The Support Automation Show: Episode 34

The Support Automation Show Episode 34 with Jason Frazier

Jason Frazier, EVP of Marketing at Victorian Finance, Mortgage Coach, Marketer, and Podcast Producer at Next Level Loan Officers, and Founder of Mortgage X, joins the next episode of The Support Automation Show. Jason Frazier is an award-winning marketer, disruptive strategist, and technologist with more than twenty years of C-Level expertise. Today, he shares his expertise on how organizations can automate their marketing.

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Justin Schmidt: Welcome to the Support Automation Show, a podcast by Capacity. Join us for conversations with leaders and customer or employee support who are using technology to answer questions, automate processes, and build innovative solutions to any business challenge. I’m your host Justin Schmidt. Jason Frazier, good morning, and welcome to the Support Automation Show.

Jason Frazier: Thanks, man. Good morning to you. I’m excited to be here.

Justin: Where’s this podcast find you?

Jason: I am actually in Alpharetta, Georgia, my friend.

Justin: I have never been to Alpharetta, Georgia. I’ve been to Atlanta. I’ve been to Savannah, but never Alpharetta.

Jason: We’re about 15 minutes north of North Atlanta, so right on the north tip of Atlanta, we’re about 15 minutes away from it.

Justin: Got it. Well, Jason, you join us as the EVP of marketing at Victorian Finance, and you’re also the coach over at Next Level Loan Officers. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into the mortgage space and what a mortgage coach does?

Jason: Sure, yes, background on me. The mortgage industry actually is a family business for me. I was born into it. By that, I mean literally born into it. I was in a car carrier on the desk of my mom at the mortgage company three days after I was born. It’s been a long time. We’ve owned a mortgage company as a family. My mom was one of the first presidents and CEOs of a mortgage company. The CEO and president of a mortgage company in the United States. It’s her legacy that I really focus on, and continuing that.

Now my career path was not in anything that I’m doing today. I actually come from the world of technology startups and venture capital, born and raised in Northern California, so Silicon Valley, San Francisco, the tech hub out there. That was my world, I used to work for Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal. I hung around all those guys, worked with those guys, just a sponge to soak in all of their massive intelligence that they had and contrarian views.

I took a sabbatical from the hedge fund world in ’09, and, hey, I made enough money, I could take a couple of years off, not work, but that lasted for about two weeks before I got bored out of my mind. I tend to listen to my mom. Growing up, she said, they never got into the mortgage industry, but at that time they were doing some new things with technology and whatnot. They asked me to be a consultant and do an audit of their systems and everything else and so I did that.

My background is as an engineer and so I did that and decided to join the company full-time, at least, in the latter half of ’09. I haven’t looked back. I’ve been a part of the industry ever since. I’ve decided to plant my flag here, and like I said, continue on my mom’s legacy and what she started. That’s where we are today.

Justin: That’s awesome. It’s always interesting to me to hear the circuitous paths people take to where they’re at in their careers. It’s just a great reminder to all of us, but especially anybody who’s just finished college or just getting started, that life is long and the options are many, so just stay true to what you want to do and enjoy it. You never know where you end up, and that’s part of the fun.

Jason: Yes. Absolutely. If you talk to anyone in the mortgage industry, they generally have no one– It’s one of those industries that no one ever likes, “Oh, yes, I’m going to be in the mortgage industry. I’m in college, I’m going into the mortgage industry. I’m in high school, yes, I’m definitely going to be in the industry.” No one. It’s the one industry that people just fall into or get dragged into,

Justin: Yes. The little kid running through the field, throwing his glider or whatever, and stops and thinks, “When I grow up, I want to work on an-“

Jason: I want to be a loan officer.

Justin: “-underwriting desk.” This is going to be a fun conversation for a couple of reasons. One, your background in engineering and as a technologist. Two, your viewpoints and position in the mortgage business. I think it’s especially pertinent to support automation. At Capacity, we have a fairly decent size of our customer roster in the lending space. It’s one of the verticals we found early success in, so it’s something that I have learned more about in the last few years.

It’s also an area of the economy, for lack of a better word, that really benefits from automation and specifically automation and functions where you’re taking the load off of your best people or enabling your customers to have more meaningful interactions or more convenient interactions with level zero support or whatever it is, but there’s a lot to unpack here, so I want to get into it. I’m going to start this conversation with the same question I ask everybody right off the top, and that is, when you hear the word support automation, what does that mean to you?

Jason: For me, the first thing is I’m thinking of chatbots, I’m thinking of people calling in for customer service. Really chatbots, I would say is the first thing that comes to my mind.

Justin: Yes, chatbots are often the gateway into humans and AI interacting. In some instances, you might have an IVR assistant or something, but chat is often the first piece.

Jason: Yes.

Justin: When we were going back and forth and thinking about topics to discuss, one of the things you mentioned was marketing in the world of support automation. This is a topic near and dear to my heart as a marketer, but I’m curious what your thought process and what your idea is on that. I’d love to begin by unpacking that.

Jason: I think as far as the way that I look at what’s permissioning, like chatbots, then I look at ways of doing that when it comes to lead generation and marketing. We all know that it used to be, not so much anymore. It’s still around, but for a while there for a few years, it was all about Facebook Messenger and all about throwing chatbots in Facebook and then doing lead generation on Facebook. Then trying to get them in your chatbot, and then creating journeys for those customers and those leads to do a lot of the work, to ask them questions, almost from a pre-qualification.

Not necessarily a pre-qualification as it relates to are they pre-qualified for mortgage, but qualification is like, “Is this an actual lead, or is this just a deadwood and something that doesn’t really matter?” Is it just someone that’s just going to waste time and isn’t really serious about that? Then having journeys. The thing is that I will take this step back as if I’m approaching it as not just a marketer but as a loan officer, I only have so much time in a given day, to update my clients, to work with agents, to manage my team, run my ops to a certain extent.

Depending on what kind of operation that loan officer happens to be in, I can’t have that many conversations, so if I’m doing leads at a high end, if I’m sourcing it, whether it’s online, Facebook Ads, whether it’s YouTube, whether it’s anything, I can only have so many active conversations at a given time. If I spend half an hour on the phone, I can’t do that at scale all throughout the time, and I can’t do it live. Because if I’m in a conversation with a customer, I can’t stop and pause that and then go have that same conversation with another one and the same.

If you have some automation on the communication side, then you can create a system and process for that, you can automate some of those conversations to ask those pre-qualification questions, “Are you trying to do this, the perfect house da, da, da?” If you have that automated tool, it’s asking those questions, and it can actually point them in a direction, “Oh, I don’t know what that means. I actually have a question about this.” Then they could type that in. Back in the day, it was you just gave them the selections, they clicked on it, took them on the journey.

If you ask them, actually create some conversations through automation, then you can actually allow them to look certain things up like, “What does that mean?” “Okay, click here, there.” “Okay, cool. I see what that is. Here’s a knowledge base. I have a question on the difference between a VA and a USDA loan. How many times can I use my VA entitlement?” It really depends. Now, my buddy Scott Shane, he always talks about cloning yourself, it’s like when you’re doing videos and anything.

Automation to me, again, as my definition of support automation as it relates to a chatbot, then that allows you to automate those conversations, and then you can have those at scale, and pour yourself into that. You’re really just cloning yourself in an automated tool to allow for some of those conversations to when they’re actually ready for that next step where they need to talk to somebody.

Justin: You’re exactly right. One piece that I would add to that, this gets triggered when you are talking about how you’re switching from one customer to the next, one borrower to the next, then the context switching and not being able to be in all places at the same time. There’s the additional wrinkle in the mortgage business, and I’m not sure the– layperson is a weird word to use– but someone who doesn’t think about mortgages other than it’s this bill I have to pay and the check I wrote to get it started was intimidatingly large.

There are a lot of guidelines. There are a lot of intricacies in why a loan gets– Why the rate comes back the way it does. How people qualify. There’s a lot of stuff outside of the loan officers’ control that’s set at a policy level in a lot of ways from the government. To be able to have the answers to those questions and the right ones at your fingertips and ready to go is not easy. It’s not the same as if you’re selling software and you go into salesforce and you’ve got your notes, it’s typically, while deals can get complicated, all the information you need is either coming from your product and engineering team or something you just ask the prospect to get.

Whereas something like a mortgage, you’re dealing with these outside third-party GSEs as they’re called, where a lot of this stuff is not exactly what you have in your normal locus and control. Automation and specifically just good knowledge management practices enable access to that stuff that you normally don’t see. As you’ve interviewed people on your show, as you’ve talked to high producers or other technology vendors, or maybe other leaders in the space, what are some of the trends that you’ve seen emerge in the mortgage space in terms of the sales enablement of loan officers that have surprised you with how quickly they’ve taken hold?

Jason: That’s a great question. What I would say, and this plays into automation, but what I’ve seen– I guess I am surprised just because generally anything in our industry, one is nobody likes change, especially in our industry. Nobody likes change. Everyone likes the shiny new toys, but no one wants to take the time to really learn them or to make them the most effective or put the build, actually. They just want it all done for them.

What I would say the biggest trend that I have seen that I’m surprised has been adopted so quickly is having that full communication suite to replicate yourself, like what we talked about in the beginning, meaning more loan officers are willing to do this because– I guess I’m not really surprised just because the last two years of having more business than we knew what to do with and doing basically three to four times the usual amount of volume than is normally done in our industry in a given year forced loan officers to figure out like, “How do I scale and how do I clone myself? How do I have these communications?”

I’ll use an example of a software called Bonzo. I use it and I call it my communication conversion platform. What that does is allow you to do videos, to set up text messaging, to set up voicemail drops, to set up emails, and to just really simply visually build your thing together and then funnel people into that and then allow the communications just to happen and go forth. I think the adoption of those systems, why usually it would be like, “Okay, yes. Let me look at it. I wanted to do all this stuff.”

I think just the fact that loan officers are now wanting to figure out a way to quickly automate those conversations and those actions, that’s been somewhat surprising. The reason why is coming up, being in this business since ’09, the biggest thing we hear is, “Oh, this is always a relationship business.” Not that I don’t disagree with that, but they always use that as an argument to not deploy technology or to not do these things. “Oh, I have to talk. I have to take my 1003 over the phone,” which is just ridiculous now, like, “Come on, you can’t scale,” which is fine.

Now, when I say ridiculous, I mean it in these terms, if you want to do that and you’re happy with your business and you’re not trying to grow, then fantastic, but the problem is that people would be telling me that but they’re also trying to grow. I’m like, “Okay.” That’s like, “Who talked about it? You can only have so many conversations today. If you have to spend an hour and a half on the phone for every person that you’re taking a 1003, then your time’s going to be limited and you won’t have time to recruit, grow, improve processes or anything.” You’re just going to be working in your business instead of on it.

I would say that’s why it’s been surprising that loan officers have adapted to that so quickly. Whereas usually, it takes a long– for me as someone that’s been in this business for a long time trying to get loan officers to do things differently. It’s a good thing. It’s a good surprise. It’s a good trend seeing loan officers figure out how they can effectively use these tools as opposed to doing the classic, “Hey, what’s your favorite CRM that does everything?” As opposed to really focusing on the tools that are going to help them out.

Justin: Yes. Working in the business, not on it. I like that. Was it working on the business and not in it or?

Jason: They’re spending more time in the business doing the phone calls as opposed to working on the business, to make it more efficient, to grow, and to attract new talent. Like I said, you only have so many hours in a day and something has to give. If you want something, you have to give up something to get it. At some level in your business, you just have to decide what you’re going to do, but you can’t have it all.

Going back again to the relationship business as an argument against adoptee technology, against posting on social media, against doing these tools and stuff, it just doesn’t hold water any longer. Seeing the trend of loan officers– In general, it used to be the younger crowd that was easier to have this conversation with, now it’s the more older crowd that are more willing to do that. It’s a good trend that I see happening.

Justin: It’s been interesting for me watching the way technology, even in the three or four years that I’ve been working tangentially in that business, intelligent document processing and OCR is another one that I find, A, on the surface it seems obvious that there’s a lot of documents in the loan process. Letting computers handle all of that seems like a no-brainer, but it’s also a difficult problem to solve. The government forms are all the same and it’s structured. As far as OCR goes, that’s an easier lift, but when you have bank statements that all look different and maybe something’s crumpled up and has coffee spill on it or whatever, things get a–

Jason: –thrown on a paper plate.

Justin: Yes. Exactly. It’s good to see that this technology is being adopted. I hate using the phrase digital transformation because it’s such a played-out buzzword in our circles here, but the digital transformation process in the lending space has been fascinating to watch. I’m curious what your thoughts on this are because you mentioned the last two years and the boom and all the refis and just the wild time loan officers have had in the last two years, the next two years might be different.

Jason: Oh, yes. They’ll definitely be different.

Justin: Yes. I’m trying to land softly because I don’t want anyone listening to be triggered or whatever, but to put it more bluntly, the next two years are going to be very different. When you think of the mortgage value chain from origination through servicing and, God forbid, default and all this forbearance and all that stuff, the focus of where technology can make the biggest impact may change, I guess is what I’m going with this. I’m curious, your thoughts on in a down when buying season is over and rates are 6.5% or wherever it is they end up, what changes from the technologist perspective in the mortgage space?

Jason: A lot of good things there and I’m glad we’re having this conversation because it is a deep and somewhat complex answer. To get to that, you’ve got to know where we’ve been the last two years. If you’ve been on the outside looking in or in the industry, or just on the front lines doing your job with your head down and not really paying attention, I have the luxury of being an executive leadership, being a consultant to other FinTech companies, and being part of the service provider space and everything else.

I’m afforded the luxury of being in conversations that a lot of people aren’t and being in the know, if you want to call it that, of a lot of things behind the scenes, mergers and acquisitions, companies having challenges, that type of stuff. I hear it all. I’m saying all of that to really understand is that as it relates to technology over the last two years and going into these two years because it is going to be a lot of different is where you’re going to see is that, and I’ve been talking about this for a while, just as relates to disruption and innovation, is that if you do a mechanical job in this industry, your days are numbered.

Your days were numbered before any of this happened. Unfortunately, what happened with the arms race of underwriters and support personnel, people in operations the last two years, crazy signing bonuses, large salaries, you hasten your demise a little bit. Unfortunately, I’ve seen the tools, I’ve seen what’s coming on down the pipe, I’ve seen what’s being developed.

A lot of people haven’t, don’t get to see this stuff because I get just with my background, I do get asked to be a part of a lot of private equity and hedge fund meetings and investment meetings about, “Hey, we’re looking at investing in this technology, will you mind taking a look, or how would we break into this market with this and that?” Is that it’s all about replacing the mechanical stuff because that’s where the manufacturing cost comes into play. Yes, loan officer comp and everything else has to play, but where I see it is that not just in operations, but in sales too.

If you’re a non-producing salesperson, unless you’re awesome, meaning you’re doing more, you’re managing and you’re helping people grow and you’re increasing production of people underneath you, but if you’re just a regional or an area or a sales manager and you’re not producing and you’re not bringing in a lot of people and you’re not really helping the bottom line, to me those positions are dead now. I don’t think those are ever coming back just because the next two years are going to be lean.

I think what we saw as far as companies wasting money on those positions, and don’t get me wrong, all the regionals that are listening, don’t kill me, but I’m just saying that you have to add value to the bottom line because companies are laying off a ton. All the underwriters that were getting paid a ton of money the last two years are getting shot out of a cannon because they’re the first ones to go.

Unfortunately, automation is going to be focused on how we put these things into underwriting to get done without a human touching it. How do we process files? How do we close files? How do we do anything and everything digitally and automated to where it makes sense at least and then that way only the cream of the crop, the best of the best, you’ll have underwriters for second looks, you’ll have processors to manage the pipeline, you’ll have closers and whatnot, but instead of having a team of 15 or 20, you’ll have a team of 3 to 5. Those positions are gone.

Maybe another company that’s doing stuff the old way, the problem is that then their cost to manufacture a loan, that sits I think somewhere in the neighborhood of $7,200 to $8,500. For the companies that are able to bring that down to a $4,500 to $5,000, then you’re basically losing $3,000 to $4,000 per loan because of personnel, or more. The company that figures out how to do this and do it well, and do it with less humans, because that’s always the biggest cost, the better off they’re going to be. When it comes to doing that, you always start with the mechanical job, the $10 jobs, the $50 jobs.

I’m not talking per hour, I’m just talking total, to check boxes or whatever. If you can build the intelligence and the expertise and so the technology, then you just need a human to help develop and improve that, but you’re just not going to need humans to just sit there and look off a checklist, check boxes and do that. Underwriters, don’t hate me. I’m not saying that you don’t add value, I’m just saying that’s what it’s come down to. I’ve seen it. I’ve been in it. I decided that if I wanted to be in this career; I need to understand what every single person does.

Doesn’t mean I could underwrite files. Doesn’t mean I could process, but I understand the mechanics of it. I think what has saved this industry from really going that route– I don’t want to say save, but what’s caused the industry to not go that route quicker is the fragmentation that exists that no one ever talks about. Is that I could find lender A, lender B, both in Atlanta, Georgia, both retail lenders, both doing, let’s say, $2 billion a year. If you look at lender A and you look at lender B, same market, same everything, same technology, you will find that they do things drastically different at lender A than they do at lender B.

Then you’ll also see that even in that same lender A, you go to a branch, that branch, their LOA will be doing something different than the LOA in branch B of lender A. You know what I mean?

Justin: Right.

Jason: The fragmentation has really been what has stopped standardization within our industry so these technologies can be developed. I see it all the time. Now I’m part of a group for mortgage brokers that work on an LOS called ARIVE, which is a great LOS, but you have all these, “Oh, it’d be great if you did this. It’d be great if it did that.” Every broker wants a different way of working. The same goes as brokers with loan officers too. Not just brokers or loan officers. If you look at a loan originator, I can look at 10 originators, and let’s say all 10 had an LOA, I guarantee you that 9 out of 10 would have their LOAs doing something completely different than the other loan officers.

That is problematic when you’re trying to create a system for everybody. When you’re trying to create systems and processes and standards for everyone, it’s just impossible to do that, but I think now lenders, the smart ones, at least, have decided, “Look, we’re going to create a standard. If you’re going to work here, if you’re going to be here, then this is the standard that we work to. This is what we do, this is how we use the tools. If you’re going to be here, this is how you do it. We’re not creating a whole different apparatus for you to do that.”

Now, there’s a little give and take with that. You don’t want to be so rigid, but at the same time, things just have to be done because there’s no way to scale or grow. What people don’t understand is when they look at two things, it’s the reason why Rocket has been so successful are two reasons. One is standardization and two is marketing. In fact, I would say one is marketing and two is standardization. If you go to Rocket and work at Quicken, you’re not doing your own thing. You’re using their CRM, you’re using their processes, their scripts, everything you know. It’s the same, it’s repeatable, and that’s what makes it good.

We can all debate whether it’s the best lender or not, but what I’m saying is that the reason why they have the number one market share and really are the only true mortgage brand is because of those two things. The rest of us who are trying to just be out here in the Wild Wild West doing our own thing, it’s not a negative. We’re doing that at VicFin too. That’s how we roll. We have our own standards and ways of doing things, but we also can’t be everything and everyone and decide, “Hey, if you’re going to be one of our OKGs,” which is Our Kind of Guy or Our Kind of Girl, “if you’re going to be one of our OKGs, then this is how we roll here.”

We want you to be a part of it, but you’ve got to be a part of it. To create it and make it better, we’re not going to do a completely different system, your own way of doing things over there. Mortgage companies need to wake up and understand that the fragmentation is going to continue to keep us behind because everyone wants to do their own thing. Again, I’m talking to companies that want to scale and grow, not companies that are okay with the status quo and are happy, are profitable and they’re good to go. Cool, continue to do your thing until–

Ride that till the wheels fall off, but for the rest of us that are trying to create something different, that aren’t okay with the status quo, that do want to scale and grow, we have to create those standards. We can’t have fragmentation because that will kill us. It will kill all industries. That’s why everyone is bogged down now. You have all these companies spending tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars a month on these enterprise software contracts and stuff that only have an adoption rate of 35%, 40%. That means that 60% of that is waste. You cannot run a business with that percentage of waste.

That’s just economics. This isn’t rocket science or earth-shattering stuff. The mortgage company, especially the last three years, ’19 to ’21, has been in the boom, so no one really cares about it. The problem is they’re caring about it now but it’s too late. Now they’re losing money every month and so they’re just going to do what they’ve always done. Then I fear a lot of them are just going to continue to do it again once things get better.

Justin: It’s been interesting for me watching some of this play out because one of the promises that you’d see a few years ago, someone like Better Mortgage, we’re going to automate virtually the entire process and getting a loan is going to be like signing up for Netflix or whatever. I’m grossly oversimplifying things but I’m not that far off from the vision that they ultimately wanted. We can say a lot of things about their business. Obviously, they’ve had some issues just from an operational standpoint. Let me put that as politely as I can.

There is nonetheless a lure to the standardization and the technological unification and expediency to adopting a bunch of technology and automation to make the process a lot smoother, make the process a lot more uniform, all these other things that you just talked about. I still see a huge opportunity for the independent mortgage brokers and the smaller banks and whoever else it is outside of Rocket, Bank of America, et cetera, et cetera, that have the ability and the resources to create those standardized experiences. The independent mortgage broker can still put together a technology stack to do exactly that.

Jason: Oh, absolutely. Yes.

Justin: The next question I have for you is one that I’m really interested in your opinion, just given your space that you’ve occupied in a prior life and also as you sit now, that is, when we think about the opportunity and challenges of technology and automation inside of the mortgage space and supporting LOs or supporting borrowers with anything from a workflow to automate a process to a chatbot that answers questions, the way everything works there. Are there any lessons you think that are applicable to the broader world outside of mortgage that maybe mortgage specifically could teach those other industries?

Jason: I would actually say, just not to be too candid, but probably not. If anything, we were working [crosstalk]

Justin: It’s the other way round.

Jason: I was going to say, if anything, the other way around, that’s something I’ve always talked about, from 2009 to 2019, our industry did a tremendous job of commoditizing what we do, meaning there’s no true differentiator. Look, there’s nothing wrong because we are selling the same stuff. We’re all mortgage lenders, we’re all selling the same stuff. Also, understanding that this is different than– It’s not a commodity that someone needs.

What I mean by that is it’s not like gas or food or whatnot that, hey, if I need gas I’m just going to go wherever. It’s not something you’re going to need every day. You’re going to do your house– You’re buying a house, you’re probably not going to buy one at the end of the week and then on Monday, and then Saturdays are buying a house day. Saturday dinner, Sunday dinner, that type of stuff. It doesn’t work that way. When you take and understand that, our industry has always, for some reason, because of the ticket, because of the high price, that things had to be different for us, the way that we interact with consumers, the way we adopt technology, own technology as the case may be.

It was different for us. That’s the argument that I always heard going back to saying it was a people business and yadi-yadi-ya and all that other good stuff. Even though there was plenty of proof to the contrary. What they don’t understand is that a consumer is a consumer regardless of the product. Doesn’t matter. Honestly, to me, as I’ve been in the industry, I can’t find one thing that I would ever say that, “Oh, other industries should learn from the way that we do stuff,” because, one, the fragmentation, the lack of standardization, the lack of training as a whole as an industry is pretty bad. The fact that we do allow for the status quo to continue.

The mortgage industry has, unfortunately, one of the worst mentalities when it comes to that of, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” which, to me, keeps us in the status quo. It is that mentality that has allowed the mortgage industry to be a status quo industry for the last 10 years, with the exception of a Rocket or whatever, because they decided to do something differently way back.

Now, I’m not speaking for everyone. There are some other lenders that have used innovation that have decided that they want to be different and do different things, but as a whole, everyone in the industry suffers the same fate. They do the same thing. They have the same challenges and you don’t really have one winner above all. With a few exceptions. Like on the wholesale side UWM has actually done a great job with innovating and investing in technology and that stuff. That’s why they’re the number one wholesale group.

There are differences, but as far as is there anything that another industry– I would say what other industries that may have had that status quo mentality or being stagnant would be maybe CPAs, financial advisors, insurance, those types of things, they should learn from us as a cautionary tale of what happens when you don’t innovate. When you don’t even iterate. When you don’t even make things or you try to make crappy processes better. Who cares? It’s like, “Okay, great. Now, I didn’t break my foot, but I broke my hand instead. That’s a little bit better.” That’s generally what we’ve done and taught ourselves in this industry.

To answer your question there, in my view, as I’ve seen it from a technology of marketing, consumer experience, all of that stuff, we are years behind most other verticals when you see. What happens is I look at the taxi. I’ll take it specifically from a business use standpoint. From a business use standpoint, taxi car services, they ran at about 86% of the market share up until about– I think it was 2012, 2013, when Lyft and Uber really started to come onto the market.

Within two years, that 84% market share went to less than 8% in an industry that they owned and created and built, basically. In two years. That’s what happens when you don’t improve. That’s what happens when you think you’re smarter than everyone else. That’s what happens when you sit back and you think I’m entrenched, it’s going to be hard. I’m a category king when they’re not, but, hey, Uber and Lyft, they’re the category kings. They created for others rideshare.

Justin: Netflix says hi, by the way.

Jason: Oh, yes. Exactly. Netflix too. I’m never going to do that because of this. That’s what I’m talking about is that– If anything, people should be looking at our industry not for leadership but for a cautionary tale of what not to do. I will debate anyone on this topic because, first, they’re wrong, but two, there’s so much history and facts that we could look back 10 years, show me where we innovated? Show me where we changed? The only reason we have so much innovation in the last two years is because we had to. We had to go remote. We had to use all these technologies. We had to do it.

Otherwise, we’re not going to survive. Guess what? Humans weren’t doing what humans normally did. That’s the only reason that we’re dragging, kicking, and screaming throughout the entire process. That’s what I would say is that we’re a cautionary tale more than anything. We’re not leading the way in anything. I come from that world. I come from high-tech. I’m talking about the Talent Tiers, the Yelps, the Googles, the LinkedIn.

Basically, where everyone’s world lives today, that’s where I’m from. I can tell you right now, I’m talking about 2005 to 2009. We’re just catching up. We’re about 15 years late, but we’ll get there through the right leadership and the right thoughts. I think we’ll get there quicker. I think we’ve had about five years of growth in the last two years because we were forced to. I think now that people are saying we could do things cheaper, we could do things better.

Also to that is to say that, “Hey, we could also be more human. Instead of just adopting technology to replace it, we need to adopt technology to enhance the human.” Because I think if anything also the last years have taught us is that we’re not ready to be all digital. We still need that human interaction. We still need that customer service and that customer experience. To me, the company that truly is the most human, the most service-oriented, and can take technology to enhance that is going to win in our industry. Right now, I don’t think anyone has the monopoly on that yet, but the one who does, hopefully, it’s us, the one who does is going to be one of the winners.

Justin: Yes. With that, you got to what is, in my opinion, the core impetus of adopting AI and support automation, and that is it unlocks the best of your people so that your number one rep can spend more time on the phone with their best customer and less time dealing with nonsense. We have time for those human connections. We have the mental energy to go into those human connections with our best selves. It’s been a great conversation, Jason. I really appreciate your time. Let’s end with our quick-fire round here. My first question is what’s the book that you recommend most often to people.

Jason: Wow. I have different books for different reasons, but one book that I highly recommend to everyone is When Business Meets Design. It’s called X the book. It’s by Brian Solis. I recommend that to everyone. To me, he’s one of the founding fathers of modern consumer experience. It’s my instruction manual of how I built CX at every place that I’ve been.

Justin: When Business Meets Design?

Jason: Yes.

Justin: It’s a good one. I have to add that to the list. In terms of how you manage your time and how you’re being productive, you’re a busy guy, doing a lot of things, doing your speaking, working in a variety of mentor partners situations, as well as your own business. In terms of the best productivity tip or tool that you’ve ever received that you’ve incorporated into your daily practice, what is that?

Jason: It’s simple. These are two things. One, it’s called the Power List. Next level we call it Actions that matter. The Power List is something that I learned from Andy Frisella, who used to do the MFCEO Project and now does a Real AF. I was a member of Arete, so I coached with Andy and coached with Ed Mylett, and Power List is a big part of that. Basically, a Power List is five critical tasks that you do every single day that’s going to move you forward. Move you, move your business forward. Those critical tasks can mean different things to different people. That was one part of it.

Another part is when it comes to the email, is adopting a strategy called Today or Tomorrow. That is something that I learned from a former colleague of mine. His name is Steve Carpitella, works at EPM. Runs production on the retail side there. That guy is a machine. Anyway, what I learned from him is that he does it today and tomorrow. An email comes in, is this something I need to address today, or is tomorrow okay? The way that I manage my inbox is that anything that’s a tomorrow goes into a folder called tomorrow. Then the only thing in my inbox is things that I need to think about today. Because we all know most email is worthless. It doesn’t mean anything. A lot of it’s like FYI, CC, whatever.

Then, every morning I look at my tomorrow inbox, and anything that I need to address today, I move to my inbox, anything that doesn’t need to be addressed today stays in that tomorrow folder. Then every day I’m basically deciding what I’m doing by understanding, does this need to be done today or can it be done tomorrow? That tomorrow could go on for a month really, depending on what it is, but it also makes you see how important things are. It’s a combination of that Power List with the today and tomorrow methodology for inbox management that has really allowed me to be hyper-productive when it comes to doing projects and tasks.

Justin: I love it. Those are two that I haven’t heard before. I ask every guest on this show that question and every year we do a productivity tips webinar. One of our little top funnel, easy-to-put-together pieces of marketing. That’s a new one. Today and tomorrow reminds me of a simplified version of the Eisenhower Matrix, where you have important, do now, delegate, reschedule, or get rid of. I like that. Good stuff. Last question for you. If you could recommend a website, blog, Slack Community, LinkedIn group, et cetera, for people who are in the mortgage space and want to improve their operations and drive their business forward, what would it be?

Jason: Wow. If I’m a–

Justin: You’re allowed to plug here, by the way.

Jason: I was thinking about that. Here’s what I would say. There’s actually two groups. The first group is called Modern Lenders. Full disclosure. Modern Lenders are a free version of Next Level. Next Level we have a Facebook group for our paid members called Top Producer Huddle. That’s the group I’d recommend. You just have to be a member in order to get it. It’s extremely cheap. Then we have a free version of that, which is Modern Lenders. That’s where we have coaches where we give, not just crap, but we give good content. We do webinars. We’ll do some coaching calls in there and let people, so they can learn more about how we roll and how we do things.

Being part of Next Level or Modern Lenders, which is powered by Next Level, I would recommend that group. Another group that I would recommend, and this is one-sided, if you are a mortgage broker, there’s no better group to be a part of than the AIME Group, because, one, it’s 100% focused on mortgage broker growth, and you have mortgage brokers that are adding value to that every single day. It’s run by very knowledgeable and expert-level mortgage brokers.

I’ve been an AIME member, and been a part of that community for the last few years. If you’re a mortgage broker, there is no better group for aim because then you can get operations, how to run P&L, all that other good stuff. Then for anyone, mortgage brokers and retail lenders, or just people that are in mortgage, sales professionals, Modern Lenders is where it’s at.

Justin: Love it. Jason Frazier, thank you so much for coming on the Support Automation Show. Where can people find out more about yourself and Victorian Finance and what you guys are doing?

Jason: You could go to vicfinlife.com and learn more about VicFin and what we’re doing, and then connect with me. I’m on Instagram, REALMortgageX; Twitter, REALMortgageX; LinkedIn, same thing on there, and Facebook. I’m not hard to find on social media, so you could connect with me anywhere and everywhere.

Justin: Love it. Jason, thanks for spending some time with us, and have a wonderful afternoon.

Jason: Thanks, Justin. I appreciate it, man.

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