“Vince Lombardi said, ‘The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but a lack of will.’”
Hanson took over his family business after a tragedy. His sister, the victim of a sexual assault, committed suicide four years ago. Instead of becoming embittered, Hanson was inspired to make a difference, donating office space to a sexual assault program. He has also participated in an adopt-a-highway program, gathered toy donations for needy kids, and sponsored boys’ and girls’ basketball fundraising events. His parents still work part time in the business.
Business sense: Buyers may come to Leech Lake—a vacation community 200 miles from Minneapolis—for the slow pace. But that doesn’t mean they want their salespeople stuck in the dark ages, Hanson says. He hired a director of information technologies and Internet marketing to set up Web sites and network office computers. He also hired a full-time legal counsel and a year ago opened a second office in Hackensack, 15 miles south of the Walker office. A third office is planned.
Challenge of selling way up north: Each winter the temperature around Leech Lake dips below zero, but that doesn’t deter Hanson from selling dreams of lazy summer days by the water. In a typical recent sale, a Georgia couple bought a $1 million vacation home in the dead of winter. To check out listings, they had to buy boots, mittens, and hats, he says.