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What You'll Learn In Today's Episode:

  • How to build a sustainable practice.
  • The importance of simplifying your financial speech when talking to your clients.
  • How to explain things to your clients so they understand.
  • Why you should share the benefits of what you are doing—not just the features.
  • How to ensure you are running your practice intentionally.
  • The value of surge meetings and how to conduct them properly.
  • How to add even more value to your clients.

How often do you use financial phrases, terminology, or jargon that mean nothing to your clients or prospects? This is something that many advisors do not focus on enough. Verbally simplifying and breaking down what you’re doing to your clients (or prospects) will allow them to recognize how much value you are adding to their life. So, today Matthew and Micah will be sharing the background story as to why they started The Perfect RIA and the reasons they came together to help you through your financial advisory journey.

Listen in to learn the importance of having a niche in who you serve, how to build a practice that is sustainable, and how to add even more value to your clients. Regardless of whether you are just starting out on your financial advisory journey or you are a seasoned advisor looking to up your game in the industry, this is the episode for you.

Podcast Article:

The Perfect RIA: What It Is and How to Get There

What does running a “perfect” investment advisor practice really mean for you?

Longtime listeners to The Perfect RIA podcast will be familiar with the concept of delivering massive value while running a lifestyle practice—but what does it really mean to run a “perfect” registered investment advisor business? In this article, hosts Matthew and Micah break down their three core tenets and share their most effective power tip for achieving the right kind of success.

Action Items in This Article

  • Deliver massive value to your clients at every opportunity, and everything else will follow.
  • Operate with a profit margin of at least 50%. This will validate the value you may only think you provide while protecting you against fluctuations in the marketplace.
  • Take at least six months out of the office each year to spend time with your family and loved ones.

The Three Tenets of a Perfect RIA

Matthew Jarvis and Micah Shilanski, hosts of The Perfect RIA, are each top-tier financial advisors who lead rockstar teams to deliver massive value to satisfied, high-paying clients. But they didn’t reach these heights by accident. They did it by pursuing lofty but achievable goals that align with their core business and personal values. Step by step, they honed their practices until they weren’t just running the businesses they always wanted; they were living the lives they had only dreamed of.

One of the best things you can do for your business is to find someone with the success you want to replicate, then copy what they did to get there. If you hope to replicate Matthew and Micah’s success, these are the three tenets you must adopt in your own business.

Tenet #1: Deliver Massive Value to Your Clients

What does “massive value” mean to you? Matthew and Micah define it as a minimum of ten high-value touchpoints per year with each client (and closer to twenty is even better). Consistently adding value to your clients’ lives gives you opportunities to make their lives easier, all while reinforcing why they are happy to pay you a premium for your service.

And it’s not just you, the lead advisor, delivering this value. Your entire rockstar team should coordinate with you to help deliver those scheduled and unscheduled value adds that give your office its reputation as a top firm.

For example, Matthew and his team send out a 1099 letter each year reminding clients of their tax responsibilities. Matthew himself looks them over and provides a bit of quality control on their way out the door, but these letters are drafted, prepared, and sent by his excellent team. They’re happy, the clients are happy, and Matthew’s time can be spent on other tasks or with his family.

Tenet #2: Operate at a 50% Profit Margin

This may seem like a personal choice—why shouldn’t your office determine the profit margin that’s right for them?—but according to Micah, no top advisor should be operating at less than a 50% margin.

First, this is a convenient way to measure the value you’re really providing. Put simply, clients don’t pay top dollar for subpar service. Their willingness to pay a premium (or not) is a good indication of the value you’re really adding to their lives.

And a margin of 50% or higher isn’t just an important metric for measuring your own success; it helps protect your firm against an unpredictable future.

You may see incredible growth today, but that doesn’t mean all your tomorrows will look the same. If you haven’t been in business long enough to remember the recessions of ’01 and ’08, you have colleagues who certainly do. They’ll tell you that during both periods of upheaval, the financial advisors operating even during the best of times on very tight margins were forced to close their doors. Only the healthy survived.

By providing massive value today—and ensuring that you’re compensated for that value—you will be in a position to weather tomorrow’s challenges and continue providing that value for years to come.

Tenet #3: Be Away from the Office for at Least Six Months

When you’re focused on growing your business and increasing your income, family time and other personal goals can fall by the wayside. That’s why Matthew and Micah’s third tenet for operating a Perfect RIA includes spending at least half the year out of the office and with family and friends.

Of course, when some advisers hear about Matthew’s and Micah’s in-office schedules, they assume the Perfect RIA hosts must be skipping on prep and doing less for their clients than they do. These skeptical advisors are usually surprised to learn that Matthew and Micah do significantly more for their clients—and with the systems they’ve developed, they’re doing it better.

Six months of out-of-office time may sound overly ambitious, but remember Parkinson’s Law: Any task expands or contracts to fit the time allocated for it. By cutting their available time in half, Matthew and Micah and their respective teams figured out how to be twice as efficient, leaving everyone in the office time to complete extra projects and build their rockstar practice to even greater heights.

How to Succeed: Practice Extreme Accountability

Many advisors naturally excel in one or two of these areas but may struggle to bring the third up to speed. Maybe you’re delivering massive value but charging as if the opposite were the case, or maybe you’re crushing it financially but struggling to spend time with your children. 

You can’t sit for long on a chair with two legs, and you can’t adopt only some of these Perfect RIA tenets if you want to see the results you expect. If even one of these core tenets isn’t being fulfilled in your business, don’t keep struggling on your own—it’s time to seek extreme accountability.

Accountability means different things to different people. Some advisors kick-start their success by finding an accountability partner with whom they can exchange goals and celebrate milestones; others thrive by immersing themselves in weekend mastermind groups (or kick things up a notch with high-level, hands-on programs like The Perfect RIA’s BackStage Pass and Invictus) to keep themselves on track.

If your business doesn’t reflect the three tenets of a perfect RIA, you owe it to your clients, your family, and yourself to hold yourself accountable for your business’s success.

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…

Matthew Jarvis:   Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Perfect RIA podcast. I am your co-host and co-founder, Matthew Jarvis, and with me, coming in live, or I guess not live, recorded, from Arizona, Micah Shilanski. Micah, how are you today, buddy?

Micah Shilanski:  Jarvis, I am doing excellent, bud. We got out of Alaska or a little bit of the cold that’s there down to some sunshine right now. So the sun wakes up down here before 11:00. It’s crazy. I didn’t even know that was possible this time of year. So, yeah, super excited about that.

Matthew Jarvis:   That is a funny story. As you longtime listeners know, the first time I went and visited Micah in Anchorage, we were at his condo and it was 10:00 in the morning, it happened to be wintertime, and I said, “Micah, do you mind if I open the curtains up? It’s a little dark in here.” And he says, “Well, help yourself.” And it turns out at 10:00 in the morning in the wintertime, it’s still dark outside. So that was kind of an eye-opener for me.

Micah Shilanski:  Well, the great part was the confusion look on your face, right? I just sat back in the chair and just watched you do this and you flipped open the curtains and you’re just staring, like, “Did these curtains not open? What’s happening? Nothing has changed.”

Matthew Jarvis:   Nothing has changed.

Micah Shilanski:  But, yeah, it’s one of the joys of living in Alaska.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. No, it’s great in the summertime because, of course, you have daylight all the time, which is really a lot of fun, so.

Micah Shilanski:  Amen.

Matthew Jarvis:   Well, Micah, today we want to talk about a topic … Now, this is an interesting topic. We’re talking about what in the heck is the Perfect RIA? And the reason this is a valuable topic, one, I think it’ll be insightful for our newer listeners, but for our longtime listeners who say, “Duh, I know exactly what the Perfect RIA is, two rock stars helping me transform my practice.” Think of all the things in your own practice that are abundantly clear to you. A Roth conversion to you makes perfect sense. 12% makes perfect sense to you. To your client, new or old, it means nothing. I would say it means marshmallow. So I want you to look at this both from what can I learn about the Perfect RIA, but inwardly reflecting, where am I using phrases or terminologies or jargon that means nothing to my clients and prospects?

Micah Shilanski:  You know, Jarvis, and as our listeners will know, this is something that I love to do all the time because I can see it so clearly in other people’s businesses, not just in the financial planning community, right, but in all other business. As we’re going through and building our home right now, dealing with contractors, I’m like, “Holy crap, I really hope we don’t communicate with our clients that way.” Right? And it allows me to go back into my practice and say, “Hey, how are we doing this?” And be able to share a story with my team as to why this is important, right? So this is super important. So as we talk about this thing, I love that concept, that lens of let’s reflect back on our own practices. How do we explain things? I was recently getting my watch repaired. Sorry, a little bit of side note, but I was recently getting my watch repaired because I’m-

Matthew Jarvis:   Please.

Micah Shilanski:  … one of those crazy people that actually still wears a real watch. And when I sent it off, they called me back and they said, “Hey, here’s the list of all the things that you have to do.” And she goes through all of these features, and I have no idea what the heck she’s talking about. I said, “I need you to stop. The watch doesn’t tell time accurately. I want the watch to tell time accurately. That’s all that I want. What does that mean?” And she goes, again, and lists all of these features. “We’re going to replace this and this and this.” And goes through all of these details. And I’m like, “Stop. I have no idea what that means. I don’t care to know what that means. My only question is, what is it going to take to get my watch to accurately tell time?” That’s it. That’s all that I care about, right? Features versus benefits in these conversations.

And so we really need to balance this conversation, because we can get into this concept of Roth conversions, right? And we could say, “Oh my gosh, here’s the details and here’s how it’s going to work, and we’re going to open this new account, we’re going to do this Roth conversion, we’ll make an estimated tax payment. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” And those are all kind of features. We’re really not talking about the benefits of, “Hey, if we do this, we save you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime in income taxes.” That’s the benefit of a Roth conversion. So when we’re talking about this, hopefully, we’ll do a good job in explaining what the benefits of the Perfect RIA is, because that’s all we should be talking about with clients is benefits.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. No, that’s a great point. So often, we lose in the minutiae and the details and the features what’s going on. So the Perfect RIA, right, it started, Micah, from you and I having a mastermind and we wanted a reason to get together on a regular basis, so we thought, well, why not let’s form a podcast. The podcast, we thought we’ll just talk about what we do in our practice. Something that you and I discovered both between our practices and every other rock star practice we talked to is that all of the rock star advisors are doing the same thing. They’re doing surge meetings. They’re delivering massive value. They’re running at high profit margins. They’re taking lots of time out of the office. But this wasn’t being talked about anywhere except for the hallways at industry conferences. The experts, the product vendors, the know-it-alls, they weren’t talking about this. And so we thought, great, we’re going to create a platform where the rock star advisors can share with other advisors, rock star or not, what it takes to have what we would kind of call the perfect practice.

Micah Shilanski:  You know, Jarvis, one of the things that we were talking about with this, as well, is it’s not just the aspect that we were all doing search meetings, we’re all doing values, we’re all doing these other things. For one, we didn’t really have all of those terminologies. So we kind of knew, in concept, what we were doing. But it was like, all right, are other people really doing this? And how are they doing it? But also, when you and I started working together, and our other core foreigner in our mastermind and got together, I learned so much about ways to enhance what I was already doing. So it wasn’t like this brand new epiphany that I should be running surge meetings. But it was this new line of communications. How do I articulate this to a client? How do I send out value? Doing a 1099 letter, right? These particular things, that’s like, oh my gosh, it was right in front of me but I didn’t see it, and it took being in part of a mastermind, being part of another group like the Perfect RIA, to really bring it to my attention. And then it was like, duh. It’s a light bulb moment, and life-changing.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, and that’s a great point, Micah. When you and I met, we already had rock star level practices, which we’ll define in a minute. But before then, you and I were both trying to seek out advisors who had the kind of practice we wanted, but they’re hard to find. There aren’t a lot of them in our industry. The ones that are doing it, they’re busy. They don’t want to take their time to teach other advisors. They don’t have time to mentor. And I thought, Micah, I thought, “When I get to that level, when I get to be a rock star practice, I will take time to talk to every advisor who wants to talk to me.” And then that happened and I didn’t have time for that. I still get dozens of requests a week, I know you do, too. I just couldn’t have my practice and my lifestyle if I was responding to these advisors. But I wanted to, right? I felt this obligation, like, “We’ve got to be able to pass forward this information.”

Micah Shilanski:  And for me, Jarvis, the Perfect RIA is not just about helping advisors. In my world, what I really get excited about is the end clients this makes a huge impact for. Because it’s not just the hundreds, the thousands of advisors that we can impact. It’s they’re hundreds and tens of thousands of clients that we’re impacting, at the end of the day. And oh my gosh, talk about an impact. We get everyone in surge meetings and value adds and several of these other things that adds such a high level of value, dare I say it delivers massive value, to those end clients that really can help transform their lives.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love that. So, Micah, why did we name it the Perfect RIA? Well, for those people listening, right, we were originally going to call it the Perfect Practice, not because, though we are a bit egotistical, not because of that, but because we want advisors, and ourselves included, to have an aspirational goal. I want my practice to achieve perfection. I get that it will never get to perfect, but I want to always be aiming for that. I want to always be doing personal development, delivering massive value, upping my game. So really, the Perfect RIA is an aspirational goal for all financial advisors, regardless of platforms that they’re on, broker dealers, wire houses, etc.

Micah Shilanski:  And as legend has it, with our humility that was there, we had several names listed out, and our team thought this was the most humble of the names. So just throwing that one out there. But, yeah, this is a journey, this isn’t a destination, right? This is something that we are striving to have the perfect RIA. Now, how do you define perfect? How do you define perfection? And really, in my world, this is about intentionality. How are you being intentional on how you design your practice?

Let’s take surge meetings. And forgive me, I know we beat this to death, but not everyone is doing surge meetings just yet. We have, between you, me, Benjamin Brant, and a few other guys, we all run surge meetings slightly different, but we’re all doing surge meetings. So what are surge meetings means? It means we’re grouping our clients together and saying, “Hey, this is the time that I’m going to focus on adding massive value and meeting with my clients.” But we’re all solving for different things with how we’ve set up surge meetings. So surge meetings doesn’t mean we do everything identically. Surge meetings means, great, I want to be hyper-intentional on how I’m going to deliver value during my meeting time. That’s what surge meetings is. And we’re condensing that time because of Parkinson’s Law, things will take as long as we allow them to take. So we want to say, “Hey, I want to give this a fixed time so I can come in there hyper-focused and add massive value.”

Matthew Jarvis:   I love it. I love it. Now, just like we advise financial advisors you need to have a niche, you need to have a focus, we designed the Perfect RIA to focus on a niche of advisors who self-define in three areas, right? We weren’t looking for advisors who want to sell the most life insurance policies in a year. We weren’t looking for advisors who want to do a moral crusade about fee-only. What we want is advisors that are focused on three core criteria in their practice. Criteria number one, deliver massive value to clients, which we define as a minimum of 10 high-value touchpoints. And Micah, as you and I have talked about in other episodes, really, this number is closer to 20. But 10 proactive, high-value touches a year. Thus our definition of delivering massive value.

Micah Shilanski:  Right. Now, when we’re talking about high-value and proactive touches, we’re not talking randomly calling a client, because, guess what, you’re on a two and 12 schedule, right? Two meetings a year and 12 calls a year, or whatever that crap is, and you just randomly call them once a month to say, “Hey, how’s the weather going? I was just thinking about you.” That’s not value. Right? We’ve got to be leading with some benefit for them for this communication. So we’ve designed it to say, “Great, how do we add value?” But what I love about this, Jarvis, it’s not just … I’m sorry, I’m getting all preachy about the webinar we just had last week. But it’s not just about the advisor that adds value. It’s your team that adds the value that’s going to be there. So this isn’t 20-plus contacts the advisor needs to make. We need to empower our team and teach them how to deliver massive value, so that all of a sudden, your team is delivering massive value with almost every communication.

Matthew Jarvis:   On that point, right, our 1099 letters went out a few weeks ago. All I did, Micah, my role in that was to QC. I did a little bit of quality control just to double check a few things from spot checking. The rest was handled by the team. 1099 letter, if you haven’t gotten those out yet, that is an incredible example of a value-add.

Micah Shilanski:  And not too late, by the way. Even if you send this out in February or early March, ideally, for our office, we’re going to do it in January because we get busy at the other times. That’s why, right? And I like to be in front of this thing with the tax letter to the clients. But even if this is February or March time period and you’re like, “Crap, I need to send this out.” You still have time to add that massive value.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yep. Quick note for our BackStage Pass members, a copy of the 1099 letter is in the BackStage Pass for our Invictus members, if your compliance department—you have access to our 1099 tool where you import the data, push the button, out goes the report.

So item number one, advisors who want to deliver massive value to clients. The second thing we’re looking for, Micah, is advisors who understand the importance of operating at a 50% or higher profit margin. Micah, why is that critical? Why did we want to solve for those advisors?

Micah Shilanski:  This is so it. Number one is we should be paid for the value in which we deliver to our clients, right? And we have a lot of head trash in our industry about fees and money and all of those types of things. And you know what? Fees is just a monetary representation of the value in which you provide. It’s a measuring tool. Are you really delivering value or not? Because every advisor’s going to say they deliver value. Yeah? What are your clients willing to pay for it? Because at the end of the day, that is the true sign of value is what clients are willing to pay for. So number one, it’s going to be a measuring ability. Are you really adding value?

Number two, what I really like about this, Jarvis, is you know what? Right now, times are great. Times are really good, right? Fat margins. All these beautiful things. Stock market only does 20% a year, guaranteed. Right? I’m kidding, compliance people that are out there. Right? But all of a sudden, we’ve seen all this great growth. And you and I both know, because I’ve been through two, and I know you have, as well, huge recessions that have taken place. You’ve got the ’01 and you’ve got the ’08, and those were very lean times. Now, if you’re operating at a very lean margin when times are great and the market has another 50% correction, because it will, that puts you bankrupt, just to quick do the math for you. So we really have to build a practice that is sustainable. And so if we’re in really great times, great. That means you’ve got to add massive value to your clients. That means you’ve got to be compensated for it. And you’ve got to be in business when the times are challenging, because they will come.

Speaker 4:          You already know that the Perfect RIA Podcast is jampacked with actionable advice for financial advisors because it’s co-founded by financial advisors. But what you may not know is we don’t stop there. The Perfect RIA offers membership levels for financial advisors looking to take their practice to the next level. Whether you’re a solo practitioner or a multi-advisor office, we’ve got the solution for you. Come find out what the top 3% of financial advisors across the nation are implementing now to revolutionize their practice. Jump online to ThePerfectRIA.com. We are what you’ve been looking for.

Matthew Jarvis:   Hey, man, so criteria number one, deliver massive value. Criteria number two, understand the importance of operating at a 50% plus, plus, plus, plus margin. Criteria number three, and this is one, Micah, you and I are very particular about, which is the advisors who understand the importance of having personal time, the importance of having family time, to the point that they’re willing to take up to, or not up to, a minimum of six months a year out of the office, not working, time with their family, with the people they love, with the things they enjoy. Our good friend Benjamin Brant calls this the 79ers club, that if you take 79 weekdays out of the office, add the weekends, you’ve not spent more time out of the office than in the office. And Micah, this is a real criteria for everything that we do at the Perfect RIA.

Micah Shilanski:  It really is, and I want to share a quick mastermind story, if I can. I didn’t ask in advance to share their information, so I’ll leave the advisor out of it, but running a phenomenal practice, she’s doing a great job, and one of the things that she really wanted to do was be available to spend time with her husband because her husband has a rotating schedule. And so she wasn’t spending time with him, and that was really big deal. And she was able to earn the mastermind to restructure things, and now we got updates from her. She’s spending tons of time with her husband, tons of time with her family, her kids seeing the husband more.

This is an amazing true life story. Because who cares if you have all of this money and your personal life is just going to crap because you’re making poor decisions. That’s not a win. You got to win in both areas in order to be the perfect RIA. So having that dedication to time with your family, again, intentionality, right? My schedule and how I do this, because we homeschool our kids, is different than, Jarvis, than your schedule, different than her schedule that she created. But is all about intentionality of that six months. And I’m sorry, I’m all preachy right now. So keeping on that rant side of, it, in addition to spending time with the family, this focuses you to be more dedicated to your time in the office.

Now, I know you get this, but it might sound crazy. We just said, “Take six months off and it makes you more dedicated.” Well, it’s all Parkinson’s Law. We all have the same amount of time, right? We all have 24 hours in the day. The question is, how do we best use that time? And Parkinson’s Law says that however much time we allot for an activity, it’s going to take that full amount of time. If we shrink that down and force yourself to be out of the office six months of the year, it’s amazing that you can add even more value because you’re hyper-focused.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Now, Micah, with these three criteria and this advisor that you mentioned, she had a rock star practice, we’ve noticed in our Perfect RIA nation, which has been growing rapidly over the last couple of years, we kind of could group them into two groups. The one group are younger advisors-

Micah Shilanski:  Thanks to you, our listeners, who’s the reason this is growing, so thank you guys for sharing this out, getting this information. We really appreciate it.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yep. Those hundreds of five-star reviews, those help. We thank you for those. So we ended up with two general groups of advisors inside the Perfect RIA. The first group are younger advisors, either age-wise or just in their practice evolution, and they need help in all three areas. They need help delivering massive value. They need help operating at a healthy profit margin, which requires good prospecting. They need help having a healthy work-life balance.

The other group that we run into, and this is the advisor, Micah, that you spoke to, they’re crushing it in two of the three areas. This advisor you mentioned, she has an amazing practice delivering massive value. She runs at a phenomenal profit margin. She couldn’t get the third one figured out until we began working together. So those are kind of our two groups, the younger advisors who need all three, and then we have a lot of mature, very successful, very profitable practices who come and say, “I’m missing one of the three. Show me, don’t tell me, show me how it is you’re doing this in your practice.”

Micah Shilanski:  The other amazing part of this, Jarvis, if I may, is it’s not what we think we don’t know that’s the problem. It’s what we know that just ain’t so, that’s a problem. And one of the recent masterminds it kind of came up in side conversation is we were going through our surge calendars, building everything out, and there was some pushback from some of the members there, saying, “Hey, this schedule is kind of BS.” Which is why I love masterminds, right, because you have experienced advisors in the room that can call out BS, and the audience called out Jarvis and I and said, “Hey, this is BS. You have no time for client prep.” And we went around the room and found out how much time does the average advisor take in that room for client prep? And basically, it’s almost 10 times what Jarvis and I spend in client prep, yet we prep more information. How? We have systems in place in order to do this. But this wasn’t an area that the group was exposed to even thinking there was an area of inefficiency. This was just, hey, this was the normal. So the benefit of the Perfect RIA community is now you can look at it and say, “You know what? I’m having issues in this.” Or another advisor can say, “You know what? You’re really failing in these areas, and this is how you need to up your game.”

Matthew Jarvis:   I love it. I love it. So with that focus, right, the Perfect RIA nation continues to grow. We have tens of thousands of downloads of this podcast a month, which makes it, to my knowledge, the most popular by advisor for advisor podcast in our industry. But then we had advisors reaching out, hundreds of advisors, saying, “I need more.” Right? “As much as I have fun listening to these podcasts, they give me great ideas, I need the deliverables. I need the 1099 letter. I need the system that you use for 1099s. I need the coaching. I need the accountability. I need the peer group. I need more than just a podcast that I can listen to while I’m mowing my lawn.” Shout out to Benjamin Brant. “What more can you offer?” And Micah, this is where we created the BackStage Pass and the Invictus programs.

Micah Shilanski:  Absolutely. The first stage was our BackStage Pass program, which was a peek behind the curtains of just saying, “You know what? We’re adding a lot of value.” We’re getting a lot of requests. “Can I get a copy of this? How do I do this? How do I implement this?” Jarvis, to your point, we said, “Great. How about we do a do-it-yourself?” We’ll create a membership access. You can jump in there. There’s a phenomenal forum that’s really engaging, so you can ask questions to other advisors that are of the same mindset, which is super, super helpful. Then you get to see everything that we’re going. You get to see the actual newsletters going out. You get to see the 1099s. You get to see the processes. You get to see those operations. Then you get to take those and you get to implement them in your office. So it’s a peek behind the curtain.

And that was super valuable, but we still had advisors coming back and says, “You know what? This is really great, but I’m also super busy and I don’t want to recreate this entire wheel. How do I make this easier? What’s the next level where you guys can really help me pull the trigger and implement this?” And that was kind of where Invictus came out.

Matthew Jarvis:   It really was, right? So we would give advisors copies of our 1099 system, of our beneficiary review system, of our estate planning review system, of the guardrails, the buckets, and they would say, “This is great. I want this. I cannot figure out how to implement this on my own. I don’t have the technical experience on my team to create this.” Micah, to your point, that’s why we created Invictus, which is everything that’s in the BackStage Pass, but it’s also a web-based toolkit that Micah and I use in our own office for generating these value adds. So that you can say, “Great, I love the 1099 letter. I want to send it out. I don’t know how to do it myself. Great. I’ll get the download from my custodian. I’ll upload it into the software. I’ll do my quality control. Out goes the value add.”

Micah Shilanski:  And there, we just spent a lot of time talking about features, and we didn’t mention benefits at all. So we are very guilty of-

Matthew Jarvis:   Guilty, too.

Micah Shilanski:  … this same thing. And really, the benefit of our Invictus is coming together and we had several that was just super awesome. We did kind of a year end wrap up. Several last year came out and said, “You know what? The best thing we did for 2021 was join Invictus.” And we’ve seen such huge movements. Because we have extreme accountability which is going to be set up where our team is going to be following up with you to make sure things get done. And you know what? Having outside accountability is a huge benefit. And very uncomfortable, by the way. I don’t like people following up with me. But I also don’t like not getting my stuff done, so it makes me get my things done on that side. That community and that mastermind you get to be part of inside of Invictus where you have other people that are dedicated to growing their practice in this way.

And guess what? We got some wire house folks, we got some BD folks, we have some independent folks. And it doesn’t matter the platform. We’re all going the same direction, which is for this Perfect RIA concept that’s there. So these benefits is the community and advisors pushing back on you. You getting up in front in a mastermind group and saying, “Hey, these are things that I want to do.” And they’re going to say, “You know what? I think this is what you said your problem is, but that’s really not your problem. Your problem’s over here.” Life-changing transformations which are going to take place in that type of environment.

Matthew Jarvis:   Micah, I’m glad you mentioned the extreme accountability. That’s something we talk about a lot in our podcast. I attended several months ago a conference and there was a speaker who gave a presentation on surge meetings, right, because now surge meetings are taking the industry by storm. And there was a lot of advisors who left that session saying, “Wow, I really want to implement surge meetings.” And they got home, like many of us do after conferences, and nothing happened. Right? They had this big idea … And we’re all guilty of that, Micah. I know I am. I know you are.

Micah Shilanski:  Totally.

Matthew Jarvis:   We go to a conference. We hear great ideas. Nothing happens. When you come to Invictus masterminds, which our next one is May 16th and 17th for our Invictus members in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s going to be a lot of fun. In addition to having a lot of fun and learning from great advisors, you leave with extreme accountability. Nobody leaves there without saying, “I am going to implement surge meetings.” Or whatever they need to implement. Or something incredibly draconian happens. And Micah, to my knowledge, we have a near perfect implementation. Our extreme accountability system really works. It is painful. And if you want to see a group of rock star advisors squirm, come to an extreme accountability session.

Micah Shilanski:  Amen. And you know what? Our veterans, the ones that have been back multiple times to these masterminds, one of them will, shout out to Joe Curry, I think he’ll be fine with me sharing this. One of the things that he says at these masterminds is saying, “You know what?” Because he’s been to almost all of them virtually, because he was trapped in Canada for a while, and then he came to the in-person ones, and his comment was, “You know what? What I came here for is not what I left with, but it is the best thing that could have happened.” And those are when you know you have good events that are going to be …

Now, of course, we’re talking about BackStage Pass and Invictus. You know what? You have to go do this. I don’t care if it’s with the Perfect RIA. You’re going to go wherever. You’re going to create your own. I don’t care. But if you want to be a rock star successful advisor, you need this type of group and this type of community that’s going to be there. And if you found it somewhere else, rock on, but you have to embrace this type of things.

Where can you get backstage access to other successful advisors who are saying, “Hey, this is actually what I’m delivering to my client.” Pause right there, just right there. Where else in our community can you take the top-tier advisors and they’re going to open up their practice and say, “This is exactly my process.” Like our meeting step process, right? We have a seven or eight points of contact when we set up an appointment. And you might be thinking, “Holy crap, that’s too many.” But you know what? It works really, really well. So what’s your meeting prep process look like? What’s your meeting setup process look like? And now you have an advisor that’s going to open up their practice and say, “This is exactly how we do it.” Now you have a playbook that you can run that you know works. This isn’t theory, but it’s actual reality.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. But along that line, Micah, of client meetings, I know other things we hear from advisors. “Can I get a copy of the agenda that you’re going to use in your client meeting? Can I get a copy of the handouts you’re going to use? Can I get a copy of the followup letter? How do you handle the paperwork that comes out of it:?” All things that have been figured out by top level advisors that are now available inside the BackStage Pass, and especially to our Invictus members who say, “Really, I want to get on the phone with Micah and Matt and the power team and I want to walk through these different things.”

Micah Shilanski:  You know, Jarvis, and one of the things that I love about this, too, and you know what, it’s a little bit like getting naked, showing up all your processes in front of everybody, right? But advisors will also be able to come back and say, “Hey, we’ve implemented this. We’ve also added this. We’ve also done this. Have you thought about that?” And guess what? Sometimes we’re like, “You know what? This is why it’s a journey to the Perfect RIA and we’re not there yet.” We can say, “You know what? That’s a rock star idea. I can’t believe I missed that.” And now we get to add more stuff to our own practices to add that value. So this is definitely leading with what we do, but we’re totally open to that aspect, what works? And that’s what we want to follow is do what works.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love that. Well, this podcast, I think, Micah, is all about taking action, and one of the things we want to remind you, we only open up for new members four times a year. In fact, it’s open this week for just a few more days. That, by the way, is not some kind of clever sales tactic. It’s about if you’re going to take action, take action. And if you’re going to talk about taking action, go talk about that yourself and then come back to us when you’re ready to take action. Our team, just like in our advisory practices, we do surge meetings all at once. We do our onboarding of new members all at once. The cart is open right now. If you’ve ever considered transforming your practice, having access to top level practices, right now, literally today and tomorrow are the days to do that.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah. It closes right away, so make sure you jump in this and take action. You know what? I’m going to say the second action item on this, regardless of BackStage Pass or Invictus, make a commitment to make a transformation in your practice this year. Regardless of what stage you’re at, we can always up the game. What is your commitment? Maybe that’s signing up for BackStage Pass and Invictus, because guess what, I’m biased. I think that’s the best program out there. But if it’s something else, make that goal this year. Make that a commitment you’re going to have this year to really transform your practice. Don’t say, “When I get to X I’ll do it.” No, now. Make the commitment now.

Matthew Jarvis:   I completely agree. And this really goes to what I guess I would call action item number three, though maybe this is more of a lesson than an action item, but you need to look at your life, both your practice and your life in a whole, and say, “Where do I have shoulds? Where do I have these things that I should do surge meetings, I should do value adds, I should deliver massive value.” And we always say, “If willpower was enough, you would already be doing it and we shouldn’t be having this discussion.”

Micah Shilanski:  Right.

Matthew Jarvis:   So if you have shoulds in your life, Micah, to your point, a coaching program, ours someone else’s that has experience that meets our criteria, make that happen. Make 2022 your best year ever, your year of the things that I did, not the things that I thought about or I wished for.

Micah Shilanski:  I love it. Send this out. Help us grow this. Again, our goal is not just to help transform advisors’ lives but to help transform clients’ lives. Because the more advisors we help, the more we go down this journey towards this Perfect RIA, that’s the more value you’re going to add to your family and value you’re going to add to your clients, and that is what we are committed to.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love it. Micah, thanks so much. Have fun down in Arizona. And everyone else, 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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