In this episode, I talk with Barry Glassman, who is the President and Founder of Glassman Wealth Services®, where he leads an RIA that not only oversees a billion dollars of assets but has also been named best place to work by just about every major publication in the DC area. It’s amazing how Barry has found a way to both scale his business and his team very quickly, while at the same time creating an incredible place to work, this isn’t common in financial services and we cover a lot of how he does it in our conversation. Besides the best places to work awards, Barry’s also been featured in major publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post and has been honored with advisor awards from Barron’s, Financial Times, and Investment News to name a few.
Outside of the office, Barry’s an incredible chef and photographer and we speak to how incorporating this into his business and sharing it with his clients has helped deepen his connection from that of just a business relationship.
Here are a few highlights from our conversation:
- We start off with the story of how Barry and I actually met and how this speaks to the importance of getting outside of your industry to learn and surround yourself with other big achievers. Some great insights here from Barry.
- Next we get into FinTech and how this is changing the financial advising world and what you can do to take advantage of it as an advisor. There is also a great takeaway here that Barry learned from his client newsletter when he decided to run a secret survey on his clients to see who was actually reading it. Funny story that you all are going to love.
- Finally we dive really deep into what sets Barry’s firm apart when it comes to building a team and the 1 characteristic he’s found that is critical in his hiring process. Also Barry shares a great outside of the box interview question to seek out this characteristic, I’m guessing a few of you will borrow it from him!
“Great customer service is no longer special, it’s a minimum standard.” – Barry Glassman
“Great customer service is no longer special, it’s a minimum standard.” – Barry Glassman
Already heard it once or twice? Please leave a short review here, and tell me which guests I should have on!
- Listen to it on iTunes.
BARRY’S NYC PICS
Want to take a look at all of Barry’s NYC shots? Click here to see more
- [05:30] How to host your next event like a pro, so guys like Barry go out of their way to attend!
- [07:12] Why it’s critical for you to look outside of the financial services industry if you really want to stand out.
- [13:00] Why great customer services is no longer special, it’s a minimum standard.
- [15:44] How is FinTech changing the value we can bring to our clients?
- [18:53] Find out how you can use technology to create more meaningful conversations with your clients.
- [24:16] Is anyone actually reading your newsletter? Barry shares a story that highlights the 3 things your client communication must include in order to be effective!
- [29:38] Discover the financial advisor website do’s and don’t’s and how Barry interrupts the pattern in order to separate himself from the pack!
- [34:09] Barry shares his secret to showing your clients true objectivity. This may be one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard a financial advisor say!
- [39:02] Don’t just talk the talk! Learn how you can “interrupt the pattern” at every point of communication, from your ‘About Us’ page on your website to your ‘Out of Office’ autoreply. This section is filled with gold and will help you build real relationships with prospects, clients, and influencers.
- [49:09] What does it take to be awarded ‘Best Place To Work’ and why do most financial firms never even get considered!
- [56:51] Barry reveals the single most important characteristic when hiring.
- [01:00:51] Learn how to transfer the trust your clients have with you to your entire team.
- [01:06:55] Barry shares his favorite business book, which also happens to explain his company’s philosophy more than anything else.
- [01:08:47] Why hitting a billion under management doesn’t matter to your clients. Remember, bigger isn’t always better.
- [01:11:41] Find out why Barry thinks of Jeff Bezos when he hears the word successful.
- [01:13:02] The best red wines you never heard of!
“If we’re all learning the same stuff from the same people, how do we stand out?” – Barry Glassman
“If we’re all learning the same stuff from the same people, how do we stand out?” – Barry Glassman
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Barry Glassman
Facebook |Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram
- Glassman Wealth Services®
- Barry Glassman Photography
- Mastermind Talks
- Schwab Impact Conference
- The Daily Stoic
- Charles Schwab
- Small Giants
- Echo & Alexa
- Whole Foods
- Linne Calodo
- Sine Qua Non
PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE
- Ian Altman
- Jayson Gaignard
- David Bach
- Derek Coburn
- Melanie Coburn
- Lebron James
- Jeff Bezos
REVIEW OF THE WEEK
Thanks for checking out our latest show, here’s this weeks featured review!
LockwoodJ really appreciate the kind words and super excited for some of the guests we have booked and coming up so stay tuned, more big names to come including one of the largest RIAs in the country. By the way, for you out there who haven’t connected with me on Twitter yet and have ideas on future guests, look me up at @brad_johnson and let me know who I should have on!
TRANSCRIPTSClick here to Read the Transcript
[00:00:38] Brad: In this episode, I talked with Barry Glassman who’s the President and Founder of Glassman Wealth Services where he leads an RIA that not only oversees $1 billion of assets but is also been named Best Place to Work by just about every major publication in the DC area. It’s amazing how Barry’s found a way to both scale his business and his team very quickly while at the same time actually creating an incredible place to work. From my experience, this isn’t really common in financial services and we cover a lot of how he does it in our conversation. Besides the Best Places to Work awards, Barry’s also been featured in major publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post. He’s also been honored with advisor awards from Barron’s, Financial Times, Investment News to name just a few. Outside of the office, Barry’s probably even more impressive as he’s an incredible chef and photographer and we speak to how incorporating this into this business and sharing it with his clients has helped deepen his connection from that of just a business relationship.
Here are just a few highlights from our conversation. We start off with the story of how Barry and I actually met and how this speaks to the importance of getting outside of our industry to learn and surround yourself with other big achievers. Some really great insights here from Barry. Next, we get into FinTech and how this is changing the financial advising world and what you can really do to take advantage of it as an advisor. There is also a great takeaway here that Barry learned from his client newsletter when he decided to run a secret survey on his clients and see who’s actually reading the thing. Funny story you’re all going to love. Finally, we dive really deep into what sets Barry’s firm apart when it comes to building a team and the one characteristic he’s found that is critical in his hiring process. Also, Barry shares a great outside-of-the box interview question to seek out this specific characteristic and I’m guessing a few of you are going to take it and borrow it and put it right into your interview process.
[00:02:27] Brad: Okay. One last thing before we get to the conversation. If this conversation with Barry leaves you wanting more, Barry’s done something really special. He’s made available a private 60-minute keynote he gave at Schwab’s IMPACT Conference last year and he’s made that recording available to all of you Blueprint listeners. It’s available right at the top of our show notes. You can get it at BradleyJohnson.com/27 and as always, there’s links to everything else there too, books mentioned, people discussed as well as a complete transcript of the show. And as usual, if you want to stick around after the show, I’ll feature an iTunes review from one of our Blueprint listeners. Thanks to all of you who have carved out a minute or two to leave a review. They are all truly appreciated and do a ton to help our show rank on iTunes when people are out there searching for great ideas and content for other financial advisors out there. As always, thanks for listening and without further delay, my conversation with Barry Glassman.
[00:03:29] Brad: Welcome, everyone, to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint. I am excited to welcome Barry Glassman. Welcome, Barry, to the show.
[00:03:38] Barry: Thank you. A pleasure to be with you.
[00:03:40] Brad: So, Barry, I guess your official title is Founder and President of Glassman Wealth Services and I feel even though this is the first time you’ve efficiently been on the show, I feel like you’ve already been on the show. So, we have a mutual friend, Ian Altman, and I happen to ask him a cool question about, “Hey, tell me the story about your financial advisor,” and 20 minutes later…
[00:04:04] Barry: Ian tells a mean story.
[00:04:06] Brad: We finally get to the end of what he had to say and you just so happen to be his financial advisor. So, I’m excited to have you on the show.
[00:04:15] Barry: Well, thank you and we have a lot of mutual friends. I’ve spent some time on your podcast and looking around and hear from Joey and Ron and Tucker and a few others, a lot of people I respect. So, I feel privileged to be a part of that group. Thank you.
[00:04:33] Brad: Yeah. It’s long overdue. It’s funny when you surround yourself with people you really respect, they just bring more of those type of people right your way.
[00:04:41] Barry: That’s cool. Then we also have to point out we are both at mastermind talks this past year and Jayson Gaignard who is the ultimate connector spend so much time understanding each and every person and what they do, and the personality and what they’re looking for. And first session what did he do?
[00:05:02] Brad: Sat you and I beside…
[00:05:03] Barry: Sat you and I right next to each other and just set the tone for the conference.
[00:05:09] Brad: And it’s funny because I was trading emails with Ian and he’s attended mastermind talks in the past and couldn’t make that one unfortunately and literally I had no idea you were going to be there and I’m like, “Barry Glassman. Where have I heard that name before?” and then…
[00:05:24] Barry: For 20 minutes.
[00:05:25] Brad: Yeah.
[00:05:25] Barry: Yeah.
[00:05:26] Brad: So, there’s a lesson there from Jayson’s events and how he runs mastermind talks because obviously, you run some really cool client events. A lot of our clients run client events. The thought process that Jayson puts into hosting 150 people and the purposeful intentionality of us sitting beside each other because he knew we would have some mutual conversations obviously in the finance world. And then there was another evening and I’m sure you have a story just like this, Garrett Gunderson who’s going to be on the show in the future, David Bach, they’re at my table. We’re all in financial services and for him to find 150 people, you’re never sitting next to the same person for two or three days straight, I think he actually has an algorithm, doesn’t he? I think he mentioned that.
[00:06:09] Barry: It’s all in his head. Well, much like when a magician reveals the aha moment and he walks through and he says, “See, here’s your card,” Jayson did this at the event where at the first day he said, “I really spent a ton of time reading about you and putting this together,” and remember he went down a whole row and he said, “I put you next to this person because of this. I put you next to this person because you both have seven dogs. I put you next to this person because…” And the way he fit them to get through, there’s no gap. And there I fell off like I put you here. Every single person was connected. So, yeah, it’s pretty amazing. So, I was grateful to sit next to you and catch up and get to know you.
[00:06:54] Brad: Yeah. And that’s a lesson also in Facebook stalking. You can learn a lot about people on Facebook.
[00:07:00] Barry: Very true.
[00:07:01] Brad: Make sure you use that to your advantage in business, right?
[00:07:03] Barry: Yeah.
[00:07:04] Brad: All right. Barry, so let’s go here since we brought it up and we kicked it off this way. One of the things I found in financial services is most financial advisors, asset managers, wealth managers, they’re students to the game. There’s no shortage of conferences in our industry as you know. I’m sure you’ve keynoted a few. So, what’s interesting though is you’re literally on the entire opposite side of the US, Carmel, California in a random conference with 150 entrepreneurs, a lot of authors, a lot of prolific online web marketers, Facebook experts. Basically, there’s a handful of us maybe in financial services but it’s not the normal industry conference. What attracts you to something like mastermind talks where you feel like, “This is worth my time. I need to hang out here?”
[00:07:52] Barry: Sure. It’s that the sameness and I know that you’re not going to sing the song but the from the show Weeds, what is it? The ticky tack, “They’re ticky tack and they’re all the same?” When you walk…
[00:08:02] Brad: Little Boxes.
[00:08:04] Barry: What is it? Little Boxes?
[00:08:05] Brad: Little Boxes.
[00:08:06] Barry: So, when you walk around the financial industry conference and you look at each and every person, firstly, it’s mostly men, it’s mostly white men, it’s mostly white men in their 40s and – it’s me. And the challenge is if we’re all learning, if we all look alike and we’re all learning the same stuff from the same people, how do we stand out? So, I purposely don’t go to – I go to the Schwab IMPACT Conference and I think that’s it. That’s the only industry conference I go to. I want to learn from outside the industry so that I can apply what’s going on in the world and great ideas that from Amazon and Zappos to even the things that RadioShack or Blockbuster did wrong. I want to apply that to Glassman Wealth and our clients.
And so, when I hire and I love hiring consultants, absolutely love it. We’ll dive into that as well. If anyone ever says I specialize in the financial service, I’m done. I’m done. I don’t think I’ve ever hired a specialist or a consultant outside of our compliance council who specializes in the financial services industry. I don’t want a website that looks like everyone else’s. I don’t want marketing ideas that other financial services companies are doing. I want to interrupt the pattern of what’s going on and think elsewhere. And we’ve started with a local group called CADRE run by Derek and Melanie Coburn which is phenomenal and I feel so fortunate that they’re in my backyard and that led me to mastermind which is kind of a national version of it. Maverick also fits that profile but that’s different. You’re not learning as much business. It’s a lot of fun and connections and things but to learn from others who are curious, passionate and never done, that’s what I feel about mastermind and as long as I’m invited, I’ll never miss one.
[00:10:24] Brad: Yeah. I feel the same way and I challenge myself a couple of years ago. We do a lot of really cool events in financial services, our company does, but the same thing I’ve got to get outside of our box. I mean, this podcast is a good example. I wouldn’t be doing this if I wouldn’t have done that a handful of years back, really challenged myself.
[00:10:41] Barry: Well, and you challenge yourself but here’s the difference that you did. How many of your peers have said they wanted to do a podcast? It was the Tucker Max approach. Everybody says they can write a book. The difference between people that Tucker works with and everyone else is they actually wrote a book. The difference between you who said I want to do a podcast and every other person is you did it. So, I think mastermind probably nudged you in that direction to take the risk and you had a couple of luminaries on from the beginning. It really isn’t fair but what you did was you jumped on it and said, “I’m not going to just think about it. I’m going to do it.” And I think mastermind plays a role in that.
[00:11:26] Brad: Yeah. How long ago did you challenge yourself to get completely out of our industry with some of these just high-powered groups?
[00:11:33] Barry: Oh, day one. Day one, 24 years ago I was all, I mean, when I had a business in college, I was just thinking differently, “What else? What else can I do?” And it’s little things. It’s everything that I do is a recipe. Everything that I do. I love cooking clearly mixing the different ingredients you put together, clearly investment management, the various investments that go together that form the recipe that is the portfolio. Photography, I have a passion in it. Well if I combine this lighting with this lens with this kind of setting and I’m positioned here with a tripod and such that I can get this. It’s a recipe. The team that we assembled, okay, if I can have enough people, more than enough people to cover everything that our client needs then that’s going to free up this and it’s all a matter of a recipe. So, I discovered a few years ago I’ve always thought that way and to discover that next ingredient or how to combine ingredients together to form a better recipe you just got to think outside of your local space in your restaurant and you got to go experience something else elsewhere to say, “Oh my goodness. Did you know if we combine this and add heat, it’ll create this?” It’s always how I’ve looked at things. So, looking outside the industry is just always what I’ve done.
[00:13:04] Brad: Let’s go here. I’ve heard you mention that your biggest competition is the Ritz-Carlton which speaks to thinking outside of our industry. Share the thought process there if you don’t mind.
[00:13:13] Barry: Well, and it’s something that I said a good 20 years ago. Our competition wasn’t Merrill, Morgan or other independent or RA firms that are local. Twenty years ago, I said our competition is the Ritz-Carlton because our clients are used to the level of service that when they walked down the hall and they need something that they’re able to get it. And years ago, when we were talking to our team, I related a story where I was leaving the room. I was checking out later that day and one of the housekeepers who was right next door, she says, “Good morning. How are you today?” I said, “I’m great. I’m checking out today. I was wondering how to get a late checkout.” She said, “What time do you want to check out?” I said, “Four would be great. That way I don’t have to pack up.” She said, “No problem. I’ll take care of it.”
And it just felt like whoever I bumped into, if I bumped into a maintenance person, the concierge, anybody, the doorman, anybody at the Ritz, they would just take care of it for me. Now she doesn’t have – she may not have access to the computer but she can call down and say, “Here’s the room number and let’s make this happen.” So, that was really my approach from the beginning. My feeling now is great customer service is no longer special. Great customer service is now a minimum standard for a firm and the firms that say on their website, and you can try and find the best adjective, “We have white-glove. We have exceptional. We have a five-star customer service.” That’s great. And even if you are able to have great customer service, it’s a minimum standard.
[00:15:04] Barry: So, amazing customer service, that’s a minimum. The question is now that you have that, what else? Because every firm is going to call. Hopefully, every firm is going to call back right away. Every firm is going to come through for them. The question is, “Well, great. Now, what else?” So, I used to say that Ritz-Carlton is my biggest competition. Now it’s expanded and it’ll change constantly.
[00:15:34] Brad: With technology, especially FinTech, I feel like it’s this tag word that everybody is using now but it is getting crazy the way technology is affecting our industry. How is that changed with technology in the last four or five years? I should say do you see – you said it’s evolved from just the Ritz-Carlton. Do you see how that’s involved because of technology?
[00:15:55] Barry: It is. What technology is helping us to achieve is what I call the one client philosophy. If we at Glassman Wealth, let’s say the Johnson’s were our only client and we had a husband and wife, we had three kids, one grandchild and they were our only client. The question is what would we do for them? Would we help them with investments? Certainly. Would we help them with think through their estate planning? Absolutely. But remember, they are our only client. So, how often would we reach out to them since we’re working for them full-time? And there we may not reach out every day because they don’t want to hear from us every day but maybe it’s once a month, maybe once a quarter they want to meet with us but maybe once a month they want a summary report that’s designed for them that they’ve curated or designed over, “I’d like to see this here. I’d like to see…” Remember, we’re working for them full time.
[00:16:56] Brad: Yeah.
[00:16:57] Barry: We would customize that for them. Mister and Missis, they may, in fact, want different reports. He wants something with these details. She wants something with those details. Would we miss anything on their tax return? Hell no. We’d absolutely look at their tax return. We’d read their estate planning documents. We would plan out 2017 income of taxable and tax-free income and make sure that they’re optimizing tax rates and things. We would make sure that their kids are educated. We would make sure that we knew about the grandchild and set up a 529 or a trust. The question is why aren’t we doing those things? It’s a couple of reasons. Number one, we have other clients who are busy. That’s not a great excuse. Number two, they may not want or need it. That’s okay. But at Glassman Wealth what we want to do is we want to get closer and closer to not missing anything in proactive and saying, “Congress just voted on this. This applies to you. Here’s what it means. Let’s get together next month,” or, “We’re going to talk to the estate planning attorney and take care of this for you. They’re going to send you a new beneficiary designation form and we’ll take care of that so that the insurance matches.” We just wouldn’t miss any of those things.
What FinTech does for us is help achieve that and make us more productive to handle those things. So, when a client says, “You know what, once a month I’d like to see this kind of report,” we’re able to set that up automatically in our office. And so, the month ends on the 31st. On the second of the month, we’re able to upload that to a search or a portal automatically and it’s designed for him or her in the time period that they want, in the format that they want and it gives them the information in confidence to make decisions. FinTech does that for us.
[00:18:54] Barry: Also, what we’re able to do is change the conversation with FinTech or just like technology in general. So, one of the cool things that we do is and we’re doing it with probably about half to two-thirds of our clients but let’s say the Johnson’s are coming in next Monday to meet with us for a quarterly or semiannual review of their financial plan and investment side and we know that we’re going to spend a lot of time on the investments. There’s a lot of really important stuff from tax to state that they knew increased their umbrella policy. They’ve never done that and we really want to get into the financial planning side. What we’ll do is we use a technology called Snagit to do a screen capture of us reviewing live their portfolio review and we’re trying to get it under 10 minutes. We’re failing at that but it’s usually about 9 to 12 minutes or so.
Here’s the key. It’s not talking about Janet Yellen, GDP, unemployment numbers and all those random things that really don’t apply to the Johnson’s. We’re reviewing the Johnson’s actual portfolio review and saying, “Here’s what happened last quarter. This increased. This decreased. Here’s how it compares to the S&P versus foreign. I remember you heard bonds got hurt. Here are your traditional.” And they’re able to watch it, re-watch it leading up to our meeting on Monday and here’s the key. When they want, where they want on the device that they want and they can watch it over and over again. And when we have that meeting on Monday, sometimes we hear from the client, “We’re good on the portfolio side. We just have one question. Why did that underperform?” And we’re able to tackle that and move on to the important stuff. Other times the spouse who’s usually not into it said, “I got to tell you I watch this part and re-watched it, I actually get it. Thank you.” As supposed to doing it live and us talking over their heads and you’re saying, “it’s not correlated to…” Well, what does that mean?
[00:20:55] Brad: Right.
[00:20:55] Barry: So, they’re able to watch that in eight or ten minutes between Tuesday and Monday whenever they want and then we can have much more meaningful conversations. So, when you save FinTech and others say Fintech, a lot of times they mean robo advisors and all kinds of things. For us, it’s using technology to have better, more meaningful, personal conversations with clients and as long as we’re curious, we’ll keep adding those systems.
[00:21:24] Brad: So, Snagit. I use it too. Love it. So, let’s say you send a 10-minute video, now these reviews, are they always in your office or do you ever do them virtually like via Zoom like what we’re doing here today?
[00:21:35] Barry: You’re talking about the review of the portfolio or just meeting with…
[00:21:37] Brad: Yeah. Okay. So, it sounded like you send the Snagit, the 10-minute kind of recap of their portfolio prior to their actual review appointment. Are those appointments always been done in your office or do they sometimes just say, “Hey, we prefer to do them virtually?” Have you gone there yet? I’m curious.
[00:21:53] Barry: Oh no, no. About a third of our clients live outside of our area so absolutely. No, we do them virtually. We haven’t done a lot of Skype stuff only because for an hour for me to stare at the camera versus down at you like this and a lot of times if somebody else is talking in the office or I have something else going on, I get distracted. So, if I’m on a conference call I can make sure that or let’s say I just want to look up certain figures and just verify things while I’m on the phone, it becomes distracting if they see me typing and that stuff. So, I haven’t gone to the Skype quarterly review at this point. We do have Skype and talk to clients but not as much the portfolio review.
[00:22:38] Brad: So, essentially, here’s a quick recap. Any questions? Quick phone review. Make it convenient for you. I’m speaking to your clients. Make it convenient for them.
[00:22:47] Barry: Well, we do the questions. Once they’re able to take eight or ten minutes and digest the portfolio, the investment side, the question is can we get to the rest of the agenda meaning we want to make sure that we fund the 529s this year. You sold your company. We want to make sure that you’re paying state taxes this year versus next. What else have we missed? We want to talk about retirement. You’ve been discussing retiring next year for five years. Where are we on that? And really diving into those meaningful conversations, things like what do you want to leave to charity versus your kids and not dive into a large cap value and how dividend paying stocks underperform for this quarter. It helps us get away from that.
[00:23:37] Brad: Basically, talk about stuff that actually matters in their life.
[00:23:41] Barry: Yeah.
[00:23:43] Brad: So, Barry, I want to rewind a little bit because you said a little bit ago, as you scale, as you grow your business, how you’ve really tried to focus on what if we’re only serving one family and what I see in most offices is the exact opposite. It’s as they scale, they create these systems and then it feels like you’re serving the masses as a financial advisor as opposed to making them feel special like they’re the only client that you actually have. So, you’ve been kind enough to offer to share a video of your keynote from a Schwab conference you did a little while ago so we’ll get that to show notes but I would love to hear the story of this famous newsletter when you took it from quarterly to monthly and the thing that you had there, I think there’s a really cool lesson.
[00:24:26] Barry: Sure. So, when we first opened in 2009, we were small. We had 100 families or so that we transitioned over and we were a couple away of three people. So, we needed to look and feel bigger than we actually were. We needed to show that we were substantial. So, back then, a lot of our peers and things had economic reports that talk about huge economic things and summary of the markets and a whole variety of things. So, we had an outsourced research group called Fortigent. They would provide us this report and we were able to white label it under Glassman Wealth and it’s really cool. So, we decided to take their quarterly and send that out so that – and it was via email and we would send it out every quarter and we thought we’re looking really smart and we wanted to look smarter so we started to send it out monthly.
And so, we’re sending out this monthly commentary, here’s what happened in the past month in stock markets, small caps, large gaps and we’re sending it to accountants, attorneys, all of our clients, a huge list, 500 to 600, 700 people and then I got curious. I was wondering who’s actually reading this. Because there were some months where I didn’t have the time to read it and we needed to get it out so somebody in my office would just take it, put our logo on it and send it out. I wasn’t even reading it. So, we put in the foreign investment section a little line that said, “Hey, curious to know who’s reading this. Reply with a word Starbucks and we’ll send you a $50 Starbucks gift card.” And it cost me $150. Three people actually read that paragraph and responded with Starbucks and one of them I couldn’t believe. One of them is a retired client who just doesn’t have time to get anything done and I called him.
[00:26:26] Barry: I asked, “Why are you reading this?” He said, “I read everything you sent me.” And he’s like one of the rare gems that actually reads everything. Most of our clients they just don’t have time for it. And here’s the amazing thing. I checked with an estate planning attorney or two, and I said, “You get our economic commentaries.” “Yes.” “Do you read it?” “No.” “So why not? I’m just curious.” He said, “Well first, I get 26 of them and they all come out, they all say the same thing and some of them say interest rates are going up or down, who knows.” But the other thing is if he really cared about GDP or what the stock market did last quarter, he wouldn’t wait until the 15th or 18th or 25th of the following month to know that stuff. He’d pick up the Wall Street Journal the day after the end of the quarter and look and see what the stock market did that past quarter. So, the thing is if you really cared, you just log onto a website, Google Finance, and see that stuff. So, to see it from me, we needed to do other things to make it more personal, more meaningful.
And here’s what our communications mandate, this is what we learned. Our communications mandate has to have three things, here’s what’s going on in the world which is where most people stop. So, this is the stuff Janet Yellen, the currency, all of that stuff. So, here’s what’s going on in the world. Number two, here’s how it impacts you. Well, you happen to own foreign stocks and here’s how currency is affecting you. And number three, here’s what we were doing about it or here’s what we’ve done about it. So, after the election, great example, yields soared, bonds got crunched and all of the media was reporting, “The bond rally is over and bonds are getting hurt,” and I put together a video that caught into not only here’s what’s going on in the world, interest rates soared with a pro-America first president.
[00:28:29] Barry: Number two, here’s how it’s impacting you. Well, you have some traditional bond such as this fund and that fund that is under pressure but they’re only giving up their gains
that they had over the prior year and then you also have these kinds of bonds that are gaining because of optimism in the economy. So, when we’re communicating with clients, it’s not enough to just say interest rates are going up and here’s how many basis points and duration and so forth. To show clients here’s how it’s impacting you and here’s how we either we thought about it in the past or here’s how we’re thinking about it now and moves that we may make, that’s really the communication mandate as opposed to just shoving out stuff to make us look smart.
[00:29:14] Brad: Yeah. It’s interesting. We live in an instant gratification world now but 20 years ago, before the Internet and people googling what’s going on in finance, that’s probably a great piece. They wanted a newsletter with economic updates. And just going back to something you said earlier about you want to show up differently, you kind of want to scratch the record when they see you versus every other financial advisor and I see the exact same thing as the newsletter example on financial advisor websites as well. You see these little calculators. Every financial advisor has the little financial advisor calculator like 15 different ones and I know you have some strong feelings about financial advisor websites. So, now I know I’m opening up. This could go a lot of different directions but let’s just share what you think about the typical financial advisor website and maybe some things that you do differently to create a different impression on your client’s prospects.
[00:30:11] Barry: Sure. So, one of the things that – because I paid to have calculators on a website many years ago and somebody said something. It was, again, at a non-industry conference like, “Don’t do what others can do just as well or better than you can.” And when you can go on to T. Rowe Price or Yahoo Finance and have a mortgage calculator or a retirement calculator and things like that, we don’t need to do that. When people believe in our industry that having a place where you can get a stock quote on your financial advisor website and the stock quote, by the way, is usually a 15-minute delay much like the dial-up AOL days, when you can go on CNBC or Bloomberg.com for free and get an instant quote. You don’t need that component to look smart or special or sophisticated. There’s nothing smart, professional, sophisticated about being able to look up GE stock price from that day. There’s just not. There used to be but in today’s world, it’s just not.
The other thing that I see is people have news on there and when you click on News, it’s stuff from four of five years ago and so when people are on websites and they’re saying like, “Okay. So, having not had any news in four or five years or are they just not paying attention and not staying current? And current means knowing what happened this past hour. Four years ago is infinity in the web world. So, being able to update and have thoughts that are at least this past month you need to have that on your website or just take the News part down for now until you have other stuff. It’s easy to take a tab away but just do that. What else…
[00:32:08] Brad: Tell me about…
[00:32:09] Barry: I knew you’re headed somewhere. Go ahead.
[00:32:11] Brad: Tell me about your thoughts on how a lot of financial advisors really just they fee only the heck out of that widow they just helped. Some of the common words and terms that we just see just all over financial advisor world.
[00:32:24] Barry: We all say the same things. We all say, and at the conference actually did a word, what’s called a wordle, where I had an intern gather the About Us pages of I think I saw 150 or 200 different RAs and independents.
[00:32:45] Brad: If I remember the conference, very successful RAs.
[00:32:49] Barry: Oh yeah. These were all the top largest RAs and they’re all saying things like trust and objectivity and you’ve got to realize that you may think that’s special but when’s the last time you looked at a top list from Barron’s or your city and went through website to website just to see that we all say the same stuff. So, the real question is how can you interrupt the pattern and be a little different and show people what it is that makes you different or special? And that’s what I think sets us apart which is we put pressure on ourselves to not just say that we do this but to actually show on our website that we do it.
And part of the culture we have here is when we find ourselves coming through for client after client, for example, right after tax time we take a look at all of our clients’ tax returns for as many as we would share them and we’ll put together we’re finding this. They didn’t deduct our fee or they forgot this. They may need to refile. We learn something new. So, we’ll collect that, how can we put that on the web to share that with the rest of our clients and then, by the way, the world. And as opposed to saying we’re smart and curious on our website which by the way is free and easy, anybody can do that, how do we show that we’re smart and curious and give it away? So, that when people go to our website and they see like, “Okay. My advisor never brought that up and my advisor doesn’t talk to us this way.” I actually understood this and I’m going to save some money. That’s really smart and professional without us having to tell them we’re smart and professional and it goes through objectivity on our website that I did something.
[00:34:50] Barry: I actually name my local competitors who I respect most. So, on my website on GlassmanWealth.com if you go on there you can see we have an article or two and we update it I think every two years and we say, “Look, we’re not right for everybody and if you don’t use us, here’s a list of about 15 or 20 people with updated information about them. We suggest you call them and if you want our help to select from among them, let us know.” I mean you can’t get more objective than that. And some in our industry it freaks them out like, “Why would you name competitors?” You think if they can’t find it on our website that they can’t find the list someplace else? In Washingtonian, the Washington Business Journal, Barron’s, someplace, they’ll find it someplace. Why not list it on your website and really show your objectivity and say or your confidence to say, “Look, we’re not right for everybody and if you don’t meet our $2 million minimum, here’s a list of amazing people we know personally who will take great care of you. Feel free to mention that you found them on our website.”
[00:36:03] Brad: That may be the coolest thing I’ve ever heard a financial advisor say. I really – it’s something I battle. I mean we work with financial advisors all over the country and what you find is there are two mindsets. There’s the scarcity mindset where it’s hoard everything, keep it all, this is just for me, I don’t want my competitors to have it. You find the guys like yourself where it’s like, “Hey, there’s plenty of business out there for everyone.” I guarantee that win new clients. You probably don’t know it. They probably don’t say it but I guarantee just having that mindset, that tells a lot about who you are and who your firm is.
[00:36:35] Barry: It shows them who we are and that’s the key difference. It’s we’re trying to capture the stuff that we tell prospective clients. We’re trying to put all of that out there and it’s the Thomas Keller example. When I gave the Schwab talk, three of the comments were, “I wonder why Barry is sharing all this information? Why would he give away all of his secrets?” And it’s funny in that Thomas Keller, by the way, Thomas Keller is the chef at The French Laundry and he came up with a cookbook. I think I have it back there on the counter somewhere because I’m not going to make any of the recipes but I have it in the office. And people went like, “Why would he give away all of his recipes?” Brad, now that we have Thomas Keller’s recipes, what if we take those and just open up our own French Laundry? Wouldn’t that be great? I mean, we have the recipes. We could just – we’ll open up one in every city and we’ll compete and we’ll rule the world. It just doesn’t work that way.
So, for me to share up on a stage or for me to share a podcast like this, let’s let the industry just excel and get a bit better. Why not? And no one’s going to do it the same. Even though they have the recipe, no one’s going to do it the same way we will. It’s just not. And there are going to be some people who do the McDonald’s salad example which is they’ll take their website which is awful and boring and all about them and not about clients and prospective clients and they’ll just put on, “Here are local other advisors,” and that’s McDonald’s offering salads. You don’t go to McDonald’s for a salad. You don’t. You buy McDonald’s for kids and while you’re there you maybe want…
[00:38:31] Brad: I have one exception to that rule because I just bought