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What You'll Learn In Today's Episode:

  • What to do when a prospect wants an appointment immediately.
  • The importance of remaining calm and sticking to the process that works.
  • Why it’s key to think less like a victim and more like an expert.
  • Why making exceptions for clients tends not to work out in anyone’s favor.
  • How to explain your process in a way that shows its value.
  • The issues that come up when you schedule your own meetings.
  • How you can prep your prospects to better understand your role.

What happens when a prospect says, “I have time tomorrow at 2 pm”? In today’s episode, Matthew and Micah compare this situation to being put into a Jiu-Jitsu chokehold and discuss how to navigate this situation in a calm way. You will hear tips on how to lay a solid foundation for your process of success and how to explain it to your clients in a way that demonstrates its value to them.

Listen in as the guys break down how making exceptions for a client is actually going to take away from the value you provide. They also discuss the importance of setting very clear expectations (and how to be firm with them), how not to waver when it comes to your process, and more.

Podcast Article:

Are You Making Yourself Too Available?

Meeting with prospects at their convenience instead of yours sends the wrong message about your value. Here’s how to change.

On paper, being available for your clients whenever they need you seems like a good thing—but can you be too available? In this article, you’ll learn why breaking your process sends the wrong signals to prospects and clients alike and what you can do instead.

Action Items in This Article

  • Write your prospect process on a single piece of paper, including when you meet with prospects and what those meetings look like.
  • Commit with extreme accountability to never do your own scheduling. If you’re not on the front lines, you won’t have the chance to bend your own rules.
  • If you enjoy The Perfect RIA podcast, leave a rating on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Breaking Your Process Is Never Good For Your Client

One core tenet of Jiu-Jitsu is the idea of submission holds: if you put someone in enough discomfort, they’ll eventually take the exact action you want them to take. Trained professionals respond to these situations with strategy, drawing calmly on trusted processes to help them take back control. But too often, people panic and end up doing exactly what their opponent wants.

The same is true during your initial prospect meetings. When a prospect says, “I don’t have time to wait six weeks to meet with you—let’s meet tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.,” so many advisors react like they’re in a chokehold. They go straight to panic mode, and they feel they’ve got no choice but to skip their kid’s piano recital, interrupt the team to ask them to prepare the paperwork and rush the client through. 

But while it seems like this will benefit the client, by breaking your process, you’re actually providing less value. After all, clients come to you for your technical expertise, but they also come to you because of your ability to steer the ship with a steady hand and help them weather market turbulence gracefully. Running a tight schedule is all part of that winning process by which your office lives or dies.

Strategies for Sticking to Your Process

Even with strong processes in place, even successful advisors can be tempted to slip into the victim mindset every now and then. “I think we’re all like this,” agrees Micah Shilanski, host of The Perfect RIA podcast. “We want to help clients, we want to help prospects, and we want to help by saying yes.” 

But any time you break a proven process, you’re putting your team in a bind—and when you give up control over how you do business, you set yourself up for failure. Micah offers his top three tips for staying calm during any circumstance and is committed to your process so you can really deliver the highest value possible.

1. Lose the Victim Mindset

It’s something most advisors have experienced at some point in their careers: once you start breaking your rules for a prospect, it’s hard to stop. But, as Micah Shilanski explains, this is a victim mindset, and it doesn’t look good on you. Even something as minor as letting a client skip the line and meet with you immediately sends a powerful negative signal about the value you provide.

“All of us have done this, including me,” Micah admits. “I’ve broken a rule and made an exception for a prospect, and it didn’t turn out very well. I didn’t end up delivering massive value. The client didn’t follow my advice. All of those things cascaded to them getting less value because I did not follow my process of success.”

Don’t submit to the pressure when you know it’s not the right thing for your prospect or your office. Instead, say, “This is how I do my best work, and I insist on only doing my best work.” If you start to think you have to land a particular prospect no matter what, you compromise everything.

2. Delegate Your Scheduling Process

When you call a doctor, attorney, or even CPA, you don’t reach that person immediately; you schedule an appointment with their front desk staff, and the professional meets with you at the scheduled time. Why should your firm be any different?

By empowering your people to manage your calendar and answer your phones, you aren’t just reserving valuable time and focus for important tasks. You’re also removing yourself from a situation where you might be tempted to break your process. 

Micah doesn’t book any appointments for clients or prospects, period. “I’m not even going to talk dates. I’m going to say, ‘You want to talk to me? Great. Call my team. They’re going to do a wonderful job booking you.’ That’s as far as I go. I won’t have any of these conversations because I don’t want to put myself in a position to break the rules.”

3. Set Clear Expectations

Most prospects have never hired a financial advisor before, or if they have, they’ve had a bad experience with their old advisor that prompted them to look for a new one. In either case, the prospect process is your opportunity to let potential clients know exactly what they can expect from you.

Micah suggests going over every aspect of your business in detail to eliminate any future surprises or miscommunications. What is your process of success? How long are your meetings? What’s your typical lead time? How many times a year do you meet with clients? What type of communication can they expect from your office? How will they get the most value out of your relationship? How do you schedule appointments? By anticipating and answering every foreseeable client question at the very beginning, you can set accurate expectations across every aspect of your business and set the stage for a positive future relationship.


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 Matthew Jarvis. And with me, the man, the myth, the legend, Micah Shilanski. Micah, how are you today?

Micah Shilanski:  Jarvis, I am doing excellent. Super excited to be jumping into more value content today on the podcast. This year’s just been amazing so far, right? We’re recording this in advance, but by time this is done we’ll have finished Surge, which will be pretty fun. During Surge, we did that fun series about following me along in Surge, where I was kind of doing daily posts and videos going through that entire process. So I got to say that was quite enjoyable and a great learning experience.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. And of course, as we’re recording this, we just came off of another personal development mastermind trip together. We had to do a little jujitsu with you, Micah, so…

Micah Shilanski:  That’s right.

Matthew Jarvis:   … you guys can all guess how it ended. Might be different than you’d imagine.

Micah Shilanski:  It might be. It might not be.

Matthew Jarvis:   But yeah, it may or may not be, but it’s interesting. So, one of the kind of the core tenets of jujitsu, if you will, is this idea of submission holds, of putting someone in enough discomfort that they take this kind of whatever action. And, the goal is that you can respond with calmness, with strategy, but too often, people get really panicky. And Micah, I don’t think this is too much different than the prospect process. And we’ve talked about when a prospect asks for a fee discount. But, let’s talk today when a prospect says, “Hey, I’ve got time tomorrow at 2:00 PM.” And so many advisors, Micah, it’s like they’re in a choke hold and they’ve got to just tap out and say, “Wait, I had my kids’ piano recital was tomorrow at 2:00 PM, but no problem. You just come in, I’ll call my team in. They’ll get the paperwork ready, we’ll rush it through.”

Micah Shilanski:  They go to the black, they go to the panic right away. And they’re like, “Oh my gosh, I have to solve this right now.” And what they don’t realize is they’re doing the wrong thing from so many different areas, right? You’re not actually providing any value to the prospect. We’re going to talk about that one just a minute. You are breaking all of your processes. You’re putting your team in a bind, and you’re setting yourself up for pure failure. Versus being calm and saying, great, what’s my process, right? When you get in a choke, when you get in a hold, when you get something else in BJJ, there’s a process that you need to work through in order to get out of that.

And it’s funny, when you’re calm and you follow those steps, nine times out of 10, you can and get out of that circumstance. And that’s the same thing here when it comes to any type of planning. If we’re calm about this and we follow our process of success, it’s amazing what happens.

Matthew Jarvis:   Now, Micah, this has come up a lot with Alex who joined our team a year and a half ago. And, I think a lot of times advisors who are newer in their career, they think, “Well, Matt and Micah, you guys have these great practices, you have all this revenue. Of course you can tell a prospect they can wait four weeks, six weeks, three months, six months. But I can’t. I need to feed my family. I’ve got to get them in right away.” Micah, why is that mindset so destructive to the advisor, right? Why is it short-cutting their success?

Micah Shilanski:  It’s a victim mentality that’s going to be there, right? And it’s this, I have to have something now. And it’s not actually seeing the value that you have. And if you start breaking and discounting your rules, you’re going to break all of your rules for the prospect, which as we’ve all know, right? All of us have done this, including me. I’m raising my hand right now. I have done this many times. I’ve broken a rule and said, “Well, I made an exception for a client, made an exception for a prospect.” And it didn’t turn out very well. I didn’t end up delivering massive value. The client didn’t follow my advice. All of those things cascaded to them getting less value because I did not follow my process of success.

One of the things clients are always looking for, consciously or subconsciously is how strict are these rules, right? I want to put it kind of like in a kid mindset, but not to pejoratively here, but of just saying, with kids, they want to test and know what their limits are. And guess what? That’s the same thing with clients. Not in a negative sense, but saying, “Hey, how much freedom do we have here? Where’s this relationship at?” And we, as the professionals, need to come in and set that stage. Not come down with a stake and a hammer and beat them down and say they can’t do something. But saying, “Hey look,” and this is what I call it to my clients, “This is our process of success. If you wish to be successful, we’re going to follow this process. And it works out really well. If you want to do it something else, you know what? I can’t do that. Because this is my process of success.”

And when I explain that to clients, clients want to jump on board because they’re like, “Who doesn’t want to process of success, right? That makes a lot of sense.” So they want to go down that path.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. It’s critical, Micah, as you point out, to remember as an advisor, that while people are hiring us for our technical knowledge, and we have a great depth of that, they’re also hiring us perhaps more so, at least subconsciously because they need a steady hand, right? They need someone to say, “This is the path to success for you, for your goal, for your finances.” And that includes saying, “Hey, listen, I run a very tight schedule. That means that my next availability is in four weeks. And I’m going to give you over to Colleen, who does all of my scheduling.” Now you may think, well, that’s totally unrelated to them staying in the market when the markets are down, but it’s not. It’s the same thing. It’s, I have a process. We always follow the process. End of story.

Micah Shilanski:  And this does a couple of other things that are going to be here for you, which is really cool, right? Now, number one, I have a hard time sticking to that rule. Somebody calls in and I think we’re all like this. We want to help clients. We want to help prospects. And so we want to help by saying yes. So I know my limitations, that when I am put in that situation, I am going to be tempted to break the rules. So I’ve done two things to do that. Number one, I don’t book any appointments for clients or prospects. Period. End of sentence, right? They all must go to Victoria or Sierra. They’re our RMs in our office, and they’re going to handle the scheduling booking. I am not going to do it. I’m not even going to talk dates. I’m going to say, “Hey, we booked several months out. Let me get you to the team. They’re going to do their best to get you in.” And I’m going to leave it at that.

The second thing Jarvis, I got some pretty serious extreme accountability around this because I was still breaking that rule. And so I put a pretty large dollar amount around this. Every time I break a process in my office, it is a substantial financial fee that I put into kind of our swear jar. So the team does a good job protecting me, even though of that kind of rewards them a little bit, but they do a really good job saying, “No, we got to follow these process of success.” Because every time I break it, I create more problems for the team and more problems for our clients.

Matthew Jarvis:   Well, Micah, it’s easy to think this isn’t a big deal. And by the way, this is as advisors, what we tell ourselves on almost, “Hey, it’s not a big deal I’m doing research. It’s not a big deal I’m checking email. It’s not a big deal I’m working these hours.” But, these little things become big things. And that feels a bit cliche, almost hokey pokey to say. But, let’s look at a couple of issues that this creates. One, when you go to scheduling meetings, Micah, as you point out, most of us have a servant’s mentality with this. We’re too accommodating when it comes to scheduling. Or the team, it breaks the process for the team follows the schedule, or there’s not enough time to do the paperwork. Or, it creates the impression to the client that you must not be very busy if you’re available tomorrow at 2:00. “And by the way, if you’re not busy and no one else is using you, should I use you?” And so there’s this cascading list of things that happen when a seemingly harmless event of scheduling your own meetings happens.

Micah Shilanski:  Jarvis, I had a series of doctors I was seeing for a little bit. I went and saw one specialist because I had busted my ankle and he was booked several months. I was very annoyed that I had to wait several months. Then something else happened. I booked another doctor. He could see me the next day. I was like, “Oh, I don’t know if I want to go see that guy, right? Nobody else wants to see him versus the guy that’s booked several months out. You better believe I’m going to keep that appointment. I’m going to show up and I’m going to be prepared.” Well guess what? It’s the same thing when clients call our office and sometimes they have to wait four, sometimes six months to get on our, not clients, I should say prospects, to get on our calendar, to come and see us. And the reason is, we’re very strict in our Surge calendar.

Now, amazing things that happen when those clients show up for the meeting, they’re super prepared for the appointment. They’re excited. They’re ready to meet. They’re ready to get their massive value. They’re ready to engage in this process because they know there’s a waiting line in place. And it’s okay if they don’t want to show up, not a problem. There’s plenty of other prospects that are going to be able to come in. Now, I’m not saying that from a takeaway aspect of it, you have to find the right fit. And I know what type of fit clients I need in my process of success. What type of fit do you need?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. And you’ve got to be intentional about this. I mean, there’s certainly are I suppose, professions or niches where you need to be super reactive. None come to mind, but there could be like…

Micah Shilanski:  Emergency medicine.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Emergency medicine-

Micah Shilanski:  I don’t know, if you’re a doctor.

Matthew Jarvis:   If you have a doctor, yeah. Everything else can and needs to wait. And this is just a critical component of the prospect process. Now, Micah, here’s a spot where advisors will push back. “Hey, I talked to a prospect, I had my initial whatever. And my next availability is not for six weeks.” And they tell me, Micah, they tell me, “Guess what? I’m interviewing other advisors.” And I think to myself, “I’ve got to get ahead of this. I got to get ahead. I got to talk to these people before they talk to the other advisors.” Now, this mindset is so damaging for a couple reasons. One is that you are telling the prospect, the only way you’re going to win this meeting is if you talk to them first, because if they talk to these other guys, they’re going to win.

Now, what kind of expectation does that set, where if I step back and I say, “That’s great news. When you meet with these other advisors, be sure to ask them these couple of questions. And if you’re still interested in meeting with me in four weeks, when my schedule’s available, I will be glad to show you what it is that we can do.” So you’ve got to be prepared for these things because the universe will test you, right Micah? Just as you think you’re getting out of one hold, a different hold will come. And that’s one I think advisors often, they fall. They falter at that spot.

Micah Shilanski:  Now, I would say the rockstar level of this is your team needs to be prepared for these conversations, right? Not you as the advisor. Because, you shouldn’t be having these conversations. I don’t do booking conversations. I don’t do the fee conversations on the initial prospect fee. I don’t handle any of that stuff. You want to talk to me? Great. Call my team. They’re going to do a wonderful job booking you. That’s as far as I go. I won’t have any of these conversations because I don’t want to put myself in a position to break the rules. But, we’ve done role playing. We’ve done coaching. We’ve worked with them and says, “Great, how many prospects said no? Why did they say no?” Let’s go through that together with our RMs to make sure they’re up to speed in those situations. So great, what’s the one page handout you can give that says, “Great, when go make sure you ask your other financial advisors these 10 questions. And when you come in to meet with Micah, he’s going to make sure he answers these for you.”

Matthew Jarvis:   Micah, I’ve also found that it helps for myself and for my team to have analogies or metaphors to draw on, right? So I’ve often used the doctor one when it comes to people outside of my niche, right? “Hey, I like a cardiologist. And what you need is like a neurosurgeon. And guess what? I know some great neurosurgeons.” And I make that referral up. Same with the scheduling, right? And for you or your team, you can say, “Listen, I’m sort of like the pilot of the plane. There’s some really important things that I need to do. Making sure the passengers have their seatbelt on is not one of my jobs, right? I’ve delegated that to our very capable team.” And so to have of those makes it easier for you and your team. You’re not being ridiculously difficult. You’re not being a diva. You’re just following what’s the best practice for every successful service.

Micah Shilanski:  Now, let’s also think about this, a lot of times when clients come in, Jarvis, push back on this one, if you see it differently. But a lot of the clients that I have coming in, this is the first time they’ve really hired a financial planner, right? They might have some miscellaneous brokerage accounts at different places, but they’ve never hired a financial planner to take them through this process. So it’s the first time. So what does that mean? I have to set the expectations. The worst thing I could ever do to a client, hands down, is not set any expectations whatsoever, is not tell them how this process of success is going to work, and allow them to imagine on their own. Why is that the horrible thing that can ever happen? Because I will never rise to that occasion. I will never succeed in that environment because the client’s going to make up whatever thing, not bad, right? I haven’t set the expectations, therefore I’ve left it in their imagination. And between the husband and wife, they have two different imaginations on what’s happening and I’m never going to live up to those expectations.

So, the best thing I can do for a client is set expectations, and you have to do that from the start. And the start is your prospecting. You’re setting expectations. How do you book appointments? You don’t book it through me. You book it through our relationship managers. “You know what? Every time I touch the calendar, I break it. I create more work for my team,” which is a very true statement. I was like, “So I’m going to let Sierra go ahead and book that appointment today.” And the clients and prospects will laugh and they’ll go ahead and work with Sierra. They’re used to this. The dentist isn’t booking their appointments. The doctor’s not booking their appointments. The attorney’s not booking their appointments. The CPA, maybe isn’t booking their appointments. Shouldn’t be booking their appointments, right? So it’s all of those things.

Who answers the phone? This also sets an expectation. Jarvis, I’ve been on a little kick with some of our members about before I have calls with them, I’ll actually just call their office randomly and they’ll answer the phone. And then they’ll say, “Oh, well I saw it was an Alaska area code, so I was curious who was calling.” And I’m like, “Why are you looking at the area code?”

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. How do you know?

Micah Shilanski:  “Where’s your team? Yeah, how do you know? Why is your desk phone ring? You were in important work or you were playing office, it was one of the two. And you know what? That means you were playing office. Because, if you’re in important work, you definitely shouldn’t have picked up my phone call. So you were playing office. The phone rang at your desk and then you answered it.” This is a horrible use of an advisor’s time. If you’re in the office, you need to be delivering massive value to your clients, not playing office, answering the phone. Sorry, it’s a little side note there.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love it. So many of these things and again, they often seem like little things, but they stack on top of each other, right? So this is when a prospect calls your office or books online. Are you already setting that expectation? “Hey, we work with a very select group of clients. We only onboard a couple of new clients each year. Therefore our next available appointment is X.” Now again, prospects, just like on the fee conversation, some prospects and clients will push back. “Hey, listen, I really want to see Micah tomorrow.” And we would all love to be seen tomorrow. But Micah, as you mentioned earlier, there’s this two edge sword. “Perfect, Micah’s next availability is three weeks from tomorrow. Now, if this is something urgent, if it’s a 911, I can get him right away. But otherwise this is when he’s available to see clients.” And so that expectation has to be set again and again and again.

Micah Shilanski:  And we talked about this before Jarvis, but we have our communication policy that we go through with our clients, right? And prospects and clients are different, right? Clients get preferred treatment. Why? Because they’re paying us. They’re our top clients, therefore they get preferential treatment. Some random person calling in, even if they become a client in the future, they have a potential for that. As a prospect, they don’t get that same level of service. So a client in the communication policy, we have the 911 policy. They get a same day, if something happens. They have a general questions, we’ll get back to them in the next couple days and we’ll have a scheduled time so we don’t play telephone tag, or it’s a client meeting. Clients love that.

We go through this and I know we spent other podcasts talking about this, so I won’t go into depth in that, right? But clients love knowing that communication policy. What communication do prospects get? They get the next available appointment scheduled, right? Because, they’re not paying us. We don’t have an obligation to them to drop everything we’re doing because they need to see us tomorrow.

Matthew Jarvis:   Well, that’s a critical piece you highlight their Micah, and it’s kind of a sidebar, but I’ll highlight again, a lot of times advisors, especially they’re starting their practices, feel like, “Hey, the more people I talk to, the better off I’ll be.” And that’s true if they’re inside your niche and they value you. If you have this long list of people that are tire kickers that are calling you for freebie advice, there’s not time for that.

I think especially Micah, when you’ve put yourself in a niche where you become really well known, such as yourself and federal benefits, you’ve got to have a way to screen out tire kickers. You do this by saying, “Hey, it’s $500 to meet with me. And if you have any questions outside of that, that’s it. That’s what the podcast is for,” et cetera. But again, this goes back to having processes. So when a prospect has a question and they go to your website or they call your office, they’re getting a consistent answer that’s coming off with as much confidence and finesse as if I ask you your name, right? You’re not going to saying, “Well, I think maybe in two weeks from Tuesday, actually, I don’t really know when we can meet.” They’re just saying, “Hey, listen, Micah sees prospects the third Thursday of every month,” or whatever it is that they say in your office. That needs to be just rock solid.

Micah Shilanski:  Yep. They need to be practiced that. You need to rehearse it. You need to record it, right? When we’re getting ready for Surge, one of the things that we did with the advisors in our office is, I ask them all to record themselves practicing the value ads and delivering it. Now, this could seem a little bit tedious. That’s going to be there, right? But I’m going to do the same thing with our RM team as well of saying, “Hey, we need to practice this again and again, because it’s been months since we’ve had a Surge in our office and we need to not practice in front of a client. We need to be at our top level.” Same thing right here. You’re RM should not practice in front of a prospect, right? You should have done all the practicing internally. This is not a dress rehearsal. This is the final performance. When that phone rings, they should be at their A game because you’ve put the work in advance to make sure it’s an A game.

Speaker 4:          The Perfect RIA challenges financial advisor to answer the question, what would you do if you weren’t afraid? Surround yourself with the financial advisors who share your common values and goals towards success. The advisor is you. The time is now. Don’t be like most people who fail to take action and achieve their dreams. Go online today at and decide. Decide what type of financial advisor you plan to be.

Matthew Jarvis:   Micah, Another thing that has helped me when it comes to scheduling prospects or following any process is to model what works. This is one of our rules of success, right? Do what works. I always like to look and say, Great, what’s the next level of success I aspire to? And who is an advisor that espouses that, right?” And I say, “Boy, the next level of success looks like whomever.” And I can ask myself, “Great, what would this advisor do in that situation?” And it gives me kind of the strength to say, “Great, I know what I would do, which is I would wimp out on it. I’ll schedule them right away. I’ll call my team in to do paper, whatever it is. Nope. The next level of success, they would not do this. Therefore, I will not do this.”

And there’s this myth Micah, in our mind that when. When I get to that level, then. When I make as much money as Micah, then I can do scheduling like Micah. Well, you’re not going to catch up to Micah, one. But the bigger issue is you’ll never bridge that gap, right? You say, “Well, I’m going to exercise once I feel like exercising.” Well, news flash, it’s not going to work like that.

Micah Shilanski:  Right. Once I get my six pack, I’ll be more devoted to changing my diet and starting to work out. So far that it hasn’t worked out, but I’ll let you know how that goes. Jarvis, on that same line, I really want to go move into a little bit from the prospect side to the onboarding side, the same rules are going to follow, right? We’ve set guidelines with the prospect. We need to follow through with those guidelines when we’re onboarding our client. Again, most clients have never hired a financial advisor or the reason they’re leaving their financial advisor is they suck. They’ve had a bad experience in some way and they want a new one. Great. You need to set that stage.

So what is your process of success? How long are your meetings? When’s the lead time? How many times a year are you going to meet? What type of communication can they expect from your office? How do they get the most value out of your relationship? I’m shocked that advisors don’t actually explain this to clients. One of the things we have to do is tell clients how are they going to get the most value. Number one that I tell clients, anytime you have a big money movement, you need to call us first before it goes through. Well, what’s a big money movement? I generally don’t clarify that with clients because I want in their mind, I want them to tell me what a big money movement is, right? Because, if they think that 15 grand is a big money movement, okay, great. We need to talk before it’s $15,000 of money movement.

If they think it’s a million dollars, I’m going to say, “Great. How about we ratchet that down a little bit? If you have a hundred thousand of big money movement, let’s talk.” But I also want to find out how much they feel is a big money movement. Now I know in my mind, where’s their financial thermostat, right? If a client thinks the big money movement’s a half a million dollars, perfect. They’re good with a lot of wiggle. I saw your eyes get big, right? Yeah. They’re good with a lot of wiggle room. If a client says they have a thousand dollars is a big money movement, oh, we’re going to have a problem with market volatility. We’re going to have problem with income distributions, right? So this is a really good hint to their mentality, but it also allows me how to tell them how they’re going to get more value out of our relationship.

And then I’m going to explain it in an example of saying, “Great. I had a client that did X. They didn’t tell me. And this was the financial penalty. Had they had told me this could have been avoided.” Whether it’s selling a second property, buying a business, right? Doing all those other things. But again, explain to clients how are they are going to get the most value out of your relationship.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love that, Micah. Something that came out as you were explaining that, asking them how big is a big money movement for them. Talk about a risk management assessment that’s actually effective, right? This isn’t saying like, “Score yourself in a scenario of 27 degrees of blue.” You’re just saying, “Hey, what would be a big money movement in your mind?” And again, if they say, “Well, 3000.” I say, “Okay, we have a problem here because any market volatility, there’s going to be problem.” They say, “Hey, half a million dollars.” Okay. We might have a different problem, but we’re getting insight that will never come out of some kind of intake questioning.

Micah Shilanski:  Well, come on. If you win the lottery, how would you spend the money? That tells me everything I need the know about a client right there.

Matthew Jarvis:   If you’re in panic mode, how will you panic? Another thing that comes up Micah, is you’re explaining your process to prospects or to clients, is that you’re never apologizing for the process. Now, if a mistake is made, you’re going to fall on your sword and you’re going to apologize, even if it wasn’t your mistake. We’re setting that aside. You’re never going to apologize for your process. You’re not going to say, “I’m really sorry I can’t see you for four weeks.” You’re going to say, “Great news. My next availability is in four weeks. I’m really glad that spot’s available for you.” And again, the timing is the same. It’s still that meeting four weeks out. But if you apologize for it, now you’re coming from a point of weakness. What else are you apologizing for? What else are you not confident?

I had a few years ago, Micah, a small medical procedure done. And they said, “Great. The doctor does procedures on Thursdays.” They didn’t say, “I’m really sorry. He can’t do Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Friday.” “He does procedures on Thursdays. Which Thursday do you want?” “Well, Hey, I can’t do Thursday.” “Well, he does them on Thursdays.”

Micah Shilanski:  Well, Sunday at 2:00 AM would be better for me. So yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. You can’t apologize. This came up in our office recently. We used to do all our paperwork physically because it was nice. You could really control the process. As it’s transitioned to digital, you lose some of that control. And the team was apologizing to clients about this. “Hey, this is really going to be kind of a hassle. I’m really sorry. And I appreciate your patience.” Whoa, hard stop here. I did not create this process. I’m also sorry that people die at the end of their lives too. I can’t fix that. I’m saying, “Here is the process. Sometimes these companies forget whose money this is. Sometimes they keep a little back and we need to ask for it again. But here’s the process we’re going to follow. And Mr and Mrs. Prospect, what you need to know most of all is that we are watching this very closely and we won’t rest until every penny is accounted for. Please note that can take several weeks.”

Micah Shilanski:  Right. So if you want to set that expectations, again, that says, “Hey, this is going to take,” I love it, “several weeks for this to happen. The company may come back and ask for more paperwork. Not a problem. We’re going to be on top of it and be with it.” That is 100% okay. But to apologize for it almost goes into the begging for prospect, begging for the money. And now we’ve shifted the dichotomy in this relationship, right? And you’re apologizing for things and saying, “No, this is just how it works.” Right? I also don’t apologize for the tax code, by the way, and that affects every single client. It’s like, these are the rules and this is how it works.

When it goes back to calendaring Jarvis, one of the things that I say is sometimes prospects will come back rightfully so and says “Micah, it took me like seven months to come in and see you. I’m a little worried about this.” I’ll say, “Yeah, I completely understand that. That’s a long time. The ladies do a very good job of keeping me busy. Great news. Once you become a client, you’re going to get preferential client treatment, versus prospects don’t get preferential treatment on the calendar.” That’s it.

Matthew Jarvis:   And Micah, yeah, so much of it is that way. It’s just saying, “Here is how it is.” And I can really look back at my career and a real turning point, as you mentioned, is when you go from this abundance mindset or from a desperation mind set to an abundance mindset, right? When you go from begging people to become clients, and that’s essentially what you’re doing. You’re saying, “I can meet with you tomorrow.” That’s begging someone to be a client. “I can discount my fee.” That’s begging someone to be a client. To where you go to this abundance mentality and say, “This is what I offer. I offer this widget, this type of planning, this type of asset allocation. I do buckets. I do guard rails.” Whatever you do, “This is what I do. And if it makes sense for you, that is awesome. I’m your guy. And if it doesn’t make sense to you, if you’re here because you want to leverage your credit card debt to buy double short cryptocurrencies, I’m not your guy for that. And just to be really clear about that, this is what I do. This is what I don’t do.”

Micah Shilanski:  I love it. And this isn’t just about making more money or scheduling your time. If that’s what your focus is here, you’re missing it. This is about delivering value to clients. Because here’s what I know, and this is totally biased here. My advice is rock solid. We give phenomenal advice to clients to help them deliver massive value so they can achieve their goals. Why do I say that? Because I have one hell of a track record that backs that statement up. So I’m very confident in my advice. But, if a client’s not following my advice, am I helping them? No, I’m not, right? And so I have to gear everything. I have to stack the deck in my favor that says, “Great. What are things that I need to do to help clients follow our advice, to make sure they can achieve their goals?”

So, real easy thing. If a client doesn’t want to update their beneficiaries because I’ve been lax on everything else I’ve said, and I’m telling them they need to update their beneficiaries. They never get around to updating their beneficiaries. Then they die, and now the beneficiaries are in question. The money’s not going to where they wanted to go. Who’s problem is that? It’s mine when I get the lawsuit, right? It’s mine when the widow comes in and says, “Why the hell is half my estate gone to an ex-wife?” Right? It’s in my issue that’s going to come up that’s going to be there.

I got to be rocked solid on little rules to make sure clients follow big rules. And if you say in your mind that says, “You know what? I can be lax on the calendar. It doesn’t really matter because they’re going to follow all my financial planning advice.” You’re lying to yourself. That’s not the way it actually works.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. And Micah, ultimately all relationships, whether they be with prospects, clients, your spouse, your kids, whatever, all relationships fail when expectations collide with reality. And to your point earlier, if I’m talking to a husband and wife, each of them have different expectations than my expectations. It’s like asking all three of us to write down lottery numbers, some nine digit number and it magically be the same. So I’ve got to say, “Here are my expectations.”

By the way, this is also true for me. If I think, I don’t really want to meet with clients on Friday, but I get on the phone and they say, “Matthew, the only day I can come in is Friday.” I say, “Great. Well, come in on Friday.” Now I am resentful because my expectation’s not being met, even though I was the one who allowed it. And Micah, I know you’ve done the same thing. As soon as I get on schedule and I break all my rules and then I resent myself and I resent that client, for no fault of their own, that I broke the rules. So the rules have to be rock solid. And if you are not reliable for holding them, great news, you’ve got team members who can be reliable for you.

Micah Shilanski:  Exactly. Now, at least you are thinking about this. We’re going to take this as an extreme and says if we tell a client to put 6,000 into Roth and they put 5,500 into Roth, we’re going to fire them right away. You’re missing the point, right? These are deal breaker conversations. These are process conversations. We can’t allow clients and prospects to break our process of success. And this is how I’m going to phrase it to my clients as well. “This is our process of success. And if we want to be successful, we need to follow this process. If you don’t wish to follow this process, then that means we’re not going to be able to help you.” This could be aggregating and helping them with all of their account management. This could be updating their estate planning documents. This could be seeing and working with the CPA.

I got one now, the CPA doesn’t want to play ball with us and cost the client over $10,000 last year. And unfortunately I got to put the client in a bad position. It’s like, “You got one or two choices. Either we’re going to graduate you and we’re going to leave this relationship, or you need to find another CPA. But, I can’t continue to work in this environment.” So you got to follow what is your process of success? And you got to set those expectations with the client from the beginning. You have to continue to reset those prospects, excuse me, those client expectations as the relationship grows to make sure you’re really going down the area of delivering massive value.

Matthew Jarvis:   Oh Micah, I love it. One other rabbit hole I want to jump down just for a minute, is that-

Micah Shilanski:  Sure. Love rabbit holes.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, I know. That should be be the new episode, the new title of this, The Perfect RIA rabbit hole.

Micah Shilanski:  The pill or the blue pill?

Matthew Jarvis:   Almost all of the times where you’re breaking your process is because you’re too desperate for the prospect, right? And this come it’s back to you’re spending too much time playing office. You’re spending not enough time doing real prospecting. Not getting likes on Facebook, but real prospecting where your eyeball to eyeball with somebody. And you’re thinking, “Great. I have to get this prospect no matter what.” And you compromise everything. Whereas professional advisors, regardless of your income level, can step back and say, “Hey, this is how I do my best work, and I insist on only doing my best work.” Which by the way, is a line I use with prospects all the time.

Micah Shilanski:  Jarvis, one of the things my father used to tell me all the time, which is Floyd Shilanski, legendary financial planner, right? Pioneer, really creating a lot of this stuff, which is phenomenal. He told me for a long time, and it took me forever to figure out what it meant. He said, “Prospecting cures all ills,” right? And I’m sitting there. I’m like, “What heck is he talking about? What does he know?” Because he’s only super successful at being a financial advisor. And then finally I kind of figured out what it means is saying, “You know what? If I’ve been doing positive prospecting, I have a lot of people in the queue, a lot of people that want to come see me, I am not going to break my rules. But if I’m not doing prospecting and only have one prospect in the calendar the next 12 months, I’m going to break every fricking rule I have because I’m desperate to have them as a client.” So, prospecting cures all ills right? This is the big thing. We got to be focused on prospecting. We got to be focused on delivering massive value.

So you come at everything from a status of abundance, because the more mentality of abundance you have, the better advice you’re going to be able to give to your clients. The more you’re going to hold to your own rules, your own convictions, which really helps deliver massive value to that.

Matthew Jarvis:   Oh Micah, I love it. Speaking of holding to our convictions, this podcast is all about taking action. Because of course it doesn’t matter what you know. We all know how to get six pack abs. We all know how to be billionaires. It’s only the things you take action on and implement. So here are a couple of action items that you can really, Micah, get started on this week. Please.

Micah Shilanski:  Oh, the first action item, just to make sure everybody knows this, jump on iTunes. Give us five stars. Come on. It’s been a while since we’ve asked. If you’ve made it this far, you’ve got to love the podcast. We have some very ambitious goals with getting this podcast in front of more financial advisors, getting out great information, right? Join the backstage pass In victus, or not. It doesn’t matter. We really want to focus on getting this message out of massive value and we need your help. So give five stars in iTunes, leave us a phenomenal comment, share this with a few advisors. That’s tremendously going to help spread this message.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love it. I love it. Yeah. And of course this podcast is all about transformation, right? And it’s the action that leads to the transformation. So yeah, five stars. Appreciate that. On all the platforms, right? I think we’re on Amazon now and a whole bunch of different ones. So I see us all over place. Okay.

Action number, I guess this is number two, have in writing your prospect process. This does not need to be a 10 page document. In fact, ideally it’s one page or less because I love one page or less. Very clearly, right? We see prospects on these days, at these times. Here are the steps involved. Does not need to be super drawn out, but it does need to have kind of your rules. The, thou shall not’s. Now, I like to, Micah, phrase them as a thou shall, right? Like we schedule prospects on Thursdays only. Only Thursdays, right? But have those rules in place. I will not ask for paperwork or excuse me. I only ask for paperwork in advance of meetings, not during meetings, things that.

Micah Shilanski:  Perfect. I love it. Yeah. Whatever mentality you need, whether it’s the negative or the positive, great go for that. Number three is going to say, is commit with extreme accountability to never do your own scheduling. Now, I know this is a big thing. I got to say in our masterminds, we’ve seen advisors be transformational in this aspect of it being able to come in and never ever book their own meetings. So, start that this week. Stop booking your own appointments. If you’re solo, perfect. Bring on Ruby receptionists-

Matthew Jarvis:   Ruby receptionists.

Micah Shilanski:  Right? They can help schedule meetings. You can bring on an EA. Tons of different things that you can do in order to make sure you are not scheduling these meetings.

Matthew Jarvis:   Actually on number four, we’ve got a good list today. Do more prospecting. If you ever find yourself, not if, when you find yourself hesitant to hold the line, when you feel that you need to compromise your standards to get a prospect to say yes, that’s because you are not doing enough prospecting. And Micah, I would add sort of a second caveat to that, which is you’re letting your lifestyle creep. And this is another rabbit hole, too many advisors say, “Boy, I just bought this new car,” or, “I want to buy this expensive house and I’ve got to take on more prospects so I can pay for this.” You need to follow your own advice and live within your means. So it’s kind of a two edge. Do more prospecting, live within your means. Anytime you’re compromising, it’s one of those two drivers in my experience.

Micah Shilanski:  100% totally agree. And with a caveat on that one or another one, I’m going to say, when you say do more prospecting, still, you’re not scheduling your own appointments, right? Remember that third out action item. So that means you are not scheduling these prospect appointments. You’re having some executive assistant, you’re having a Ruby receptionist. You’re having somebody else go ahead and do that. All right. Fifth action item I’m going to say, join a TPR Power Session. Do these about quarterly, give or take on the calendar.

Yeah, for our members, we’re going to do them monthly, we do Power Sessions. We go through and we dive into detail on how you can deliver more massive value with your clients. And I got to say, we’ve got some phenomenal response from our members on these Power Sessions. So make sure you’re in tune to that information.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. And you can go to And at the top of the page, you can click to join our next power session in may. Our power session will be on doubling the effectiveness of your prospect process. Because as we mentioned, we’re really committed to this transformation thing. If you’re saying, “Hey, I want to marginally improve my prospect process. If I want to squeak out 1%.” Don’t show up. That’s not our thing. If you’re saying, “Hey, I want to double the effectiveness, double the value of my prospect process,” then come locked and loaded and ready to go.

Micah Shilanski:  Awesome. Well guys, this has been a blast. Jarvis, as always until next time, happy planning.

Matthew Jarvis:   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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