What You'll Learn In Today's Episode:

  • How surge changed Ben’s life.
  • The advantage of surge meetings.
  • What Ben’s typical surge entails.
  • How he implemented surge meetings into his practice.
  • How to take more time out of the office.
  • The importance of spending time with other advisors.
  • How to go from reactive to intentional within your practice.

Financial advisors generally meet with clients year-round, resulting in wasted time not only preparing for the meetings, but also in the meetings themselves. However, there is an alternative: surge meetings. By adding a surge to your calendar, you have the ability to boost productivity, systematize the client review meeting while still providing massive value to your clients, and free up time to do more of what you love. Here to help Matthew and Micah dive into this topic further is Ben Brandt, the host of Retirement Starts Today Radio, co-host of the Retirement Tax Podcast, and founder of Capital City Wealth Management.

Listen in as Ben shares how surge changed his life and his practice, as well as the difference it has made in his workflow. You will learn how to implement this way of meeting with your clients into your practice, how to be less reactive in your meetings, and how to manage your team when you’re working remotely.

Podcast Article:

How to Increase Your Productivity with Meeting Surges

Can spending more time away from your clients really make you more productive?

What if learning how to increase your productivity saved you time and helped you serve your clients better?

In this post, you’ll learn how to leverage meeting surges to increase your efficiency, lower your stress, and leave every client feeling like the most important person in the room.

Actionable Items in This Episode

  • Pretend this Thanksgiving is your last day in the office for the rest of the year. Identify the steps you need to take today to make sure you’re not going to meet with any clients in December, then take them.
  • Make time-blocking a priority. Put it on your calendar, then don’t let anything disrupt you until you have a solid plan.
  • If you don’t have a conscious plan for how to increase your productivity, you’re robbing your family of spending time with you. Adopt a mindset of extreme accountability to treat surge meetings with the priority they are.

Meeting Surges: A True Game Changer

It’s not an exaggeration to say that adopting meeting surges changed Ben Brandt’s life. As a financial advisor, he was always looking for more ways to proactively deliver value to his clients, but without a schedule for getting it done, his consistency suffered.

But when he came across the concept of surge—grouping client meetings into short chunks of time, leaving the remaining time open—he knew it was his ticket to delivering higher value and living a higher quality of life.

It took a few years for Ben to fully leverage meeting surges and get to where he is today: successful financial advisor, host of the Retirement Starts Today Radio podcast, attentive and present father. Looking back, he credits implementing meetings surges with the advancements he’s been able to make in his business and his life, and he advises anyone who hasn’t tried it yet to embrace the power of the surge.


Why Meeting Surges?

As Ben explains, “The advantage of surge meetings is I can pack everything I want to in my life. I get to decide what my life looks like and just sort of do the math backwards. And a big part of that is delivering massive value to clients.”

While it may be hard to imagine now, consider all the ways you might spend your time if you had the chance. Do you want to pursue more networking opportunities or qualifications? Do you want to spend more time with your family? Do you want to offer the highest value possible to your customers? With more flexible time than you’ve ever had before, those dreams have a real shot of becoming reality.

Just ask Ben. “I only have 80 households, but that allows me to proactively deliver value. And then I can spend the rest of my year doing whatever I like.”

Implementing Meeting Surges

So how do you move away from being constantly on call?

Don’t expect meeting surges to happen overnight. Like Ben, expect this to be a journey. But the destination is worth any difficulty you might encounter along the way.

Do What Works for You

The key to surge meetings is to free up one chunk of calendar time by funneling as many of your client meetings as possible into another chunk of calendar time. How much time? That’s up to you.

Some veteran surgers can fit as many as 70 meetings into a single surge week. Others prefer a more moderate 20 or 25. What’s right for one advisor isn’t necessarily right for the next: a parent of six children, like Ben, will have different priorities and expectations than a smaller family. Any amount of time saved through meeting surges means more time you can spend with the people you love, so adopt the schedule that works best for your life.

Get Your Clients Onboard

No matter how much your clients like you as a person, helping you spend more time with your kids is never going to be their number one goal. The key to successfully implementing meeting surges is to turn it into a direct win for your clients.

For Ben Brandt, that means grouping meetings into the calendar months where he knows he can deliver the highest value. “We can talk about any other financial planning topic, any other time of the year, but taxes in the spring and fall is where I can give a lot of value to my clients.” By messaging how this particular schedule benefits his clients, he’s able to get them on board with the change and offer them better and more actionable advice. And that’s a win-win for everyone.

Be Intentional

Meeting surges don’t just magically line up in a group. You have to be intentional about making them happen—even when that means holding firm in the face of pushback from clients who are used to a different level of access to your calendar.

If this seems like an unreachable goal, take heart: you can take baby steps that will bring you closer to that goal. For example, what would happen if you chose one month out of the year where you don’t see clients? You’d undoubtedly find the time to pick up a few of those backburner projects that haven’t taken priority . . . and you and your staff might just find that extra time with family that would give you the energy boost you need to do your best and most positive work.

Once you’ve got the hang of clearing your schedule—and have a better understanding of just what you can accomplish with that extra time—take it one step further. Then another. If a whole month off of client meetings worked out, imagine what you could get done if you took every other month off. By keeping the goal in sight, you’ll be able to take smart steps that will get you there.

Resources In Today's Episode:

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…

Micah Shilanski:  Welcome back podcast listeners to another amazing episode of The Perfect RIA podcast. I’m your co-founder Micah Shilanski. And with me is not only the legendary Matthew Jarvis, but we have an amazing podcast guest with us that is going to be going through some extremely valuable information and stuff that he has implemented. We have, what is known generally in the industry as talent, for those of you who may not know him as Ben Brandt. Ben, what’s going on?

Ben Brandt:         Oh, I’m so happy to be here, guys. I never missed an episode and I’m super excited to be on the show.

Matthew Jarvis:   Now, I don’t want us to brush past too quickly the awesomeness of Ben Brandt. We’ve been on several masterminds together. We’ve known each other for several years. Ben, you and I first met each other at FinCon in Dallas, which was a lot of fun. We got to take the JFK Museum tour, which was pretty interesting. If that wasn’t a conspiracy, I don’t know what it is.

But Ben, you have a phenomenal practice in your own right. You have a very successful podcast. You’ve just launched another podcast. But today we want to talk about surge meetings and how surge meetings really help transform your practice.

Ben Brandt:         Yeah. Surge changed my life. I was always looking for a way to proactively deliver value, but it wasn’t on a schedule. But when I came across surge, I said, “I know we’ve got to do this in some fashion.” It took me a few years to get to where I’m at today. So if you’re not, to listeners that haven’t tried this yet, but once you try it and once you adapt it for your own life, there’s no turning back. It’s a game changer.

Micah Shilanski:  So Ben, let’s kind of talk about that at a high level real fast as to where is your practice at right now? How do you do surge meetings? Then, let’s kind of go back in time and say, great, where were you and how did you build that difference? As you said, this is not something that happens overnight. You implemented it quite frankly, a heck of a lot faster than I did in surge meetings. It took me a long time to figure this out. So right now, basically what’s your schedule? What’s the advantage of surge meetings?

Ben Brandt:         So the advantage of surge meetings is I can pack everything I want to in my life. I get to decide what my life looks like and just sort of do the math backwards. And a big part of that is delivering massive value to clients. And so I get to decide at what schedule I’m going to proactively do that. And that accounts for roughly 90% anecdotal data, I would admit. I only have 80 households, but that allows me to proactively deliver value. And then I can spend the rest of my year doing whatever I like.

So I do surge in spring and fall. So we’ll call it like May and November, depending on hockey season, depending on conferences, things like that. But generally, May, November. And then I essentially work two days a week during the summer and then three days a week during non-surge time. So that gets me well over half of the year out of the office. I think I’ll hit about 110 or 120 days out of the office this year plus weekends.

Matthew Jarvis:   So Ben, you’re not necessarily taking like six or eight weeks out at one time, right? On an average, you’re spending two to three days a week in the office. And then during surge you’re in the office … Are in the office five days a week during surge? How does your surge look itself? How long is it? How many days? How many meetings a day?

Ben Brandt:         So we do 19 appointments a week. We have a staff meeting on Monday. So that’s four meetings and then five meetings, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, I take Fridays off. Get to the office at about 10 or 10-ish because I do CrossFit in the morning. And then my last meeting will either be at three or four, just sort of depending upon. We usually need 19 days of surge. So four or five weeks, just sort of, depending on a lot of different factors, but we’ve done … If we’ve done four or five or six of this version of surge, yeah, it’s usually four or five weeks.

During hockey season, I might only be in the office two days because I’m running around rural Minnesota and North Dakota with the kids, but that’s generally what it looks like. So I’m working 20 to 25 hours a week during surge. I think that’s a little bit of a unique wrinkle that Micah is doing 72 appointments a week or a day maybe at this point, but I’m still, I’ve got six kids. So I’ve really got to be intentional about how I’m slicing my time. So I’m still only doing about 20, 25 hours a week, even during surge.

Micah Shilanski:  You know Ben, and you nailed it right there, because one of the main rules of success, there’s four key rules of success, right? And one of them is be intentional. And I just want to pull that out from what you just said. Your life, your business build is extremely intentional to deliver massive value, not only to your clients, but to your family. So you can be there as a dad with your six kids to make sure you’re there for them for some amazing experiences growing up and to be a great husband. So kudos for you for being so intentional and developing this.

Ben Brandt:         It took me a long time to get there. I first, like Matt said, we met at FinCon in probably 2017. I was part of a program with Matt and I heard about surge and I said, “There’s got to be a way that I can implement this.” But I wasn’t totally convinced how I would get there. And our staff wasn’t either. And I hadn’t messaged the value to the clients. So I said, “What’s the tiniest baby step I could take to get something that looks like a surge?” And this is like in March, right? And we said, “Okay, what if we didn’t see any clients in December? What, if we had some time to process Roth conversions and everything else we need to do at the end of the year? What if staff could take some extra time with family? What if I could do that as well?”

So we look back over the last few years, every client we ever met within December, and we proactively set an appointment with them in November. And we were able to do it. That must have been 2018 that we did no clients in December. And we reconvened in January. Staff was elated that they didn’t have to … We used to have clients that would slide a check under the door on December 31st. Like, you know what I mean? We hadn’t messaged why that was a bad, bad idea, why that wasn’t proper planning. And so everything we normally did in December, we did in November. We reconvened in January and staff said, “That’s great. What’s the next step we could do?”

And we hadn’t thought about a lot about our value offering, but we wanted to do proactively deliver value. We knew what that was. And so we said, “The next step is probably meet with clients every other month.” So it was like January on, February off, March on, April off. And so we went all back the last few years and following what month we met with clients, and just kind of reshuffled that deck, still delivered value and did that for a full year. Staff loved it. I loved it. I could have a lot more time off. And went from like something around 14 days off to something closer to like 70 days off.

And then we said, “What’s the most extreme version we could do?” And then we said, “Well, when can we provide the most value that’s calendar based?” We can talk about investment performance anytime, guardrails anytime, the new tax law changes anytime, but taxes are most important to our clients in May when they just finish their taxes, and year end, when we’re about to flip the calendar over and we hit all of our deadlines. So let’s meet with clients just during those two times, deliver as much value as we can. We’re still available to our clients anytime we want. They have a link. They can get on my calendar at any time, but that’s then in 2019 or 2020, when we did our final version of surge.

Matthew Jarvis:   I want to draw out something that you said about your team that initially your team was hesitant, but you said, “Hey, how do we ease into this?” Wondering if you’ve got any pushback from your clients. So you said you got a little bit of pushback from the team, which is normal, right? It’s a totally different way of approaching life. Statistically speaking, no advisors, while a lot are doing it now, but no advisors are doing surge. What pushback did you get from clients in this process?

Ben Brandt:         Really no pushback at all. There really isn’t an avenue for pushback when we say, “This is why we want to meet with you. This is time sensitive. This is top of mind. We can do a lot of really valuable planning on this schedule.” And we’re available to you at any time other than that. I mean, you’re not going to turn 65 on our schedule. You’re not going to retire on our surge schedule. Your family member’s not going to die. You’re not going to … Whatever it is. All of those things that come up that are a planning point, you have a link to schedule yourselves on our calendar anytime you want.

Now I’ve gone back a couple of surges and measured in between. And it’s about 90% effective. If we’ve got 80 households, we’ll get eight or 10 roughly appointments that kind of trickle in outside of those metrics. I probably could do a different surge cycle and meet with all those at once. We haven’t implemented that yet. We have implemented new client surge. We’re not taking clients currently, but the surge, a lot of different things.

Micah Shilanski:  Ben, I love that aspect of it. And that aspect that this doesn’t have to be 100% rule, right? It is absolutely okay if this fits for 90% of your clients, because guess what? You went from being, and correct me if I’m wrong here, but you went from being reactive 100% of the time and haphazardly probably meeting with clients and getting things set up, to being intentional 100% of the time. And that suits 90% of your clients, which what a solid win. And so that means, okay, sporadically in between surges, you got to meet with eight or 10 people, but that lifestyle balance and that value you are able to add to those clients and that time, it’s just a phenomenal win.

And then, do you mind if we talk a little bit about the metrics inside of that? What’s happened to your income in that same period in time, because you’re taking more time out of the office, well, then obviously your income has dramatically dropped. Right?

Ben Brandt:         Well, surprisingly, my income is up about 4X from when I started this project with Matt back in 2018, with the help of a ton of friends and a ton of coaches and mastermind groups and everything like that, and a ton of accountability. But yeah, I’ve actually, I’ve 4X-ed my time out of the office and I 4X-ed my income. So all you math nerds are probably shouting at your phone right now what that exact number is. I can’t calculate it, but it’s 4X up and 4X down.

Micah Shilanski:  That’s amazing.

Matthew Jarvis:   And I love that you mentioned all the things that happened during that period of time, right? You mentioned belonging to good programs, coaching, masterminds, extreme accountability. These are all the things. It’s easy to think that, “Hey, I’m just going to start surge meeting tomorrow.” And in real life, it never works that way. Like it’s really hard to implement surge meetings. You need all of those components. I suppose there’s somebody out there that can just do it on a whim. The rest of us need the support. We need extreme accountability. We need the masterminds. That’s how this high-level transformation happens.

Ben Brandt:         What I would say, there’s a good percentage of our listening audience right now that would say, “That’s a really good idea. I’m going to do that next year.” And they’ve been saying that three years running.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. I’ve heard that one before.

Now Ben, you’ve also, during that time, you’ve grown your podcast, right? Retirement Starts Today Radio, you’ve grown it to one of the top podcasts in that segment. You started another podcast. Does that time fall inside of what you’re counting as your office time? Or is that what you’re using some of this free time for?

Ben Brandt:         That’s a great question. So office time for me, I’ve got six kids. So it’s actual time at the office and then I’m really not able, I’m not logistically able to do anything while they’re at home. I’ve got three four-year-olds. So, I mean, just really not able to work from home. There’s no quiet and really wouldn’t have the head space to do so. So I do everything within those office hours, except for recording the podcast. Most of the time I’m recording the podcast inside my car, outside of my kids hockey games, or hockey practices, which is all the time.

So my new podcast, I do record in the office because I’ve got a co-host and I can’t … It wouldn’t be polite of me to call the coast and say, “I’ve got 15 minutes right now. Go.” So I can do that with my own time. I can disrespect myself in that way, but not someone else. So any coaching that I do, any courses that I create, anything that I do that’s not actually recording my podcast, fits into those office hours. Compliance tasks, new clients, marketing, everything that I can think of fits into those office hours.

Micah Shilanski:  And Ben, what mistakes do you think you made along the way when you were implementing this that says, you know what, if you could go back and you could change something, if you correct it, what would that be?

Ben Brandt:         Well, other than that starting this a decade ago, I think just the golden idols, right? Killing the sacred cows. I was a big believer in a lot of things just because people said that’s the way it was. They said, I had to do, live life this way, or deliver value this way or be available to clients in this way. And it’s really by venturing out of my comfort zone and meeting with other super successful advisors around the country and say, “Oh, you were able to do that, and the world didn’t grind to a halt and all of your clients didn’t leave you.” And whatever our head trash was. It’s meeting other successful people and saying, “No, no, no, that’s … I believe that too. And I tried this and got this result.”

And then I can pass it through my own set of filters and say, “Gosh, maybe there’s probably some wisdom. This is a real smart guy or gal. I need to consider this for my practice.” So I wish I would have done that a lot sooner.

Matthew Jarvis:   Ben, when you mention head trash, any other head trash specifically that comes to mind? So a lot of us when we’re facing big changes, whether it surge meetings or raising fees or doing value adds or whatever it is, we’ve got this head trash, especially your income’s going up dramatically. So on the one hand, you’re working a fourth as much, your income has quadrupled. Any other head trash that came along the way in that process?

Ben Brandt:         Yeah. I mean, you’re essentially on a realtor schedule. You’ve got to be available to your clients 24/7, 8:00 AM on a Sunday morning, 10:00 PM on a Friday afternoon or Friday evening. That’s a version of value, is being available all the time. So I had that head trash. I also had kind of this almost like a buyer’s remorse where, when I switched down to a two days a week, eight hours per week summer schedule, the first week or two I have this buyer’s remorse. Like I should be in the office. I just came off of surge or I’m in the office four days a week. And I said, “Oh, the world is ending when I’m not there.” Now, granted I’ve done this enough times to know that that feeling goes away. So I’m able to sort of prep my brain for that. But yeah, I still have head trash around those things about being out of the office so much.

Micah Shilanski:  But I got two questions around that process. I’d love to know, one, how did you phrase this to clients when you made the switch? Because they went from seeing you whenever they wanted to and getting things set up, so to now seeing you on a surge basis, right? So how did you phrase that for those advisors, others still have the head trash? And then two, how do you manage your team when you’re remote?

Ben Brandt:         So how do we message it to clients? Well, it’s got to be a win for them first, right? It’s great that I could to take all this time out of the office, but if I’m not serving my clients, I’m not going to be in business for very long. And while they probably care about me as a human, I know they do, their number one priority isn’t that I spend more time with my kids. So how can this be a win for them first?

And if the calendar and if the clock wasn’t any factor, when could I deliver the most value to my clients? Well it’d probably be the day after they turn in their taxes on April 15th. I’d meet with every single one of my 80 households, the moment after they turn in their income tax, because that’s when taxes is top of mind and that’s when we can put in some action items into place. Same thing would be at the end of the year on December 31st. In a perfect world with no calendar, no clock, I’d meet with all 80 of my households one minute before the calendar flips over because we have the most accurate year-end tax advice that we can implement.

We can’t do that. So what’s the next closest version? Was meeting with five clients a day for five weeks in a row. And then that’s the closest I can deliver. And then I can deliver a lot of value to them. We can talk about any other financial planning topic, any other time of the year, but taxes in the spring and taxes in the fall is where I can give a lot of value to my clients.

And so I just message that to them. Look, I can give you a lot more value in May, after you just finished your taxes versus in September, on a normal non-surge schedule meeting with a few clients a week. By the time I finally get to you, we both forgot what happened in May and April, and I’m not delivering as much value. Or I’m talking year-end planning in August when we still have a third of the year left to go, our numbers aren’t going to be that accurate. I’m delivering less value. So that’s where I can deliver the most value, is top of my taxes and top of my taxes at the end of the year as well. So that’s what I message to clients, is this is better for you because I’m able to give you better advice and more actionable information.

Micah Shilanski:  I love it. That just works out so well because you’re making it a direct win for the client. And again, going back to, if they need to see you outside of that schedule, you’ve allowed for that. So this isn’t a six month gap and we’re never going to see you. This is going to be 90% of your clients. And if they have an exception, they have a life-changing event, they can always call your office and come in, and we call them mini surges. But in between that time and be able to meet with you to make sure they’re taken care of. So it’s a solid win for the clients.

Ben Brandt:         Absolutely. So like I said, I work Mondays and Thursdays throughout the summer. Every other day is blocked off in Calendly. If they have a Calendly link, ongoing planning, they can schedule any Monday or any Thursday from 10:30 to 3:00, both days or from 11:00 to 3:00 on Monday because we have staffing. But anything that comes up, they’re able to do that. But again, 90% efficiency and we’re on our second or third year of doing this on this schedule.

So I’ll get an email from a client. “Hey, Benjamin. I was thinking about the donor advised funds. I noticed that I’ve got some appreciation in these documents. Are we going to talk about it in November when we meet again?” And as I’m checking my email throughout the week or Diane forwards that to me, I’d say, “Yep. Yep, Doug. We’re definitely going to talk about that in November. That’s a great question.” I’ll put that on our notes too.

So the clients, they get it too, and they are sort of conditioned for that schedule as well. So things that come up that are just a simple question, a lot of times I hear, yeah, are we going to talk about that in November, and I don’t have to have a meeting. That’s just a quick email conversation and I’m still delivering value. And of course you got to make sure to talk about that in November as well.

Micah Shilanski:  Right.

Matthew Jarvis:   Sure, sure. Ben, when you’re getting ready to surge, what messaging are you sending out to clients? So when you’re getting into your spring or your fall surge, when are you messaging them about it? When are you sending the invitation to your calendar? How does that process work? Walk us through that.

Ben Brandt:         So we start about four weeks out. I’ll use May because that’s when we just finish. Diane about four or five weeks out, we’ll send an email to everyone saying, “Hey, it’s that time of year again. Benjamin wants to review your retirement plan and talk about your taxes. Every client needs to submit their tax return. So here’s the share file link to do so. Here’s the Calendly link to schedule yourself on Benjamin’s calendar.” And then based on prior surges, some clients didn’t exactly know how to do that. So I included a link to Loom where I did a screenshare and demonstrated how to do both those things, how to upload a file to ShareFile and how to schedule some time on Calendly.

And then, we’ll reconvene for our Monday meeting, who’s scheduled, who didn’t, send out a second email, third email, and then after three weeks, we’ll convene again and say who hasn’t scheduled, who do we absolutely have to meet with? And then Diane will follow up with two phone calls, no more than two phone calls. And clients that ghost us for more than two or three surges get … I send them Micah’s number.

Micah Shilanski:  That’s right. Just graduate them, graduate them to Alaska. And then what projects do you guys work on outside of the surge? So you’re doing your surge time, which are good, and you talked about how you have the other things that you need to work on. What about your staff? What does your staff do in between your surge times?

Ben Brandt:         They take some time off. We have a summer schedule. Diane is in the office, 8:30 to 3:00, Monday through Thursday. And then Rita is about 10:00 to 4:00, Monday through Thursday, as we also. We totally shut down the office on Fridays. We’ve been doing that for two years. Only ever had like two incidences where I had to kind of swoop in over email. So I mean, two times in two years is pretty good average. But they can take more time off. So they schedule appointments during the day and it’s a real, a pretty light lift.

Now, there are clients questions that come in. They’ve got a schedule someone’s turning 65, they’ve got a scheduled time with boomer benefits. Beneficiary changes, they change how much tax withholding, all the stuff that staff does, reactive stuff granted, but that’s why support staff is there, but that’s what they do.

Matthew Jarvis:   Ben, I want to highlight something you said a minute ago about putting that Loom video in. I had never thought of that. So we’ve been doing Calendly links for a long time. Learned that from Taylor Schulte, never thought about putting a Loom video. And I think this speaks to the importance of masterminds, the importance of spending time with advisors that are very successful. I wrote this out on my personal action items to go and work with a team, add that Loom video for our document upload, add that Loom video for how the Calendly link works. It is just a stellar idea.

Ben Brandt:         Perhaps it comes from my time in the military. After we did a patrol, we’d do an after action review. So we’d all sit around the Humvee and we’d say, what went well, what could we improve upon, and we’ve been doing that after our surges. A recent one is I was on this multi-year goal of hitting a certain AUM number by a certain birthday. So I was solely focused on that, including surge. So we would have a new client meeting sprinkled in with surge meetings, and that kind of drove staff nuts because they would have … they’d have to do the concierge service of onboarding clients while we’re getting ready to do a surge and in the midst of surge. And they said, “This is just switching gears too frequently. We don’t want to do this anymore.”

So we stopped doing new clients during surge, and now we’re not doing new clients at all anymore. But then we did a new client surge this year for the first time where we did all of our new client surging at once. So after action review, after search is over, what did we learn? What did we like? What do we want to keep going? What do we want to kill? How can we make every single surge better than the last surge?

And so that’s where the Loom video came, as Diane would say, “I call people and they say I didn’t know how to do the link thing. So I just figured you’d call at some point.” So let’s practically kill that for next time. I’ll record a video on how to do that. And that’s three less phone calls to an estimate.

Micah Shilanski:  I love that. And that goes to the strength of your support team, right? And having these after action meetings and asking them questions. Great. What are the big questions you got from clients? What are the big concerns you got from clients? Because that’s again, to your point, Ben, this is exactly where it comes from, and just answer your client’s questions. And the easier you make that, that’s the more value in which you’re delivering. Great. I love it.

Matthew Jarvis:   Ben, any other thoughts on surge meetings before we jump into some action items?

Ben Brandt:         There’s always a reason to delay, right? There’s always a reason to say, “Hey, this is a great idea. Matt and Micah have been doing it a while. Ben’s been doing it a little less long.” I’m going to do that eventually. Right? Eventually, I’ll be proactive with my schedule and eventually I’ll take more time with my family and deliver more value.

But I would really challenge you to say, what step can you take this year? You’re going to hear this sometime in late summer, early fall of 2021. You still have time to not see clients in December. That’s the smallest step that I could think to take. I would challenge every person listening to this podcast, you can do the same thing. Don’t meet with clients in December. Deliver massive value in November. Spend some time with your family over the holidays and hit January 2022 like you’re shot out of a cannon.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love it. I love it. Micah, any other search thoughts before we jump into action items?

Micah Shilanski:  Well, tip the hat just a little bit, Ben. You’re going to come up with a pretty amazing content on how you implemented surge and how advisors can start implementing surge in their own practice, right?

Ben Brandt:         I am, yeah. I’ve taught about surge on other platforms before, but I’ve never prepared a full course on surge. So every script, every client messaging, every email that I send, pictures of my calendar, what value I deliver, why and when, what my results are, and then of course some items from your two practices as well. So we’re going to package all that up and we’re going to create some real life changing information for financial advisors that are willing to step up and learn.

Micah Shilanski:  That’s just so amazing. Because we get stuck in the trenches, right, where we’re operating our practice, where we’re doing all of these things. And then all of a sudden you get this turnkey system and say, “Hey, you want to deliver massive value and surge?” And great, here’s the scripts. Here’s the content. Here’s how you train your team. Here’s how you go through it.” That’s going to leave you like 90% of the work right there. So as you said, you can operate 2022, like you’re shot out of a cannon, right? Everything is up and running. Oh, this is amazing.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. I’m really excited for it myself Ben. Like I just said, I’ve been doing surge meetings for a lot of years, and I had never thought of the Loom thing. So this is going to be pure gold. Even for people that have done surge year after year, those of us that are we’ll call that pros at it, whatever we want to call it, it’s still so much opportunity to learn.

Ben Brandt:         If someone implementing this, you’re going to get at least a month back in your life after you complete this, this educational information. I would say I would be shocked if someone doesn’t get at least a month back next year implementing these items that we’re going to put together.

Micah Shilanski:  Wow. Well, Ben, I was just excited. I wrote on my list, I want to get a list of how you send stuff out to clients. We’ve been doing surge for a long time, but again, to the point of the mastermind is in great. What are those nuances that you’re doing that really deliver value that I’ve missed, that our team has missed? And I’m sure you’re doing it. I’m going to love to get that information and start implementing it on our practice. So super excited about that.

Matthew Jarvis:   I got to confess. The other thing I’m really excited about is to have my team watch the video. Right? Because it’s one thing when I say, “Hey, I’ve got this great idea. I was talking to Micah,” and they’re like, “Oh geez, you were talking to Micah again.” “Yeah, no, no, watch Ben’s class.” And then they’re going to come back to me and say, “Matt, guess what? We should do this thing.” I’m going to think to myself, “I’ve said that 10 different times, but now Ben gives it credibility.” So I’m just stoked all different directions.

Ben Brandt:         I like it. Something maybe I learned from you years ago that you’ve maybe forgotten about, will come all the way back around, so it’ll be your idea twice distilled.

Micah Shilanski:  All right. We’re all about action items on this podcast. So let’s talk about things that you can actually do and implement right away. And Ben, I’m going to kick it off to you first, if that’s all right. What’s the first action item our listeners should take from this and implement this week?

Ben Brandt:         I want you to act as if. Act as if November of this year, act as if Thanksgiving is your last day in the office this year. What steps do you need to take today to make sure that you’re not going to meet with any clients in December? Visit with your team and visualize the last five Decembers. What did you do? What paperwork did you do? What clients did you meet with? What clients are always that last minute end of the year thing? Really spend some time and visualize what the last December, several Decembers have looked like. November 1st then is your deadline to proactively deliver whatever value, do whatever paperwork you need to do because Thanksgiving is your last day in the office this year. That is your action item.

Micah Shilanski:  I love it.

Matthew Jarvis:   Perfect. Action item number two, I would say go to The Perfect RIA website and check out the time-blocking video series that Micah and I created a few years ago. Actually did it from Hawaii, which was a lot of fun. Really goes through surge meeting, time-blocking in general. It’ll be a teaser, if you will, for the pure gold that’s coming from Ben later this year.

Micah Shilanski:  I love it. Action item number three, right? We’re all motivated a little bit by a carrot, but we’re more motivated by a giant stick that’s going to be out there, which is extreme accountability. To get very clear on what it is going to cost you by not implementing surge meetings. And Ben, you’ve already said it. You think that if people implement surge meetings, they are going to get back at least a month out of their year, one month out of their life, every single year by implementing surge meetings.

So if you choose not to implement surge meetings, maybe your extreme accountability, is you got to tell your family, “I’m sorry. I was too lazy to tell my team to book clients together. Therefore, I can’t spend time with you. I’m sorry. We can’t take a vacation because I was too lazy to sign up for this masterclass. I was too lazy to implement these things.” What is that cost? And I’m not trying to be too dramatic about it, but we got to have something that’s going to motivate you to that next step. It can be financial or it can be on the time side of it, but what’s going to make you take that next step to take action so you can have that perfect RIA setup?

Ben Brandt:         Micah, I really like that. I would encourage somebody to sit down right now, go to CVS and get a card and write an apology letter to your family right now. Write an apology letter to your family. I’m sorry I didn’t do all this stuff. Seal it up and set it right on the corner of your desk where you can see it. And if you don’t deliver, you have to give that to your family at Christmas time. So that’s going to motivate you. Write that apology letter. And then if you deliver, throw the letter away, but if you don’t deliver, you’ve got to give that to your spouse or your kids on December 25th.

Micah Shilanski:  Oh my gosh. That would be so painful.

Matthew Jarvis:   No, that’s good. Action item number four, send an email to lifestyle@theperfectria with the subject line Surge Meetings to make sure that you’re top on the list when we release Ben’s masterclass later this fall. Like I said, it’s going to be pure gold. You want to make sure the top of that list. Email to lifestyle@theperfectria, subject line Surge Meetings.

Micah Shilanski:  Last action item we’re going to throw out there for you guys. If you haven’t already, check out Ben’s podcast, Retirement Starts Today. He’s done a beautiful job creating that podcast, where he has clients all across the country that contact him. He delivers massive value on a frequent basis. In addition to that, he started a new podcast with Retirement Tax Service called Retirement Tax Radio and him and his co-host come out twice a month and talk about tax stuff directly to consumers. This is things you should be aware of, you should be talking about with your clients. Make sure you’re staying tuned to listen to that because it’s already been a great hit.

Matthew Jarvis:   Perfect. Ben, any parting words of wisdom for us before we wrap up this episode?

Ben Brandt:         No. I think we covered it all. I can’t wait to dig into this material. I know we’re going to change some lives and I can’t wait to dig in.

Matthew Jarvis:   Perfect. Well, Ben, thanks so much for being with us and everyone until next time. Happy planning.

Micah Shilanski:  Happy planning.

Hold on before we go. Something that you need to know. This isn’t tax, legal, or investment advice. That isn’t our intent. Information designed to change lives. Financial planning can make you thrive. Start today. Don’t think twice. Be a better husband, father, mother, and wife. The Perfect RIA. The Perfect RIA.


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