If you’re like most financial advisors, you want to add value, do good work for your clients, and live a good life in the process. Unfortunately, having meetings scattered throughout your week makes it hard to get ahead of your other work. So if you’ve heard of surge meetings but don’t think this approach will work for you, make sure to tune in to this episode because Matthew and Micah will be discussing how to get over that way of thinking so you can implement this practice and create more time in your life for the things you actually want.
Listen in as they explain how to make surge meetings work for you, as well as several common excuses they hear as to why people can’t do surge meetings. You will learn how to set proper client expectations, be more intentional with your practice, and improve the overall quality of your life.
Implementing a surge schedule for your client meetings—blocking your availability into chunks of calendar time, leaving dedicated space for personal and professional development—is the single most effective step you can take to grow your business. So why are so many financial advisors not doing it?
In this article, you’ll learn how to clear past any headtrash you may be carrying around about client meeting surges so you can free your time for necessary high-level thinking and effective leadership.
When most people hear there’s a way to improve client value and office efficiency while giving them more days out of the office, they think it must be a trick. Right away, they start giving excuses for why it could never happen for them.
Matthew Jarvis and Micah Shilanski of The Perfect RIA podcast have heard it all. These are the top three reasons they’ve heard from people who “can’t” implement surge:
These may sound like good reasons—but on closer examination, they’re all just headtrash, straw dummies that stand in the way of serious growth. They’re self-imposed, based not in reality but in fear. If you share these fears, they’re keeping you from doing what it takes to excel.
No client meeting should run longer than an hour. If the length of your meetings prevents you from holding more than two per day, they’re way too long. And as far as your schedule, consider this: You’re already setting limits on your time by not being available on nights or weekends or on Christmas Day. A tighter availability for client meetings is just one more limit you’re setting on the road to doing your best work. You’re allowed to determine what’s important to you and how to get there.
And as far as being “too busy” to implement surge? If Matthew and Micah manage to spend entire months out of the year not holding client meetings, you can start small by taking Fridays off for personal development.
By now, you understand why your office can’t afford not to adopt surge into your practice. Now, with that headtrash firmly out of the way, here are three tips for transitioning your office to a surge client meeting schedule.
If you’re worried about what clients will think you’re doing on your time away from the office, why not just tell them? This is a strategy that works well for Matthew, who wants to spend time with his young family. When Matthew has headtrash about his vacation schedule, he routinely tells clients, “We’ve intentionally limited the number of clients we work with so that I can give you massive value and still have plenty of time to be with my kids.”
Do you think he gets any resistance from his clients for being focused on his family? Far from it—he’s never had a single client push back against his values. And if he did, he knows just how he would handle the situation.
“That’s going to be an immediate graduation,” Matthew confirms, referring to the industry practice of politely encouraging a client to seek a different advisor. “If somebody comes back and says, ‘I really expect you to be in the office twenty-four hours a day,’ we’re just not a good fit.”
For new clients, you have an opportunity to set whatever expectations you want from the very beginning of the relationship. But for existing clients, you need to be intentional about resetting their expectations of how you conduct business. This comes down to one basic need: communication.
It’s never wise to surprise your existing clients with a new policy that affects their lives. To ease them into the idea, give them ample time to adjust to the change. Send an email to your client base several months in advance notifying them of the change, and continue to reinforce the new policy at the end of every meeting and contact. Then, after the change, keep reminding your clients so they’re always onboard.
If you’re reacting in real time to every client need, scheduling meetings at everyone’s convenience but your own, at best, you’ll be filling every available moment of your time with your clients’ needs rather than those of your business—and at worst, you’ll be stretching yourself too thin to deliver any value at all.
Running yourself ragged will never help you do your best work for your existing clients, and it won’t leave you time to bring in new ones. By using a client meeting surge schedule to streamline your meetings and hone your office’s efficiency, you’ll always have the systems in place to deliver the highest possible value, whether it’s your first meeting of the week or your fifteenth.
Learn from people who have what you want, not those who read about what you want. – @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet
Set clear expectations. – @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet
An activity will take as much time as is allocated for it.– @ThePerfectRIA Click To Tweet
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: Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of The Perfect RIA podcast. I am your co-host Matthew Jarvis, and with me, as usual, the man, the myth, the legend, Micah Shilanski. Micah how are you, my friend?
Micah Shilanski: Jarvis, I’m doing excellent, bud. Super excited to talk. And I know our listeners don’t do this because the podcasts come out on schedule, but we’ve actually had a little bit of delay in producing podcasts together. So I’m super excited to jump back into this one and especially a topic that is so passionate for me. And I wouldn’t mind sharing a little bit of that on the podcast, as to why there was so passionate in my life, but has been such a game changer. So yeah, I’m doing great. I am fired up about this topic and being able to jump in, but before we jump into that, we have some pretty amazing stuff that’s happened so far with The Perfect RIA for Q4.
Matthew Jarvis: Oh yeah. With the Invictus open card, that’s now closed as you listen to this, right? We have several new members joined Backstage Pass continues to go well. Lot of great content cranking out. And of course, Micah book sales continue to go great. My kids love every book for them it’s like a dollar to chain because they get paid to package those books up and mail them. The perfect orientation. Of course, Benjamin Branson, surge class is out. We’ll talk about that today. His mastermind class is out of course. Retirement tax services, which is a sister company that The Perfect RIA is going gangbusters. I’m sure you’ve seen Steven at any and all conferences you’ve been at phenomenal Micah.
Micah Shilanski: He has picked up and done such a great job in getting a following and super blown away by the response, especially from the premier offering. Great news is it’s already kind of taken care of, but so many people are interested in and really that bridging that relationship between the advisor and CPA. Right? And I jokingly say, when I work with clients, this is look, if CPAs and banks did their job, I really wouldn’t have that much value I can offer. Now I know there are CPA’s aren’t, they’re throwing their arms up screaming, but good news, I don’t care. So no, but seriously, if they really would do that full tax planning, and there’s always that gap, that’s going to be there, then we as advisors are sick and in that middle ground where we have this knowledge, but we’re not the CPAs and how does it work, and then outcome Steven with retirement tax services. And now all of a sudden we’re marrying those two up so beautifully where you can get that full service tax advice for a client to deliver massive value the way the relationship is supposed to be.
Matthew Jarvis: Of course, Micah we’re always excited to jump into like the real action in this episode. But for our long time listeners know this, but our newer listeners, which continues to grow rapidly. Our newer listeners may not know Micah and of course as you know that we started this podcast because at a Mastermind, a couple of other guys couldn’t hold their liquor and you and I were in a bar drinking. We thought, you know what would be great fun?
Let’s start a podcast. And Micah for weeks or months, it was really just you and I using the podcast as an excuse to get together virtually and to discuss topics related to our practices and those early podcasts, Micah reflect that. But what’s been fascinating is things that you and I talk about surge meetings, like we’re going to talk about today or one page financial plans or head trash or these things that we never heard anybody talk about. Now. It seems like every conference we go to, every expert, we listen to, every advisor we talk to is talking about one page financial plans, guardrails buckets, head trash, extreme accountability, surge meetings. All of these things are now becoming mainstream topics. Whereas before it was a couple of us talking in the hallway about it.
Micah Shilanski: And this is one of the things that was really important with The Perfect RIA. And we chose not to trademark a lot of those terminologies that were there. And a lot of the reason Jarvis, keep in mind the essence. And I know, you know this, right? Being our listeners do in for our new ones, our really goal here is to help transform the way we deliver value to clients, to increase the value we deliver to our end clients. So we want people to adopt these systems, right? So this isn’t a jealousy thing at all. It’s amazing people are talking about search. I love it.
Take it, implement it, learn from each other because as you go through this, it’s an ever evolving process, because the biggest thing was surge is what are you solving for. And we’re going to talk about that in a little bit because some people get confused on what this ideal schedule is. Then also it just works. So it’s an amazing way that we can implement and use things that are out there like Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. Most of the time people use them as a disadvantage, right? And they don’t really use it as a tools. No, no, no, you got to use Parkinson’s Law as an advantage, as a forcing mechanism to make you more efficient, to make you drive further and further. And that’s what surge meetings does.
Matthew Jarvis: Now. Michael one word of caution, especially for our newer listeners, getting thousands of new listeners. One word of caution is that these topics surge meetings, head trash and so forth are becoming really common vernacular in our industry. But the word of caution is you want to make sure you’re learning about them from people who have what it is you want to have. Right? So I read articles that people write about surge meetings and they’re 90% of the way there because they’ve heard about it.
But that 10% or even that 2% of their missing, makes all the difference. And we can use a lot of analogies, Micah, like flying, right? If you miss the runaway by 2%, but you’ve got it 98%, we still have a really big problem at that point. So just my word of caution, and maybe this is my soapbox, my word of caution is for anything you want to learn, learn from those who have what you want, not those that read about what you want. So just because they’ve seen a plane fly does not mean I want to trust them to fly the plane I’m getting into getting.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah and compartmentalize it, right? I always loved learning theory and I love learning reality. And in sometimes the two intersect and often the two are dramatically different. But theory is a great place where you’re coming up with an idea, you’re talking, you have a mastermind, and things come up and say, hey, I’ve always wanted to know about X. Perfect. And then let’s go learn about X. And I know Jarvis on our masterminds what we’ll do when we’re chatting a little bit, we want to learn more about X then to your point, this is our theory, this is how we think something works.
Moving to Puerto Rico and how the taxes work down there, right? This is our theory and how it works. Then the next step was twofold. One, find an American that actually moved down there and how much they actually saved in taxes. And then number two, who is their tax attorney, that’s actually doing it. And again, there was online theory from people that ever done it. And then all of a sudden we talked to the experts and the reality was different. So theory’s great as a starting place, but Jarvis, to your point, be intentional. Find those people that have what you want, the direction you are going and to learn from them.
Matthew Jarvis: I love it, I love it. Well, Micah, for this episode, normally we talk about surge from all of the greatness of surge. And there’s a lot of greatness and we have testimonials a mile long. Today we want to take it from the angle of people who feel that surge can’t work for them. So we’re starting to see posts in the forums, we’re starting to see comments in the industry about surge meeting sounds really great, these are from real advisers. Surge meetings sounds really great, but it can’t work for me because. And so what we want to tackle today is some of those, because, and why that is in fact, head trash and not a legitimate reason to not try surge.
Micah Shilanski: One of the first things Jarvis, that would come through. And by the way, I can resonate with this because my meetings were 90 minutes to two plus hours with clients when I was first starting out. Actually 90 minutes is gracious, it was two plus hours, right? That’s what my meetings were. Yeah. I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, right? I was trying to figure things out. But when I started, my meetings were super long and I was like, okay, this isn’t working. I got to solve for a better system. So when I was talking with advisors, sure enough, it’s the same thing. Sometimes we’ll hear them say, well surge meetings that’s a cute idea. But my meetings are two, three hours long, right? Whatever that frequency is and therefore it cannot work. Okay. Couple things that I want to pick on with that long meetings.
Number one, let’s just pick on the latter part, therefore, it cannot work. Why if you have a two hour meeting, why can’t surge meetings work? If you have three hour meeting, why can’t surge meetings work, right? Okay, maybe your surge calendar is longer, maybe you need a longer window in order to meet with clients. But the surge concept is still there and can still work. So that’s the first thing I would challenge you on. And again, that the question that changed my life, instead of looking at a single Walnut work for me, what if it would work? What if it works, right? Could you lead with that question as we go through the rest of these and you find yourself resonating to one of these limitations, pause for a second and tell yourself. Well, what if it worked?
Because guess what, it probably will. So what if it works that you could have surge meetings and number two, I would push back, I have yet to meet a highly productive and successful advisor that has two plus hour meetings and I haven’t. And we can make all the laundry list of excuses that we have, that we do comprehensive planning that we go over their insurance and their employee benefits and personal issues and health and blah, blah, blah. And so do I and Jarvis, so to you, right? So do hundreds of other advisors that have implemented this. Okay, so that’s an excuse, that’s not a reason not to do it.
Matthew Jarvis: Micah, well there’s several ways to tackle this. And I liked your point. What if it works? And I think the counter to that is what’s really at risk If I try this? So an advisor posted and said, “Hey, my meetings take two to three hours each therefore search doesn’t work.” Well, a couple of things that Micah, as you pointed out, surge can still work. Instead of doing one meeting a week, do two meetings a day or three meetings a day, right? What’s the harm in trying that, what’s the harm of saying, great, I’m going to take one week a month and I’m not going to meet with clients during that month or that week.
Excuse me, I’m going to push it into the other three weeks. There’s no harm in trying. And in fact, I would even propose it that way to your team. Hey, listen, just this calendar quarter. We’re going to try to do our client meetings in three of the four weeks each month. And say Micah to the length, what if you tried, if you told the client, Hey, listen, today, we’re just going to keep our meetings to 90 minutes, but I’m going to take diligent notes. Anything we don’t get to I will schedule another meeting for us to schedule that. In fact, I would dare you to ask the client how long did the ideal meeting-
Micah Shilanski: So where I was going next.
Matthew Jarvis: Oh, totally. Yeah. How long do you want to meet? 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 90 minutes, two hours, three hours? Maybe you have clients that really love three hour meetings. The idea of a three hour meeting, I’ve got a pencil in my hand right now, it’s going into my eyeball.
Micah Shilanski: One of the things, whenever we’re communicating with some of the client, set clear expectations, preset those expectations, so well just a communications foundation right there, right? So if I was meeting with a client and I was going from those two plus hour meetings and I want to get down to an hour, I would say, do the client meeting and at the very end I would do a client survey and agenda. Especially I wouldn’t do this, I would definitely do this at the end of the meeting, I would not do it in the beginning. And at the end of the meeting, I would say, you know what, Mr or Mrs. Client, I’ve been talking a lot about my clients, and one of the things they really enjoy coming in, they said they learn a lot, but it’s almost a little too much words outside of their learning band.
Right? A little bit too much time. So taking that feedback, I want to know your thoughts on an ideal meeting. Most of my clients said they would like a meeting between X and Y. Now X and Y is more than likely where I’m going to want that answer to be, right? And of course, make this truthful statement, make sure you’re serving your clients and this is all coming out. But again, preset, those communication expectations. Because you ask the client, what does an ideal meeting? And their all experiences is two to three hours, they may not know how to answer that. So help give them the tools for the answer.
Matthew Jarvis: Well, I love that. So length of meeting is one that we hear, I can’t do surge because my meetings are too long. Another one that we hear Micah sometimes is, hey, I can’t do surge because I live in a small town. And if I’m not in the office, if I’m not playing office, but if I’m not in the office, clients will see me at the home Depot or wherever and they’ll wonder why I’m not at the office. Micah, I’m wondering if you’ve heard that concern from advisors and if you’ve ever worried about that yourself?
Micah Shilanski: Oh, I’ve absolutely worried about that for myself. I do hear it from time to time. And even people from that are not in a small town, right? This is what happens when they call in and I’m not available. Well, what happens when they call and I’m in a client meeting and I’m not available, right? I mean, what’s the difference? We need a good policy in place. And Jarvis one of the things that I love telling the story of one of my top clients, and this is way back, he’s been a client for a long time. So I used to get my cell phone number out to clients and learned that lesson, right? But he still has it. And from time to time, he’ll give me a call. And it was really good, only calling me about personal things, business, he always calls the business line. But the first thing he asked me, whenever, because we do flying together, we do hunting and fishing and all that fun stuff.
So, but the very first question he’ll ask me, Micah, where are you? And I used to be cautious with that answer. And I used to say, oh, I was like, oh, well, you know, I’m working on helping clients. He’s like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Where are you? I’m like, well, my feet are in the beach and I’m on Maui right now. He’s like good for you. Great. I love it. And he was really good at encouraging that because he didn’t care where I was because I was always available for it to take care of his problem. Always available in Jarvis forgive me I know you already know this, right? But for new listeners that does not mean 24 hour cell phone access. That is not what this means, because all my other clients that don’t have my cell phone number still love that I’m available to answer their questions because we have a process to handle that.
Matthew Jarvis: Well, I love that Micah. It’s about managing expectations. I routinely tell clients, especially if I’m nervous, like if I have head trashed about my vacation schedule, I’ll routinely tell them, I’ll say, listen, we’ve intentionally limited the number of clients that we work with so that I can give you massive value and still have plenty of time to be with my kids. So have you ever seen me out with my kids or out on the town with my kids, that’s because I’ve limited the number of clients that I work with so that I have plenty of time for my kids. And Micah, all I’ve ever gotten was very positive responses. And if at anytime I get a negative response that that’s going to be an immediate graduation. If somebody comes back and says, well, hey, listen, I really expect you to be in the office 24 hours a day, right? We’re just not a good fit. There’s another advisor, they just post a forum post how they’re always in the office, go talk to that guy.
Micah Shilanski: Exactly, exactly. So, and going under that same thing. So another one that’s going to come out is—and this is not the direct thing we hear from advisors, Jarvis. I think this is a hidden thing that’s going to be there. And it’s, what happens if all of a sudden I have all this free time, so I’m not going to implement surge because I’m hiding from other things. Now, before you dismiss this, how much playing office do you do? And I am just as guilty as anyone else’s playing office, by the way, I try to limit it. But you know, I’m still human in that aspect as well. There’s still things that I do that are not hyper productive. But if you’re not implementing surge and really that reason is, well, what would I do with my time? What are you hiding from, what are you not doing?
Matthew Jarvis: Oh yeah. And this is a tough one to cover a podcast episode because you the listener, right? This is sort of a one-way discussion. Where this really comes up well is in a mastermind together, where we’ve worked together for a day or two we’ve, we’ve gone and done whatever adventures we’ve done together, and you say, in fact, an advisor at one of our masterminds said, hey, listen, I have to be in surge every week because I have 400 clients. Oh, wait a second, wait a second. Not being able to do surge Micah to your point is a symptom of a bigger problem. For this advisor it’s a symptom of not being willing to graduate clients. For a lot of my advisors, Micah, I it’s a symptom of this is a form of busy work. When I’m in a client meeting, I feel very validated. I feel like I’m demonstrating my value and I’m not sitting at my desk, staring at the phone, hoping it’s going to ring. So if you’re not doing surge, I would bet 99 times out 100, it’s a symptom of a different problem in your practice.
Micah Shilanski: It’s an avoidance behavior. You’re enabling yourself, reading the Wall Street Journal, doing CES, doing all that other stuff. Those are all avoidance behavior. What activity are you avoiding? And take this from Brian, Tracy, right? Eat that frog. Great, whatever those activities you’re avoiding do them first thing in the morning before you can do anything else, get those done. It’s so liberating once that happens. And then all of a sudden, you start to see all this free time available. And when we say free time, right? This is phenomenal time for business development. This is phenomenal time for strategic business growth for team building for all these other things, because it just streamlines what you’re doing.
Matthew Jarvis: Surge reinforces this, right? Micah, you mentioned the beginning of the episode, Parkinson’s Law, which as a reminder, states that an activity will take as much time and money and resources by the way as is allocated to it. And so by containing your surge by time-blocking that forces that activity be condensed. But the same rule applies to everything else. Do you have time blocked out for learning for personal development? Do you have time blocked out for training your team? Do you have time blocked out for prospecting? If not, then those times will all be filled with playing office and you’ll feel really busy all week. But if at the end of the week we looked and said, all right, let’s look hour by hour where are you really spending your time, we discovered that most of your time is probably just spent playing with email.
Micah Shilanski: I don’t want to think about this too using Parkinson’s Law to your advantage and forgive me, I’m going to go a little soapbox right here.
Matthew Jarvis: Please.
Micah Shilanski: I was just looking at someone’s calendar and going through, and they had their entire calendar outlined of everything they need to do. So you look at it, you’re like, holy crap, they’re really busy. Everything was in 30 minute blocks to one hour blocks. And when I’m sitting there looking through, I was like, you know what, they’re using Parkinson’s Law, but Jarvis, not to their advantage, to their disadvantage. Because they were giving too much time to allow things to get done. Now it’s hard, right? Because in your calendar, you schedule like 50 things in a 30 minute increment that doesn’t really make a lot of sense. So one of the things that I do is I make a list this is great. I’m going to be out of the office by X time, whether it’s the home office or physical office. And here’s the list of everything that I need to get done.
And I don’t have that blocked out my calendar with 50 million things, right? It says, Nope, here’s the list. It’s on a piece of paper, it’s on a post-it note actually, because I can write it down. If it can’t fit on a post-it note, I shouldn’t be doing it in a day. So it’s all on a post-it note. And I plow through that stuff in 30 minutes to an hour and a half. And it’s amazing what you can get done just by not giving things like checking my email for 30 minutes. No, what’s your goal with your email? Goal with your emails is not time, it’s application. What do I need to do in that period of time, that’s the goal and I need to do that as quickly as possible. If I give myself 30 minutes to check email, guess what, I’ll take all 30 minutes to check email. That’s what I’m going to do. So you got to use Parkinson’s Law to your advantage in this, sorry, little soapbox on that one.
Matthew Jarvis: No. You’re spot on Micah. And it reminds me of an episode we had several weeks ago, probably months ago now, where you mentioned that when you’re working from your home office, your kids are given a time when you’re going to be done. And they come in, and I love this story, right? They come in 15 minutes before that time, because we all know that 15 minutes early is on time.
Micah Shilanski: That’s right.
Matthew Jarvis: That creates a forcing mechanism. I was working from my home office last week and I heard the kids come home from school, right? And I thought, let me just take care of just a couple more things. And then an hour goes by and another hour goes by and another hour goes by and now it’s dinner time, right? And here I am, I’ve tried to be really good at being attached to my counter, but I didn’t have something to give me a hard stop.
And so there kept being things and the dirty secret, that was, it was not productive time. It wasn’t as though I was cracking the code to nuclear energy or something like that, it was just kind of busywork. So if you find yourself having three hour meetings or you find yourself staying at the office till seven o’clock, then start booking dinner dates with your spouse at 5:00 PM, sharp. Start booking things with your friends. Start making commitments, forcing mechanisms that will force you to get out of the office, that will force you to adhere to what you said is important to you.
Micah Shilanski: Before you say that forcing mechanisms don’t work or these dinner dates don’t work or whatever that combination, I would ask yourself when’s the last time you missed an airplane, right? When’s the last time you pay for an airplane ticket and you miss the flight because you were late? I would argue, that’s never, right? Virtually never that’s going to happen. That’s a forcing mechanism that works. Apply that more frequently in your life.
Matthew Jarvis: Yep. Boy, another one, Micah that comes up that advisers mentioned, Hey Micah, clients are used to be able to call me anytime they want and they can get a meeting that same day, the next day, that same week, right? They’re used to that. Micah, how do you handle that one? Is that something you had to overcome? You run into that with advisers?
Micah Shilanski: Oh, I had to overcome it, run into it with advisers. And it was a ton of head trash, right? So, I mean, this was like the trifecta. It was hitting, it hits all these things. Now, selfish plug right here for Ben Brandt’s class, is a masterclass that’s out there talking about surge meetings. If you need help implementing this in that direct communication, of course if you are a member of Backstage Pass or Invictus, you have tons of access. If you’re not Brandt’s, masterclasses is amazing on how to implement surge meetings and this is one of the things that’s its going to talk about and go through .
Matthew Jarvis: Real quick, Micah and I apologize for interrupting, for those that don’t know Benjamin Brandt, talk about a guy that has a list of reasons why surge meetings couldn’t work for him, right? He’s running one of the top podcasts in the nation and financial planning. He has six children, including a set of triplets that he and his Saint of a wife adopted. Right. He’s got a lot of like, I can’t do surge because of this, and yet he’s crushing surge in his office.
Micah Shilanski: And he had ambitious growth.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. He’s been growing like crazy to a level we were in a mastermind the other day talking about surge, and I’m completely envious of the intentionality Ben has in his surge calender, blows my mind. And I’ve done surge for a long time. Sorry Micah, I just wanted to point that out on.
Micah Shilanski: No, I think that’s amazing, right? So, all right. So getting back to this client communication thing, your clients are used to calling you and getting scheduled in a week or two. That’s something you’re going to have to overcome. And guess what, it’s a bigger issue for you than the clients. So we have to set this, right? So I wouldn’t do this like ripping off a bandaid that says great role doing it at once and this is it, you can’t see me for six months. I don’t think that’s the best plan, maybe that’s solving for my head trash. If you’ve done this, I’d love to hear about that. What I would do is I would set a why we need to meet expectation. So when your clients are coming in and you’re meeting with them at the end of our meetings, I always tell the client, when do we need to meet next and why we need to meet in that period in time.
And then generally when I hand them off to our receptionist, she gets them booked for that period of time, so I communicate that directly to her as well. So we’re always booking in that period of time. So it’s super easy. It’s the end of the year, right? It’s already great. We’re meeting with our clients. We’re going through things. Hey Bob and Sue, it was wonderful meeting with you. You know what I want to make sure we meet in March of next year, because I want to review your taxes before they get filed. Is that going to be okay with you? Yes. Perfect. They just agreed to it. Awesome. All right. So let’s go ahead and get that meeting scheduled. Because I know our calendar gets booked up fast. Let’s go ahead and get that scheduled. Now, if anything comes up, feel free to give me a call.
Now I say that to all of my clients when they come in, they know when that meeting is going to be. So if your clients are used to calling you and scheduling and coming in that’s because you are reactive to client meetings. What have we just done? We just want proactive with client meetings instead of waiting for the client to call us, we’re dictating what that time is going to be. Now, we run many surges throughout there so if a client has a question or something, there’s a time allowed to do that. We have a whole process for that in Backstage Pass that you can go through, right? But you need a process in place for this and you need a why for the clients, why it’s a win for them to meet with you in that period in time.
Matthew Jarvis: It’s something you’re going to have to script out for your team repetitively because your team are going to be the front line of that, right? Whoever’s answering the phone or screening those emails. And there’re several examples of these scripts inside the Backstage Pass, there’s several examples inside of my book, delivering massive value. But an example of that, one of my early iterations of surge and something I recommend to advisors is simply do not meet with clients on Mondays and Fridays. So only meet with clients Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Thursday. So when a client calls in and says, hey, I want to come meet with Matthew on Friday. Coleen says, you know what great news, Matthew sees clients Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, which one of those days would work for you. And if they say, hey, none of those work with me, I need to come in on Friday.
Matthew sees clients, Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. And if none of those days work for you, let me get a time on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday that Matthew can call you and then you guys can sort that out. So Coleen has zero authority to book meetings on Friday, but she does still have a safety valve of, okay, that’s an absolute deal breaker for you, I’ll get you on the phone with Matthew you guys can sort that out. How often do those come all the way through to me? Never. It’s never happened. It’s never happened. We definitely have people push back, Coleen say, Hey, listen. Friday’s my only day. Matthew sees clients, Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. And it never goes past there.
Micah Shilanski: Right. So think about it, are you going to see a client on Saturday morning or Sunday morning at 2:00 AM.
Matthew Jarvis: Christmas Day, right? You’re already putting limits on it.
Micah Shilanski: Right. You’re already putting limits now. We’re just refining those limits to make it more efficient. Now also keep in mind, why are you implementing surge? We talked about it at the beginning. Surge has to be very, very intentional. Now my intentionality for the way I created it. Because Jarvis your surge schedules are slightly different, right? There’s a lot of similarities to them, but they’re different because of what we were solving for when they were created. Ben Brandt’s surge schedule is different. Why? Because what is he solving for when he’s creating surge? So there’s not some, at least I haven’t found it. Some ideal surge calendar that every single financial advisor needs to be on in the world, but there’s best practices which we should follow. And one of those is what are you solving for by creating your surge schedule? Before, we were doing a lot of travel with our daughter that passed away a couple of years ago, Aviana. And we were doing a lot of medical travel and we had to be gone and the family was traveling a lot.
And I was like, you know what I need to solve for being in Alaska, the least amount of time humanly possible, so I can leave and go back with the family because of how much we were gone. That is what I was solving for. That is why I do seven to eight meetings a day, right? Because what I was solving for as I needed to bring on all my clients, I needed to get things done and that I needed to get out of town to go back with the family. This is what I was solving for. Jarvis on yours, you decided no Mondays and Fridays, because you were solving for a different approach to family time.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. And I deeply hope that none of you end up with that same incentive that Micah and his family had to struggle with, right? It doesn’t take something that tragic for you to have to go to surge. But what I would like you to think about, I don’t mean to go too heavy on this is what’s going to happen in five or 10 years, when you look back on your life, not to get in this, what are you doing on your death bed. But you say, great. I spent the last 10 years on doing busy work instead of a truly delivering massive amount of clients and be really spending quality time with my family, right?
Are you going to look back with regret and say, wow, I’m really glad I didn’t implement surge. Or you can say, wow, surge meetings, while difficult to implement, changed my relationship with my family, with myself, with my spouse, with my kids. These are powerful strategies. This isn’t just about optimizing for maximum profitability. Yes. That happens. And that’s a great benefit, it’s a great measurement of value. But we’re talking about the quality of your life and the quality of your relationships, because you’re either going to play office or you’re going to be intentional. That’s kind of how it breaks down, I don’t mean to get too heavy on this. That’s how it breaks down.
Micah Shilanski: Right. Jarvis and also let’s not undermine the massive value surge brings to your clients as well. This is a very huge piece of it. And you could say great Micah, you’re seeing your clients twice a year. How does that add value? Well it adds value because I’m very systematized when I have client meetings and I’m in my peak performance. It is showtime, it is game day, right? During surge meetings. And I’m able to do hyper performance in that period of time because it’s for a limited period of time. Why don’t NFL players play 12 hours of games every single day? Yeah. Wouldn’t that make more sense? I mean, then we could watch football like all the time. Every single player played every single day, all year wrong. No, they have a season, right? Professionals have seasons, actors have seasons. They have search things that they’re going to come into.
And it’s the same concept that we are going to perform right here. We need a hyper performance. It also gets all my clients on the same routine of value-adds that I’m delivering to them to make sure that we haven’t missed anything in their financial planning. So there’s no one-offs, I don’t where Bob is in their financial planning process. Nope, it is Q2, every single client is getting a beneficiary value-add it doesn’t matter if I onboarded them six months ago and we just did it. It is now happening to every single one of our clients, and our clients absolutely love that Jarvis. And we can do value-adds because we have surge meetings.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, boy. So back on this one, Micah, but a lot of people say I can’t do surge because I provide comprehensive financial planning. I will bet you any sum of money, any sum of money up to my entire net worth is you can not find a piece of the comprehensive financial planning process that Micah and I have not done with our clients on a systematic basis, right? And I don’t say that to get on the soapbox or to boast, one of the reason I want to point that out is you’re using that as an excuse to not follow a system. Don’t tell me that your haphazard reactive system is somehow delivering more value, be honest with yourself and say, Hey, do it haphazardly because at the end of the day, it’s much easier for me. It’s less valuable for the client. It’s much easier for me to just kind of just hokey home around and say that everything’s done.
Micah Shilanski: But you know, to be fair, I really prefer it when pilots and doctors and everyone else has a haphazard approach and taxpayers are haphazard in how they prepare tax returns. I feel it’s a much better outcome because then it really is looking at me as the person and not going through a systematized… Oh wait. No, no, that’s a bad idea. Yeah. So why do we think we’re different?
Matthew Jarvis: I remember a friend of mine pointed out once he says, Jarvis imagine if financial planners had the job of engineers and were responsible for building buildings and bridges, they would all fall down. They would all fall down or they would never get built. They’d be like, I’ll work on it a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow.
Micah Shilanski: Jarvis, this is a comprehensive bridge. That’s going to have lanes and paints on them, maybe guard rails in the middle. And the support thingys it’s comprehensive. This takes time it has to be individualized. And it can’t be like any other bridge out there. And I can’t share this with anybody else because that would jeopardize the comprehensive nature of this plan.
Matthew Jarvis: So our rants aside, and we love to rant. Our rants aside, I would write down, I had an advised to do this, Micah recently. Write down the old Benjamin Franklin pros and cons, but I would do it a little bit differently. I would say, write down the pros and cons of not doing surge, and then the pros and cons of doing surge. There are cons to doing surge meetings, right? They’re very difficult to pull off when you’re in surge. I’m walking, Micah you and I are walking into surge meetings starting tomorrow. It’s a lot of work for three weeks for me, for six weeks for you, it’s a lot of work. That’s a con, right? I have to negotiate with clients to make sure that I’m managing expectations of when they come in, that’s a con. But then the pro side is so long. What happens though, is advisors. They see one or two cons, one or two costs of doing surge and they abandoned the whole thing.
Micah Shilanski: They are. All right. So our rants aside, because maybe that’s reason why we do this podcast, but for you, we do them for the action items, because this is the most important part. This is about taking action in your practice and moving forward. Number one, I’m going to say, you need a community that supports you, you need to reach out for help in implementing surge, right? It’s not a heavy lift, but it’s an emotional lift. And so there’s two components to this, is number one, you need a community which supports that. Maybe that’s you have a mastermind, maybe that Ben Brandt’s group, that he has common out, maybe what community is that going to be? You need a focus group so you can be in there. And then you need some public account, internally public accountability, right? Inside of that group, you need to commit to what you’re going to do and you need to put some extreme accountability around that, to make sure you really implement what you talking about.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah, boy. A fun example from our, well, I don’t name his name because I don’t know if it’s extreme accountability is public. he was at live we’ll call him Brian. His was, if he did any client meetings outside of surge, instead of going to his normal gym, he had to go to kind of a girly step kind of class gym, right? So you got to have a community Micah, to your point that supports that. Next action item, email lifestyle at the perfect RIA. If you’re interested in learning from Ben Brandt and his masterclass, he did this amazing masterclass. The guy is a brilliant advisor in his own right. Lifestyle The Perfect RIA, just let them know that you want to get access to Ben’s masterclass and they will send you all that information.
Micah Shilanski: Yeah, it is great. So take action, make this move into surge and refine it, right? If you haphazardly… And this is a good thing to do, if you don’t know exactly what your calendar should be perfect, copy someone who’s really successful. And again is where you want to be, and then run with that for a quarter and say, great, what did I like and what did I not like about it? Sometimes I’ll get feedback reveals, says Micah, I don’t like doing seven, eight meetings a day. Great. Don’t do seven to eight meetings a day. This is not a contest, right? Well, not in that way. But it’s not how many meetings that we can do in this perspective it’s what are you solving for to be intentional about your day?
Matthew Jarvis: Last action on Micah on my list is, to make sure that this community that you’re extreme accountability, that wherever you’re turning from help is again from people who have what it is you want to have, or have a level above. So you might say, hey, listen, I never want to do eight meetings. That’s fine. I still want to know how Micah does eight meetings a day. So when I’m doing, my six meetings a day, I can implement these things. I do not want to go to someone who’s doing two meetings a day and ask them, boy, how do you do two minutes a day, because I still want to do six? I want to learn from people who are the next level, not from people who are imagining or who are 10 levels below it. Not that those people don’t add value to the community, but that’s not where I’m going to go to learn. I don’t want to learn from somebody who read about flying planes. I want to learn from somebody who’s actually flying them.
Micah Shilanski: Well, exactly. Do you want to learn about financial planning from a paraplanner or someone who’s been doing it for 30 years with clients? I mean, where’s that advantage going to be? All right. So podcasts all about taking action. Take action on these things really, really important. And as always, it has been a blast and until next time 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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