What You'll Learn In Today's Episode:

  • Why switching to surge can be life-changing.
  • How to improve your surge meetings.
  • Why you must keep your practice evolving.
  • The benefits of using a calendar for your whole office to see.
  • Why you should use everything to your advantage.
  • How to decide what you are solving for in your surge meetings.
  • The importance of having a response your team is comfortable with.

Is now an advisable time to start surge meetings in the midst of all this COVID-19 craziness? Micah and Matthew recently received this question from a Backstage Pass member, and today they explain their reasoning behind their response to this query, as well as why there is always a good reason to switch to surge.

Listen in as the guys break down how to improve your surge meetings by using an online office calendar that everyone has access to. You will learn the importance of creating a schedule for these meetings, how to create a response for your clients that your team is comfortable with, and more.

Resources In Today's Episode:


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. Welcome to another episode of The Perfect RIA Podcast. I am your cohost, Matthew Jarvis, and with me as usual, the man, the myth, the legend, Micah Shilanski. Micah, how are you, my friend?

Micah Shilanski:  Jarvis, I’m doing pretty good, bud. How are you doing?

Matthew Jarvis:   I’m good, I’m good. Another day in COVID paradise. I’m trying to channel my inner Jocko of, “All right, everything’s shut down. Good, that gives me a chance to work from home more.” I’m really struggling to find those goods, but they’re out there.

Micah Shilanski:  They are, they are. Regardless of where you are in the state, in the lockdown, it’s all about creating your own mental sanity, and using this time to do the stuff you always said you would have time to do and you still haven’t done, even though you’ve been home for a month. What are those activities? What are the things that we should be doing?

Matthew Jarvis:   We got a question from Steven, one of our Backstage Pass members. Steven, thanks for being a Backstage Pass member. He posted in the forum that we have exclusively for Backstage Pass members. He said, “Hey, currently my team, this is Steven speaking, do not do Surge Meetings. However, I can see us going down that path.” Then he asks, “Would it be advisable to start the process of transitioning to Surge Meetings in the midst of this COVID-19 craziness?”

Matthew Jarvis:   Micah, one-word answer, two-word answer?

Micah Shilanski:  Yes, yes. Do it now. Awesome. Always, right? There is always a good reason to transition to Surge. We are super biased when it comes to this. Now, if you haven’t had the opportunity of watching our time blocking series on our website, you really need to do that. Actually, that is something that we make free to the Nation, so anyone can go and watch those time blocking videos.

Micah Shilanski:  As you’re going to see, that as the essence of the Perfect RIA setup. A big component of time blocking is Surge Meetings. There’s so many different analogies. There’s so many different ways that we could look at this Jarvis, but I really like the assembly line analogy for Surge Meetings. It’s about, one of the key components that we have is, delivering massive value to our clients, and how do we produce more value? How do we deliver more things, because everyone has the same amount of time?

Micah Shilanski:  You bring up a really great example of, when the assembly line was created, about how long did it take to create a car versus later? Run that through with our audience again, if you don’t mind.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. When Henry Ford created the assembly line… He didn’t create the assembly line, but he really perfected the assembly line. I don’t recall the numbers off the top of my head, but it took the man hours required to make the Model T from 15 hours down to two. Same number of parts, same automobile. dramatically cut the time reduction. Boeing, in recent history, maybe not a super great example with all the 737 Maxes is parked everywhere. Their airplane, which is 2 million parts, as they analyze their assembly line and make things more streamlined, they dramatically reduce the time that it takes.

Matthew Jarvis:   Now, you might say, “That’s factory work. That’s not mental work like I do.” They don’t come to my mind right now. In several books they talk about that it takes up to two hours of focus to get to a peak mental state.

Micah Shilanski:  Yes.

Matthew Jarvis:   If you’re going back and forth from one task to another, to another, you’re just not going to deliver the same level of efficiency. Micah, you and I have worked now with hundreds of advisors. I would say switching to Surge is probably the most consistent life-changing tool that we talk about in the Perfect RIA.

Micah Shilanski:  Amen. Every advisor that has transitioned to Surge that I have ever talked to, or heard from said it was great. It was a phenomenal way to increase their practice that was there. One of those books, by the way, is Deep Work. Good Reading…

Matthew Jarvis:   Yes, thank you.

Micah Shilanski:  … if you haven’t read that one. Now, on the Surge Meetings, by the way, I’m going to challenge our Nation that’s out there. If you went to go for Surge Meetings and it did not work, and it was a bad experience, write us. I want to know about this. I want to figure out what you did. Again, every single one we’ve talked to, advisor, hands down, across the world, not just in the US has said Surge Meetings have been a phenomenal way, not only to increase value to clients, but to effectively run their practice, which is what we’re going for, being effective. Not just efficient. Efficient is doing things fast. Effective is doing the right things. We were going to focus on doing the right things in our meetings. That’s seeing clients, and doing that the best possible way.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Now, for those of you in the Nation that have seen the light and you’re doing Surge Meetings, don’t turn off the podcast just yet. The Surge Meeting process, Micah and I, I’ve been doing Surge Meetings for probably coming on 10 years now. I still, even this year, have evolved my Surge process. IN fact, two things I’ve done this year that have dramatically improved my Surge Meetings, one is we put all of our scheduling into Acuity or Calendly, one of those. It created a great forcing mechanism for me, and for my team. When a client said, “Hey, can Matthew see me on a Friday?” “Oh, I’ve got his calendar pulled up. In fact, I can send you a link to his calendar. He only has time on Thursday. Which time on Thursday would work for you?” It took pressure off of them.

Matthew Jarvis:   The other thing I did that was really helpful for my team and myself is, I carved out one or two days each month. In a month, I’d carve out a Tuesday and Wednesday and have a mini Surge each month. I would schedule with my travel, because we found that clients were having, occasionally, some hesitation, saying, “I’ve got to wait three months to see Matthew again? Is there any kind of outlet? Could I see him?” When they asked that, we would make an exception and just squeeze them in, and would throw off our whole rotation. I would say, “Great, Matthew has time Tuesday or Wednesday of the third week of the month,” whenever it is. Don’t think that you’ve ever reached the top of this mountain, or really the top of any mountain.

Micah Shilanski:  No. No, I agree. Now, one of the things I want to pull out of there, real fast that you just kind of ran over real fast, Jarvis, if I may…

Matthew Jarvis:   Please.

Micah Shilanski:  … is, you said in there you would squeeze someone into your calendar, and it would go in there.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yup, I would.

Micah Shilanski:  Now, this isn’t an inconvenience to Jarvis because he was sunbathing on the beach, and all of a sudden had to stop drinking Mai Tais, and eating bonbons and go have a meeting. No, no, no. That’s not the case. The case is delivering massive value to clients. When you do an exception, when you do something out of the norm, your team, because you as the advisor has failed, you have failed to tell the team, you’ve failed to engage your processes and your systems. Now, your team is going to fall short. Maybe they miss an appointment confirmation. Maybe they don’t prep the file. Maybe they don’t get the notes done. Maybe they didn’t read from the last homework assignments they didn’t get done because they thought there was a three-month break and they had time to get some tasks done. Did those tasks not get done?

Micah Shilanski:  Now, you walk into the meeting, now you’re not prepared. Your team didn’t do the confirmation call. It looks amateur hour and you feel that, “Hey, I’m doing an exception for the client. They should understand this.” The client’s like, “WTF? I came in here, and you’re not prepared for the meeting?” Right?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yup.

Micah Shilanski:  That’s not an acceptable experience. I can speak to that, because I’ve done this.

Matthew Jarvis:   I was just going to say, this is the voice of experience.

Micah Shilanski:  Yes, yes. This is the reason that you said, and I really like what you said, do those mini surges.

Matthew Jarvis:   Right.

Micah Shilanski:  We’ll do the same thing. We’ll do once a month, we’ll have some time available. In between that, I can do return phone calls as well, if it’s an emergency thing, or once a month I can be available if it’s an emergency and they can’t wait until the next Surge Meeting that’s going to be there. It’s really important to have those systems, and processes in place because the whole aspect of Surge is, you’ve now created a system for your meetings that delivers the most value.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, you really do. Now, another improvement I made this year, I created… When I say I, I always mean Colleen… We created an Acuity calendar for non-clients. Not with Micah, because we talk a lot. When an advisor wants to talk to me…

Micah Shilanski:  Have a special calendar.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s right. Someone from the Backstage Pass earned an hour of time on the podcast. Someone’s paying for my time. I have a link, vendors. We just have a link to my calendar on Thursday, so I only deal with vendors, product managers, partners, developers, whatever, on Thursdays. Thursdays with Matthew, here’s a link. Not emails back and forth. Not “Hey, will on Monday work?” Thursdays… only Thursdays. This can always improve.

Micah Shilanski:  A couple questions, if I may ping you on this real fast.

Matthew Jarvis:   Please.

Micah Shilanski:  Then, I want to pivot into a bit more with Acuity or not, some different ways that people can do this. Is that okay?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yup. Please, please.

Micah Shilanski:  How much business have you lost, how many clients have fired you because they said, “Oh, my gosh. I’m not going to meet with you between Tuesday and this. I need a Friday evening appointment at 9:00 PM at your house, because you were so rigid in your Surge calendar.” You didn’t meet with them. How much business have you lost, how many clients have fired you because of this?

Matthew Jarvis:   None that I knew of. I did have one client who was a little hot and bothered that we’d send them a link for a calendar. He was old school and he says, “Hey, I don’t like doing email. Could you just call me?” I said, “Dave, yeah. We’ll just call you.” We put a note in his file, “Don’t ever send him an email. Just call Dave.” I did though, Micah, I lost a prospect, and I specifically attribute it to not following my Surge system. I talked about this a few weeks ago on the podcast.

Micah Shilanski:  That’s right.

Matthew Jarvis:   I met with him outside of my Surge. I met with them at their house. No credibility, lost the case. Didn’t even have a chance at it. Guaranteed, I would have closed that had I followed my system. I can’t point to any that I’ve lost by having Surge, but I can point to one this year that I lost by not following Surge.

Micah Shilanski:  That’s right. There’s a couple of easy tools, and tips that we can do. Jarvis, you mentioned one of them that’s there. I really like the Acuity, because you have to set your team up for success in Surge. COVID-19 or not, I don’t care. You have to set your team up for success. That’s going to be there.

Micah Shilanski:  One of the things, and before we had a calendaring system like Micah, Acuity, et cetera, that you email to clients. On our CRM calendar, we just went and booked open-for-appointment slots. This is, if you will, the same thing. It’s a bit of a hack, so if you don’t have a calendaring system, you can’t do it, that’s not an excuse not to move to Surge.

Micah Shilanski:  In your calendar, book, open for appointment and pre put those slots. Oh, by the way, this is the same thing doctors do, the same thing attorneys, or the successful ones, I should say, do. Put those open-for-appointment slots, and now what you’ve done is you’ve given your team permission to book in those slots, and not anywhere else. This is the only time that they can book, “Micah is available at 7:00 AM, or 8:15. What’s going to work better for you on Mondays?”

Micah Shilanski:  Whatever those time slots are, you’re going to be able to put in that, versus, if you don’t have this available, the team’s going to come back to you and say, “Jarvis really wants to meet with you. It’s going to be late, I know, but can we do this?” Give them a clean slate. It’s yes, or no. It’s in this time slot. It’s a yes. If not, it’s a no.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yep. Yep. Can I mention a pet peeve on that?

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:   Of course, I’m going to. You should never be emailing back and forth with people on times to calendar. Either you’re emailing them your link; here’s my calendar, or you’re accepting their link, or you’re saying, “I’m going to call you really quick.” The last thing you should be doing is saying, “Hey, does 10 o’clock work?” “No, 10;00 doesn’t work. How about 11:00?” “Oh, 11:00 doesn’t work. How about 2:00?” “Nah, 2:00 doesn’t work. How about Thursday?” Every email is a waste of time, and a huge amount of frustration on both people. Either get them on the phone, or send them your link. There really are no other options there.

Micah Shilanski:  Amen. This is something that we work with in our training. Backstage Pass members, you have access to this on our video tutorials that we go through, but really empowering the team with this.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah.

Micah Shilanski:  It’s also super frustrating for clients to go back and forth. Not just for you. Then, “Oh, by the way, your receptionist emailed out through your relationship manager email, three appointment slots. Two of them are now full.” The client comes back to you. All of this in Surge time is a negative experience. I’m just echoing what you said. You do not exchange emails on times. You pick up the phone. By you, I mean your RM, relationship manager, picks up the phone, calls the client or prospect and books them in that slot.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. One other thing, and then we’ll move on from this. It’s easy for us to talk on the podcast, in a closed room about how to schedule. When your relationship manager is picking up the fourth call, the 10th call, the 15th call. When he or she is juggling 10 different things, it’s not necessarily fair to expect them to remember, “Boy, let me remember perfectly how to manage the calendar.” they answer the phone, they’ve got a hundred things going on. “Hey, can I see Micah at 4:45 on a Thursday?” “Yeah, fine. That’s not a big deal.” Micah, to your point, when it’s blocked in, “Hey, here’s Micah’s times,” it makes their job so much easier, and it all ends up delivering massive value to the client.

Micah Shilanski:  We actually, on our calendar, even go back and go through the point of saying, “No appointments,” right?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah.

Micah Shilanski:  It’s just not open, because then open we would find, well there’s nothing going on that day. Right? Someone in your RM-

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, just drop it in there, and not a problem.

Micah Shilanski:  So we say, “No appointments, no appointments.” We have open slots, versus the calendaring system, to say when you can book, and we have no appointments outside of that. Every day there’s something in there so it’s very clear to our team, because I want them to succeed.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. I told you that was my last one, but one other thing. As an advisor, you have to have total commitment to your calendar. What I mean by that is, you can’t come back to your RM and say, “Hey, I know you booked those meetings, but I decided I wanted to go golfing with Micah. Can you take care of those?” For me, that is not acceptable.

Micah Shilanski:  Amen.

Matthew Jarvis:   On the rare occasion where I’ve had something come up and I need to reschedule client meetings, I call those clients. I say, “Hey, listen. This came up.” It better be a legitimate reason. I have, I will admit, several times told a friend, “Hey, I’ll go mountain biking with you tomorrow afternoon,” and then I forgot to put it on the calendar and Colleen says, “”Hey, you have three appointments. Okay, well I need to cancel my mountain biking. I cannot go back to Colleen and say, “Hey, listen, I wasn’t responsible for my calendar. Therefore, you need to pay the price.”

Micah Shilanski:  Amen. You have to take ownership in all of those things. I am in complete agreement. In fact, I’ve actually fired coaches because they could not take responsibility in their calendar that was there. It’s just one of those things that’s a huge pet peeve of mine. Do what you say you’re going to do. All right.

Matthew Jarvis:   Let’s talk about implementing Surge, but specifically during the COVID crisis. I want to talk about the crisis just for a minute, and then we’ll talk about tips for implementing Surge. The COVID thing is a great example of how everything that goes on… We’ve joked about Jocko’s Good earlier. You can use anything that’s going on to your advantage. You can use the COVID crisis to your advantage. You can use hair loss to your advantage. I always joke about, I would never tell someone to find an advisor with a great head of hair because that doesn’t help me. Anything we can do.

Matthew Jarvis:   Here’s a really good example. Advisors tell us, “Oh, I’m too young to be a successful advisor.” Then, on the next call someone will say, “I’m too old to be a successful advisor.” Use everything to your advantage. Use the COVID crisis. Mr. and Mrs. Client, in light of what’s going on, for your safety, for our safety, we’re going to try to do our meetings a bit differently. We’re going to try to do them all on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Is that okay with you?” It’s so easy to use this as a good, as Jocko would say.

Micah Shilanski:  Amen. Really, looking at those, to go through that aspect of it. Number one, you’ve got to look for, when you’re doing Surge, what are we solving for? Right?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yes.

Micah Shilanski:  This is one of the first steps that you’ve got to do. For me, what I’m solving for, and then Jarvis, I’d love to know your thoughts is, number one, a massive value to clients. Number two, time in and out of the office. That is what I am solving for in my Surge Meetings. The way my surge looks is, I’m doing seven to eight appointments per day when I’m going through Surge. I’m, I’m just hitting this thing. I’m going from one meeting to the next. Everything is prepped, everything is ready to go so I can deliver the most value to my clients as possible. Now, that is fairly intense for that period in time, to say the least. Going from that. Jarvis, you do a slightly different schedule because you want a bit more life balance inside of your Surge week as well.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. My endurance is not high enough to handle seven to eight. I get burned out by the end of the week. I also don’t travel quite as much as you probably, because my kids are in public schools. Our travel schedule is a little more limited, so I don’t mind be in the office a bit more, and I don’t want to do meetings on Mondays and Fridays. Mondays are my prep days in the office. Fridays I don’t ever work. When I’m doing Surge, I’m just doing it Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

Matthew Jarvis:   It’s about finding a temple, but Micah, I agree 100%. If I’m going to be in the office, I’m going to be in the office, and I better be working that whole time. If I’m not working, I don’t want to be in the office. I’m not going to sit here and play solitaire just to kill time.

Micah Shilanski:  No. When you’re going into this aspect of it, this is really important, to ease into Surge. You don’t want to take Jarvis’s schedule and jump right into that. If you’re used to doing one to two appointments a week, you don’t want to jump into four or five a day. You definitely don’t want to jump into seven to eight per day. It’s like working out. You’ve got to build up those muscles in this way; your appointment prep muscles.

Micah Shilanski:  Really, it’s the aspect of just moving that needle and making a commitment. The first thing I would do, again, on the time blocking video is where you talk more in depth on how to do this, I would look at the time. This is great, in the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, fourth quarter, et cetera. This is when I’m going to meet with my clients. You can back into that by how many clients you have, blah-blah-blah.

Micah Shilanski:  This is the time that I’m going to meet with my clients, and you’d set up the appointment slots. Then ease into it and make it more, and more, and more. If all you can do is two to three appointments a day, well great. Start with two or three appointments a day. Then, slowly, maybe the next quarter you pump one more appointment in per day, or one more per week and slowly start edging that up so you can be more comfortable.

Micah Shilanski:  Jarvis, as you said, I am always tweaking my Surge schedule that’s there, because I’m always looking for that perfect solution. For me, the perfect just means change. I’ve just got to keep messing with it to try to see what’s going to work better. It’s the same thing as you’re easing into it. From each quarter, ease into it a bit more in depth.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yup. Couple easy examples of that, don’t meet with clients on Friday. By the way, it doesn’t have to be Friday. I know advisors that love to golf on Wednesday, so they say, “I just don’t do meetings on Wednesday.” Just start by picking one or two days a week where you won’t do meetings. Pick one week a month where you won’t do client meetings. Just ease your way into it, ease your team into it.

Matthew Jarvis:   By the way, a great way to get buy-in from your team, because change is difficult for everyone. Your team, you need to fierce that with them, because they’re going to go through this, “Hey, if I can’t schedule Micah on a Thursday, the client’s going to fire us. If that client fires us, all clients fire us, we’re out of a job by the end of the week.” We can say, “Well, that’s silly. It’s there for your setting.”

Matthew Jarvis:   I like to approach it with teams saying, “Hey, team member, what would you do if you had a day, or a week that we didn’t have client meetings? What would you do? “Oh, I would get caught up on this project, and this project.” “Perfect, so we’re going to try this. We’re just going to pick one week a month where we don’t have to do client meetings. If a client has any pushback at all that you ask them to wait one week, pass them through to me right away. I will call them back immediately. I’ll take that call.” Don’t tell your team that’s not going to happen. Just say, “Hey, if it happens, I’ll talk to him right away.”

Micah Shilanski:  Yup. This is one of the things that, it’s also about setting client expectations. As you are easing into Surge, I would be explaining this. One of the things is, when you wrap up a meeting, and if you went to, I think, was it at the beginning of the year we did? Yeah, in January we did a webinar on how were we going to run massive value in our Q1 client meetings. One of the things both Jarvis and I do is set expectations as to when we should meet next, and why, as you’re wrapping up that meeting.

Micah Shilanski:  As you’re going into a Surge meeting with clients, you’re telling them when the next one should be, and why you’re going to be meeting with them at that time. Guess what, this was your pre-setup that really makes your appointment scheduling for your RMs so much easier because, “Hey, Micah said we need to meet in X because A, B, and C, so I have no problem meeting in Surge.” You’re going to transition into that.

Matthew Jarvis:   Anytime you can give someone a reason for why you’re doing something, it’s more successful. When clients ask Colleen, “Hey, can I see meet with Matthew on a Friday,” she goes, “You know what? Matthew spends Fridays with his family.” “Oh, well good for him. That’s really great. Good for him.” Micah, same with you. “Hey, Micah is taking his family to the Holy Land.” “Wow, that’s really exciting. Good for…” “Micah’s on an RV trip.” “Wow, that’s really great. I wish I could have done more of that with my kids.”

Matthew Jarvis:   You give them a reason. Give an authentic reason. I knew an adviser once, and his team would always say something that wasn’t exactly true. They’re like, “He was at a conference or something,” even if he was in Hawaii. Have integrity with that, but you can say, “Hey, I don’t meet with clients the third week of the month. That’s when we do portfolio reviews. That’s when I catch up on new tax law.” Whatever it is, have a reason. It’ll go over much more smoothly.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah. Yeah. Have a reason that your team is comfortable saying with as well. That was embedded, Jarvis, in what you were saying.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah.

Micah Shilanski:  I just want to draw that out. Make sure your team is comfortable with that saying. For example, if a client calls, my team is not going to say, “Micah’s on the other line helping a client,” because I’m probably not. Maybe I’m in a meeting, maybe I’m not. In that aspect, that wouldn’t be a genuine response. What is that response your team is comfortable with that is 100% accurate, so if the client sees you later on that day, it jives with everything that’s going on. Really important with that, in practice with your team. This doesn’t remove your responsibility to help manage your team in non-Surge times, by the way.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s true.

Micah Shilanski:  You’re really focusing your team effort, and having them work a bit harder in this period in time. An Our Team Surge is really busy. Now, My Team Surge starts two weeks before mine, and two weeks after mine, because they’ve got prep, they have to do Surge, and they have to wrap things up. Then, it’s in a bit more of a lull time for them, but we’re still having meetings, we’re still talking with the team. We’re working on projects, we’re doing things, but my team, going into search, they love it because they know that they’re going to get this done, it’s going to be super busy for this period of time. We’re almost wrapping up with it. There’s a bit of hair-pulling out because there’s a lot of stuff going on, but then you know what? We get into a lull time that’s going to be there, and they like the ebb and flow of that.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, they really do. Micah, I have to tell you a quick, funny story about this idea of what’s what scripting your team uses to explain why you’re busy. You mentioned the example of, on the phone with another client. One quick pet peeve of mine, don’t ever say, “I’m going to check to see if Micah’s” available. What you’re telling a client is, “Let me see if you’re important enough to talk to Micah,” so you’re never going to say that one.

Matthew Jarvis:   When I first heard this idea of, don’t take incoming calls, I told my assistant at the time… This was long before Colleen… I said, and I was quite young, “Tell them I’m servicing other clients. She gets this ghostly look on her face. She goes, “I will not say that.” I said, “Well, it’s kind of true because I’m always working.” Long story short, she had grown up on a farm. When an animal was being serviced, it was being bred. If you were going to go out and service the cow, you were going to artificially inseminate it. She was like, “I absolutely will not say you’re servicing clients.”

Micah Shilanski:  It’s not the ideal scripting anyways, on top of that.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, don’t use that one, by the way. It was a pretty funny example.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah, so you’re going to ease into Surge, you’re going to make something and find out what works. For example, all my telephone appointments I try to block together, versus my in-house appointments. Why? Because I can do an extra one, two telephone appointments per day, because telephone appointments are 45 minutes. If you don’t really believe this, now that you’ve gone through the COVID issue, you’ve talked to clients on the phone, is it more or less? Jarvis, in your example, which one is longer?

Matthew Jarvis:   The in-person ones are always longer.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:   Question on that, Micah. This is a question Coleen had. We’ve done so many, our entire Surge was virtual. It was all phone meetings. She asked, “Hey, are you going to want to go back to in-person meetings?” I’d be curious of your answer, Micah.

Micah Shilanski:  Totally. I like the balance of them. No, right now my clients are 50/50, so I really get the best of both worlds. 50% are outside of Alaska, 50% telephone/ video conference, et cetera. 50% are in person, and only doing video conferences all the time, I don’t thoroughly enjoy. My wife really likes it now, to be fair, because not only I can get more work done faster, so she likes that. It allows us to be anywhere in the world, and I could do meetings.

Matthew Jarvis:   True.

Micah Shilanski:  It’s a bit of an anchor that I have to be back here, but I enjoy it. I like going into the office. I like getting dressed up. I like seeing the clients, and going through that process, and helping them one-on-one, so nah, I’m not going to change it.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Definitely going to go back to physical meetings. Maybe we’ll do one physical meeting a year, and in a virtual meeting.

Micah Shilanski:  Sure.

Matthew Jarvis:   This could be head trash. I’d be curious, your experience, Micah having done this for quite a bit longer, the virtual meetings. I feel like when I do a meeting in person I can build relationship capital in that medium. I feel like my virtual ones are more neutral. When we leave a physical media, I feel that it could all be head trash, that I’ve strengthened that relationship. Not only have I delivered massive value, but I’ve strengthened that relationship. In the virtual ones, I have the sense that I’m still delivering massive value, but that I haven’t necessarily strengthened the relationship. There’s an element that’s missing for me in those virtual mediums.

Micah Shilanski:  Total head trash, or you’re doing something different. What are your physical mannerisms that you’re doing in person that you need to do in a different way on the phone to help strengthen those relationships?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah.

Micah Shilanski:  Out of my top clients that we have, I think three out of five of our top clients are virtual, and two out of those five, I never met, never even had a video conference with. It was all pure telephone, lower 48, mailing paperwork back and forth, and multimillion dollars. Long relationships.ir Really, we’re the trusted advisor when it comes to absolutely everything, from that aspect of it. Even construction issues went wrong with the house, we’re the ones they call. Anything like that, and never met them.

Micah Shilanski:  First time I met them, actually, I went and stayed at their house. We were passing through the RV, and we just decided to meet with them and we have a good friendship now that’s set up. I would say it’s a total of, how are you conducting that meeting, how are you handling that head trash, and how do you build those relationships?

Matthew Jarvis:   Interesting. Yeah, I appreciate that insight. I’m going to definitely take a look at it in my future virtual meetings.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah. We’ve talked about easing into meetings. We talked about, what are you solving for, going through those different things. It doesn’t matter what event we’re going through. Whether it’s COVID-19, whether it’s whatever, this is the time to move to the Surge Meetings because you can deliver massive value. Walk your clients through this. That’s going to be there.

Micah Shilanski:  Now, one of the things that Jarvis said, I will say is a failure of mine that happened during this last Surge that I did think about. I was supposed to wrap up Surge, then we were supposed to go to Europe for two months. Right?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah.

Micah Shilanski:  I had this big project, ordeal adventure that was planned. Well, COVID happened and we canceled everything. I wrapped up Surge and had nothing to do.

Matthew Jarvis:   Oh, interesting.

Micah Shilanski:  I had a wee bit of issues with that. A lot of head trash creeping in with that. Not being productive, then house arrest and BS, blah-blah-blah. Just all of that stuff, I didn’t deal with very well. It took me a “bit to say, Hey, why am I going through this? Oh, I had this big event planned.” Now, I generally have big event plans after Surge for two reasons. Number one, it’s a forcing mechanism. I have to get my Surge, done by April 15th because on the 18th I’m getting on an airplane and we’re leaving the country.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s a good forcing mechanism. Yeah.

Micah Shilanski:  It’s a solid forcing mechanism. For me, that was really important when I started Surge, to have a forcing mechanism to wrap it up. Otherwise, I would just continue it. Number one, forcing mechanism, but number two, the way we’re wired, you get amped up, you get juiced, you get running through Surge. Then, you have nothing to do. It’s like accomplishing a huge goal, and not setting your next one. Really important when you’re doing surge, what are you going to do in your off time? Whether it’s personal development, whether it’s family development, business development, but what are you going to do to stay productive so you can keep that head trash at bay?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, yeah. That’s really critical. It’s so easy to dismiss. I think as entrepreneurs, as really driven people it’s easy for us to set a prize and then ignore the prize. Like, “Well, I’m here. I’ll skip that. I’m going to go on that trip. I won’t go mountain biking. I won’t go…” Whatever your adventure is, you have to take that. It’s critical, for so many reasons.

Micah Shilanski:  Amen. All right, so this podcast is all about action items. It’s about you, as the advisor, taking action to improve your practice, your life, and your clients lives. Jarvis, what is the first action items our audience should take?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, I’d say the first one is to tighten up your Surge Meeting process. Whatever level of Surge Meetings you’re doing, whether you have not been doing them at all, or you’re a black belt them, tighten them up. Does that mean cutting another day out of Surge? Does that mean to add in one more meeting for the day? Does that mean streamlining the process, streamlining how you communicate? All those things, just look at your Surge Meeting and say, “Great, how do I tighten this up? How do I deliver massive value more efficiently than I did in the past?”

Micah Shilanski:  Keep it evolving. This is the second thing I’m going to say, is you have to keep these things evolving. What works, what doesn’t? Take data, and make change based on data, not based on emotion. This is the really big thing that’s going to be there. Especially with your team, because as Jarvis said, said earlier, when you’re making this transition, sometimes your team doesn’t like change, they’re not going to embrace it because they think it’s going to be permanent. If you give them an easy out, say, “Hey, we’re going to try this and see if it works, and if it doesn’t work we’re going to do something else,” right?

Matthew Jarvis:   Sure.

Micah Shilanski:  They are so much more open to that, and then you can evaluate it. Keep it a bit fluid, keep it dynamic as you’re going through so you can find out what works best for you.

Matthew Jarvis:   I really like that. Let them know, because, by the way, it’s going to evolve. This is really managing expectations, because we’re constantly evolving.

Micah Shilanski:  Right.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, go ahead and let them know, “Hey, this is our out, or fair warning, whichever way you want to take that.”

Micah Shilanski:  I like the out. Works better with my team, but yeah, fair warning still works.

Matthew Jarvis:   It does, yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:   Another action item, remind clients, and remind yourself, by the way, why is it we’re doing Surge? Anytime we’re coming up on a Surge and we’re inviting clients to those meetings where we’re saying, “Hey, we want to meet at this time of the year so that we can review tax strategies now that you’ve filed your tax returns,” or, “We want to meet in October so we can review year-end planning before the year runs out.”

Matthew Jarvis:   We’re always giving them a reason and also, like I said, with the Friday’s example, “Hey, Matthew doesn’t meet with clients on Fridays, because he’s spending time with his family. Matthew’s not not meeting with clients in August unless it’s an urgent issue, because he’s traveling with his family.” I want to have a reason. I want to give them a why. Something that they can appreciate, and respect.

Micah Shilanski:  We don’t want clients that have an issue with that, why? If they came out and said that, “Jarvis, look. I don’t care if you’re meeting with your family or not. I want to meet with you on Friday,” it’s time to graduate the client because our values do not line up, and that is 100% okay.

Micah Shilanski:  All right, your last action item that’s going to be out there. What we would love your assistance with is, weekend readings with Kitces. Kitces goes out and asks for comments for weekend readings on our podcasts. We are now taking those, and we’re doing a nice writeup on them. We’d love you guys to submit those in Kitces.

Micah Shilanski:  Jarvis, what did we say? We said, “If you jump on the Kitces website and leave in the comment, you should grab the Perfect RIA podcast for a weekend read.” Take a comment on that. Take a screenshot and send it to us at lifestyleattheperfectra.com. We’re going to get you out some cool swag, and we’ve got a bunch of new swag on order.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s right. At least, at a minimum we’ll get you out our new TPR coffee mugs. Mostly because I want a new coffee mug, so that’s going to be our new swag, but we’ve got whatever else. Actually, as you send us that screenshot, tell us what you want for swag. Micah’s getting a private jet. I can’t promise that for Kitces, but we’ll see what we can do. Yeah, put that in there. We want to triple the audience for the Perfect RIA Nation. We’re already one of the top podcasts in the industry. We want to just keep working our way up.

Micah Shilanski:  Amen.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, if you’d do that for us, we’d really appreciate that. For the members of the Backstage Pass, be sure to log in and post your questions to the forum. It feeds the future podcast topics.

Micah Shilanski:  That’s right. For Backstage Pass members, we’re not sure if it’s up just yet, but we will get it up there. We do have video training for Rms; your relationship managers, how to handle Surge phone calls, how to book those appointments, what are scripts that we use in our office? It’s really nice to turn your assistants on to this training and have them watch the video, because now it’s a third party expert telling them what to do. It’s not you, it’s someone else. It comes with a bit more authority, even in my office.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Yeah, and not to pile on here, but we are going to have an assistants-only live event for Backstage Pass members.

Micah Shilanski:  Right.

Matthew Jarvis:   Which, Colleen from my office, Victoria from Micah’s office, without Micah or I on the call, they’re doing a closed-door, air all the dirty laundry about advisers. Stay tuned for that as well.

Micah Shilanski:  It’s going to be super productive, right?

Matthew Jarvis:   It will, yeah. Sorry.

Micah Shilanski:  Because it gives them a great time to get together to talk about it and to find out, “All right, what are the best ways to do things?”

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Do you know what the number one question that Colleen gets in those because she’s done these a lot? It’s, “Does Matthew really do Surge Meetings? Will he really not see a client on a Friday.” Yup. At least that’s what she tells me is in those meetings. I’ve never been in those, so-

Micah Shilanski:  You know, maybe the other questions. All right, guys. Thanks for hanging out with us today. We’re going to look forward to the next pod, and until next time, happy planning.

Matthew Jarvis:   Happy planning.

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