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Micah Shilanski: Welcome back to another amazing episode of The Perfect RIA podcast. We are super excited to be with you today. Again, I’m your co-founder Micah Shilanski. And with me as usual, the legendary Matthew Jarvis. What’s going on Jarvis?
Matthew Jarvis: Ah, Micah. As you know, I’m always excited to do these episodes. It’s amazing. We get tens of thousands of downloads a month and thank you to all of the members of the TPR nation. But like I said, Micah, even if it was just you and I doing these, which is probably how it was at the beginning, I have just so much fun. It’s so much fun to dive deep into our practices. Where can you and I improve? Where can other advisors that are trying to deliver massive value where can they improve? So, I’m always fired up to do these.
Micah Shilanski: Jarvis, you’re so exciting. And I think one of the things, as you just said, is these are things that we get to take back to our practice and improve, right? So, if nobody listened and we’re glad you do, but if nobody listened, right, we could still make improvements. Now, I think that’s a solid point for what we’re going to be talking about today. And in fact, before we get too much in today’s episode, I really got to trust everybody check your ego. We’re doing more advisor coaching. We’re talking to more advisors out there. It’s so easy. And I’ll put myself I’m super guilty in this, right? I don’t like to be wrong. I like to be right. And my ego gets in the way. And when someone starts to give me some criticism, right, and really trying to help me build and become better, I start being really defensive being like I already do that. I already know this. I already this. Okay. Well, great.
The reason they’re saying it is because people don’t know this and people aren’t getting this. So, I need to stop right there. I need to check my ego at the door and say, great. How do I get better? Because this isn’t about you being right or wrong. This is about delivering massive value to your prospects, to your clients, et cetera. Jarvis, I don’t know about you, but I think this is really where it goes wrong is we get in our own way, providing help to clients.
Matthew Jarvis: Complete. Now, Micah, I would add just one small caveat and I’m 100% on board with you. My only caveat would be, I am more reserved about taking advice from people whose practices are much smaller than mine. Whatever area we’re talking about, right? If the guy running the ski lift chairs, giving me snowboarding advice and I can tell he has never snowboarded, I don’t really want that guy’s advice.
But anybody in any field who is doing just anything narrowly better than me, that’s who I want to listen to, right? How did you do this so well? How did you build up practice like this? How do you effortlessly close prospects? How do you deliver massive value to clients? And so Micah, when you give me feedback, when Thomas Gau gives me feedback, when Benjamin Bratt, when Todd Lester, Michael Henley, all these guys that are a master. When they give Feedback, I am rapt attention taking notes. Now, usually it’s followed by some kind of jab or joke, right? Which is how we do this. But yeah, somebody who’s doing it better than me has advice, I want to hear every word of that.
Micah Shilanski: Now this is, I’m going to be a little bit more nuanced with that Jarvis, if I may, because this doesn’t get to a point where someone has to be better at everything in the practice than me for me to get advice. For example, somebody brings on more prospects if they bring on more AUM if they have a better prospect process than I do then. Then, perfect, I want to know about that, right? Maybe they’re not to the level of success in taking time off or in processes or in function or in delegation that I am too yet. Okay, great. But you have cracked this code. Tell me more about this and how do I incorporate that into what I do? Super, super important.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. I think about our good friend, Jamie Dawson in Colorado. That guy is so relaxed at his office, like he doesn’t seem like he ever gets stressed out. I’m sure Jamie has stressed out days, but he’s so relaxed and calm all the time. Cool Jamie. I want to understand how you stay that cool headed and that calm and that collected all the time. So yeah. I’m always learning from anybody I can.
Micah Shilanski: I love it. All right. The second thing I’m going to add to this before we get on our nice little rant Jarvis is if you’re thinking, oh, I never do that with a prospect, stop right there because you probably do. Jarvis, you could say I’m just as guilty, right? So these are things that I need to take back and say, hmm, when do I do this in a meeting? Because I guarantee I do some of this stuff in prospect meetings. And all it does is take away the value that the prospect is getting all to inflate my own ego. That’s what’s happening at the end of day. And I got to get better checking that because I am committed to delivering massive value to my clients.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. Yeah. And the topic we’re going to talk about today, as we mentioned in the intro quote, is stop talking the prospect out of the sale or stop talking the client out of your recommendation, right? We’re going to use those terms interchangeably here. And Micah, I think it is one half ego like what I have to say is so important. I think another part of it and please push back on this is we get nervous. We think maybe they don’t understand, maybe I haven’t convinced them. So I’m going to keep talking where maybe nine times out of 10, 10 times out of 10, if you stop, if you sit back and if you’re quiet, you say, tell me your thoughts about this. Tell me what’s on your mind about this. And then I’m quiet. And I wait. My experience is like nine times out of 10 that makes all the difference.
Micah Shilanski: Jarvis, what I love about that comment, right, is because sometimes we feel, and we’re going to blame compliance, right? Whatever compliance is in your world that says, “Oh, well I have to disclose this. Oh, I have to talk about this. I have to do this.” Look, we’re not talking about not disclosing things. We’re talking about effective communication with clients, which means they understand what they’re doing and how this is a better recommendation for them. That’s what we’re talking about. But you got like Jarvis, I just love that. You got to hit that pause button in the conversation and get off of your spiel and step back, let’s start getting some feedback for the client. Let’s start understanding what do they know about this? How does it work for them? Why do they like it? Why do they not like it? We got to get that feedback to make sure what we’re saying is being heard.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. And you could be, we’ve talked about this on the episode, you could be totally in the wrong direction. You might think the question or the issue is X Roth conversions where the real one might be, “Hey, I’m worried that my adult son’s going to blow this money when he inherits it.” And so you’ve missed the real one. So Micah, some specifics, I always, always, always, always walk into every prospect meeting, every client meeting, even meetings, Micah, where I’m scheduled to coach an advisor or I’m scheduled to talk to a vendor. I love leading with, “Hey, I’ve got a couple things I want to go over today, but please let’s start with the questions and concerns that are on yours.” I’ve even had people push back. And they’re like, “Well, you scheduled this to ask me about X, Y, and Z.” But I just want to make sure if there’re any questions or concerns on your mind that we get those out to begin with. Same with… Go ahead please Micah.
Micah Shilanski: I was just going to say, I just want to pull some stuff out of there, right, because it’s just solid gold. What I love about that is, Jarvis, articulated that he had an agenda, right? I have some things that I want to cover with you, but before we get to that, what are your questions? So even when you get those people that are pushing back on you, it says it was great. It’s not like you showed up without an agenda, which pisses me off by the way.
If somebody scheduled a meeting with me and they showed up without an agenda, then I’m like, “Why are we wasting my time, right? You reached out to me for this?” So, I think it’s highly important to be a professional, to come with an agenda of things to cover. But again, if I have a pressing issue on my mind and another professional has an agenda, boy, I really don’t care about their agenda because I have this burning question and I can’t stop thinking about this burning question until we answer that. Now, I can move onto your agenda. That’s the value of asking this question upfront.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. Yeah. You know an example of that, Micah, I met with a prospect this week, who’s becoming a client and we had created our one page financial plan and we had a lot of things to go over. Alex had done a great job creating this, but I asked that question and the wife says actually, Matthew, the number one question in my mind is we want to buy a house outside of the country. And I’m just really not sure how to do that. I said, perfect, great news and I physically slid the agenda side. Let’s set this aside for just a minute. We’ll get back to this. Let’s talk about this. Tell me more about what it is you want to do. Tell me why this is your goal. And we walked through that and just that gesture, Micah, and I know you do this.
I slide to the side and say, “Hey, what’s on your mind is number one because that is number one.” And at the end of the meeting, we went through a lot of different stuff. The reason they became clients, they even vocalized. They said, no one gave us this clear guidance on buying a house out of the country. We want to work with you. They didn’t say, Jarvis, Roth conversion techniques were amazing. They were amazing. They said, “Hey, the fact that you took time and talked about what was top on our mind, that’s why we want to work with you.” Perfect.
Micah Shilanski: And we’ve all had these experiences, right? I mean you could go back through and you could think about that with a lot of your own clients in your mind and say, great, one of our mantras in TPR is do what works. So, if you had that success in the past, by doing this, great. Keep doing that going forward, don’t reinvent the wheel and come up with a new way of doing this. Getting to that prospect’s questions. That’s the core essence here in value. And you know what, in those cases, maybe it is about buying a house overseas or maybe they just want to visit and travel, right? Maybe it doesn’t make sense, but allowing them to articulate it and going through that conversation, that is massive value. I love it.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. Part of this, Micah is well, and again guys like you and I, people in the top study psychology, we study how the human mind works. People want to be heard and that’s never been the case more than it is today with we’re just bombarded with information. We’re bombarded with noise coming out of us. So, for you to be the person to stop, to listen, to say, tell me what’s on your mind. The relationship that you’re building is off the charts. By the way that relationship, I know your technical expertise is off the charts, but that relationship is ultimately why people are hiring you versus Vanguard. They really don’t understand that your technical knowledge is 10 X Vanguard. They don’t really get that. There is no disrespect, but that you listen and then you can say, all right, your issue is this. Here is the solution. That’s what wins.
Micah Shilanski: Ooh, Jarvis, I’m a bit edgy. Your technical knowledge is worthless. How’s that? It is worthless compared to every other advisor because clients cannot distinguish between them. Yeah. So, I’m not saying you don’t have to have technical knowledge. I’m just saying in the prospect’s mind it’s completely worthless because the reason they’re in your door is they assume you already have some level of technical knowledge. Now it’s about communication skills, right? You’ve already crossed that initial threshold. Now it’s all about communication skills and how effective can you deliver that technical knowledge and basic communication to the client. So, all of these massive designations, all of these things as you’d have, lack of ability to articulate in basic terms to clients, boy, that’s the make and break right there.
Matthew Jarvis: Micah, a good litmus test for this, this came from a coach, John Barron, that we’ve worked with for a lot of years, great guy, he always talks about, “Is this like saying you have electricity at your office.” So if you are saying the same thing that every other advisor says, I operate with integrity, I have X number of years of experience, I’m a-
Micah Shilanski: I’m a fiduciary-
Matthew Jarvis: I’m a fiduciary, that doesn’t matter because nobody’s going through and saying, “Hey, you know what I have no experience, I’m going to rip you off.” So, if you are spending time and capital telling them things that everyone else is telling them, you are missing it right there.
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Micah Shilanski: One of the things I love to do Jarvis is that when a prospect comes in and sometimes prospects will come in with a list of questions to ask financial advisors, right? And they’ll have that list, that’s going to be there and it’s going to be like, great, are you a fiduciary? How long have you been this? Are you a CFP, right? And I actually had one prospect come in and says, all right, he’s looking at it, he’s like, I’m supposed to ask you this, but I don’t even know what it means, but okay are you a fiduciary? Then, I said, yes I am. And we were actually a fiduciary before. It was cool. And he is like, great, no idea what it means. All right. So he just felt like he needed to check off a box.
Now, I could have sat there and explained to him what a fiduciary was, but how would that help him accomplish his goals? I answered the question very briefly. Now I want to pivot directly into his retirement goals. Great. He had some complex things going on in his federal benefits. I wanted to pivot to that and say, great. How do we add value in this meeting? That’s right here. This is an example of where an advisor could easily slip into overselling, right?
The client could say, well, I don’t really know what a fiduciary is. Oh, great, let me explain what a fiduciary is. And I can go on five or 10 minutes what a fiduciary means. But what value does that have to a client. Now, those advisors that are listening, they’re holding yourselves out only as fiduciaries and think that’s the only reason people should work with you. You’re probably pretty pissed right now because it’s worthless. Yes, you should be check those compliance box. I’m not saying that, but just that fact alone does not help the client. Most of us across the board are fiduciaries in what we do. So, we’re already based on that. I have electricity in my office. You don’t get to hire me because I have electricity. You have to add value.
Matthew Jarvis: Oh, 100% Micah. And real quick, that prospect that you mentioned that didn’t know fiduciary, this wasn’t like a 17 year old kid that was doing college planning or something, this is-
Micah Shilanski: It’s an electrical engineer. Yeah. So at the top of his field doing phenomenal things, Army Corps of Engineers. I mean, he’s doing some great stuff inside of there, been out there a long time, highly educated. Yes. But guess what? Highly educated in engineering. And electrical engineering, right? Not finance.
Matthew Jarvis: We could side tangent on that. I was talking this week with a client, very well to do client. He’s selling his professional practice. And so I said, “Hey, just couple of things you’re going to want to think about. And I just very short snippets. I didn’t bust out the sell agreement. I said a couple things. We’re going to watch for clawback provisions, watch how they adjust your EBITDA.” And he says, “Oh, I never even thought to ask those things.” And I said, but Micah, here this is the thing. I said, you know what, if we were talking about anything medically, he is a medical professional, you would lose me, Dave, you would lose me immediately. This is what I do. And I’m really good at. So again, I’m going to compliment him. This is the other part of it. I don’t ever want a client to feel like they’re the dummy in the room. They’re not, they’re a professional at what they do. I’m a professional at what I do. We are peers in life. It’s just, we have different areas of expertise.
Micah Shilanski: Jarvis, we also got to keep in mind when we’re talking about those things that client’s ego and the sensitivity as this as well, right? Especially husband and wife. Guys don’t like to be embarrassed especially in front of their wives. So, if you are saying something in that nature and making one of the spouses, especially the guy feel incompetent about something, they’re going to get defensive and dismissive saying, “Oh, yeah, I understand that. Oh yeah, I understand that.” In their mind, they have no clue what you’re talking about. So, it’s really another reason we have to step back in our language. We’re talking with another new client that was coming on and they wanted a liability partnership up between their sisters and it’s a farm and all these things. So we get chatting about it a little bit.
And then I just asked the question, you don’t have to ask this question, but God forbid if something happens to one of your sisters, what takes place with the farm, right? And we get talking about that a little bit. I said, what if something happens to you? What takes place with the farm? And so I’m starting to ask these questions, we’re starting to probe through. And I said, okay, this is something that we might want to put in place. It’s like a buy, sell agreement. We might want to put something in place.
And the husband sat back on his chair and he goes like, huh, that’s what the attorney was talking about. And the attorney had gone right into years ago with them and saying, these are these documents you need to put in place. And they’re like, yeah, yeah, whatever. And they’ve never done anything because they didn’t put it in correlation to the client, right? So this would be an example of talking yourself out of the sale. If you’re jumping right into technical terms that this isn’t the client’s wheelhouse, but we live in it every day. So we think it’s so simple, like a buy, sell agreement, right? We look at it and say, it’s not that complex. A trust, not that complex in the concept of it, right? This is brand new things to clients. We really got to explain it and how it relates to them.
Matthew Jarvis: Boy, I love that Micah. Another thing that comes to mind, this is pivoting just a little bit. I’m currently listening to Matthew McConaughey, the actor, his memoir, Greenlights. He has the most phenomenal reading voice. Half the time I don’t even know what he’s talking about. I’m like hypnotized by his voice. He’s just got such a great voice. But, think about that from an audiobook standpoint, right? Would you rather listen to Matthew McConaughey doing his voices or somebody droning in monotone. Same thing when you ask those questions and Micah, I know we go quick on this podcast, but those questions are asked with sincere curiosity. Hey, help me understand what your strategy is for social security. Help me understand what happens if one of your siblings passes away. This is a genuinely curious question. I’m not baiting them. I’m not belittling like, Micah, tell me what your strategy is for social security, a big dummy. That comes across to people if-
Micah Shilanski: Oh, you don’t have a strategy. Huh?
Matthew Jarvis: That’s why you have to hire me, right? As soon as I feel like you’re baiting me with your questions, I’m done, I’m done.
Micah Shilanski: Done. All right, Jarvis. A couple other things that I want to transition some action items if that’s all right. One of the things I definitely want to talk about is inside of our prospect meetings, know when to have follow-up emails, know when to have phone calls and meetings, right? Because this sometimes comes in. Sometimes we have that prospect meeting, that prospect comes back with extra questions and this could be an explanation that they ask a simple question. We think we know what they’re talking about. And so we go in this diatribe in this email and send off this long email response and it wasn’t even their stinking question, right? So a lot of times I will not answer follow-up questions from prospects if it’s outside of a meeting. Why? I don’t know them yet. I don’t know what this context is going to be, right?
And also it becomes a price out of place because inevitably if you’re going back and forth an email, they’ll bring the price back up and the price will be up in a separate communication. Then the value that you provided price out of place kills the deal, right? And just because you sent them a previous email that does not add value and that email that you’re talking about price that has to add value. In my world, I’m going to compress that into a meeting because in that meeting I can add massive value in this time. So, be careful in your prospecting process about how much you’re going to engage in that, right? If it’s a simple follow-up question saying, “Hey, Micah had a question about what beneficiary form I should follow.” Sure. The arms will handle that and make sure they answer that question. And Micah how should I do A, B and C? That’s a follow-up meeting that you should chat with Micah about.
Matthew Jarvis: Boy, Micah that even goes with the whole rant on this. The prospect I met with this last week, I said, and I say this to every prospect at the end. Listen, when you get home, you’re going to have more questions, Micah, that you didn’t think to ask me during this meeting, great news. We’ve been in business for 30 years. We’re not in a rush for you to make a decision. What I want you to do is when you have those questions, Colleen will schedule another time for us to talk because I’m not in a rush for you to make a decision.
I want to make sure all your questions are answered and they’re best answered when we can sit down and look each other across the table eyeball to eyeball. So, I’m setting that stage similar to your thing. And I’m saying what your questions are, are important to me. I didn’t say, you know what, Micah, you need to come back in so I can read you four more pages of one page financial plan. So, we can go over page 83 of money guide pro. Micah, you’re going to have questions and I want to make sure I can answer those questions.
Micah Shilanski: I love it. All right, Jarvis, let’s transition some action items. You know, this is a quick pod, but we just had a little bit of time. We’re going to pound one out for you guys. So, action items. First thing that I’m going to say before speaking, are you speaking to hear yourself speak or are you answering a direct question from the prospect or client. Then, after that you got to hit the pause button and ask a follow-up question to make sure that information was understood.
Matthew Jarvis: I love that. Action item number two. Keep asking questions of people you want to learn from. An opportunity to do that. Micah and I along with Steven Jarvis from retirement tax service and Benjamin Bratt, our dear friend and podcast extraordinaire, we are doing a panel of success, which will be an all day Q&A type format at XYPN Live. You can visit theperfectria.com to sign up for that or visit XYPN Live and click on the pre-conferences. That’s going to be in October in Denver. Not Dallas, Denver. There’s going to be a lot of fun, Micah.
Micah Shilanski: Oh, it’s going to be a blast. Yeah, make sure you’re signed up for that. We’re excited. We’re going to be at the conference. It’s just going to be an absolute riot. Other thing, measure what matters, right? So you need to keep a tally in your office. This would be a great thing for you to do is keep a tally. How many questions are you asking versus how many answers are you giving? I put that on the homework sheet, right? Right column, left column and just their little tallies inside of there. And now I know at the end of the meeting, it says, holy crap, I didn’t ask enough questions, right? How come there’s only two tallies for questions, but I open my mouth a lot during that meeting because my ego could easily get in the way Jarvis and I can look backwards and say, “Oh my gosh, I was amazing during this meeting, I gave them so much great information, right? Because that can easily happen. I got to keep a tally. I got to measure it to make sure I’m delivering value and upping my game.”
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. Not just easily happen. That’s the default. The default is as humans our default is to talk and not listen. Focus on the listening. Well, Micah, as always, this was an absolute pleasure. To our TPR Nation the tens of thousands of advisors who listen to this podcast, thank you for being part of this. Be sure to give the podcast five stars, shared on your social media page, so we can continue growing the audience, having fun, doing things like XYPN Live and Micah until next time, happy planning.
Micah Shilanski: Happy planning.
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