Bigger Picture

We’re Only As Good As Our Peers

“One hand washes the other and they both wash the face”

-Tyrone Ross Jr. (I know he wasn’t the first to say this, but he is who I ‘ve heard it from–multiple times.)

Historically, the mentality of the financial advisor has been “me vs. you” (or “us vs. them” on the firm level); other advisors were viewed as competition in the advisor’s quest to build his business—it was a zero-sum game. Only one advisor could get the client; only the victor would get the sale.

But what if that other advisor wasn’t the enemy?

Instead, what if she was an ally and by working together both advisors would succeed? Like Tyrone always says to me, “one hand washes the other and they both wash the face.”

We’re Only As Good As Our Peers

As the profession transitions from sales to advice, we’re witnessing an interesting phenomenon: advisors, once viewed as competition, collaborating for the greater good. And, by “greater good” I mean moving the profession forward, helping and educating more people, and bringing respect to the profession. We’re seeing this primarily with independent advisory firms, both RIA and hybrid firms, and it is becoming increasingly more common with the adoption of podcasts, videos, blogs, etc.

The positive outcomes are numerous:

  • Better content
  • Smarter advisors
  • Engaged clients
  • More financial literacy
  • Businesses growing
  • Financial services profession gets better

It’s a win-win for all involved. But this only continues if our peers, other advisors, continue to get better and the advisors putting clients first and doing things the right way succeed–which means to make they need to be discovered!

Many advisors have realized there are more than enough people who need financial advice and guidance; no one firm can handle them all. Instead of being in a battle for the next client, it is more beneficial to come together as a profession to collectively educate and promote/cheerlead/bring attention to other advisors doing good work to help clients avoid the bad actors. We’re only as good as our peers.

Let’s face it, the financial services profession still has an image issue—we’re constantly battling the “advisor” that’s really a salesperson, large financial corporation taking advantage of their customers (hello, Wells Fargo), distrust of Wall Street, and old mindset of advisors tearing down others to get the next client. If you’re reading this, you know this image does not reflect many of us and it certainly doesn’t reflect the future (check out these videos to see what the future looks like).

The financial advisors (and other financial services professionals) who understand when the profession benefits we all are better off, have bought into helping other advisors succeed—it could be taking a phone call to give advice, sharing another’s content, video chats, or hosting or joining on a podcast. Thanks to the selflessness of these advisors, more advisors are leaving the constraints of the old school sales model for the advice model of the future. Our peers are getting better.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of how collaboration and the promotion of others is improving our profession:

Episode 4 Of Experiments In Advisor Marketing

My friend Taylor Schulte has a phenomenal podcast called Experiments In Advisor Marketing (you can learn more here) and the fourth episode of his podcast exhibits the phenomenon I described above. In the episode, Taylor interviewed four advisors with different approaches to creating content and social media—instead of Taylor running the episode himself, he elected to bring on others to tell their story. Full disclosure: I was one of those guests, but that isn’t why I include this example.

By inviting others on his podcast, Taylor was able to deliver to his audience advice directly from the experts and the result was his top downloaded episode. The guests all had the opportunity to share their expertise on a new platform in front of a new audience, elevating their personal brands. And the success did not stop with that one episode. Taylor was able to turn the podcast episode into an article that was recently published in the Journal For Financial Planning; not only was it featured, but it was THE headline story. The success continues on July 31st as the Journal In The Round hosted by Journal For Financial Planning will be centered around Taylor’s story, with him being on the webinar.

There’s no doubt Taylor could have covered all of the material on episode 4 by himself—he’s a marketing guru, but he knew by inviting others to help him and by promoting other advisors he would be able to reach a larger audience (highest-downloaded episode), elevate the other advisors, and end up with a higher quality episode.

Win-Win-Win. Taylor wins. The advisors on the podcast win. The listener wins.

If you haven’t listened to this episode yet, come back here after you finish this post and download it!

Wealth/Stack

The promotion of other advisors, again once viewed as competitors, is also being done on a large scale—I mean podcasts are on thing, but what about a conference?

This September The Ritholtz Wealth Management team in collaboration with InsideETFs are putting on the Wealth/Stack conference, which I think is going to be a must-attend for financial advisors. Instead of making the conference all about RWM, they have built a ridiculous line up of speakers, including a number of financial advisors from other firms (Full disclosure again: I’ll be joining some of my closest friends on a panel). The Ritholtz team could have easily handled the conference with the talent they have in their office—there would have been no need to highlight other advisors.

But they get it.

They understand that by using their platform to help elevate other advisors, Wealth/Stack will be a conference we will all be talking about until the 2020 version, instead of just being a good conference. They understand by elevating other advisors and helping them grow the profession gets a facelift, which ultimately comes back to help them…who says trickledown economics doesn’t work? They understand by elevating other advisors, the audience learns from different experts and will take away more actionable information to grow as advisors and give better advice to their clients.

Win-Win-Win. Ritholtz Wealth Management and InsideETFs win. The advisors speaking win. The audience and their clients win.

If you haven’t gotten your ticket to the conference yet, what are you waiting for? You can grab it here.

Dreamville: Revenge Of The Dreamers III

As I finish this post up Saturday morning, I continue to listen to the new Dreamville album that was released on the 5th. The phenomenon of elevating others is happening in hip-hop as well. Rather than tell you about the concept of the Revenge Of The Dreamers project, I’ll direct you to this video:

The short: J. Cole, one of the most successful current hip-hop artists, invites his Dreamville crew, along with a number of other lesser-known advisors who no doubt will see their fan base grow, to record a collaborative album.

Win-Win-Win: J. Cole puts out a great album. The guest artists gain new listeners. Hip-hop gets better.

If you find yourself in the camp of viewing other advisors as competition, I encourage you to reconsider. We’re all in this together…yes, we all have businesses to run, clients to advise, and families to take care of, but ultimately we’re busting it day in and day out to help improve the finances of not only our clients but everyone. We all know the stats—how many families don’t have an emergency fund, the low average balance of 401(k)s, the average student loan balance, and the list goes on. The only way we put a dent in these issues is to work together. I promise you there are more than enough individuals and families that need our help. We all do better when everyone is winning; by “we”, I mean advisors, clients, and the non-clients learning from the content being created.

Remember, one hand washes the other and they both wash the face.

Disclaimer: Nothing on this blog should be considered advice, or recommendations. If you have questions pertaining to your individual situation you should consult your financial advisor. For all of the disclaimers, please see my disclaimers page.

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