What You'll Learn In Today's Episode:

  • The importance of setting the correct expectations
  • Why you don’t want to be answering the phone.
  • The value of timing.
  • The exact script that Micah uses to set expectations and prepare new clients for surge.
  • The process of success and how to explain that to clients in a way that sheds light on your value.
  • What a client communication policy is.
  • Where advisors often miss a critical opportunity.

If you’re new to surge or you have a client who has not yet experienced surge, how do you manage expectations? Telling a prospect that they can’t see you for 6 months could cause mutiny, so it’s important to clearly communicate your framework and what they can expect. Matthew and Micah dive into this dilemma today and share insight into how you can plan, prepare, and ultimately deliver incredible value to clients in a new-to-surge situation.

Listen in to get step-by-step information on how to start setting the right expectations from the very beginning. Rather than running off prospects with long wait times and frustration, you’ll learn how you can set them up for success while still making time for your own life and family along the way.

  • Professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate. – Cal Newport

    Setting up a Surge Schedule for your office is the most powerful step you can take to increase your effectiveness while being 100% intentional in Delivering Massive ValueTM.

Podcast Article:

How to Make Clients and Prospects Love Surge

You know how to prepare yourself, your office, and your team. Now, it’s time to prepare your clients.

Whether you’re new to surge or meeting with new clients who have never experienced it, the most important thing is to manage expectations. But how do you explain to a brand-new client that they won’t be able to meet with you whenever they want? In this article, Matthew and Micah share 3 tips for bringing old and new clients onboard with any surge schedule.

Action Items in This Article

  • Create a “surge expectation management” script and practice it on your clients until it rolls off your tongue smoothly.
  • Write a one-page overview of the surge process you plan to implement. Any longer than that is too long!
  • Build a communication policy that works for you and your office, then decide how you’ll relay it to clients in your own words.

Remind Clients That Quality Takes Time

Is it better to be fast or right? From client meetings to standard paperwork, if quality is important to you, be proactive by setting expectations around how fast non-urgent requests will be taken care of.

Matthew Jarvis likes to help his clients place their requests in the proper context: “You’re going to be retired a long time—decades. We’re going to work together most likely for the rest of your life. I don’t want to rush this step.” Micah Shilanski always has his office’s process of success in his back pocket: “I’m very clear with clients about that. I say, ‘Look, I have rushed people’s financial plans, and I did them a disservice.’

Whether you use Matthew or Micah’s go-to explanation or find your own words, explain to clients that it takes time to implement any important process correctly, and you’re simply not going to rush your clients’ retirement. And have the confidence to tell clients there are plenty of advisors who will rush their life’s work if your own process of success doesn’t work for them.

Clear the Headtrash

There’s a tendency to think that as soon as you tell your clients they have to meet with you on your schedule, they’ll all jump ship, and your business will fail. Of course, those thoughts are only headtrash. To combat this, look at the bigger picture. If you’re still bringing on new clients, don’t let headtrash hold you back from standing by your process! 

Remember, even before they booked their very first appointment and became a new client—before you ever had a chance to explain what a surge schedule is and how it works in your office—every prospect you meet with has already been exposed to the surge cycle. They did not get in for their initial appointment the very next day; they spoke to the person you’ve delegated to answer your phones, considered your availability, and made themselves available within that time.

Implementing a surge schedule is no different. Remember, Matthew and Micah ask new prospects to wait four to six weeks, and their businesses continue to do just fine. They can’t change their entire firm’s process for hundreds of clients just for one prospect. As far as they’re concerned, clients who aren’t willing to wait for their services just aren’t a good fit for their businesses.

Build a Communication Policy

It’s true that for every 99% of client issues that can be handled by your relationship manager or during the next scheduled meeting, there’s another 1% that has to be dealt with right away. While your proven system should take care of the majority of your clients, tragedy does occur, and sometimes it’s important to be flexible. That’s why a strong communication policy is so important.

The first method of communication a client needs to know about is the top tier. Reassure clients that for anything they consider a “911 emergency,” they should skip the email, pick up the phone, call the office, and tell whoever answers that they need to speak with their advisor right away. “If you think it’s that big of an emergency, then I think it’s that big of an emergency,” Micah confirms.

Of course, if it’s not a 911 emergency, then email—the middle tier of communication—is a great option. Micah explains it like this: “Please understand, we don’t get to emails every single day. Just like you, we get hundreds of emails every day, so we have times at which the team focuses on emails. If you email after that time, we just may not catch it that day. Again, if it’s an emergency, pick up the phone and call.”

The third and final tier of communication is via appointments, scheduled times that you and your client meet to discuss their financial plan. Micah explains this to his clients, then adds a bit of social validation: “What I know after doing this for over 20 years is that this works really, really well with my clients. All I ask is that you give it a shot.”

With strong expectations and clear communication in place, you’ll be empowering your clients to help you maintain your communication tiers, and they’ll have the peace of mind that however long they may have to wait for a scheduled meeting, you’ll be there for them in case of an emergency.

 

Resources In Today's Episode:

Read the Transcript Below:

This is The Perfect RIA, in case you didn’t know. Bringing you all the strategies to help your business grow. Are you happy? Are you satisfied? Are you hanging on the edge of your seat? Sit back and listen in while you feel the beat. Another myth bites the dust…

Micah Shilanski: Welcome back to another amazing episode of The Perfect RIA Podcast. I’m your co-host and co-founder Micah Shilanski. And with me as usual, the legendary Matthew Jarvis.

Matthew Jarvis:   For our long-time listeners of the show, you know that Micah and I often joke about living in a van down by the river, A.K.A, Micah, traveling with his family in an RV. Micah and I, are both literally sitting outside a van, not by the river per se, more like an estuary inlet here in Alaska.

Micah Shilanski: No, no. I’ll a little bit of knowledge drop right here. This is called Turnagain Arm that we’re sitting next to, and Captain Cook actually, when they explored this up here, they actually thought it was a river.

And so, they called it Turnagain Arm, because they kept getting stuck because the tide is so large in Alaska, you got 20 plus foot tides that’s there. The tide would go out and then they’d be crap, their boat would be stuck. Then they’d have to wait for the next tide to come in.

So, it actually took him a long time to explore this area and discovered it actually was not a river, it is just an inlet.

Matthew Jarvis:   Interesting. Now, didn’t Captain Cook ultimately, get like beat to death by the locals in Hawaii? Isn’t that how he met his demise?

Micah Shilanski: That is correct. Interesting story about that one as well. And talks about making sure you have the correct rounds in your firearm is super important because they did not have lethal ammunition in their weapons.

And so, when the locals got a little riley with him, he thought he had the lethal ammunition, and they came at him and he shot. And when he shot, it was just like this equivalent of bird shot. It did nothing to them, and that really invoked them even more to get violence.

Matthew Jarvis:   Understandably so.

Micah Shilanski: Right. Understandably so. So yes, if you’re going to carry, carry the right ammo.

Matthew Jarvis:   Well, with that interesting bit of background on Captain Cook and you can go to the Captain Cook Memorial or monument that’s in Hawaii, it’s kind of a fun hike down.

Want to talk today … this is course in the month of August, this podcast will air just after we did our members webinar on how you’re going to do your fall surge or more specifically, Micah, how you and I are doing our fall surge. We went through agendas, we went through confirmations, we went through value ads.

But we want to talk today about if you’re new to surge or if you have a new client who has not yet experienced surge, how do you manage that expectation because not to try to make too deep of a tie to Captain Cook here, but a lot of his conflicts were from not managing expectations correctly.

So, we don’t want your clients to mutiny on you. Though, that’s kind of your head trash. Like our head trash is almost like if I tell a new prospect that they can’t see me for six months, it would be better if they killed me because otherwise, they’re going to quit.

Micah Shilanski: Amen. And as soon as they quit, all my clients fire me. I’m the now homeless living in a van down by the river where we are at right now.

Matthew Jarvis:   Where we are right now.

Miach:        So yeah, that is such a great thought. And one of the things that comes into setting of expectations, this is not a set of an expectation; yes, you need to do it in, I’m going to call it the new client meeting. So, I have my prospect meeting, my initial appointment meeting that prospects pay for when they come in to see me, et cetera.

But even, Jarvis, before they have showed up for that appointment, even before they have agreed to become a new client and I go over our communication policy of which is included of when they’re going to see and how surge cycle works, they have already been predisposed to this cycle of surge because when they called the office or went online to make an appointment with me, they did not get in tomorrow.

They did not get me on the phone, they did not get me to next week on there. We have set times that are there for clients and prospects to come in and see. And so, when a prospect calls into book an appointment, if they want to see me, then they’re having to wait four to six months in order to get on my calendar.

Now, we have other advisors that they can meet a little bit more readily with. But with myself, nope, it’s four to six months.

So, they’ve already been predisposed to this in there, and I want to make sure I highlight that. Now, if you’re not there yet in your calendar and your booking process, that’s totally fine. But keep that in mind, it is your pre-communication that’s helping set expectations.

So, if you’re still answering your phone, you’re setting your own appointment, because you answered the phone and they’re like, “What do you mean? I can’t see you in six weeks because you answered the phone. I’m talking to you about booking on your calendar,” we’ve already shot yourself in the foot in setting those expectations.

Matthew Jarvis:   Micah, something always comes up here when we talk to advisors about this, is sometimes people don’t understand the importance of creating this client experience of exclusivity. And even to the point where people say, well, that’s manipulative. If my entire week is available because I don’t have meetings (and that’s a different issue, we’ll discuss), then when you go online to book me, then every time slot of every day should be available.

And I think that’s a common misunderstanding, and a way to reflect this is, for those of us that enjoy drinking wine; none of us on a routine basis at least are drinking wine out of a red solo cup. Why? Is the wine any different? Objectively, no. Objectively, the wine is the same in a red solo cup as it is on a fancy piece of crystal glass. But the experience feels different.

Same is true for your office. If I can call Micah’s office and say, “Can I schedule a meeting with Micah?” And they say, “Well, guess what actually Micah’s available right now let me go interrupt him, he’ll talk to you.”

That is creating an experience of why isn’t this guy busy? Like doesn’t have anything else going on? So, don’t get your head trash hung up on like, hey, me being available is somehow the best way to go. You need to create this experience for clients that creates exclusivity. And of course, is better for them in the long run as well.

Micah Shilanski: And Jarvis, this is a little bit of, you have to do this before you’re that busy? So, back when I did not have the full amount of clients and all of these other things and my wife was actually setting the appointments, I would watch the kids in the office while my wife would make the phone calls in order to set the appointments because it couldn’t be me making the call, because of the perception that it gave to prospects that I had nothing else to do and going on.

So, even though it was just my family, my wife, I’m literally in the next room watching the kids and this is happening — that was really important for that experience that was going to be there. It’s just such a huge point.

Matthew Jarvis:   It really is. I mean, every little thing, we can go to every little thing. But so Micah, you talked about with prospects, you’ve already set the stage of, hey, I have a schedule that I follow, I’m not readily available because I’m very popular. A lot of people want to see me.

So, they’ve already got that. Talk to us a little bit more. So, you have your initial meeting that you’ve charged for. They decide they want to become a client, they’re kind of going to the … how do you set the expectation that, hey, we’re really only going to see each other in the spring and the fall and actually, not when you want spring and fall, when I define spring and fall.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah. Well, it even goes one step further, if I can tell you about this presetting the expectations. Keep in mind, I do seven to eight client meetings per day. Which some will think is a lot, some will think I’m barely scratching the surface, and I’m kind of in that ladder camp. But I’m doing seven to eight.

So, what that means is when a prospect has come into my lobby, they see me in a client meeting. So, now, it’s another expectation that I’m busy. Guess what? When I get done with my client meeting on time and I transition to them and I pick them up and come into my conference room on time, and I end that client meeting on time when they leave, guess what else they see? Another client waiting to see me.

So, right, this is really helping set a lot of those expectations.

So, they’ve gone through and seen that process, they’ve engaged with us, they want us to become a client, we’re all about delivering massive value, so it’s like, “Holy crap, how do you deliver massive value if you’re going to see them in spring and fall?”

And really, what we talk with the clients about is the first-year engagement is we want to make sure we go through our five-step financial planning process, which is estate planning, risk management, retirement income, investments and taxes.

Now, I know this isn’t being visually recorded right now, but Jarvis can see me. I’m going through with my hands one step at a time, just like I would do in a client meeting so they could see this.

So, in the next 12 months, we’re going to make sure that we cover all five of these areas of financial planning, and making sure we not only create because creation is really worthless; we implement their financial plan to make sure that they’re on track for retirement.

So, I’m setting that expectation that regardless of when we’re going to meet next, those things are going to happen in the next 12 months. That’s the reason I bring this up beforehand. And I say, “Great.”

In order to best serve our clients — and Mr. and Mrs. Prospect, you probably already noticed when you made the appointment, I kind of book out a few months in advance and they’re like, “Yeah, it was hard to get an accountant.” I’m like, “Yeah, the ladies do a phenomenal job at keeping me really busy.”

Great news; when you become a client, you are now our priority to get on my calendar. And I’m sorry to say that last time for this appointment, you weren’t a priority, but we always want to make sure we’re taking care of our clients first. And they’re like, “You know what? We really appreciate that.” Great.

So, here’s how we’re going to run our calendar. We have set times of the year in which we meet our clients and we do that to deliver the most value to you. So, we look at it and say, “Great, as you’re getting ready for retirement, when is the best time that I should be meeting with my clients to deliver the most value?”

So, our next time maybe we’re meeting in spring and it says great. The next time, and maybe it’s a mini surge that I’m going to get them in, so maybe it’s not even October just to be fair. Maybe there’s a mini surge that we’re going to have a phone call in June or phone call in July, and says great.

Then the next time we’re going to meet is October. And here’s the things that you need to do on your homework between now and then, here’s the things that we need to do on ours.

Matthew Jarvis:   I like that. Now, for those of you listening, this is the exact script that Micah uses again and again and again and again in every prospect meeting other than it refines constantly.

But I want to draw something small out. If Micah had spent most or Micah, if you had spent most of your prospect meeting reading the 73 mutual funds that you’re going to use, there would not have been time to set this expectation.

Micah Shilanski: I can’t do that in a meeting. I’m just kidding, I do not do that.

Matthew Jarvis:   If you could get both … and I just want to highlight that because it’s important where you’re spending your time. LYou get an hour in the meeting, maybe it’s an hour 10, maybe it’s 50 minutes. That’s not really a material here. You need to decide how you’re going to spend that time.

Spending that time setting expectations is some of the best you can do. The only thing better than that is of course, listening to the client’s questions, that’s obviously number one.

But think about that like, “Hey, if I’m going to tell the story about my kids or if I’m going to tell this story about this mutual fund or whatever, is that more important than me setting this expectation around surge meetings or how you get a hold of me? Or how you treat my team? Or how we deliver massive value?”

So, always be weighing that out throughout your client meetings.

Micah Shilanski: And keep in mind, clients do not care about your personal stories. I am so sorry to break that to you. They care about you being able to work with them, to deliver massive value to them in their situation.

Now, once you do that, then of course, they have a little bit of interest in your family and these other things, but you can’t let your stories rob from theirs. So, this isn’t a one up in game. A client sent me to go to Europe, I don’t tell them about the fun time I had — I ask them about their trip. This isn’t a one up and game and it’s an ability … I love that our time is precious. How do you make the most value out at that time and effectively communicating?

Now, and Jarvis, I’m going to say it’s not just about the expectations with you and your practice, all expectations. If a client is having an issue with the IRS, number one; do not call him. That’s my number one tip.

“No, I just want to call them, they’ll fix it.” It will not fix it. Whoever you’re talking to will not help you, it will make it worse and you’re just going to get it frustrated. We’re going to handle this via correspondence. And this is a six-month process to handle via correspondence.

So, I’m setting expectations, whether it’s that, it’s retirement, it’s a transfer. We’re doing a transfer for an asset. You do a same thing when you do that? You’re talking about transferring assets to fidelity. You do a phenomenal job in that.

Matthew Jarvis:   Every time. We talk about, hey, sometimes these companies forget whose money this is. One of our jobs is to remind them sometimes again and again and again, over the course of several weeks whose it is.

Micah, I want to highlight just a second, if a prospect pushes back and sometimes they do. If they’re used to working with an advisor that saw them every quarter or every month, or they read that, I always like to have another layer of defense.

Which when someone brings that up, I say, “You know, many advisors try to act busy by meeting with you all the time, but I know Mr. Prospect, that your time is very valuable. I also know that I and my team need time to do this behind-the-scenes work.

Therefore, instead of having you come in here every month so that we can read your statement to you, we’re just going to meet twice a year. Unless of course, something urgent comes up, then we’re going to meet right away.”

So, I always want to make sure I’ve got my very good explanation, Micah, that you gave me. But then I have some additional layers of defense that I only bring up if there’s some pushback.

Otherwise, I just want to let that go. I heard this mentor once, he said, “Never say, boo, boo, if you can scare them with boo.” Alright, you’re right. Don’t say “Boo, boo, if you get them with boo.”

Micah Shilanski: I love it. There’s two things that I always have. One of them I’m always going to go through, but the other one I always have in my back pocket as well. And one of them is … and I said it before in passing, but I’ll go into more details into it, is our process of success.

And I’m very clear with clients about that, and I’ve told them before, says, “Look, I have rushed people’s financial plans and I did them a disservice.” Because-

Matthew Jarvis:   Well, that’s a true story, by the way. That’s not just a hypothetical.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah. A client was a limited time, blah, blah, blah, whatever excuse. And I brought them in boom, boom, boom one after another. And the problem isn’t me keeping up with this, the problem is the client keeping up with this.

And there’s a lot of things we need to go through and it takes time to implement this correctly and I’m not going to rush your retirement. We’re going to do this in our process of success.

And it’s okay if that doesn’t work for you, there’s plenty of advisors that will rush this thing. I’m not, it has to be done correctly.

Matthew Jarvis:   Another great line to use there is you’re going to be retired a long time, decades. We’re going to work together most likely for the rest of your life. I don’t want to rush this step. So, again, it’s putting it in context.

Now, Micah, for advisors that are implementing surge, even if it’s maybe you’re not going to a full surge, spring and fall, couple weeks each; maybe you’re just cutting off Fridays or Mondays or one or two weeks a month.

We’ve done entire classes, our good friend, Benjamin Brandt did a masterclass, it’s available on surge. Whether you’re easing into it or you’ve been doing a long time — I’ve been doing search for 10 plus years.

A few months ago, in May in our client newsletter, we had a whole explanation again about why we do surge meetings. We’re always setting and resetting that expectation.

Micah Shilanski: Absolutely, all the time. And I will say huge plug for Ben, he did a great job. I was just reviewing his video the other day on the surge client prep checklist, just a phenomenal piece. And there’s a great video on our website if you haven’t seen it, make sure you jump in and check it out.

At least get that surge checklist and watch the video of how Ben goes through it and how it maximizes his time with the client and minimizes the needless prep time; not prep time, the needless prep time. That’s there. So, just anyways, great piece.

Jamie Shilanski:  Hey podcast, listeners. This is Jamie Shilanski and I’m here to tell you that your goals aren’t good enough because if you have a goal, I don’t care; written on a notepad taped to your monitor, stuck up on the wall, somewhere in your office, it’s not going to get you to achieve any type of results that you’re looking for.

Goals without plans are plans to fail. You know that The Perfect RIA is all about action. And that’s why you have a unique opportunity to purchase your ticket for the pre-conference event of the year in Denver, Colorado.

Join Matthew Jarvis and Micah Shilanski on October 8th, 2022 for the XYPN Pre-Con; a one-day action packed interactive workshop where you get to work hand-in-hand with other advisors just like you who want to achieve success and are ready to do what works.

Listen to our panel of success, get your questions answered about what works and what pitfalls you need to avoid in your career. And then, we want you up and out of your seat. We’ll be taking out the head trash, doubling your efficiency, looking for ways of effectiveness, and partnering you up with accountability partners.

It’s time to stop talking about success and start planning for it. Go to theperfectria.com to purchase your ticket to the XYPN event in Denver, Colorado on October 8th, 2022.

Micah Shilanski: So, this is something that you constantly have to bring up, whether you’re implementing anything new, you’re implementing a client’s email. You’re going to be off for Christmas. It’s a new client schedule, you’re changing your phone number. You’re now instead of answering your phones at eight, you’re answering them at nine.

Whatever that thing is, you constantly have to bring that back up to the client. And number one, we always leave with why this is beneficial to our clients. So, why is surge beneficial?

And then Jarvis, and I know you do the same thing — as I’m wrapping up my meeting, I’m always setting the expectation of when we should meet next. Why? Because I don’t want the client to have to call Sierra our relationship manager back and say, “Hey, when do I meet next with Micah?”

Then Sierra has to come to me and says, “Well, you didn’t tell me when they were going to meet, so when are they going to meet?” And now, it took two days to get back to a client on the next calendar meeting.

So, I’m always writing down on my homework sheet, communicating to the client and letting my relationship manager know when is the next time that we’re going to meet and why it is ideal for the client.

Matthew Jarvis:   Micah, that ties into email correspondence with clients as well. Anytime there’s an email that I need (which is rare) — but anytime there’s an email that I or my team need to respond to, we always start with, “Hey, we’ll be sure to add this item to our next meeting agenda, which is in October or April,” whatever the next one is.

“But until then, here’s a quick explanation. And by the way, if you’d like to go into more detail …” like if we need to go into this in more detail, now, I always say, if this is as clear as mud smiley face, then let’s schedule a call and Colleen can give you a link to my calendar.

So, even an email correspondence, “Hey, by the way, our next meeting will be … then I’ve added this to our agenda.” But again, they’ve got the safety valve, if you need to talk to me now, we can do that.

Micah Shilanski: Absolutely. And we call that our client communication policy. And our client communication policy, it’s a one-pager. We explain this to clients when they onboard.

Remember earlier, I was saying there’s two things that I have; one of them is our process of success, the second is the client communication policy. And we send this out to client Jarvis.

And now, if you’re backstage pass member, great news, there’s a copy of it on the sites. You can jump on theperfectria.com and you can get a copy of this. And it goes through the three levels of communication. Number one, we always lead with our 911.

This also talks about what is the best way to communicate with us and says, look, if it’s an emergency, that is not an email, that is a telephone. Pick up the phone and call, tell Sierra, tell whoever answers the phone, “This is an emergency, I need to talk to Micah today.”

Then guess what? You’re going to talk to me today. If you think it’s that big of an emergency, then I think it’s that big of an emergency, and we’re going to talk today, and we’re going to make sure that happens.

Now, if it’s not a 911 emergency, then email could be a great option. Please understand, we don’t get to emails every single day. This is about a two-day response because email, I mean, it’s just mail, right?

Matthew Jarvis:   It is literally in the name, yes.

Micah Shilanski: Clients will laugh about that. It says, you know what? Just like you, we get hundreds of emails every single day and so, we have times at which the team focuses on emails and so, if you email after that time, we just may not catch it that day. So, again, if it’s an emergency, pick up the phone and call, let’s make sure.

Then the third way we’re going to communicate is via our appointments. And those are going to be scheduled times that we’re going to talk and we’re going to make sure we can go through things. And Mr. And Mrs. Client, what I know is after doing this for over 20 years, this works really, really well with my clients.

So, all I ask is that you give it a shot and if it doesn’t work, we’re happy to talk and find a better way to communicate.

Matthew Jarvis:   By the way, so many pieces in the script, Micah, and as I’m watching you go through it and your hand gestures that you can’t resist doing … and it’s all part, it’s all very intentional and if you, as a listener, don’t understand all these pieces, that’s okay. Like Micah and I spent, geez, I don’t want to admit to two decades trying to figure this stuff out.

Just mirror these scripts. The pacing is intentional. The fact that he said, “Hey, this is a proven model of success. Our other clients really enjoy this …” other social validation, there’s so many things going on here that are missed by people who aren’t in the trenches.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah, very, very much so. Everything counts; everything helps or everything hurts. There’s nothing neutral in my opinion, when a client walks in … I had a client take me to task on our signage.

It was super embarrassing, but oh my gosh, it got fixed. And he’s a great client, former business owner, and he came in and he pulled me out. I went up to the lobby to get him, he says, “I got to show you something.” And he walks outside and he shows the signage and it’s just peeling just a little bit.

Matthew Jarvis:   Oh, like the Shilanski & Associates-

Micah Shilanski: And he’s like, “What do you think I think of when I see your sign coming apart when I walk in? You think I think you’re successful? You think this is where I want my money to be?” And I’m like, “No,” and he’s like, “Look, you’re professional, act professional, get this crap fixed.”

And I really appreciate the fact that he points these things out and he’s not being a jerk about it, whatsoever. He is helping me out so much because he wants to peel that thing back.

But it really brought home Jarvis, everything counts. It either helps or it hurts, there’s nothing neutral. And I want everything when a client walks in, when they communicate with us, that it helps.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love every single thing. An interesting place, Micah, where I think advisors miss a great opportunity, both an opportunity and a critical piece, is getting your team on board that surge is a great idea.

Again, whether you’re doing a full-blown surge or you’re doing mini surge, or you’re cutting Fridays off — if in your team’s mind, this is just so you can slack off on a day, that is what’s going to be communicated to the client, albeit subconsciously, but you’ve got to sell them on it first.

So, your first area to practice and an essential piece, is making sure your team is on board in their heart of hearts. Not just like, “Hey Matt, it’s your practice, whatever you want.” But that they really have conviction.

One way, Micah, that I was able to do this just this year in April in our client newsletter … excuse me in May, I had Colleen, she does a little Colleen’s corner. I said, “Hey, would you write about why surge meetings are so important to clients?”

And so, she wrote in her words, not mine, “Here’s why we meet in April, here’s why we meet in the fall. And if you need anything between,” but she really has conviction. Like in her heart of hearts, she’s like surge meetings are the way to go.

And so, if your team has hesitation about it, it’s on you, of course, extreme ownership. This is the first place to start.

Micah Shilanski: And this is one of those things too. I have zero hesitation about telling clients that says, you know what? One of the reasons that we do surge meeting is between us and our team, guess what? We’re like every other Alaskan; we like to play in the summer.

And they laugh and they’re like, yeah, I get … I was like, “The fish are running, I want to go out there too.” But we have to make sure we’re taking care of you first, and by designing surge this way, this allows both of us an opportunity to go play in the summer while making sure you’re taken care of.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love it. And there’s so many pieces there to dissect. But what I want to highlight though, is don’t use what you fear your clients are going to say as the reason to not do surge.

So, this head trash around, “Hey, I can’t do this because …” and that’s the monster under the bed, we’re talking about like this imaginary thing, not what’s actually happened.

We now know, geez, Micah, we must know hundreds of advisors implementing surge successfully, I have yet to meet an advisor (and if you’re one, I’d love to hear from you) who said, “Hey, I lost a client or I lost a prospect because I do surge meetings.”

Micah Shilanski: Well, I’m going to say that I’ve had prospects not willing to wait six months to come and see me.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s a good point.

Micah Shilanski: Just to be fair. So, that absolutely happens. But you know what? That wasn’t a good fit for us and the firm. I can’t change my entire firm’s process of well over 500 clients with all the advisors, probably 600 clients with all of our advisors, for one prospect. So, I really got to balance those things out.

Now, so my Littman test, am I still bringing on new clients, am I still getting prospects? Just like if a prospect tells me no, it happens. And it’s also, oh my gosh, I have to change everything, I have to discount my fees, I have to meet at Sunday at 7:00 AM — all that stuff doesn’t change because one person said no.

So, I got to look at the bigger picture. And so often, us as advisors, we get so focused on that possible rejection; not real — possible rejection.

Matthew Jarvis:   What was that, Seneca? Is this the pain I so fear? One thing I want to highlight here, Micah, I’m curious to hear your thoughts; as you’re implementing surge, sometimes advisors get on the side of over-communicating it, which might seem odd, that might seem contrary to the dishwasher rule.

But if you decide that one week a month you’re not going to meet with clients, you don’t need to do a press announcement about this. You don’t need to do this whole elaborate thing. You just need to make sure your team is prepared that if a client calls in that week, “Hey, Matthew’s working on whatever this week, whatever that is or he is out of town with his family this week, and he’ll be glad to see you next week or two weeks from now.”

So, don’t feel … if you’re making some really minor change to your practice, this doesn’t need to be overly communicated, but again, don’t let the head trash of it hold you back. I’m yet to see a reason not to do surge.

Micah Shilanski: So, Tim Ferriss has a great blog post on fear setting. So, make sure you check that out.

Matthew Jarvis:   Oh yeah, he does. It’s a whole Ted talk, I think.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah. It’s phenomenal. And so, check that out when you’re doing it, but also — and Jarvis, this such a great idea, I got it from you; is using this fear setting. I didn’t have that lens of it when I would talk with the team, but now, I’m using that lens of it when I’m talking with the team.

Whenever we want to do something new; we’re going to run out a new value ad, we’re going to have a new communication piece, we’re going to do a new seminar, we’re going to change up something, there’s always hesitation in the team of saying, “Okay, we have a well-oiled machine, it’s working really well, and here comes Micah wanting to change it again.”

And so, it’s like, okay, great that’s fair. It’s very fair feedback. And so, I was like, “Okay, great. Let’s go through and look at this and let’s fear set and validate their concerns.” Because it is their concerns, I have a great team, therefore, their concerns are valid.

I believe that in my heart of hearts. Even though I can hear them, as soon as they start talking, I know what they’re going to say and I know how I’m going to fix it — that does not validate their concern. I need to do that better in my home life. So many things to work on there.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s another podcast show that we’re going to start.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah, exactly. So, those are things that we really need to focus on is validating that concern; how are we going to change that, et cetera. I love it.

Matthew Jarvis:   There’s so much good stuff on surge, again, Ben Brandt’s masterclass, you could go back and look at the webinar, Micah, that you and I just did looking at our fall surge. Later this year, we’re going to outline our entire surge and value ad schedule for this upcoming year.

In October, we’re going to be in Denver at XYPN Live doing a conference on October 8th that people can come at 10th. But Micah, any other thoughts on setting expectations around surge meetings for clients?

Micah Shilanski: Just do it. You can overanalyze this all day long. This is just something that you need to implement, you need to do, have a process and practice for the love of … practice. And so many advisors are unwilling to practice this. And you don’t practice in front of a client. You practice in front of a mirror, you practice in your head, and in front of a mirror, then in your conference room.

Go through this and get down to it where you can say this with such conviction, just like I know my name is Micah Shilanski, I do surge and our next meetings in six months.

Matthew Jarvis:   I was to do another episode on this, and again, our advisors listening, feel free to email in, lifestyle, The Perfect RIA. How often are you practicing?

It’s tough to know how much other advisors are practicing, we don’t know, but Micah consistently, when I talk to top performers in any field, but especially advisors, I can immediately tell the ones that have practiced, the ones who have sat in front of the mirror, which is probably the most painful thing ever short of watching the video of yourself.

But the practice, I mean, I practice on my wife, I practice with my teenagers, I practice with my team. You and I, before we give webinars, we practice the whole thing out loud. And it’s totally different when I do it out loud than when I thought I have this perfectly written script and I go to do it out loud, and it’s like, wait, that doesn’t work at all.

Micah Shilanski: And it’s not the hours that we spend mentally going through these slides in advance by the way because when we’re doing a webinar, and I’m not discounting our members webinar — we’ve looked at the slides, we’ve thought about the process, we have this thing scheduled out; in my mind I’m going through it again and again and again. But that’s not practice, that is pre-practice. And that’s getting me ready to practice, which is fantastic.

But until it’s out loud and I’m going through it, that is not practice.

Matthew Jarvis:   Well, I think Micah, this transitions us nicely to our first action items, which let’s say whatever your surge expectation management script is, practice that thing. Practice it to 5 people, to 10 people, 10 times out loud.

So, that again, Micah, to your point, it comes off as smoothly as, “Hey, what’s your name?” “My name’s Matthew Jarvis.” “When do you do meetings?” “I do meetings in April and October.” “Can I do meetings in between?” “Nope.” “Great news. We have meetings in April and October. Which one would you like?”

Micah Shilanski: Fantastic. Step number two is write out a one page … if you’re backstage pass member, just take ours. But write out a one-page process on how you’re going to do surge. Why do we limit this thing to one page? Because you got to stop somewhere and you can overcomplicate this really, really quickly. That is a great way to do it.

Matthew Jarvis:   I would say, wait, do a hundred. Action item number three would be pulled that communication policy, Micah, that’s from your office that works so well, adapt it to you and your practice. And first, give it to your team and make sure your team is following it before you give it to clients.

The last thing you want to do is say, this is our communication policy, and then they call and something opposite happens.

Micah Shilanski: Yep, and it will because that is the way that life works. So, this podcast as always is about taking action items.

So, I know we come up with these every week and we love the listenings of we’re getting close to a million downloads on the podcast, which is fan freaking fantastic. And we just love our listeners and the feedback we get from you guys.

But we’re doing this, not to stroke our egos. We’re doing this to change the industry and to help advisors increase the massive value that they offer. And that’s done by action. So, make sure you take action this week.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love it. And if you haven’t yet visited theperfectria.com and sign up for our newsletter, which is all sorts of exceptional material. You can also see Ben’s masterclass on surge meetings there, you can sign up for XYPN Live. Be sure to give us five stars on whatever platform you’re on. And Micah until next time, by a van down by the river.

Micah Shilanski: Happy planning.

Matthew Jarvis:   Happy planning.

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