Matt and Micah share the importance of communicating with clients in a truly effective manner.

Sometimes advisors can get so caught up with questionnaires, charts, formulae, numbers, systems, data points, information, you name it, that they forget to focus on communicating with clients. And as hosts Matthew Jarvis and Micah Shilanski point out in this episode, technical knowledge is important; client communication is key.

Advisors know what makes their firm tick, they develop the infrastructure of their practice (so to speak), manage their team, and seek profitability to grow their organization. Yet when the client is secondary instead of at the forefront of the entire process, the whole enterprise suffers as a result. The advisor profession is people-driven, which means it is client-focused. As Matt and Micah like to accentuate so importantly, the practice serves the client by bringing them the most value possible. And that is actually impossible to do if you cannot communicate with clients in an effective manner.

In this episode, Matt and Micah show us the necessary information we need for effective communication. A couple of these closely related principles will be highlighted below; Let’s get started!

#1 Find Out What’s Important to Clients

Yes, you are working diligently to bring value to your clients, as well as financially fortifying their portfolio, but when was the last time you asked them what was on their mind? Or when was the last time you dug a little deeper into the needs of the client?

Some clients are “Drivers”. This means that they have a communication style that is more action-driven and less centered around words. But that does not mean that your other clients will function this way. Some have an “Amiable” communication style, which means they need to warm up with you before they divulge information about finances or their anxieties about risk, retirement, or even rates that may have recently risen. The point to all of this is as Matthew states during the episode, one shouldn’t jump straight into the meeting, assuming that the client is ready to assimilate and digest everything that is said.

Always start with a client-first mentality, even if this just means asking them the question, “is there anything that I can help you with?” right from the get-go. Such an emphasis instills in the client’s mind that sharing information is encouraged; a positive atmosphere is cultivated and reinforced, which will compound into a more open dynamic versus the closed client-relations of the less-experienced advisor.

#2 Discover The Communication Styles of Your Clients, Team, and Self

As was discussed above regarding those who are Drivers, as well as those who are Amiable, you must determine the communication styles of your clients. Two more of these are the Analytical, who works methodically and relies a little bit more on the technical aspect of the process, and the Social, who is much more spontaneous during the decision-making process.

Now determining the different styles won’t be a perfect operation by any means, nor do the provided categories completely cover the nuances of someone’s personality; but, they are still a great tool, an abstraction, that can help you relate your individual clients on a deeper level.

But as Matt and Micah state, all advisors should take extreme ownership of their practice. What this means is that not only should an advisor seek to find out the communication styles of their clients, they should also look internally. An advisor has not taken ownership of his practice until he has tried to determine the communication styles of his team members, as well as himself. The most successful advisors always make this is a priority.

For more information and tips on becoming the communicator you need to be for a truly successful practice, Matt and Micah bring up many more important points to consider during the episode. Check out the show notes for action steps and an outline of what is discussed. And also, if you want to read along, the transcript is laid out below. Thank you!


Full Transcript

Speakers: Matthew Jarvis and Neil Rossiter

Announcer: 00:01 Welcome to the Perfect RIA Podcast. The only show dedicated to helping you build a highly effective financial planning practice, that delivers both an amazing client experience and an amazing lifestyle, for you and your family.

What you will hear today is not theory but rather, real world, tested in the trenches systems that your hosts Micah Shilanski and Matthew Jarvis have developed in their own respective practices, which have been recognized as some of the best in our industry.

Before we get started, a quick reminder from our attorneys. This podcast is intended only for a professional audience and should not be considered as tax, legal, financial, investing, or even cooking advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results and you alone are responsible for you. And now, lean forward and let Micah and Matthew show you how to build the perfect RIA.

Matthew Jarvis: 01:15 Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Perfect RIA Podcast. I’m your host Matthew Jarvis and with me, my good friend and fellow advisor Micah Shilanski and today we want to talk about the critical skill of how to communicate with clients. And a lot of times as advisors, we get sort of almost buried, if you will, in the technical knowledge, which is a lot of fun by the way. And both Micah and I go to great lengths to have a very broad and deep amount of technical knowledge, but your technical knowledge does not really count for much if you cannot communicate it effectively with clients. And Micah, I know that’s something that you’re very good at, is how to communicate this to clients and in your experience, how important is it the ability to communicate effectively to clients?

Micah Shilanski: 02:00 Oh, this is got to be almost the number one thing when working with individuals is how to communicate. Matt, we know, we jokingly say, this is the real know-your-client. Right?

Matthew Jarvis: 02:10 That’s right.

Micah Shilanski: 02:10 This isn’t … you have to know your client, yeah, we got some compliance regs and don’t mean to belittle them, but yes, you’ve got to do them. But truly knowing your client is knowing how to communicate with them. Because if you have the best information, the best advice in the world and you can’t communicate that to your client, how are you going to help them? They’re not going to listen to your advice, they’re not going to follow through, they’re not going to achieve what’s better for them because you were not good in communicating that to that client. So, I would say this is one of those top skills advisors must master and this really separates you from being just a good, an adequate advisor to becoming a great advisor.

Matthew Jarvis: 02:50 Now it does also take a real focus on extreme ownership and Mic and I both a big fan of the book Extreme Ownership and the follow-on book, The Dichotomy of Leadership, but all too often and Micah, I’d love to hear your examples as well, or your experience as well. I meet a lot of advisors and they’ll say, oh, I can’t believe it. I told the client to do X and they did the opposite of X. Or I created this great financial plan and the client didn’t implement it and it’s expressed in a way of like the client made a mistake, like the client wasn’t smart enough. But really in those situations we have to take extreme ownership and say, well we were not able to communicate effectively to the client why this was so important. Maybe it’s because we didn’t articulate it well. Maybe it’s because we didn’t communicate on their learning style. There’s a lot of reasons for that, but anytime, I would challenge you, anytime a client does not follow your advice, I would challenge you to take extreme ownership and say, how could I have better communicated that, so they could see the importance of following my advice.

Micah Shilanski: 03:45 You know Matt, I’d also throw in there too is not only your communication to them. Maybe you did a good job communicating what was important, but you missed what was really important. They told you XY’s important, they told you they wanted to retire, they told you they wanted to have these monetary things happen, but you missed how important vacation and time with their family was so they missed their funding goals and not putting enough money away because they blew it on a Disney cruise. Well, you missed as the advisor what was really important to that family. So, there’s two things you got to be looking at in that communication. What is the client telling you? And in that communication what are the subtle things they’re not telling you, which is so important? And that’s part of our job as advisors is to help pull that out of clients so they can really articulate what is truly important to them.

Matthew Jarvis: 04:34 You know Micah, I think something that contributes to this poor communication is an over reliance on questionnaires, on quizzes, on risk tolerances. Things that all have a place, mind you, but we get, I think, too regimented in these systems and like you said, Micah, we see what’s important but not what’s really important. And Micah, remind me, in your practice, do you send out an elaborate questionnaire before a client comes in or a prospect comes in?

Micah Shilanski: 05:00 No. Before a prospect comes in, we do have a fact finder data gathering that we use. It’s a list of questions that really talks about goals. Where do they want to spend money, a little bit of work history. We absolutely do that. We don’t rely on the risk profile aspect, we don’t rely on any of that stuff. It’s more like, hey get me your tax returns, get me all of these documents, this is the main thing that we’re trying to do and getting a list of questions. I think that’s the most important thing from clients. Getting a list of questions from them or prospects when they’re coming in. But nope, we don’t send out a Riskalyze, not picking on them, right, but we don’t send out that type of questionnaire or anything because that focuses our conversation talking about risk or talking about money or asset management and really that’s not what our focus is. Our job is planners and helping develop what their goals are, what their bigger dreams are.

Matthew Jarvis: 05:53 Yeah, I know for my office is very similar. We have a check list of documents to bring with you. Tax returns, estate plans, those kinds of things. Your basic contact information, and then really the only questions we’re asking is hey, why is it you want to come in and meet with Matthew? What are your top financial goals? What are your top financial concerns? That’s it. I see advisors that send out 1 page, 5 page, 10 page, these questionnaires and the client gets so bogged down in the details and half the information they fill in is not correct anyway. Again, I want to go back to this point that you made, Micah, which is we have to be able to find what’s really important to the client and rarely is that on the surface. Usually it’s a few layers down and it’s not on page three of any questionnaire.

Micah Shilanski: 06:35 And then once we find what’s important to them, really important to them, we’ve got to help articulate that or have our clients articulate that in their communication style. So, this is where the advisor has to be adaptable. Because we meet with so many different types of people, not only do we need that broad knowledge about a lot of different areas, it has to be deep too from the technical side, but we also need a pretty broad and deep knowledge on different ways to communicate with different types of people. I jokingly say that half my job is a marriage counselor. Right? I mean, husband and wife come in and it’s amazing how often they’re saying the same things, but completely different and starting to get frustrated at each other and that’s all because they’re not being responsive to different communication styles. A lot of times our job as advisors is to help translate that information to understand. Okay, client A has this communication style, client B has this communication style. How do you talk to each one and sometimes you’ve got to say the same thing two different ways in a meeting. One to the husband one to the wife or vice versa to make sure that we’re all on the same page. At least that’s experience. Matt what do you think?

Matthew Jarvis: 07:43 I totally agree. I totally agree. There are certain clients that want to be communicated one way. Some clients they just want the answer. 14. That’s all they want. They don’t want to know how you got to the answer, they don’t want you to explain a bunch of options. Other clients want to see. All right, how did you get to this diagnosis or this recommendation and they kind of want to be walked step by step, either because they want to understand it, or they sort of just feel that’s what they need to do to be an intelligent investor. But you’re right, clients have different communication styles. Now, Micah, I know in your office you guys even go as far as to identify that or to try to identify each client’s communication style. Can you tell us more about that?

Micah Shilanski: 08:19 Yeah, so what we do in our CRM, we go through and tag each client with what we think they’re communication style is. So, there’s probably 15 different systems you could use for this. We’re a little bit more on the DiSC side of things. D-i-S-C. So, what we’ve driven down for our office is we have driver, social, analytical, and amiable. Those are kind of our four distinct categories of communication styles and we want all of client … We want to identify what all of our clients’ communication styles are. This is a big thing with advisors and this is kind of a little action step, I guess, we’ll summarize this I hope at the end too, but a little action step where you … It’s not just enough that you know your clients’ communication style, your team has to know the clients’ communication style. This is why we put it in the CRM. Because a lot of time, really good advisors will subconsciously know how they need to shift communication when talking with different people on the phone.

Matt’s example, right? You’ve got someone that is a driver in our example. They just want the answer. Micah, I hired you, so I trust you’re confident, you’re going to do what’s right for me. Give me the answer and let me move on with my day. But then we have some people that are more amiable, right, that I can’t give them the answer until we’ve had a conversation. So, how’s it going, what’s there, are you getting ready for the holidays, so how’s this going on, how’s your son, how’s your daughter. Right? And they want that chit chat, they want to be warmed up a little bit then we can get into there. So, the advisor can sometimes know this, but it’s important that your staff knows this. Your team has to know this when they’re reaching out and communicating with these different types of people, what should those conversations look like?

Matthew Jarvis: 09:57 Well, let’s use those two, that example of the driver and the, say amiable?

Micah Shilanski: 10:02 Amiable, right?

Matthew Jarvis: 10:03 Let’s imagine your team calls the driver to help them with something and starts off with all this small talk. Well, what’s the driver thinking? The driver’s thinking, come on, cut to the chase. I just need to know the answer and they’re saying how’s the weather and how’s your family and really, they’re driving a wedge between themselves and the driver and the converse is true. The other kind of client, they want to be kind of warm and friendly and if your team just calls and says, you know Mrs. Client the answer’s 14, click. They’re really going to be put off by that. So, I agree with you Mic, it’s really important that our team … I mean, as advisors it’s essential, but it’s very important that our team understand this as well.

Micah Shilanski: 10:38 It is and none of these communication styles are wrong by the way. Right?

Matthew Jarvis: 10:41 No.

Micah Shilanski: 10:42 It’s not like the driver that just wants 14, doesn’t care about your family, but that’s not the first place their mind goes to and that’s the important part about this. You got to communicate in the level in which they communicate so you can better help clients achieve their goals.

Matthew Jarvis: 10:58 Yeah, it totally is. And you know this is true, not just with our clients, it’s true with our employees. I know my office manager called me and she’s been with me for a lot of years, she’s really great. I know that when I come into the office it makes her day if we spend the first 20 or 30 minutes of the morning just talking about life and then the football game, and whatever and I’m more of a driver. I want to get right down to business, but her day is so much more productive, and we have such a better relationship if I kind of respect her communication style and spend just a little bit of time there, if you will, kind of warming the crowd. Like I said, it’s the same with your clients, with your employees, with your spouse. These are critical skill in all aspects of life. Your kids, everywhere.

Micah Shilanski: 11:37 Now one of the things that I’ll jump back onto on this. Sometimes I hear back from advisors, so Jarvis let me know if you get the same thing, because when I’m talking about this, they’re saying well, Micah, you’re just kind of shifting for different sales techniques. Using a bad word, right? You’re just shifting for different sales techniques and it really doesn’t matter with the client or if the client kind of sees you kind of doing this, then are they going to be upset because you talk differently to different people. Have you ever had anyone complain about that?

Matthew Jarvis: 12:04 I have, actually, now that you mention it. And they kind of group like all communication skills into sort of slimy sales. Like if you’re doing anything to better communicate with a client, it’s sales in the slimy way.

Micah Shilanski: 12:18 And I bring this up because recently I was meeting with one of my clients and she’s a psychologist and I was talking with him and her and was jokingly putting on the marriage counseling hat. And they have a great relationship but it’s communicating differently between husband and wife and after we were kind of done and I had explained something to her, she stopped and looked at me and said, great training by the way, and I smiled. She’s like no, I noticed now that you’ve changed communication styles and it wasn’t bad, but her training was to do the same thing when she’s working with her patients and her clients. So that wasn’t a negative thing that I changed, she was actually applauding the fact that I noticed that they had two different types of communication and I was willing to go back and forth to make sure that they got what was best for them. So, these are great things with clients.

Matthew Jarvis: 13:03 Yeah, they are. I think it all comes down to so many things. It comes down to what’s your motivation? If your motivation is to “sell” a client or a prospect something that’s really not in their best interest, then yeah, please don’t listen to this podcast ever again, but if your goal is to get clients to take action in their own best interests, really anything you can do to facilitate that is an honorable thing. Really, and Micah, tell me if you think differently, mastering your communication, I think, is no different than having good personal hygiene. If I come into the office and I haven’t bathed in a week, I must be hyperbolus. I haven’t bathed and I’m wearing a t-shirt and flip flops. That’s not going to go over very well. But we could argue, hey Matthew if you come into the office in a nice custom-tailored suit, that’s just you trying to sell the client. You know, it’s me trying to deliver an experience and my communication style is no less important than my physical appearance.

Micah Shilanski: 13:52 Absolutely. Very, very key. I completely agree. Now, I know that you recently had an experience with kind of a doctor that went a different direction with communication experience. You want to share that?

Matthew Jarvis: 14:03 Yeah, I’d love to and this is a really great example for advisors. I went into the doctor because I was having a really minor issue that I thought was an ear infection and the doctor walks in … The nurse came in, took my vitals, leaves. The doctor walks in before he’s even said hello, he says, ah, it’s this. Well, are you sure? And immediately I went to, well, how could you know the answer so quickly? Did you jump to conclusions improperly? Maybe he’d seen a million of these cases and he knew. Maybe he did know 100%, but it put me in a position where I thought, do you really know the answer? And it caused me to reflect back as advisors that sometimes we’re so quick to give answers because we feel like it’s a quiz. Like we’re on Jeopardy and we have to be the first one to give the answer, but it creates this experience for the client that you’re jumping to conclusions, that you’re rushing too quickly.

That’s why, for example, when I’m doing my initial client meeting process or my prospect meeting process, I don’t give any advice in the first meeting. Almost no advice in the first meeting, because it seems too easy and my experience is, they’re not likely to implement my advice. And my goal, just like your goal, Micah, is for them to implement advice, not just hear me speak words.

Micah Shilanski: 15:12 Boy that’s great. Now, one thing I’m going to pick on you just a little bit, not in a bad way though, is you are self-identified, and I would agree, you’re a driver. Right? So, you’re like, hey, 47. I want the answer. But here the doctor came in, just gave you the answer and you’re like whoa, whoa, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Matthew Jarvis: 15:28 Yeah, thanks for pointing that out. Yeah, because I am a driver and I hate when people beat around the bush with things, but his was so fast. It was too fast even for my driver personality.

Micah Shilanski: 15:36 And I’m going to say, because you didn’t have any relationship that was there, versus if this was like your general doctor you’ve been seeing for years, you had a good relationship and they picked up their phone, hey, Matt, real quick, I just want to tell you it’s X, you would probably be more likely to believe that. Right?

Matthew Jarvis: 15:51 Yeah, definitely.

Micah Shilanski: 15:52 Okay, so even though we identify people as drivers, that relationship key is still really, really important. So, as you’re going through this and as you … There’s a difference in that prospecting process how you need to communicate with a long-term client, how you need to communicate differently. So, this changes over time with people. Even though they still may maintain as a driver, it’s your relationship with that driver and that’s different with your team, because your team has a different relationship with them as well. So, these are all things that need to be considered. This is why it gets a little complex, it makes it a little fun, these are all the things that you need to consider when you’re building out who communicates with what client and how do they communicate? And that’s really, though, when you build this out, really can can change you from a good advisor to a great advisor.

Matthew Jarvis: 16:39 That’s right and I want to highlight on that good advisor versus great advisor and again stress that technical knowledge is incredibly important, but you can outsource your technical knowledge. Not always very well, but you could outsource that. You cannot outsource your client communication. No one else is going to sit in that meeting for you, no one else is going to take that phone call for you. You’ve got to really be a master. Micah let’s talk about some specific skills or tools an advisor could use in a meeting or on a phone call. I’ll start off with one that I use, just religiously. Anytime I sit down with a client, over the phone, in person, same with a prospect. My very first thing is, you know, Mr. and Mrs. Client, I’ve got a few things I want to talk with you about today, but first and foremost, tell me what’s top on your mind. How can I be of most assistance to you today? I always lead with one of those two questions. What’s top on your mind? How can I be of most assistance?

And then another technique that I learned from my CPA, is after they’ve told me whatever’s on their mind, I don’t say is there anything else? Because that’s too easy to say no to. I say, what else? What else is on your mind? And sometimes they’ll say, no, that’s it. And other times they’ll say, oh, actually, I did have one more thing. And the reason this is so important and Micah, I’m sure you can share examples of this as well, if there’s something that’s on their mind, they’re going to basically ignore everything else you talk about until you get to that issue. Maybe what’s on their mind is that they only have 10 minutes today and they need to get out of your office and so you need to go quick. Or maybe what’s on their mind is that their grandpa just passed away and they’re really emotionally distraught by that and they want to talk about risk management, but if I jump straight into my agenda, I’m going to miss that.

Micah Shilanski: 18:14 Yeah, we always start off the exact same way in our office. What’s important about the client? What do they want to get out of today’s meeting is the number one thing we go for. But after that, Matt, and we’ve kind of weeded through what their agenda is to cover today, I start talking about cash flow, and I always ask the question, what big expenses do you have coming up in the next 12 months? Now, I don’t quantify that because it’s not my version of a big expense. It’s their perception of a big expense. Right? What’s their perception of a big expense? And if they ask me, well, what’s a big expense? Something you can’t cover within one to two months of cash flow. And what I’ve found by asking this question is, number one it’s really good for me for saying hey, what money do we need available, how do we need to budget for cash flow, et cetera, but it also tells me what their priorities are. Because, show me what’s important to you or you can tell me what’s important to you. But if I really want to know, I’ll look at your calendar and your checkbook. [inaudible 00:19:10] calendar and checkbook, I’ll tell you what your real priorities in life are.

And so, by asking them where they spend money or the big expenses they have coming up, they’re telling you what their priorities are. Saying, oh, we really want to go on this trip and do this or you know what I’m thinking about doing the remodel on a kitchen or you know there’s a new car coming up or my grandson’s going to college and I want to help him out with these costs. Things that may not have come up in the past, all of a sudden come up when you ask them if there’s any big expenses.

Matthew Jarvis: 19:40 Boy, I really like that one. That’s a fun one. I really like that. It really pries out a little bit more from them.

Micah Shilanski: 19:48 And I think what you just said is really important. To pry out a little bit more, not in a negative way. Right? But getting your skills sharp enough to where you can pull out from the client the information that they have a hard time articulating because that’s the stuff that’s really important. That’s the stuff that they care about that you really need to make sure you’re planning for.

Matthew Jarvis: 20:08 Another line that I like to use, Micah, and again I’m always hesitant to say line or say script, because it seems disingenuous to some people. But again, as you mentioned, our goal is to help clients achieve their financial goals and whatever I can do to make that happen, and not to go into a side tangent. I don’t remember the specific statistics, but if you looked it up, the vast majority of the population, does not follow their doctor’s advice. Not on things even like, you should exercise more, but they’ve done studies on people that have had heart attacks or strokes and the doctor has prescribed life-saving medication and most of them don’t take the medication, despite having had a heart attack and being at high risk for another one, and this goes back to the doctor not being able to communicate effectively to the patient, the importance of this.

So, sorry for that side tangent, but a line I like to use often with clients is can you tell me more about that? So, Micah, your example, say, oh my grandson’s going to college. Oh, can you tell me more about that? Yeah, you know, actually he’s going to go to the University of Washington and we’re really excited because our family … And I give them permission to tell me more. Can you tell me a little bit more about that? I do that same thing if a client is upset about something. Hey Matthew, I’m really upset about X, Y or Z. Well, maybe they’re upset about X, Y, or Z, or maybe they’re upset about something else entirely and this is just sort of like the boiling point. Hey, can you tell me a little bit more about that? Tell me a little bit more about what has you concerned here. Or hey, I really understand why you’re concerned. Could you tell me a little bit more about it?

Micah Shilanski: 21:35 I like that. That’s a great follow up question. Because, what I think that does, correct me if I’m wrong, Jarvis, but really, instead of putting your judgment on what the client said, you’re allowing the client to re-articulate it to really understand what they’re saying or what they’re asking.

Matthew Jarvis: 21:51 Yeah, it really is. It also gives me some time, and this is selfish, it gives me just some time to think. I don’t ever like to be put on the spot because if I’m on the spot, the first thing that comes out of my mouth is not going to be the most intelligent thing I’d ever said. So, if I say, you know what Mr. and Mrs. Client could you tell me a little bit more about that? It gives my brain a minute for my wheels to start turning and I think, all right, what’s going on here, how can I help with the situation?

Micah Shilanski: 22:13 So if I want some action steps that advisors can now take, because again, this podcast is about taking action, about improving your practice so of course, obviously, the first action step is to rate our podcast five stars.

Matthew Jarvis: 22:26 That’s right, that’s right.

Micah Shilanski: 22:28 You’ve enjoyed it this far, absolutely give us five stars. We’re climbing in the iTunes ranks because of you, so thank you. [crosstalk 00:22:34] serious one then. I would say if you haven’t broken down your clients by communication style, start small, get your top ten. Your top ten clients. Go through and break down what communication style you think they’re on. I don’t care if you use Myers-Briggs or Kolbe or DiSC or whatever the other ones are, pick one that you like, pick one that you’re passionate about and go with that. So then that way you can take that communication style, put it in there. I’d say that’s their first action step. Jarvis, what do you think?

Matthew Jarvis: 23:07 Yeah, I like that. And Micah, you and I talked before the podcast that neither of us is really a favor of giving the client the DiSC or the Kolbe or the Myer Briggs quiz and asking them to take it. That seems a little too intrusive. It’d almost be like let’s get a blood sample, so we can run a DNA test. Just from your observations with them, to be able to know in the CRM, hey this client, they like quick answers, whatever the case may be. We even note in our CRM some clients, they are more open to taking advice from other members of our teams. If they call and get Colleen, my office manager, they’re glad to talk to her. Other clients only want to hear advice from me, so we adjust our approach based on that. But I totally agree. First action item, record in your CRM your client’s communication style in a way that’s useful to your team.

Micah Shilanski: 23:52 So second one I’ll throw out there as well then. So, we got the first one, which is the clients, all right now go internal for your second one. What about your team members, including yourself? What is your communication style and don’t fall in the trap of assuming? I fall in this all the time, that my new staff member, team member, knows how I like to be communicated with. Nope. Nor do I know how they like to be communicated with so go internally with your team. What are your communication styles? What are their communication styles, so then that way everybody knows what’s the best way to communicate with each other? This frees up a lot of problems, especially if you have a growing team.

Matthew Jarvis: 24:31 It really does. And Micah, I know that your office is a big fan of the DiSC profiles. I personally am a fan of the Kolbe and again you and I discussed really this is about finding whichever one fits you best and if you’re not sure, I would do both of them. They’re not that expensive. We did the Kolbe and then they have, obviously it costs extra, but they’ll cross reference people’s reports. So, everyone on my team did it and then we cross referenced and then they broke down and they said, hey this is where you’re going to have issues on your team. If you do this … So, mine, for example, I don’t like to get buried in the details and it says, like don’t bother Matthew with the details or he’s going to get checked out and be upset. And everybody looked at me and like is that true? Like, yes, clearly true. How could you not know? [crosstalk 00:25:09]

So, I’m with you, I’m with you 100%. You need to do that with your team. I would say, and I know this is a financial planning podcast, I would recommend that you do it with your spouse. I had my wife Jackie take the Kolbe test and I cross referenced it because again, that’s my most important relationship is with my spouse and so if you’re doing these tests, have your spouse do it and cross reference those reports as well.

Micah Shilanski: 25:35 I think that’s great. I mean, really and this is again, going to help separate you, increase your game, become that great advisor which is there, which is communicating in the style in which your clients and your team members need. And to take ownership. This is your responsibility. This isn’t something that you can delegate out. This is something that you need to become good at because just as a personal service and going back to Jarvis, what you said a little while ago, you can outsource the technical stuff, it’s the personal side that you can’t outsource and that is so much of what we bring.

Matthew Jarvis: 26:08 Yeah, and I would say one last action item, just from personal development, I would recommend that you find the book The Five Love Languages by, I’d say, Gary Chapman. The Five Love Languages. Again, it might seem a little funny for a business podcast, it’s about having healthy relationships in your marriage, but by identifying the five love languages both for your spouse, but with your clients you can start looking and say, all right, how do they like to be communicated with? It just gives you kind of one more lens, one more framework, if you will, of understanding methods of communication.

Micah Shilanski: 26:38 That’s a great idea. That’d be a good Valentine’s gift to send out to your clients.

Matthew Jarvis: 26:43 Oh, now that’s a fun idea.

Micah Shilanski: 26:45 Yeah.

Matthew Jarvis: 26:45 Might do that. Well shoot, now I don’t have to listen to this podcast. I really got a great idea from it. Micah, appreciate that.

Micah Shilanski: 26:52 You had to wait until the end though, so we’re all right.

Matthew Jarvis: 26:54 Yeah, that’s right, that’s right. Well, Micah, any parting tips for our audience on how to better communicate with their clients or their team?

Micah Shilanski: 27:01 It’s all about taking one step. One step in that right direction. We talked about a lot of things. Pick the one action step, do it. This is about implementation, you have the ability, you have the power to make a difference in people’s lives. Go out there and do it.

Matthew Jarvis: 27:15 Yeah, very good. Well, thank you all so much for joining us. Micah, thank you for your time. If you have any comments, we always like to get them. If you have a topic, you’d like us to cover on a future podcast, please shoot us an email. And as Micah joked earlier, we really do appreciate your ratings on our podcast. It helps us get up through the rankings there.

Micah Shilanski: 27:31 Yeah, so until next time. Happy planning.

Matthew Jarvis: 27:33 Happy planning.

Announcer: 27:37 You have been listening to the Perfect RIA Podcast. For more information on how you can build a highly effective financial planning practice, please visit

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