him a text of like, "Hey, can I get knocks today?" You've got him in a really negative way. And you just were probably just like "Hey are we getting knocks today?" like that's like the Key and Peele skit with like the misinterpreted exchange. Have you seen that thing? It's incredibly[Neel]
[Alec] Yeah, yeah. Dude, this is the problem. You just brought it up, okay. Adding tone to someone's text is a major stake okay. Just read it flat or read it with a smile. Someone says, "Hey, what's going on with this file?" You could say that mean or you could say, "What's going on with this file." Like say with a smile, I don't know. But people are like adding a negative tone to everything written. 'Cause like right now nobody would pick up the phone. We use instant messaging, DM's, texts, right. So they're adding all this tone and I've seen people get into full blow outs with other staff members and the person that they're mad at didn't even intend anything that this person interpreted like completely wrong, you know. So that's a huge mistake going on right now especially in an age of text only communications, no phone no context, you know, no face behind it. So I would just say this add an emoji to your requests. You know what I did, with my team, by my staff, who helps this, we have a whole, we have a staff of about a hundred people in India, that helps us with like docs and CDs and things like that. We have an offshore, and those guys I'm friends with all them on Facebook. They message me and they're like, "Are you a celebrity in America?" I'm like, "No, dude, I'm just a regular dude in Reno, Nevada." But they're like, they're just, they're so enamored by everything going on in the U.S. You know, 'cause in other countries, I think that's one thing we don't realize here is how good we have it here in the U.S. But these guys I've become friends with all of them and so when I ask them for something, I'm like, "Hey man, I noticed this didn't get done. Can you please get this out?" And add in an emoji, that's contextual to them. So like, you know the thank you emoji like this, you know, because they would understand that in India or, you know, just something like that. And those guys really feel like you're empathetic to what they're going through or just a fist bump or, you know, when it gets done, send a high five, nobody's doing that.
[Neel] Nobody's doing that.
[Alec] Nothing, so.
[Neel] All right, I got my last one here. We're hitting the end. So if you saved your big[Neel]
[Alec] I did. mistake to the end, let's, you can go after me. You can top it. So I grew up in a household with strict parents but also a really strict code of personal responsibility. Like and I had great mentors, you know, I always tell the story like on the basketball team when we were winning CIF, I was the point guard. And during this one play, a power forward, the best player on our team, you know, he's supposed to hold a fist out. If he's gonna cut back door and that's a little basketball speak. If he's gonna come out, cut back door, he's supposed to hold a fist so that I don't pass the ball to the air, while he's turning the other way and going back towards the pool. So in this one play, he didn't hold the fist out. He cuts back door. I just sail the ball into the audience. 'Cause he cut when I didn't think he was gonna cut. And I'm yelling at him at the break and the coach just stops everything. And he's like, "Who threw the ball?" He just shuts it all down, he's like, "Who threw the ball?" And I was like, "I did." 'Cause I kept making excuses like, well, he didn't put his fist out and he didn't, and the coach was like, "Who threw the ball?" So I grew up with a tons of personal accountability. And one of my favorite phrases is the grass is never greener somewhere else. And I built my entire career on this. I would struggle and strive and be like, I gotta mow my grass. I gotta take care of my garden. I got to stay here. I got to grow this thing and grow this thing. And anybody in the way, grass is not greener. Like keep going, keep going until I was sitting in the dead bones of Countrywide up in Calabasas. After Bank of America took over in Angelo Mozilo's old office with a guy named Matt Vernon who was running Bank of America Home Loans after the crisis. And I had worked at Bank of America now for two and a half years built my brand, continued to build the branch no excuses to the number one branch in the country. And we were dying, because we had no operational support felt very similar to this, just dying. My branch was originating 400 million a month and only able to fund a hundred million, dying. And I'm like, I will hire everybody, I will bring them on. Just give me the permission. I'll hire everyone. I'm sitting in this guy's office, 'cause everyone was just telling me side stories. And he goes, "I know you can hire everyone Alec, but we're not going to do it." And I'm like, "Why? You have so many customers who we're just destroying, who are so angry." Neel, back then, in my market in Southern California realtors were writing in their contract, "We will not accept loans from Bank of America." In the contracts, like that gnarly. And so I'm sitting here like, "Why?" And he goes, "We're meeting shareholder demand. In fact, we're exceeding shareholder demand for the mortgage division. We're gonna blow through all the numbers. And the enterprise is more important than your loan officers. And the customers they'll just cancel and go somewhere else. And it's okay." And I was like, "Wow, you know, everyone else besides you was not telling me that, they were telling me, 'Help is coming, we're working on it,' and I'm like, you're not, it's been a year. You're not working on it." And then I realized that no matter how hard you believe in personal accountability, this is not, mortgage is a team sport. Like you said earlier Neel, like with operations, if they were gone today you're, we're screwed. It's over. Like you can't, you don't get to do loans. Life is a team sport. And if you're not all pulling on the same side of the rope, I don't care how much personal responsibility you have. If someone's taking a crap on your garden that you're tending behind you, wearing the same Jersey as you? Like that's not true. And that was hard for me 'cause I had never left the company. I was ride or die, personal responsibility. Grass is never greener. And then I got this crazy moment where I was like, hold on. It's not about the grass is greener. It's not about devaluing personal responsibility. That's still massively core to anybody's level of success. But you gotta be on a team where people are going rowing the same direction or you'll never get to where you're trying to go. And so, you know, it kind of just, it was a learning lesson 'cause I spent three years at the bank and I always wonder like what could I have done if I woulda have realized that earlier?
[Alec] It was, it's just one of those moments where I'm like man, that was three years. That's a lot of time I could have been doing something, building something. And then I took this lesson from you too. I guess this is hand in hand with this is, I wish I would have gotten to social media earlier, like five years ago. I wish I would have focused on this space that we're hanging out in, in a serious way. Like[Neel]
[Neel] Yeah this is a, this is a huge thing in our business. I had one, I had two things, you know, kind of to wrap up of like, what, you know mistakes that I think people are making and they could improve on. And a lot of them are tactical, you know, they're little tactical but what you just said kind of made me think of something that's even more important. It's this, you know, what is the average age of a loan officer that is like, isn't it old?
[Alec] 50, 50 plus.
[Neel] Okay, it's old, we're old guys and realtors too right?
[Neel] I'm thinking, a lot of guys I deal with are late forties, you know, real estate agents. I think we're plagued in this industry in particular by shoulda, woulda, coulda, right. I should have done, I should have done, I should have been on IG five years ago. I should have been on this, I shouldn't have. Dude I've wasted years at a company not growing my business just being transactional and you know, going month to month and this huge roller coaster of ups and then I'm down for months because I didn't prospect. And I had to know like, I was just bringing a hamster wheel out there, had no sustainable business. So in an industry where everybody's plagued by shoulda, woulda, coulda is like, it's just the wrong mindset because you have to think about this. I thought it was too late to make a shift and cause I'm in, I don't even know how old I am. I'm in late thirties now. So like, dude, I still have 30 years of work left in me, dude. You know what I mean, like what are we talking about? So I know it's you hear this cliche like, it's not too late, but dude, it really is. If you're in your thirties and you're like, dude, I haven't even started social. I'm still doing the sales. You know, the transactional sales model. I don't have the right relationships. I don't have the right team. All is lost. So many people get in that mindset and then they just never make the change. But there's plenty of time to make any change that you want. It doesn't like how many times does people say this? Well, we've had a bull run and in mortgages and real estate for the past decade and so it's probably coming to an end. So, you know, I don't, I'm not gonna like grow my team. I'm just gonna ride it out until the next crash. So like there is no crash coming probably in certain markets, you know it's not gonna be the same type of event that occurred. The 2008 was a once in a lifetime event you can't plan for another once in a lifetime event. So I think that getting out of that shoulda woulda coulda and just making the changes you need to make, that is huge. That's advice that anybody could, could implement and like probably change their business and life right now.
[Alec] Dude that's actually the perfect message to end on. 'Cause I can't, I could not echo and agree with that more. It's like everyone, you know, Gary V says it all the time too. He's like, you're young. You gotta start now, start now. And see what you can accomplish in the next 10, 20, 30 years. There's plenty of time left.
[Neel] But you know, people think he's talking to 25 year olds. He's talking to you 42 year old Bob, who doesn't, isn't where they wanna be, business wise and financially. What could you do in 10 years? Just think about what you can do in 10 years. Like you could start from dude, I could, you can take away everything. I could start from scratch. And just knowing what I know, you know. So all the failures, all the mistakes, like this is the topic of the today's thing, Mistakes. All those are gonna be the reason why something awesome happens in the next two years. Or they're gonna be the reason why you get to where you're gonna be in five years. So don't think of it like, you know, as really mistakes just think about like, I just did a post about this. I said, "There's value in failing because then you know how to win."
[Alec] Yeah. I mean, look, I would not be where I'm at or who I am without the massive mistakes I've made. Right, they grow you, they teach you. If you don't make mistakes, you're not playing the game. And so I look back and I laugh. I make sure I hang up my phone every time now. I got the picture. That when I'm hiring somebody, I look deep into their soul and be like, are we a good culture fit? Like I make way different decisions that cause me less pain and hopefully, and ideally bring me more success because of the mistakes that I've made.
[Neel] The only way you can learn it's like learning by doing right.
[Alec] Well, dude, you're the man. Thank you for rapping with me for 45 minutes about the mistakes we've made. I'm sure we'll make many more, come back a year and talk[Neel]
[Neel] Yes, I'm gonna make some today. So, and sorry dude about my connection. If it was messed up, I had to, I don't know what's going on here tech[Neel]wise, but we rolled with it.
[Alec] You know what, people are gonna appreciate it more because there's no BS dude. Sometimes phones don't work. What are you gonna do? You know, like you're gonna move on close loans. Neel, thank you, dude. Have a wonderful rest of your day for everybody out there. Stay safe and we'll see you on the internet.
[Neel] All right, thank you.