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What You'll Learn In Today's Episode:

  • Why your team members need more freedom and responsibility.
  • Understanding the best use of your time.
  • What your team always needs from you.
  • A mistake advisors often make.
  • How team members can help clients without going to you.
  • What team members are never empowered to do.
  • Where to check yourself.
  • How to handle clients who insist on working with you.
  • The two-email policy and avoiding creating frustration.

Is it possible to delegate all initial client emails, tasks, and communications—and expect your team to run it like you would? Matthew and Micah sit down to address the difficulties in delegation and share insight into how they help their own team members run triage on client requests. If you’re hoping to carve out more time for yourself and empower your team in a way that allows your business to grow, this episode is for you.

Listen in to hear about the importance of giving team members the freedom and access that allows them to help you more effectively in your practice. The guys also spell out how to create an environment that allows you and your team members to make the best use of time and how to tackle common issues in the office, from answering phones to ways your team can help clients immediately (without needing you).

  • We hear all of the time being in the RIA space is lonely. It is hard to find like-minded individuals who want to help you to achieve success.

    And most likely, you often ask yourself the same question (we all do)  – Where do I start?

    The TPR’s Starter Kit offers you access to the One Page Financial Plan, Time Blocking & Buckets, our most popular power sessions of all time!

Podcast Article:

Helping Your Team Help Your Clients

Does your team have the training and autonomy they need to keep the office going in your absence?

You know delegation is the key to taking control of your time and being a more effective leader—but how do you set your team up for success with even more client responsibilities? In this article, Matthew and Micah explain how they’ve built their rockstar teams and share tips to help you grow your own.

Action Items in This Article

  • Pick one service-oriented task you are responsible for (or feel responsible for) in your office and delegate it this week. 
  • Make sure your team has a way to ask you questions that doesn’t involve pinging you on the spot. Consider a weekly meeting agenda with a set of questions anyone in your office can add to. 
  • Give The Perfect RIA podcast a five-star rating on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts!

What Is the Best Use of Your Time?

Advisors new to the concept of delegation tend to be concerned about the level of freedom they’re suddenly giving their team and how much access to the business’s inner workings everyone now has. After all, what if something gets messed up? It’s not a comfortable feeling.

The fact is, even the team leader has the potential to make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. But that’s just the price of growth. As Micah observes, “In order for your practice to grow, every team member needs to be focused on the best use of their time. And yours is not checking email.”

Even at the risk of a few mistakes that need correcting along the way, you need to be out there figuring out how to grow your business and deliver massive value, not spending your days reacting to your clients’ every need. Follow these tips for growing a rockstar team that will propel your practice to new heights.

Change Your Perspective

Can’t envision a scenario where your clients can’t reach you directly? Anxious about releasing some of your responsibilities to your otherwise capable team? It’s time to think about delegation in a different way.

“You didn’t hand-sew your suit,” Matthew points out. “You’re not generating electricity for your office. You’re already delegating so many things.” If stepping away from the front lines of communication is difficult for you, think of it as just one more item in a long list of things you’re already relying on other people to do for you.

And if you’re worried all your clients will be upset that your team is taking care of a distribution or trade, don’t be. Sure, Micah has had one or two clients initially push back against having a team member take care of an item for them, but they’re still clients to this day. In Matthew’s experience, the situation is even rarer. “I’ve never had somebody get angry,” he confirms. “I’ve never had somebody say, ‘Only Matthew can handle this.’” 

Look to Other Professions

If you’re still struggling with the idea of stepping back from the front lines of communication, it may help to consider how it works in industries outside of your own. Matthew suggests looking to successful professions where the main providers are several layers removed from client communications.

“The doctor is not checking me in,” Matthew points out. “The doctor’s not even taking my blood pressure—that’s done by someone else. Same when I go on a flight. The pilot’s not seating me; the pilot does not come out and offer me a drink. That’s not their job.” As the leader of your own practice, you need to delegate service-based tasks and focus on your leadership responsibilities. Just remember this friendly reminder from Matthew: “As an advisor, your job is not to answer the phone!”

Empower Your Team

What happens if something happens to you? Does your office have a plan for taking care of basic operations without reaching out to you ten times a day? Is there an advisor who can step in and help run your office? Whether you have to step away for an unplanned reason, like a medical emergency or family issue, or whether you choose to step away to go on vacation or be with your family, your practice will run the smoothest if your team can address your clients’ most common and basic needs.

So what’s the secret? “The more I empower my team, the more they can run the office themselves,” Micah says. That means setting up the processes that will best help your team make successful decisions, with strong checklists for team members to follow as they take over some of your tasks. By putting a system in place now for those client tasks your team is likely to encounter, they will be able to handle the vast majority of incoming requests while you’re away.

Of course, any time you give your team more responsibility than they’re used to, it’s important that they understand you’ll be available in an emergency. With advance permission to call you if a client really has an emergency (or if they feel that a client request is pushing the boundaries of what they’re equipped to handle), everyone on your team knows they have an escape valve in place if they need it, and they can focus on doing their best job.

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’m your co-host, Matthew Jarvis. And with me as usual, Micah Shilanski and we are talking specifically about teams and team training and team delegation, and when to fire team members, and when to hire team members.

And of course, Colleen and Victoria are doing an amazing webinar this month on their side of this, how it is in their offices.

And Micah, today, we want to talk about helping team members effectively triage incoming or outgoing client correspondence.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah, and Jarvis, a lot of this, what I find with advisors, who that are new to this concept, it’s really something they’ve been doing for a long time. They just don’t realize they’ve been doing it for a long time. And now, they’re ready for that next step is to give it away.

But they’re really concerned about how much freedom, how much access they’re giving to their team members with their day-to-day lives and everything that goes on. And that fear of, “Oh my gosh, what happens if something gets messed up?”

And I’m like, “No, don’t worry about it. It’s not, if something gets messed up, it’s when.” But guess what? You’re not perfect either. And you make mistakes as well. But this is really bringing in somebody to highlight those areas that are not the best use of your time. And we got to bring someone else who it is the best use of their time in.

In order for your practice to grow, every team member needs to be focused on what is the best use of their time. And yours is not checking email, is not doing initial client triage of communications.

Matthew Jarvis:   And again, we always like to look at other successful professions to remind us of the importance of this. And we talk about all the time when I go to the doctor’s office, the doctor is not checking me and the doctor’s not even taking my blood pressure, even if you’re going to concierge medicine.

So, you might say, well that’s because of the insurance company. Cool, when I go to concierge medicine, the doctor’s still not checking me in, the doctor’s still not taking my blood pressure, all of these things. That’s done by someone else.

Same when I go on a flight, the pilot’s not seating me. The pilot does not come out and offer me a drink. That’s not their job. And as an advisor, your job is not to answer the phone.

Micah Shilanski: That is 100% the case. Your job is not to answer the phone, your job is not to answer the emails. And I always bring up this question,when people are talking about emails. And I know July was our month of no emails. We talked about it in that period of time, but it’s also the aspect of saying, do you open your own mail at your office?

Matthew Jarvis:   Please tell me you don’t.

Micah Shilanski: Please tell me no. Most of the time, no, you’re not greeting the mailman. And it’s not because you don’t value the mailman, I’m extremely appreciative of the mailman. I like having packages and mail delivered on a timely basis. Very valuable, a service that’s being offered. That doesn’t mean I have to do that.

Someone in my team is delegated and responsible for opening that, scanning through all the stuff, removing all of the junk mail, all the flyers, all the crap that comes into our office, they throw it all in the trash.

They filter into a couple different piles, then they delegate it from there to other team members in order to process. I don’t see any of the paper mail that comes in my office.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. And not to beat this to death, we’ve talked about this on delegation before, you didn’t hand sew your suit. You’re not generating electricity for your office. So, you’re already delegating so many things. What we’re going to do is delegate one more thing. We want to be a little bit more intentional.

So, let’s talk about having team members triage, whether this is a new thing for you or something you’ve been doing all along. I know I always need to up my triage game. Micah, I think the very first thing here is to always have your team have a safety valve.

Micah Shilanski: Yes.

Matthew Jarvis:   So, I always want to lead with Colleen, Victoria, Sharnell, whomever on these teams; if a client calls and you don’t feel comfortable handling the situation solely at your discretion, you can get me on the phone right away.

Now, do not put them on hold to get me on the phone. This is setting expectations.

Micah Shilanski: I was just about say that. Yep.

Matthew Jarvis:   If you know I’m in the office there, say, “Hey, listen, Micah will call you back within the next 10 minutes,” or whatever timeframe is reasonable, we’ve established, but always give your team members a safety valve.

Micah Shilanski: One of the ways that we like to communicate this to our team members is saying we’re always looking to deliver more value to our clients. And so, what is a really good way to do that?

Well, what if we could answer their questions, and just go with me on this concept just real quick; what if we could answer their questions faster? If a client calls the office and needs to talk to Micah and then calls then gets ahold of me and schedules an appointment, or maybe I’m available, or whatever’s going on in your current office.

And I talk to them right then, and the client says they need money. And we chit-chat with the client, and I hang up. I’m going to go back to the team and have them do a distribution. So, really, I am just in the process of a telephone game. That’s all that’s happening right here.

Is that really adding value to our clients? And the advisor wants to say, “Well, of course it is because I’m thinking about where the distribution should come from. And I’m talking about taxes and I’m finding out where all the money is.”

And we get on this, but no, 99% of the time, you are not needed in that transaction. You need to remove yourself from that process and empower the team. And we go through this with the team, like who are all the people in this process that are going to touch it before it comes back to them. They’re like, “Holy crap, that’s a lot of waste of time. Why don’t I just go ahead and take care of that?”

“Fantastic, well, I think that’s a wonderful idea for you to take care of that.” And then Jarvis, to your point of saying, great, here’s the areas of success. Here’s how you can put this up where you could crush it, you can do a great job. And once it comes out of this area of success for you, okay, great. Now, it’s time to bring me in.

Matthew Jarvis:   We’ve talked about this in our videos on surge meeting, we’ve talked about in our videos on time management, some video series we did when we were in Hawaii with our families.

Micah Shilanski: That’s right.

Matthew Jarvis:   And so, there’s a lot of key steps that go on here. One of my highlight, also I talked about in my book, Delivering Massive Value, which a new addition is coming out soon with some fun bonus content that Micah and I have made.

But a mistake advisors often make, they say, “Well, you know what, I’ll have my team member answer the phone,” team member answers the phone and the client says, “Oh, is Micah there?” And they say the worst words they could say, “Let me check to see if he’s available,” which is code for, “Let me see if you’re important enough for Micah to take your call.” That’s 100% what that code is for.

Because it’s not like they need to see like I wonder if he’s physically in the office? What they’re doing is putting them on hold, not great, “Hey Micah, Dave’s on the phone. Do you want to talk to Dave?” “Oh, I … what does Dave want?” “I don’t know. I didn’t ask.” Meanwhile, the hold music’s going – that can never happen in your office.

Micah Shilanski: Absolutely not. And so, you have different scripts and you got to figure out what your team is comfortable saying, what are you comfortable messaging to your clients, and kind of how this goes back and forth.

And ours varies a little bit, depending … like right now, I’m out of town, and I have no problem with my team saying — when a client calls into the office, the office can say, “You know what, Micah is out with his family right now, enjoying some beautiful summertime in Alaska. He’s going to be back on this date. Is there something that I can help you with right now? Or is this an emergency that I need to get Micah on the line for?”

And so, we’re immediately empowering the client that says, “No, no, no. You’re still going to be taken care of. There’s a 911 valve if you need it, but is there something I can help you with?”

And guess what, all of my clients are fine with me being out, enjoying summertime in Alaska, as long as they were taken care of.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, and Micah to your point, that’s going to vary practice by practice and region by region, so the script that works here. What I would strongly discourage you against is lying because it’s not a good thing. I’ve seen offices-

Micah Shilanski: It’s full, in life, general.

Matthew Jarvis:   There’s this whole thou shout not thing. What I’ve seen offices make a mistake … and I’ll confess I’ve made this mistake in the past is to say, “Well, Jarvis is helping another client.” And they say, “I thought Jarvis was on a RV trip this week that he told me about.”

Or I knew an advisor who would always say that, “Jarvis is at a conference right now.” “Well, really? What conference is he at?”

So, just have integrity to say, “He’s not available.” During office hours you can say he’s helping another client or to Micah’s point, “Hey, he spending time with his family right now, but I know he’ll be excited to hear from you. What is this regarding?” And this goes into this next script; “What can I tell him it’s regarding, so he can be prepared for the call.”

“Oh, I’d just like to change the tax withholding on my whatever.” “Oh, great news. I’ll take care of that. Would you still like Micah to give you a call?” “Actually, no.” “Well, great news. So, we’ll take care of that. I’ll make sure to note that on your agenda for your next meeting, so he can discuss any other implications. Anything else I can do for you?” And off you go.

Micah Shilanski: I love it. The other thing that can come up is — and we talked about this before; but delegating to team members and we do it in our tax return review.

We have a 72-point checklist for our team members to help review a tax return. Because before, I had to review all the tax returns in my office, and we created a process for it.

Now, one of the really cool things in this is in distributions, I would always get distribution requests. Whenever a client would call in and want money, it would always end up back on my desk, not to process, but the team would come to me. And be like, “The client just wants an extra 500 bucks, they want a thousand dollars.” It’s like they have plenty of money for this, why am I having to answer this question?

Well, because I failed to effectively delegate this. And so, the first way I delegate it was alright, buckets. If they’re within their annual bucket limits to take the distribution and money out, perfect. I know Jarvis gets really choked up when we talk about buckets.

So, if the client is within their annual distribution, then you can just process it. We’ve already set it up, we already put that system in place.

But then I still got Jarvis more questions that were coming back from the team. And then it was taxes. My team did not know how much taxes to hold on all these distributions. Ah, okay, perfect. I have failed to communicate this.

Now, this goes back to the 72-point checklist — on the tax return, every single year, when we get it, we grab the client’s marginal tax rate. Not their effective tax rate, their marginal rate, and it goes in the CRM.

And we just have a standing rule now in the office, it makes it super easy. If a client comes in and needs a distribution, is it within their 5% annual distribution that they can take safely? And if it is coming from a taxable asset, then whatever their marginal rate is, we are going to withhold on taxes. And that covers 99% of all situations across the board.

Now, my team doesn’t have to wait a week in order for me to get back or go back and forth and play phone tag or ask multiple questions, blah, blah, blah. My team knows immediately what’s there and Jarvis on the script side of it, it says, “Well, perfect. I see Micah has already has notes in here that when you need money, we need to make sure we’re withholding at least 22% in taxes to make sure you don’t have an unexpected surprise from the IRS. Is that going to be okay?”

And the client’s like, “Yeah, Micah, is already on top of this? That’s fantastic.” Which is a hundred percent true. We looked at it in advance. If the client needs money, we have that already set up. And if the client says, “No, I don’t want to withhold any taxes,” okay well, then, great.

Then we empower the team to bring me into that conversation at that point in time. You don’t need to get in a tax argument with the client, you need to do what the client’s wanting, but then it’s going to get escalated to me to say, “Okay, Bob just took $75,000 out of his retirement account at zero withheld on taxes,” and I’m going to have an issue come April when he has a tax bill.

So, we can set these processes up that fully empowers the team to make successful decisions.

Matthew Jarvis:   Micah, two things come up real quick. One is the team is not empowered to argue with a client. They are not empowered to argue with a client — and “argue” is not even the right word. Because I don’t feel like we ever argue with clients. To coach clients, to correct them, to help them see the bigger picture, that’s not their job. Like that’s where the line is.

So, to your example, client calls in, “Hey, I want to pull out a million dollars.” “Great, I’m going to get Micah on the phone, is tomorrow okay? “No, I’m going to pull out …” and say, “Great, let me get Micah on the phone today and we’re going to take care of this.” They’re not going to try to talk them out of it.

The second one that occurred to me when you talked about going into the CRM and putting in the tax withholding, as advisors, when that’s not happening, we’re either being lazy — so, a team member comes to me and asks me a question like how much taxes should we hold, that’s because either I was lazy or I’m using this as some kind of weird avoidance ego behavior. Like I feel really important when the team has to come and ask me.

Micah Shilanski: So good.

Matthew Jarvis:   And I don’t mean this to slight anyone or even myself. It’s really like, there’s some kind coolness of like “That’s right, I’m so important here.”

Micah Shilanski: I’m the source of all information.

Matthew Jarvis:   That instead of putting the tax withholding in the CRM or making sure there was enough cash in the portfolio at all times to cover distributions, they have to call me, the king.

And so, check yourself on that. When your team’s coming to you with what we would call mundane questions, that’s either because you are being lazy or you’re getting an ego stroke out of this, and this is a place to check your head trash and knock that off.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah, and it goes back to, is this delivering the most value to your clients? And it’s not. And the second question, is this delivering the most value to your team? No, it’s not. We’re not empowering the team to make these decisions, which you can.

So, Jarvis, the point that we distinct, that we make in our office is a team member may not give advice. Okay, what’s advice?

Matthew Jarvis:   Oh, that’s a great way to put that.

Micah Shilanski: Advice is interpretation. That’s what advice is. So, if I say great news, if they take an IRA distribution, grab their marginal tax rate, that’s in CRM, and that’s what to use.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s a default, yeah.

Micah Shilanski: That’s a default. That’s fantastic. That’s not advice. If they say, you know what, they’re retiring this year, they’re probably going to be in a lower tax rate, we can do 15% versus 22 — that’s interpretation. That is now cross the line to advice. And now, we’re going to have a problem because they are not in a position to give advice.

Matthew Jarvis:   And Micah, you’ve used this term a lot, “empower the team.” When I’m positioning new things for the team to do, I always want to position, not just verbally, but really in my heart of heart’s like, “Hey, I want to make your job better, so let’s use this distribution request.”

Prior to having these systems in place, a client calls in for distribution. Team member says, “Well, I’m going to have to ask Matthew about that, it’s going to take a couple days, da, da, da.”

And because our team members really care about our clients, they’re really committed to delivering massive value, they’re like now on the hook, like, “Ah, I’m trying to stall this client because I got to talk to Matt and Matt’s busy. He’s out on a trip with Micah, da, da, da.”

So, I say, “Great news. I really want to empower you that when a client calls and wants a distribution request, as long as it’s within these parameters …” Micah to your point, “You can take care of that and you don’t have to try to track me down and you don’t have to try to stall the client.”

And the team member says … they have somewhat interpretation at first, new responsibility. And they say, “Great, oh, this is so good. I don’t worry about this anymore.”

Micah Shilanski: Yeah, it’s fantastic. And one of the other things we say is you know what, if this is something that you feel can be done, but you just don’t feel totally comfortable with it, that there’s something you think I should absolutely know about — wonderful, add it to our weekly meeting.

Matthew Jarvis:   A hundred percent.

Micah Shilanski: You throw it on the weekly meeting to make sure it brings to my attention and then we can review it together. That’s absolutely okay to take care of the client, number one. And if you want me to review it post, that’s absolutely fine to do.

And again, this empowering the team, you’re going to learn so many other things that are really taking your time. This goes back to decision making ability. We only have so many decisions that we can make in a given day. It’s a muscle that we have. And how many of those are we burning on decisions that are not worth our time?

We could take it to the extreme, which is like Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs, which they basically had one outfit. That’s it. One outfit they would wear all of the time. And it was pretty simple, is they didn’t want to burn their decision-making ability on this.

And Mark Zuckerberg’s comment is saying, “Look, I service a billion people per day and I don’t want to burn up my decisions on what shirt to wear or what food to eat. I have decisions to make that affect a billion people, and that’s where my focus needs to be.” Well, fantastic. Well, we can apply that, that same thing here. What decisions do we empower the team to make.

Jamie:        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.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s such a great example. We think, oh, it’s just a phone call, it’s just a email, but you’re burning those off at the other end. It’s like giving up a year of your career. It’s not your year when you were 18, it’s your year when you were 64. Don’t think about your lowest year, think of your highest year. Go ahead please, Micah.

Micah Shilanski: I had a question for you. So, some of the pushback we might get from advisors on this Jarvis, have you ever lost a client or had a client mad that a team member took care of an item for them?

Matthew Jarvis:   The team member took care of the item.

Micah Shilanski: Versus you, like they did it. You didn’t do a trade, the team member did one. You didn’t do a distribution, the team member took care of that.

Matthew Jarvis:   I still have a client, she’s a great client. She, for whatever reason, always would get a little miffed when the team would take care of things. Like she really felt like she always needed to go right to the top, but it was never like an anger. She just would be a little snippy. Not rude, just a little bit snippy.

But there’s a lot of complicated things in her life that caused that. But she’s since come around on that. But I’ve never had somebody get angry, I’ve never had somebody say, “Only Matthew can handle this.”

Micah Shilanski: Yeah, I’ve had two that have pushed back on me. Not lost clients, they’re actually still clients today.

But two that have really pushed back and says, “Look, I don’t want to go through the team, I want to go directly to you. And this is how much I pay you. I’m paying you $45,000 a year and I shouldn’t have to delegate to your team. I should go directly to you.”

Okay, that’s a fair comment. So, let’s absolutely chat about that. And so, we get talking about that and one of my clients and chatting with her about it and says, “Look, there’s things that I do well, and there’s things that I don’t do well. And I always want to make sure I’m taking care of you in a timely manner. And I’m going to empower the team to make sure these things get done.”

“And if you don’t feel it is, just say you need to talk to me and the team will elevate it to me, but reality is going to happen is after we talk, I’m going to send it back to the team. They’re going to call a follow-up. And the reason we’re going to do it this way is this is my process of success.”

“If I jump in the middle and I mess up our process, I am going to mess up what you’re asking for. And I just can’t do that. And so, we have a system of success in place for this reason. You’re always welcome to talk to me. I’m not delegating this out.”

And then I got another client with emails because we delegate all emails. And she’s like, “Look, I want to send you messages, not your team messages. I don’t want your team to respond to this. I want you to respond.” Like, “Well, perfect. Well thank you very much for bringing to my attention.” So, we still use the same client’s account-

Matthew Jarvis:   By the way, just real quick, that’s a sincere comment. That’s not like a throwaway. Like thanks for asking for my attention. I really am grateful anytime a client brings to my attention their concerns.

I know you’re going quick through this. But I just want to highlight, that’s a very sincere … thank you. Like literally, thank you for bringing this to my attention. I want to know. I can’t read your mind, I want to know.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah, I’m not always happy with this. But I’m always very grateful to get these comments that come in.

So, okay. Perfect; “Well, thank you for bring that to my attention. So, what I’d love to do is you put a note in email to say this is from Micah. I want talk about this at our next meeting, I want to get his response. I want a phone call from this and then put it in there.”

“And what’s going to happen is the team’s going to see that because the team sees all of my emails. It doesn’t matter if you email my personal account or this account. My team sees them all. And then my team’s going to get it directly to me and then I’ll be able to communicate with you. Is that going to be okay?”

They’re like, “Yeah, yeah, okay that’s fine.” They just want to make sure you weren’t losing that connection. So, you might have one or two that push back in that way, and that’s the way Jarvis and I have handled these.

Matthew Jarvis:   I want to draw one of the things that you said there, Micah, and I want to use this, maybe this is my soapbox a little bit. There’s this idea in our industry, among some people that all advisors are the same.

And I want to highlight just one thing that you said in there that shows why some advisors can charge a premium fee because they’re delivering massive value. All advisors can say, “Hey, that’s our process. That’s our process.”

The top advisors know that saying process of success, that “of success” tells them why. When I call the cable company and they say, “Well, that’s just our process,” I’m angry. That’s a stupid process.

You tell me that’s your process of success. Now, that could be a BS term — process; “Oh, I don’t want to interrupt the process of success.” So, just adding those two words “of success,” again, it’s the smallest things that 10x the difference between advisors.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah, just absolutely huge. So critical to get these things in place.

Matthew Jarvis:   Micah, let’s talk about email briefly.

Micah Shilanski: We’re doing this live. We don’t have our notes in front us, in front of the computer and whatnot with our clock running down to make sure we’re timely. No, we’re doing good.

Matthew Jarvis:   So, both of us have delegated email for many years. A couple just quick things there; I never have the team respond as me. Never, to anything. There’s some legal issues there, there’s all sorts of issues.

So, the team will always respond with, “Matthew asked me to tell you …” Not advice. They’ll never relay advice unless I in fact told them. It’s in our meeting. “Hey, great, tell Jane, go ahead and take that 50 grand and enjoy your new car.” That’s fine.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah, I don’t consider that advice. They’re not interpreting things for the client. I’m telling them to do something.

Matthew Jarvis:   I’ll give you a quick example of this, because you want to always spot check everything.

I was spot-checking email, I saw that a client, a great client had emailed in saying that they wanted to start taking substantial portfolio distributions or a little bit later in life, they want to start taking substantial portfolio distributions, wanted me to email back to them my thoughts on that.

Colleen was great as always. Saw that and realized this is not an email correspondence. She emailed back, “Hey, Matthew, he’s so excited for you. He wants to meet with you, here’s his appointment calendar, wants to have you come in so, we can really talk through that.”

That is ideal triage. That’s not, it’s sitting in my inbox getting buried by everything else. Me thinking “What should I say to him?” Colleen knew, because I could’ve been guilty to send an email. She knew, “Hey, here’s what we do.”

Micah Shilanski: Yeah, and this is the thing that you got to highlight these different … So, spot-checking is phenomenal, see those. And then when you see that, pull that out and put that example inside of your policy, on how to handle these.

When a client’s going totally whack from their financial plan; okay, great, then great news, we’re going to schedule appointment to review this. We’re going to schedule a phone call to go over this. This isn’t an email communication.

Another thing is multiple sets of communication. We have a strict to email policy and that is it. I do not want to see back and forth emails from a client to our team. Absolutely not. If it’s not communicated in the second email, then you’re scheduling an appointment, you’re picking up the phone or calling a client. Because we’re going to create frustration.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. So many things there. So, the responding again, “Matthew asked me to tell you this, or I’m going to schedule a meeting,” these are all quality things.

Then the team can go in there, hopefully, they have SaneBox set up to help filter out some of the crap that comes through. We’ve done entire video series on setting up multiple emails, accounts to manage those things. But yeah, empower your team.

Micah Shilanski: The other thing that I would say on those emails is you can take the same concept of your phone scripts and put them in your email scripts as well; “Hey, Matthew wanted me to talk about this. Matthew’s excited to chat about this at your next meeting.”

“Hey, great news, I’m going to pass this message along to Micah, but this is something that I can actually help you with. You wanted a $10,000 distribution. Fantastic. We have your bank on file. Da, da, da, for our security, we’re going to call you and confirm this information.”

So, I want my team, if they see this — especially, we don’t like calling clients before 9:00 AM local, it’s just our firm policy. And so, if it’s before that, we just shoot them an email. And so, then that way, they can know we received it. Then there’s a scheduled time that we’re going to call them and follow up with that to get that distribution done.

Matthew Jarvis:   So, Micah, another thing I want to highlight in this and again, we talk about empower — this is not a word that we use lightly when it comes to team members. You want to make sure that we’re highlighting when they have success. It’s really easy for us to see when mistakes are made, because those are the ones that come to our attention.

But as you mentioned earlier about when things go right, put that in your team manual. It’s nice to use specific examples, but really take time to highlight team members.

Like this example, I mentioned with the email and the client wanting to spend all the money. So, on our next team meeting, I’ve got on a list, “Colleen thank you so much for triaging my email. Thank you for recognizing these three things,” because sometimes it’s things the team does right, and they don’t necessarily know why they did it right.

So, to highlight those, because when you’re delegated to, there’s a bit of walking on eggshells, “Hey, am I going to screw this thing up?”

Micah Shilanski: Yeah, there’s totally a bit of that. Nobody wants to make those screw-ups and those mistakes, et cetera.

So, empowering the team with these ways, highlighting the success, and then also understanding when things go wrong, okay, no, you’re not going to blow up the team on this. Again, did they follow the process or the areas in the process and how do we do it.

And understand anytime we do something new, it’s going to create a little bit of waves. You’re always going to have some clients that are like, “Well, this is the way we’ve always done it. How come there’s a new way?”

So, we got to be constantly positioning this value to clients. And anytime we change a client facing process — and Jarvis you’ve mentioned this before, you do it; anytime we change a client facing process, we bring it up multiple times to the client. We bring it up in person, we bring it up in our newsletter, we bring it up in an email communication.

We’re telling the client 3, 4, 5 times about this new process, new thing that we’re doing, and why it’s of value to them.

And then one of the other important things in the email delegation side of it, or any delegation side of it, you can’t go back to your old way. So, if a client emails me, Micah, I don’t check. If they email that to me, no response happened from any individual email account, everything goes through the client box.

So, it has to be moved over, then we respond directly from there, and that’s going to help train the client. Because I know I’m guilty of this with other vendors. I have their email address. I’m just going to email that. And if I keep getting a response, it keeps working. When it quits working, okay, now I know I need to make a change.

Matthew Jarvis:   Something I want to draw out here, and this goes out to all of our TPR haters. And it’s interesting, even our members are running into this. But this idea of like well, the reason that you’re delegating these things is just so you can take maximum time out of the office.

And no, there’s certainly a component, I want a healthy life balance. Like I would hope no one’s working at four o’clock in the morning. Some people I suppose are, but look through this process that Micah outlined, this is in the client’s best interest for you to be focused when you’re in the office.

For their service items, get as handled as quickly as possible, for them to feel that like your team members are actually team members and not just a receptionist answering the phone – these are all things that are in the client’s best interests.

Yes, Micah, you and I solve for efficiency; I don’t want to do three steps if I can do it in two. But again, that’s so that I can have more time to deliver value to clients. So, everything that we’re doing, deliver massive value.

Micah Shilanski: And one other thing on this, it also is full redundancy. So, we talk about this. If something happens to you, then, okay, what’s your plan? Who’s your advisor going to step in? Well, who’s going to run your office?

Well, the more I empower my team, the more they can run the office themselves. And God forbid if I have to step away because I have to step away like a medical emergency family issue or whatnot, or I choose to step away like I’m on, on vacation — either way, they are empowered to take care of the clients. How’s that not a win?

Matthew Jarvis:   Micah, a quick story as we wrap up this episode, just a few weeks ago, you’re acutely aware of this because I called you. You were my third call after this — I’m recording some guest podcast, my phone is in my drawer on do not disturb. All of sudden, I started getting all the … I was on my laptop recording the podcast. I started getting all these messages from Colleen, “Call me, I need you to call me. I need you to call me.”

Boy, that’s really weird. We don’t have that in my office. That’s only a 911. So, in my mind as I’m finishing up the podcast, I’m going through, “Huh, I wonder what client is having an issue. Like I wonder what client thing is going on?”

I call Colleen, she says, “Hey, how come you’re not answering your phone?” I said, “I’m working right now, I don’t answer my phone.” She says, “Jackie’s been trying to get ahold of you, Calvin’s at Mountain Bike Camp, he’s on his way to the hospital, needs stitches.” Ended up being fine, thank you for those that are concerned.

So, perfect. That shows how our system works. But it was funny to me like, oh, Colleen’s calling me, there must be an office issue. She wouldn’t just ping me. All worked out fine. I was able to call Micah, he covered some of my podcast episodes, back to having redundancies.

But that’s how it’s ideally designed to work. When a call comes through to me, I know it’s an important call.

Micah Shilanski: So, when Jackie, your wife had a question, she delegated to Colleen to have you take care of it, it’s brilliant.

Matthew Jarvis:   Jackie knows that I don’t keep my phone in my pocket, I don’t have alerts. Now, if I’d seen Jackie calling, I would’ve interrupted the podcast and say, “I really apologize. I need to take this call.” But then that’s why the alert started popping out from my team.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah, very much so. Awesome. This podcast is all about action items. So, let’s talk about some action items. I’m going to say number one action item, is with your team, pick one thing that you are doing that is a service-oriented task and choose to delegate it this week.

And say, great, “Going forward, I’ll do this no more. I’ll do this with somebody else. A few times to train them. I’m going to create a process on it.” But pick one, is it responding to emails? Is it responding to phone calls? Is it doing client distributions? Is it doing tax reviews? What is one service thing you do that is 100% delegatable, and let’s start having your team do it.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. And for advisors who are still answering their phone and of course, we had Brian Skinner, an absolute rock star advisor. He was on the show a few weeks ago, a few months ago now. And he talked about, he thought he had to answer the phones. It wasn’t until he listened to this podcast that he realized he didn’t need to answer the phones.

So, you’re in good company. If this is something you struggle with, take the phone off your desk and put it in another room, take the app off of your computer and put it in another room so that you have to physically move to another room. Just like kicking the email habit, kicking the phone habit is hard to do.

Micah Shilanski: Fantastic. Another action item?

Matthew Jarvis:   Ooh, another action item; make sure that your team has somewhere to get questions to you that aren’t pinging you. So, we have weekly meetings and there’s just a list. Each person on the team has a spot to ask questions.

Same with The Perfect RIA, here’s questions I have for Matt. And they’ll just list those out. And then I always have, here’s questions I have for the team. That way, it’s not, “Hey, I have a question for Matt, let me text him, let me email him, let me message him.” No one emails me. It doesn’t work.

Micah Shilanski: Yeah. Pro tip, at least for me is that’s all a living document for us in Google docs. So, it’s a living document with the same agenda every single time, and it moves down. And then the team has to post their questions at least by close of business the day before.

So, if that means it’s a Monday meeting, that’s Friday, they got to post all their questions inside of there. If it’s Tuesday, then it’s Monday night, they got to do that. And this allows me time to jump in and to look at it in advance, to put my agenda and kind of get my game face on with where the team is at. So, seeing those in advance has been pretty helpful.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, five-star tip there. I like to see those crossed out. If they’re done, that way, I don’t think like, “Wasn’t there a question about Jane that I saw on the list the other day?” So, those are crossed out.

If you really want to go next level, this is an entire episode. When the team poses a question, they must pose a possible solution as well, but that’s a whole nother episode.

Micah Shilanski: That’s a fantastic idea. So, this podcast is all about action items. So, make sure you are taking action this week. And 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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