If you’re dealing with the head trash around delivering something truly valuable for clients, or you’re concerned about whether you’re doing what you need to do quarterly to make a difference, this episode is for you. Today Matt and Micah are talking about client meetings, how to ensure you are delivering massive value, and so much more.
Listen in as the guys share how to create value-adds, what their value-adds are, and how to implement them. You will learn about the mindset that is so important to truly being able to create and supply massive value to your clients and how to get your team involved in the process.
Listen to the Full Episode:
What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode:
- What mindset you need to have in order to create value.
- The importance of having processes that tie everything together (but not taking things too far).
- How to involve your team in adding value.
- Value-adds that Matt and Micah like to have in place and how they deliver them.
- What you can do to make a difference.
Ideas Worth Sharing:This isn’t an advisor-only thing—get your team involved. You need to get your team behind you in order to deliver massive value. – @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet If you deliver value to a client and they don’t know it, it doesn’t count. – @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet You don’t have to recreate the wheel. It is okay to reuse these value-adds consistently and then let opportunity come up. – @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet
Resources In Today’s Episode:
- Matt Jarvis: Website | LinkedIn
- Micah Shilanski: Website | LinkedIn | Twitter
- The Backstage Pass
- The Perfect RIA LinkedIn Page
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Read the Transcript Below:
This is The Perfect RIA, in case you didn’t know. Bringing you all the strategies to help your business grow. Are you happy? Are you satisfied? Are you hanging on the edge of your seat? Sit back and listen in while you feel the beat. Another myth bites the dust…
Matthew Jarvis: All right, everyone, welcome to another episode of the Perfect RIA podcast. Many of you are listening to this live as it is being filled. While we wish we could say it was a live studio audience, that is not logistically feasible. So it is a virtual studio audience, a live virtual—
Micah Shilanski: A live virtual studio audience.
Matthew Jarvis: We’re recording this live. If you’re listening to the recording and did not attend live, be sure to check your emails for the next time. And for those of you attending live, really glad to have you here.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, absolutely. It’s going to be outstanding. Like we said before, one of the things we love about webinars when we actually do more in-person presentations is the questions that we get from the audience. We think we know how to explain things, but the questions are really articulated to what did we miss as instructors, and allows us to get into your practice into your head and say, “Great, what do you need to do to improve?” So if you’re doing this live, make sure you ask those questions. We’re going to make sure we have some great Q&A. With that being said, we have some awesome things to discuss. And I guess Jarvis, if I reflect back on my practice-
Matthew Jarvis: Which is always a scary thought.
Micah Shilanski: It is. So if I reflect back on it and say, “What will one of the things that I knew I needed to have client meetings, but how often was I scared to have client meetings?” Because I didn’t know what to say. What were going to talk about?
Matthew Jarvis: Review performance reports again.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Matthew Jarvis: That’s a tough one. And that was the same for me. I also had it when you’re a state registered advisor, and this is very state to state, but in our state, you had to send invoices to your clients each quarter detailing how their fee was calculated. I believe a lot of states are that way. And so I thought, “I don’t want to remind…” A lot of head trash, “I don’t want to remind clients of how much I’m charging them if they haven’t also seen at the same time value.” Now I didn’t understand the sales behind that, right price out of place kills the deal. But I thought, “If I were to send them this invoice, I want to send them something tangible, something valuable.” And that was my forcing mechanism. We talk about those all the time. That was my forcing mechanism to start doing quarterly value adds. And now, I don’t know, 10 years later, we’re still cranking them out every single quarter even though we’re SEC registered just passed 200 million in AUM. That’s a vanity number, but I still am excited to be there. We still crank them out every quarter.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, these are really important right now. If you’re not doing value adds at all, you do not have to jump to quarterly value adds. The importance, like anything else when we wrap this up, it’s homework assignments and action items, what are you going to do to make a difference? So we’re going to spend some time going through some of our value adds, how we deliver them. But before we get into them, some of that mindset that you’ve got to have, like why are you creating the value adds? How is the best way to execute them? How does your team get involved? This is not an advisor only thing. This is a team environment. You need to get your team behind you in order to deliver the value adds.
Matthew Jarvis: And I think we’re solving for two big things with value adds. Maybe there’s more, but two big things come to mind. One is the dishwasher rule. I just like to say if you deliver value to a client and they don’t know it, it doesn’t count. A less politically correct version of that would be if you do the dishes and your spouse doesn’t notice, does it count? So that’s why we call it the dishwasher rule. The other half of that is I want to systematize and streamline the financial planning process to my clients. I don’t want to go one client at a time when they ask to talk about their beneficiaries. Because if I’m being honest, what would happen is some clients would get left out of that. And a year later, two years later, five years later, 10 years later, now I’m the advisor the perfect RA is talking about saying their beneficiaries weren’t even up to date.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, or God forbid a client dies and you haven’t updated the beneficiary and they’ve been a client for 10 years and they had one asset you didn’t review because they were the one-off. And this happens all the time when I’m talking to other advisors, they think that if you systematize things, it’s not as valuable as if everything was customized for that particular client. And this is where I’m going to disagree. Yes if you were working with one person exclusively, you only had one client, they were doing everything and everything was customized to them, maybe too, sure. But once you go north of that, you have to have a process in place to make sure all the boxes are being checked and the client’s been taken care of.
And every time I explain this to a client, after a clients onboard, we have our onboarding process that goes through, which is a different setup, then they get moved into a review process, which value adds. And I tell clients, “Look, we’re going to review things and we may have just wrapped up beneficiaries and all of a sudden, the next quarter, we’re reviewing beneficiaries again. Why? Because we want to make sure it was done correctly. You’re now in our system, we’re going to check these things, redo your entire financial plan every two years to make sure everything is in place.” And clients love it because we’re watching out for them. And they understand the power of systemizing things.
Matthew Jarvis: Totally, now on this power systematize it, it can be taken too far. And I made this mistake and I see advisors making this mistake all the time. So I think, “Great, I’m going to 100% systematize it. I’m going to send every person the exact same thing.” So instead of doing a beneficiary value add, which we’ll talk about, they’ll say, “I’ll just send all my clients, the generic fidelity piece on beneficiaries.” That is not a value add, that’s just printing a page off of Google and sending that out. No one’s thinking, “Wow, I’m really glad my advisor sent me this generic piece on beneficiaries.” So that’s not a value add. So there’s this spread, if you will.
Micah Shilanski: Not only is that not a value add, that’s a negative. Everything helps or everything hurts. Nothing is neutral in our industry. So if it’s not helping, it is taking away from your client relationship, I’m very much a believer in that. A great example would be an investment newsletter. Send them market commentary. For the love of Pete, do not do that. That does not help your clients. So everything helps, everything hurts, value adds have to be designed customized enough for the client. And the secret about systematizing this is designing it where you can do for all of your clients at once without just killing your team.
Matthew Jarvis: That’s right. That’s right. Speaking of your team, Steven and Steven, thanks for attending this live. He asks, “What’s the best way to get your team on board with value adds?” Yeah, this is really important, you have to get team buy-in. One of the best ways to present this to your team is to let them know that you think that this will make their job easier. So you can say, “Hey, you know how I come running out of meetings and I ask for beneficiaries and then you say, ‘Well we haven’t updated them in three years.’ And I say, ‘What do you mean we haven’t updated in three years?'” Now we’re just going to do them all at once. So for a week, we’re going to be really busy, cranking this out, and we won’t have to touch it again for two years.
Micah Shilanski: Another great way to do this is for one, Steven, have you gone through the time-blocking on the perfect RIA? If you have not, email [email protected], our team is going to send you out the top several episodes of things you need to do, time blocking is one of them. We preach this all the time. Inside of time-blocking, we also talk about how do you time block to get your team involved? We can show out on a calendar that says, not only are we going to do search, but now we’re going to block out this week a quarter to make sure all the clients are taken care of and they can see how much time it’s going to save them versus, as you said, the one-offs.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, now that being said, I have, in recent history, been guilty of underestimating how much time a value add would take. And we can spend a whole podcast on how to actually deliver those. But I would tell my team, “Hey, our value add is going to be this.” And the team would say, “Okay.” And then we turned out, instead of it being a couple hours, it was this enormous lift because the data wasn’t in the right place. So again, everything has a dichotomy there.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, so you can start easy on these. We’re going to go through some examples. Before we get into some examples, let’s break through why do we have value adds? Let’s break through our steps one step at a time on the why’s that are going to be there. Then we’re going to break through the how to delivers. Then we can break through what value adds you can do.
Matthew Jarvis: Completely, that’d be great. Yeah, as we mentioned, some of the why’s. The biggest why is to deliver massive value to the client, that’s the number one tenant of the perfect RIA, deliver massive value. And so the number one why is what can I send the client that shows them that I’m aware of issues that they’re facing, the actions that need to be taken are being taken, and things they need to be thinking about are there specific to them? So the beneficiary letter is a great example.
So the custodians always send each year a list of their beneficiaries in percentage. No client on the earth thinks in percentages. None of them do. They all think in dollars. So for example, our beneficiary value add, which is in part of our platform, it’s on the backstage pass, shows them in dollars and cents, how much each of their beneficiaries will get. So instead of saying 33%, we say, “Hey, your son is going to get $480,000 in cash the day you die, do you think that’s okay?” And they might say, “Yeah, that’s great,” or they might say, “No, he won’t get that much.” “Well one third of this amount is that much. That’s how much he’s going to get.” And now we can have a discussion on that.
Micah Shilanski: Absolutely, really key. A second reason you need to do this, everybody knows everything. When I’m working with clients again, my niche is working with federal employees. They all talk, they all know stuff that goes on. If I recommend X to one client, someone else will come in and be like, “You told Sue this, and you’re not telling me the same thing.” You have slightly different situations. But everyone knows everything. So if I do a value add as a one-off for one particular client, and then it gets onto another client that I didn’t do it, I’m in trouble. Now that client could be okay. Everything could be absolutely fine. Back to the dishwasher rule. I need to get credit for looking at these things even if everything is 100% okay, we are going to check it. We’re going to check it for all of our clients. And that content is going to go out because everyone knows everything.
Matthew Jarvis: That’s right. There’s also a liability aspect of this. So Micah and I have each in our independent practices been through many audits on all sorts of different levels and a common concern of FINRA and the SEC is this idea of reverse churning. Now we can talk about this, whether it’s a real thing or not, but when they come to our offices and they say, “Wow, you’re a primarily passive approach, there’s not a lot of activity in your investment accounts,” because that’s what they’re trained to look for, “How are you justifying these fee?” Especially because we both charge a premium fee, and we say, “Look, look at all of these things.” And Micah I’d curious your experience, in mine, they say, “I’ve never seen an advisor do this much work. I’ve never seen this kind of communication. This is outstanding.” And of course I lead with, “Well, if you’d like to become a client, we have a quick process for doing that.”
Micah Shilanski: That’s a funny side note. I got a call from the SEC once and they were letting me know that we were going to go under an audit and go through all these little things. Anyways, so they called and there’s a group of them on the line. They’re like, “Do you know why we called you?” And I was like, “Well, you probably found that I specialize in federal benefits and you would love it if I taught a class.” “No.” “Nope, don’t know. So sorry.” Just a little fun with it. But same thing in our audits that have taken place, whenever there’s a fee question, we can quickly point to the volume of information that we create. We create a financial plan, here it is. And I just give it to them and then there’s no more questions about it because we’re delivering so much more value and so much more things that they don’t see in other offices.
All right, the other thing I want to get on before we get onto the how to deliberate the aspect of a real quick is it keeps things moving forward. One of the things that I like about the value adds and also positioning the client of when the next value add is, it prefaces is why we should have our next appointment. Why do we do search meetings? Why do we want to take care of things in a certain manner? This sets the seeds for our next appointment. Kate asked a question, the thought on quarterly meetings versus every four months. Kate, whatever works for you. A lot of my clients are every six months. Some of them, we do three times a year, very few. Now we’re moving to quarterly, whatever works in your model. But again, I would position my value as to the why they’re going to be coming in in four months, because we’re going to develop this value add, we’re going to review it, and then we’re going to move forward at the next time to do A, B and C. It’s a great why.
Matthew Jarvis: I would also, Kate for everyone else, what value am I delivering in that meeting? And am I using meetings as a way to justify my fee? So am I thinking, “Hey, I’m charging this fee therefore I have to meet with them this many times?” Or can I do it in fewer meetings? Does a client really want to come in four times a year or are they find just coming in once a year? So make sure we know what we’re selling for. We always talk about this with financial plan lengths. The length of the plan is not correlated with its value, if anything, it’s inversely related. So the number of times you meet with a client is not correlated, not strongly correlated with the value.
Micah Shilanski: So I’m laughing about the chat. Yeah, Greg asked a great question. How does the SEC look at Make who charges separately for planning? What about the high AUM fees that he charges? One, I have no idea what the SEC thinks. So there’s that disclosure. David, I think just sums that up right here. It’s not a hi fee, it’s only half the alpha that advisor brings. Boom it’s right there. Greg, we can get wrapped around the axle on what to charge. I can’t get my mind over charging 5%. I can’t. Yet, there’s still hope for me.
So there is a limitation in our minds that are going to be there, but I have zero qualms of charging 2% of financial planning fee. I just don’t because I deliver that value, and again, we work in a free market society. I am transparent in my fees, our clients know how much we charge, they see it comes out, we’ll refund their fee for the last quarter at any time they want if they do not see the value that’s going to get it, we’ll help them transition to another advisor. It is a voluntary transaction. And because of all of the things we have, we have never had an issue with the SEC, knock on wood, who knows what the next one’s going to be, because we’re delivering what we said we’re going to do.
Matthew Jarvis: Now it is possible that Greg is a longtime listener of the Perfect RIA podcast and he knows this is a great way to bait us, but I can’t let it go, Greg. So a quick note on this, he said, “Wait, Micah has these high fees and a planning fee. But if you look at Micah’s fee relative to, and we won’t name names, some major RIA investment firms that are all in at one and a half, at two, at two and a quarter, and they’re not doing financial planning and I’m not doing value adds. Actually Micah is the discount provider here.
Micah Shilanski: That hurts, sorry to bang on the table. Wow, that hurts.
Matthew Jarvis: All right, back to value adds. You got us, Greg, back to value adds.
Micah Shilanski: All right, so let’s go back on how to deliver value adds, because there’s a little bit of a method to a science. Now if you have found a great way to deliver them, which is different than we are, we would love to learn that. We’re always students of the game, we wish to improve. So I’m going to say value adds number one, and it comes up to someone else’s question, I forget who said it, train your team. Your team is a key element in these value adds. They have to understand why they’re beneficial to the client, they have to understand why they’re beneficial to the team to do them in advance. And then you’ve got to go through with your team how to prepare them how to have the conversation. So one of the ways that we always start this out is we do this exercise on our team members, 1099 letter, ’tis the season.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, let’s use that as an example.
Micah Shilanski: It’s a great example. So we go and we talk to our team members who are preparing the 1099 letter. It says, “Great, do you know at the end of the year, when you got to get your taxes done, you got to pull these documents and you say, ‘do I have everything, et cetera? When is XYZ coming in?'” They’re like, “Yeah, sometimes things come in later. We don’t know when it’s going to come in.” “Great, wouldn’t it be nice if you had a letter of everything you should have coming in for your taxes and then when you go to prepare it, you knew you had all your documents?”
“Oh, that’d be perfect.” “Great, that’s the same thing we love to do for our clients.” It’s an easy step with them in order to see how does it connect with them personally, how does it deliver to our clients? Now for our ops team, this is a second benefit with our 1099 letter. Ops team, how often do you get calls from your clients that says, “Did I get a 1099? I’m missing a 1099, I should have gotten one for this account. How come I didn’t get one for this account? How come we got a 5498? Where does that go on my tax return?” All these calls that we answer every single year. What if you could get in front of those phone calls and be proactive versus reactive? That’s a 1099 letter.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, and I’ve got to confess, so Micah and I were both doing a 1099 letter before we met each other that mine was to this ops point. Clients would call, “Hey, I got a 1099 for this account the year before, but not this year. Why?” “Well, you didn’t take a distribution this year.” “I know, but I still need a 1099.” “Nope, that’s not it.” “I got this 5498. I don’t need the 1099.” “That’s not it either.” The others we wanted to wait. As you know, centers of influence are a big marketing strategy. So now when we do that 1099 letter, it says at the top, “Give this to your tax preparer and have them call us if they have any questions.” And so it positions me in front of the tax preparer, and it’s a great value add.
Micah Shilanski: And I miss that entirely, by the way, when we are doing ours, our referrals is not based on COIs, totally missed that angle of it. So again, student of the game, we’re picking that up in our letters. We’re mentioning that more highlighted in our 1099 letters for this year.
Matthew Jarvis: Not to rant, but I can’t… David asks, “I’ve listened to about 85 of your episodes so far.” Congratulations.
Micah Shilanski: Well you’re missing a few.
Matthew Jarvis: We’re on 105, great job buddy. Thanks for still listening. He said he’s come up with three maybe four of your value adds. I know that there’s more in the backstage pass. There is, there’s a waiting list for the backstage pass right now. We’ll open it up at some point, but we’re committed right now to delivering massive value to people already in. Get on the waiting list. So let’s list off a couple and you really only need six maybe or eight that you can rotate through. Let me just kind of run through them. Every year in January, we do our 1099 letter that Micah and I were just talking about.
Every year in October, we do our year-end tax planning letter, which is just action items that need to be taken by the end of the year, Roth conversions, things like that. In April, we typically send out our guardrails because that’s a powerful tool. So we send it out every April. So in July, we have to come up with a value add. So really I only need one rotating value add a year because the other three we use again and again, because clients always say, “Well I’m really grateful that you have that.”
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, that’s a great point. You don’t have to recreate the wheel. It is okay to reuse these value adds, as you said consistently, and then let opportunity come up. The Cares Act was a great opportunity for a value add. The Equifax security breach was a phenomenal one in order to roll out with clients. So there’s always there. David, to your point, you will get a t-shirt. We will fix that. Send an email to [email protected] and we’ll fix your t-shirt for you. Oh, perfect. Victoria is already on it.
All right, but let’s rattle off a couple David for you. So we mentioned the 1099 letter, the year-end tax letter, guardrails, which is its own discussion. We have an estate planning value add that reminds them who’s going to make decisions if they’re incapacitated or dies, or we have the beneficiary value add, we have the longterm care value add, we have the Equifax value add, which is time data, we probably won’t use that. A lost property value add that we learned from one of the advisors in the backstage pass.
Matthew Jarvis: We have a net worth value add that’s going to be there. Can it be simple things, it doesn’t have to be rocket science.
Micah Shilanski: We’re working on a home equity value add right now saying, “Mr. Mrs. Client, you have this much home equity. There’s four avenues for tapping it and here just so you’re aware of these.” And again, these value adds are relatively simple. So let’s use the home equity one. All right, Zillow says your home is worth X. So let’s go with that as a ballpark, you told us that your home mortgage is Y. So Zillow says your home is worth 800,000. You told us your mortgage is 200,000. You have 600,000 in equity.
Perfect, that’s got to come out of our CRM. And then a couple of quick formulas. If you did a HELOC, here’s about what it would cost, here’s about how much you would get. If you did a reverse mortgage, here’s about how much it costs, here’s how much you’d get. And it creates a discussion point for us. Now getting into the how to, this is a perfect thing that’s inside of there. Because we could go all day on different types of value adds. So getting into how to, automating this stuff is key. Now we’re working on some pretty cool things, so really stay tuned. In fact, for backstage pass members, we just rolled out an automation for one of our value adds, it went over really, really well. So we’re going to do more of this. That’s going to come out there.
Matthew Jarvis: That was guardrails in case you guys are curious.
Micah Shilanski: That was guardrails, yup. You’ve got to start low and you’ve got to build up to the better ones. That’s right. So guardrails came out, which was great. Now if you don’t have that, that’s not an excuse not to do this. We didn’t have CRMs or technology set up to do this. This was Excel for a long time. Grab the data from CRM, hire someone, do not build this yourself, hire an expert who’s in Excel in order to generate this. And it goes into a mail merge, not to go to too much details. You get a template of exactly what all of your clients are going to say. Let’s take the home equity letter. All of your clients are in an Excel database, you put in their values from Zillow, you put in their mortgage if it’s going to be there, and you have three other sets of calculators that they can do.
What if they sell their home? How much would they net? What is a HELOC going to be? What’s a reverse mortgage? What’s your traditional mortgage? Those are four options that they can take from the house. Those are all formulas, they automatically get pre-populated into the letter that’s going to be there. Now one of the things that’s really key after we’ve generated these, these are still a manual push for us to send out. So we send ours out electronically. We don’t send them out via mail. However, when we do it, we will send these to one household at a time. Now everything is built out. We generate it off, we review it and we send it out.
Why? What if their dog just died? What if XYZ just happened in their life? What if something else has come up that violates that value add that we’re going to send? I don’t want to put it on 100% autopilot and maybe that’s just my own limitation, but our team’s going to review it and then it’s going to go out. It doesn’t take that much time in order once all that pre-work is done, you’ll give three or four team days, in order to send out for 100 clients is a piece of cake.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, so we still mailed most of ours because again, I used to have to physically mail the invoices so I just got in that habit and we can debate the pros and cons of that. But to Micah’s point, we review each one of those before they go out to make sure something hasn’t gone on, like their spouse just died during this process, and to again, double check for errors, if you send a value add with an error on it, it’s not a value add.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, you’ve really got to fix those things. So a couple of great questions that are coming in, Greg asks, “What percentage of your clients do you see in your normal surges?” I would go with all of them. I see all of the clients when they’re supposed to come in and surge. I see very rare… I don’t really see a lot of clients outside of my surge schedules.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, and that’s a whole discussion there. Greg asks, “I’m in the February guardrails group,” awesome, Greg, “Will it be February one?” You know what Greg? Email [email protected] with a couple of dates for a rollout webinar that week and Lynn from our office who coordinates those will get a date. Greg also, we’ll answer those questions about guardrails on that webinar as well. So there’s a whole tons of discussions. I talk about it in every meeting probably for about five minutes, but we could spend a whole thing on that.
Micah Shilanski: David asks the question, getting back to value adds, email versus physical mail, what’s better? It depends on your market. What’s your office set up for? We have a lot of clients that are remote, we have a lot of clients that travel a bunch in non COVID years, et cetera. We do it electronically. We don’t send out via physical mail. That’s just not the way we’re set up. You send out via physical mail. We both keep our clients. We both grow our practices. Both work, what works best for your office and your clients?
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, and that’s really important to remember. If your clients are young business owners, sending them estate planning stuff or retirement stuff, that’s not going to be a value add. So you’ve got to really play your audience. I always tease Micah, I say, “Well Ken Fisher mails all of his stuff and he seems to be doing okay with his RIA.” So it can work in your office and it’s what you’re solving for, it’s what you believe in is more than anything. Now I want to throw out a caveat in here. We’ve talked about systematizing it for people in the backstage pass. That’s a little bit easier. We’re rolling out an elite version of the backstage pass that you’ll have access to all of these tools. That’ll be coming by July since we’ve now spoken it out loud. We used to do these in Excel. In fact, we still do some of them in Excel.
So the 1099 letter, we would export all the client names and account numbers from Fidelity and the account type into a spreadsheet and then we would manually go through and say, “Did this account get a 1099 letter or not?” Meaning did it have a distribution or not? And so that was a labor of love, that took a lot of hours, but it was a huge value add to clients. Ultimately it made our life a lot easier, back to the earlier question about our team, and it showed our value to our centers of influence.
Micah Shilanski: This is one of those questions. Do you wish to grow your practice and be superior or not? And if you don’t, awesome, don’t do work. There’s plenty advisors that suck and that continue to be in business and don’t grow their practice. That is an option. That is not what we’re going for. Even though we’re a lifestyle RIA, can’t speak this morning, even though we’re on that lifestyle side of it, one of the things that’s so important that’s there is that when we work, we put in a ton of work that’s going to be there. And value adds are just that.
Matthew Jarvis: That’s right, that’s right. So related to that, the easiest value adds are done on CRMs. Excuse me, not CRMs, the simplest ones are done in Excel and mail merge. They’re not a big lift. You’d go to Upwork, look for somebody who was a mail merge experts, figure out where the data’s coming from, the ability to do value adds, the value you can deliver, and the coolness of it and the simplicity goes up exponentially as your technology improves.
Micah Shilanski: All right, so let’s talk about some real quick and we’re kind of running up on the full podcast side, so we’ll wrap that up and then we’ll transition to some more questions. So what are some rules for some value adds? So in our office, they must be unique to a client. So again, to your point, if I get a 20 year old client that’s a business owner and I talk about estate planning and what their kids are going to get when they die, their kids are 18 months, not as appropriate that’s going to be there again. Again why we send ours off individually versus everyone at once. They must be unique. As little noise as possible. I don’t want to talk about 50 things inside of this value add. It’s long-term care, it’s taxes, it’s just one thing at a time. Keep it simple, volume doesn’t equal value. That’s going to be there.
Matthew Jarvis: Ideally, it’s one page long. You guys all know that I love one page. We’ve had some exceptions to that. And the longer they’ve gotten, the more confused people have gotten. So the shorter is better. Do not confuse complexity with value.
Micah Shilanski: Exactly, clear action items, really, really important. What decision does a client need to make? I’m going to boil this back to the Equifax breach. When Equifax breach took place, we went through to all of our clients, we said, “Who was compromised. The clients that were not compromised, guess what? We still sent them the value add. And we said, “Great, you aren’t compromised. What do you need to do? Nothing.” We made it very clear if someone was compromised. “This is what you need to do.” Very clear action items for them.
Matthew Jarvis: An interesting rule on here, it’s got to be in terminology that the client understands and it has to be accurate terminology. Here’s a quick example from the 1099 letter. We used to say on there, “For your brokerage account, you’ll receive a 1099.” And the clients would call and say, “I never got a 1099 on that account.” And we said, “Sure you did.” And we would pull it up and they would pull up. But on Fidelity, it says year end tax report. It doesn’t say 1099 until page seven. So then we replaced that with tax report slash 1099, because that was the terminology they were used to seeing. But that was a big fail on our part. In our mind, yes this tax report is technically a 1099, but it says tax report.
Micah Shilanski: Right, right. Yup. So again, don’t get bent out of shape about that. What terminology does your clients use? I absolutely love that. And wherever you’re getting the technology from, another pro tip that’s going to be here is I always set up my value adds for the next quarter in my surge meetings. So we’re going to do a net worth one that’s coming up. Awesome, well if we’re going to do a net worth, as I’m getting meeting with clients in our next surge, we’re going to get all the information too for our following value add so we don’t have an information gap. Now you may not be in that case, you may have an information gap. Awesome, reach out to your clients. There is zero problem going out to your clients and saying, “Hey, we’re reviewing X, Y, and Z, we don’t have this document. Is it okay if you send it to us?” This shows you’re being proactive in so many things.
Matthew Jarvis: There’s so much we could talk about on this and value adds. I do want to make one more tease if you don’t mind. We mentioned a couple of times that we’re going to be making this technology available so the guardrails are now available inside the backstage pass. We’re going to be making all of the value adds available inside the backstage pass in an integrated tech platform with the goal of doubling your EBOC in three years or less. We’re confident that any decent practice, there are some parameters around this, we can double their EBOC in three years or less.
Why are we confident in that? We’ve done it several times, several times over.
Micah Shilanski: With other advisors, not just within our practice.
Matthew Jarvis: So that’s something to watch out for. Hold us accountable to that. We need extreme accountability as much as anybody else. So action items. Number one, map out your value adds for this calendar year and map backwards. This goes back to our earlier question about your team, map backwards with your team how much time they want, not need, they want to have this value add ready and make sure that you’re available. So for example, we block out the week before and the week after the quarter end so that we have time to get value adds taken care of.
Micah Shilanski: Perfect, and this goes back to, as you’re getting your team on board. Really make sure that they’re committed to delivering value and role play with them a little bit when a client calls in with a question on the value add, how are you going to address it? Because what you don’t want to do is send this out to 150 clients, have 150 questions, everybody calls in and wants to speak to you. That’s not a good use of your time. So how are you going to craft this where it answers questions, it doesn’t ask them, and get your team on board to answer those questions. Really important.
Matthew Jarvis: Yup, I would say the next one, whatever your value add you’re considering whether it’s ours or one you thought of yourself, and if you thought of one yourself, please send it to us. We would love to see it. Show it to your team in a non-professional, a lay person if you will, to make sure it makes sense to them. So I’ve created these really elaborate value adds and Colleen in my office is very good at this. She says, “Matthew, I don’t really understand what this is saying.” And my first reaction was, “Well, let me tell you what it’s saying.” Wait, if it’s not clear to you, it’s clear to no one else. So you need to have some kind of safety valve in there to make sure that you’re not sending garbage.
Micah Shilanski: Perfect, so a couple of great questions that have come up. David says, “When do you block out your time?” David, when works for you is the best question. What works on your surge? Last week of the quarter, first week of the quarter can work out really well if you want to time it with billing, because then your advance of it. They’re getting a value add when they’re seeing the fee debited from their AUM account or whatever you do billing.
Matthew Jarvis: Perfect, well for those of you listening live, please hang out with us. We’re going to continue for another 30 minutes or so on Q&A. For those of you listening to this recording, thank you for listening. Be sure to join us on the next live version of this podcast. And as always, vote early vote often go on and vote five stars for the podcast.
Micah Shilanski: That’s right until next time, happy planning.
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